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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Knowing When Enough is Enough


 I can be so tempted to spend the day being lazy, frittering my time away on FB or blogs (<------ very guilty of that anyways, hehe), but I usually end up feeling guilty. Of course, if I do, it's with good reason because I HAVE been procrastinating.

Side note: the iPhone -at least for me - is Pandora's (the Greek myth, not the music station) Box. It's very easy for me to get sucked in on apps and the Internet.

But today, I was determined to ninja-kick my to-do list, accomplish the nitty-gritty stuff I didn't want to do, and end the day with a sense of accomplishment. That meant telling myself "No" sternly when I was tempted to check my FB notifications or do the fun things before the need-to-do ones.

So instead of checking blogs, I:
-did  chores
- swept
-took out the trash
-brushed my teeth (instead of getting caught up on the web and not brushing until close to lunchtime)
-parked myself at the table and tackled the sky-high pile of graduation cards.


I wrote at least 24 and nearly lost feeling in my hand. There were several times I thought, "Mmmh, I can finish later/tomorrow," but I stopped myself. Better to get it all done in one fell swoop - and the lovely people deserved a speedy reply of thanks for their kindness. I took a break for lunch and then finally slayed the beast. And was I ever proud.

Then off to the farmer's market -after grabbing a green tea frappachino, no sweet syrup-



where I picked up some farm fresh tomatoes (!!! Been waiting months for them to be in season), cucs, zucchini, and a parsley plant.Whizzed off to Mass, caught up with a family friend, and came home. It was such a lovely day and the sun was no longer high and bright, so I went on a lovely walk for about an hour.


'Twas so nice to be alone with the thoughts in my head...very calm, relaxing, and nice and schweaty by the time I was done.

Changed into my comfy bum clothes (read: yoga pants + soft t-shirt), ate dinner, did chores, tidied up, unpacked a big box of my graduation table stuff, and got ready for bed.

Heh. Tired? Just a bit. But feeling pretty satisfied that I got nearly everything done that I needed to. And there were some fun things that I "wanted" to do that happened during the day too. :) There's still a few things to do. I could go clear my inbox, do some writing, etc.....

But.

 I'm currently perched on my bed with my tired feet sprawled out and catching up on my fav blogs + FB - and I don't feel guilty. It feels glorious to relax and unwind, to sink into a fluffy cloud of pillows and veg out.

I think it's important to know when enough is enough, and when you need to take a little break and breathe, mentally and physically.

 Even if it's just to check Instagram.

Or eat a square of dark chocolate.


 Or treating yourself to a toasty bubble bath. Or throwing that extra pillow behind your back.

 For me, it's putting on a mellow station on Pandora (Ingrid Michaelson channel is one I'm currently loving), catching up on blogs, and curling up with a comforter and pillows.

 Take some time wherever you are, no matter how your day's gone, to accept you did enough today (even if you feel you haven't) and treat yourself by allowing yourself to relax.

Enjoy. :) Though it's barely 10 p.m., I'm fighting to stay awake. I may look 19 but I'm really 87...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Graduation is Sweet Indeed

After a long, long past few months, I'm finally done.


High school? Check!

Bright blue tassel? Check.

Major loss of sleep and sanity? Triple check. 

 It feels so good to have graduated - mostly because of all the stress of planning said graduation. It was, however, a wonderful day and very special.

I loved being homeschooled and will always consider myself a homeschooler....but oh, it's so very, very nice to be done. :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Finished with Finals

Happy Saturday, lovelies!

This girl is pretty happy right now because someone made it through finals. I'm officially done with my first college semester (as a high school student)! My last final was yesterday....and I celebrated with something I'd had my eye on all week.


Starbucks' new Mocha Cookie Crumble frappachino.


Chocolate whipped cream.

Be still, my mocha-loving heart.

T'was glorious.

I'm off to pick up some coffee with my sisters from our dad's store, get some groceries (what does asparagus, Greek yogurt, and goat cheese have in common? Mother's Day), and workout.

I was planning on a run or some Zumba choreography, but...


It's raining - my favorite weather, and something that always brings out my cat-like instincts to curl up - so I think I'll roll out the yoga mat instead and do a Yoga Download podcast.


Psss, go make this Strawberry Yogurt Pizza for Mother's Day!


Happy Saturday! What's your weekend plans?

Strawberry Greek Yogurt Breakfast Pizza


Tomorrow is Mother's Day! Looking for something  fresh, delicious, and every bit as sweet as your mom to make for her? I have the perfect last minute breakfast/brunch recipe for you.


She'll love this strawberry Greek yogurt breakfast pizza.

I did!

I woke up craving cold, creamy yogurt, fresh fruit, and something fun for breakfast so I whipped this up.


A crispy whole wheat tortilla crust brushed with coconut oil and cinnamon, topped with thick, creamy Greek yogurt, bananas, spring strawberries, and topped off with a drizzle of almond butter.


I used the plain flavor of Chobani, my favorite Greek yogurt brands, and was so pleased with the result. Decadent, light, and filling from protein!

Strawberry Greek Yogurt Breakfast Pizza
[Serves 4-6]

Ingredients:
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas/pita (you could also use your favorite dessert pizza crust if you wanted, but if you're wanting something quick, this is just as delicious)
  • Two 6 oz. plain 0% Chobani Greek yogurt containers
  • 1/2 c. strawberries
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 c. almond butter/peanut butter/Nutella
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Coconut oil/butter


Directions:
  1. Brush tortillas/pitas/crust with oil lightly and sprinkle cinnamon over it. Brush cinnamon over entire crush. Broil in toaster oven or regular oven for 5 minutes or until crisp. You want the oil and cinnamon to melt into your crust. The most amaaaaazing smell will waft through the house. Try to control your hunger. It gets better.
  2. Take crusts out and leave as is, or trace circles on the crusts using a small bowl (like I did for a personal size pizza). You could also serve the entire crust as a 8' pizza and cut into triangles like a regular pizza. 
  3. Divide Greek yogurt evenly between crusts, spreading with a spoon. Try not to spread it all the way to the edge - this'll make it easier to pick up.
  4. Sprinkle chia seeds on top (or flax if you want. If you're really feeling festive, chocolate chips or sprinkles would be cute).
  5. Slice fruit and top each pizza with it.
  6. Finish with a drizzle of nut butter, Nutella, whipped cream, or even a cream cheese glaze. Chocolate ganache = always acceptable.
  7. Plate, and enjoy!

Happy Mother's Day! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rustic Choco-Coffee Snack Cake


Since I gave up coffee this Lent, Sundays usually involved a trip to Starbucks, the local bookstore coffeeshop, or what actually happened- the busting out of some coffee recipes.

 I'd been eyeing Ashley's amazing recipe for a few weeks and finally got around to making it one Sunday.


 Chocolate.

 Coffee.

 Snack.

 Cake.


Need I say more?

I was in love...I mean, just look at that. We're talking serious beauty here.

It was every bit as good as it looked...and best of all, it didn't give me a sugar hangover. If you're looking for a very sweet dessert type of cake, this isn't quite your piece of cake. But if you're looking for something to nibble on during the day that will not only satisfy your chocolate craving and keep you full from the whole grains, you've found the right slab of carby goodness. 

The ingredient list was chock full of some of my favorites: almond milk, maple syrup, pumpkin, flax, etc. It's not full of butter and sugar. I firmly believe there is a time and a place (coughJoytheBaker'schocolatecakecough) for that, but I wanted something a little less sweet. 

And did they deliver. 


I made a few changes to Ashley's recipe based on what I had on hand: cow's milk instead of almond, mashed banana instead of pumpkin, brown sugar in lieu of maple syrup, and a mixture of whole wheat and whole wheat pastry flour instead of the almond meal and gluten-free flours. The coffee flavor wasn't overly strong (but I still loved them), so what I'd suggest mixing the milk with the instant coffee.

Or add a shot of expresso!

Or two.

Show yourself some love. And caffeine. (I see you, fellow college and high school students - take comfort. The end is near...)

It's baked in a cast iron skillet, which bakes it perfectly, leaving the inside fluffy and soft. I used this adorable individual-sized cornbread skillet for for a rustic feel and cute pre-portioned slices.

The batter isn't overly sweet, but I added a generrrrrous handful of chocolate baking chips.

As in, 1/2 cup. Maybe more.

Heh.

The chocolate chips are what make it! I couldn't decide between the quirky "sprinkle-and-let-fall-where-they-may" look or the classic, chic, neatly-arranged edge of chocolate chips. So of course, I did both.

It's all about balance, friends.


Rustic Choco-Coffee Snack Cake [Adapted from Edible Perspective]

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c. + 1/4 chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax meal or chia seeds (you could also just use an egg)
  • 5 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. instant coffee 
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar (Ashley calls for 7 tbsp. maple syrup, but I was out. Next time though, I'll use maple syrup. I usually prefer to bake with it instead of conventional sugar.)
  • 3 + 1 tbsp. oil (I used coconut, but canola or vegetable will work also)
  • 1/2 a banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda. 

1. Set your oven to 350* to get it nice and toasty. 
2. Grease cake pan, cast iron skillet, or 9x9 baking pan and set aside. 
3. Mix together flour, 1/2 c. of chocolate chips, flax/chia seeds, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
4. In a larger bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients and instant coffee until combinded. 
5. Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined - just like scones, you don't want to overmix. 
6. Eat some batter. 
7. Make sure you eat some that has chocolate chips in it!
8. Pour the batter into your pan; it will be thick, so you may have to help it along, and spread smooth.
9. Arrange additional 1/4 c. chocolate chips on top and bake for 20-30 minutes. Test with a knife or toothpick and bake for an extra 5-10 minutes if needed. 
10. Let most cool, but cut yourself a slice moist and hot out of the oven.
11. Enjoy with milk, yogurt, ice cream; top with almond butter, powdered sugar, frosting, jam...or just enjoy it plain, as it is. :)

 These were so, so good. Go make them. Eat them for breakfast, lunch, tea, snack, dinner, and your midnight smackeral.


Warning: these are even more addicting eaten cold out of the freezer with a glass of milk.

Proceed at your own risk.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Be Kind To Yourself

Morning! Happy Mayday!


(Started the day with some fun head-pumping "La la la" courtsey of Demi...)

Because it's Tuesday, because it's May 1st, because Spring is officially here and summer is just around the balmy corner...

Be KIND to yourself.

Start with a new, delicious breakfast, like Angela's amazing Vegan Overnight Oats with Banana Soft Serve.


Follow it up with something you love today - whether it be a walk, 15 minutes with your favorite magazine, blasting the Michael Buble station on Pandora while getting ready, or a new cute hairstyle.


(Tried this and loved it! It looked utterly adorable)

Do something that makes you happy!

I'm off to a date with my pink mat and a blissful yoga class. I foresee major studying at a coffeeshop later (can you tell finals are next week?), some writing (just to make my heart happy), and taking care of graduation details. :)

I'm off carpe some diem!

-Grace

P.S. Was scarily excited to get an email from Ashley that I was one of the winners of the Love Grown Foods granola giveaway on her blog. Made my day! She featured the winners on her blog which was mindblowing - I love her blog, Edible Perspective, so to see a link to mine on hers was seriously amazing.



What are your plans for the day? What are you doing to celebrate Mayday? 

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