Food

Vermonter Apple Salad

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As many of you saw from my Instagram caption I am not a very big salad eater. However, I do enjoy salads doused in Ranch with bacon and crispy chicken tenders, but if I eat that I am better off leaving out the lettuce and just eating a meal. Today, I was a bit hungry, but not hungry enough to eat an entire meal so I decided to make a small salad.  I recently had a Spinach Salad from a little café in Waterbury, Vermont called Stowe Street Café that was delicious I have been craving ever since. Screen Shot 2017-08-30 at 6.32.08 PM.pngThat being said, I knew I had mixed greens and green apples I needed to eat before they went bad so I decided to get creative. While a typical “Vermonter Sandwich” usually consists of Meat, Apples, Cheddar and a Maple Mustard, I used what I had on hand and made my own rendition. I used Bacon, Apples, Parmesan, and a Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing.  I was a bit skeptical about adding the dressing, but I am so glad I did because it tied the entire salad together. I was inspired by this recipe; however, I did not have mustard.

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Life

Shoutout from Mark McGrath?!

 

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This past weekend my boyfriend, my sister and her boyfriend and our hockey friend went to the Champlain Valley Fair in Burlington, Vermont.  While the fair is a fun place to hang around, eat deep fried dough and people watch, we were there for one reason; Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath.  After we got some pulled pork sandwiches and I took a bite of a chocolate chip cookie (shhhh don’t remind me I broke my sugar-free diet, but oh well) we headed into the grand stage.

 

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My Smokey Makeup for the Concert

We arrived late for the concert because we weren’t too interested in C+C Music Factory with Freedom Williams, All 4 One, Rob Base or SNAP!.  As I said before we were there for Mark McGrath and I suppose TLC as well since they were the headliners. When we got inside the concert venue it was no surprise that we were definitely out of our age range.  We were a group of 20-23 year olds all born in the 90’s and this audience was filled with people old enough to be our parents. I can’t even begin to count how many weird looks we got as we made our way to the front row. Rob Base was still performing when we got to our seats and he DJ’ed some Journey, ACDC, Snoop Dogg, Usher, etc. that we all sang at the top of our lungs. Finally, the man we were all waiting for was setting up the stage… Mark McGrath!

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Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath

Funny Story Time:

A woman in front of us turned around and said to us “this guy (she was talking about Mark McGrath) always weirded me out and I don’t understand how he got here”. My boyfriend and I just bump each other and smile awkwardly at one another because he was the whole reason we were there. Now it may seem odd that we are kids born between 1994 and 1997 and came to a concert for Mark McGrath, but I left out an important detail; Mark McGrath got us the tickets.  Mark is a friend of my dad through social media and has given us free concert tickets to see him on many occasions (This may or may not have been my 4th or 5th time seeing him lol).

Anyway, Mark gets on stage and performs 4 songs before thanking the previous talent for going on tour with him, then he proceeds to give my sister and I a SHOUTOUT! My entire family got our first shoutout from Mark back in 2014; however, since then we have not gotten one since, until now. Mark said “And since I am in Vermont I want to thank the *Insert my Last name* sister’s for coming out to see me tonight!!!!!” I was in pure shock and just began automatically screaming so loudly my voice beganto give out. It was silent except for the 5 of us in our row front in center screaming and waving our arms over our heads, all eyes were on us.

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My face when we got the shoutout

When I finally stopped screaming, the woman in front of us turns around, her face completely red and says, “Oh my god, is that you? Are you a 90’s baby or something?”  I just laughed and felt super uncomfortable and said “yes” with a perplexed look on my face because I didn’t understand the second part of her question. ANYWAY, just take a moment and imagine everyone questioning why a group of 20 year olds are at a 90’s concert and then they all realize we were there because we know the band! Ah man, it was a great time. I was shaking for so long and so happy all night long. However, when TLC came out on stage I my excitement was gone as their performance was anything but electric or stimulating.  The smaller one in TLC who has abs can DANCE, but I think the other one with short blonde hair was lip syncing and could not dance to save her life (just my observations people). It was sad that once TLC performed like 3 songs the stands cleared out by a lot and they were supposed to be the headliners.

 

Aside from the fair and the concert it was a beautiful weekend filled with sunshine and 5 men’s softball games in one day (eeek). But my boyfriend’s team got 3rd place, so it was worth watching the long games!

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Piper by my Boyfriends Pond at home

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Have you ever seen a CAMEL at a fair!?! I did.

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Food

Chocolate Oat Balls

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Everyone NEEDS to try these dessert balls! It doesn’t matter if you are sugar-free or not, they are delicious regardless. I made these when I was craving dessert and needed chocolate. Rather than caving in, I did some searching online and came up with my own rendition of the many energy ball recipes that are floating around Pinterest.  Technically, these “Chocolate Oat Balls” were supposed to be chocolate peanut butter no bakes, but I decided to shape them into ball shapes rather than the typical no bake cookie shape. The less oats you add to the mixture, the more these balls taste like truffles.

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I was inspired by this recipe, but changed many things to make it fit into my eating lifestyle! Nonetheless, the original recipe had a lot of great reviews and I highly suggest making the original ones if you are not on a sugar-free lifestyle.

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Food

Healthy Banana Muffins

 

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I am currently on Day 15 of being sugar free and eating clean! This is a great accomplishment for me because prior to this challenge, I was ADDICTED to sugar and desserts. I found myself always craving sweets and always going back for seconds and thirds because one slice of cake was never enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.

The first week was easy because I was excited about the challenge and really did not think too much about desserts but as the weekend rolled around I got cravings.  Instead of giving in to the sugar black hole, I looked up healthy sugar free recipes on my OG, Pinterest. We had some overripe bananas sitting around in the kitchen so I looked up a banana bread recipe. I chose a recipe that 405 people tried to make, so I decided to become the 406 person to try it. However, this recipe called for 3/4 cups of sugar, and I knew I couldn’t break my challenge, thus I substituted the sugar with 3 Tbsp of Stevia (I still try to limit my stevia consumption).

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Just heat a muffin in the microwave or toaster oven and put on a little butter on it and BAM you have a little treat!

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I would never lead you all astray, therefore, I must tell you guys to keep in mind this is not going to be as tasty or as sweet as most traditional banana breads. This is for people that need a bakery treat but are determined to stay sugar-free and avoid processed and unclean foods as much as possible. If you would like my family’s go-to secret recipe for full-fat, full-sugar banana bread it is attached below! Enjoy which ever recipe your heart desires!😘

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Food

Meal Prep #1: 8/13-18

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For the first time ever I decided to meal prep for my boyfriend and I and I will NEVER turn back.  I meal prepped my lunches on Sunday for 2 hours (including cook and prep time) and now I have healthy well rounded lunches for 5 days during the week, COULD IT GET ANY BETTER???

What We Made:

  • 3.5 lbs Chicken Tenders (they were buy 1 get 1 free) otherwise would have used Breasts
  • 2 lbs Green Beans
  • 1 Cup Rice
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes
  • 10 White Potatoes
  • 1 Fresh Express Asian Salad Kit
  • Seasonings
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1 Bell Pepper
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Shredded Chicken Breast Recipe:

I used our new Crock Pot for the first time and it made the most phenomenal shredded chicken. When my boyfriend and I eat our lunch we usually add Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce or Frank’s Hot Sauce. We accidentally grabbed the Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory Brown Sugar and it tastes unreal on top of the chicken!

Ingredients:
  • 3 – 3.5 lbs Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 Tbsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Minced Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
Instructions:
  1. Place trimmed chicken in the slow cooker
  2. Add chicken broth and seasonings in the slow cooker
  3. Mix the chicken so it is coated with seasoning
  4. Turn crock pot on high
  5. Set timer for 4 hours
  6. Enjoy delicious shredded chicken

Guys! That’s seriously it!! It is too simple not to do! I weighed out 3-4 oz for each one of my meals and my boyfriend weighed out 5-6 oz.

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Baked Sweet Potato Recipe:

For many of my meals I replaced my grain with a starch, such as a sweet potato because I currently dedicated to clean eating. I decided to mash my sweet potatoes because they are easy to heat up and add flavor to like cinnamon. 

Ingredients:
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes
Instructions:
  • Set oven to 415˚F
  • Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet
  • Set timer for 45 minutes
  • After removing from oven cut in half
  • Peel skin off of the sweet potato

I weighed out 5 oz of mashed sweet potatoes.

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Baked Potato Wedges:

My boyfriend does not like the texture or taste of sweet potatoes so I made him baked potato wedges that taste just like french fries!

Ingredients:
  • 10 White Potatoes
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • Sea Salt
Instructions:
  • Peel the white potatoes
  • Cut the potatoes into fourths of eighths
  • Coat potatoes with 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • Set oven to 415˚F
  • Set timer for 45 minutes
  • Mix/ Flip potatoes after 30 minutes
  • Once the potatoes have a nice golden crips on them, take them out of the oven and add Sea Salt to your liking

My boyfriend measured out 1 cup of the potato wedges and enjoys them dipped in ketchup. As you may notice, the cook times and temperatures for the sweet potatoes and potato wedges are the same because I cooked them simultaneously.

Steamed Green Beans Recipe:
Ingredients:
  • Frozen Green Beans
  • 1-2 Tbsp Water
Instructions:
  • Add 3 cups of Frozen Green Beans into a microwave safe bowl
  • Add 2 Tbsp Water
  • Cover the bowl (I used a plate placed on top of the bowl)
  • Set the microwave for  3 minutes
  • After 3 minutes mix the Green Beans
  • Place the covered bowl of green beans back in the microwave for 3 minutes
  • Be careful when you take the bowl out as it will be incredibly hot!

I measured out 1 and 1/2 cup of green beans and my boyfriend measured out 1 cup.

Rice Recipe:

I ran out of sweet potatoes and white potatoes so I switched to the only other thing we have in our apartment that wasn’t ridiculously refined and used white jasmine rice. I have tried to get my boyfriend to eat brown rice or quinoa instead, but he refuses 😦

I am not going to write a recipe for rice because we just followed the instructions on the back of the bag. I measured out 2/3 cup of rice and my boyfriend measured out 1 cup of rice. On the day I have rice I eat more veggies on the side like Cucumbers and Bell Peppers to make me feel healthier lol.

Fresh Express Asian Salad Kit:

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I measured out a cup of the salad. I add the almonds, wontons and dressing right before I am about to eat it. I eat my salad first, so that I can heat up my chicken and sweet potato/rice together in the microwave.

Concluding Remarks:

I am obsessed with meal prepping and I find myself wanting to cheat and take one of my lunch preps and have it for dinner because it is so simple to heat the meal up for 2 minutes in the microwave. Having my lunches prepped prevents me from going off of my clean eating lifestyle and gives me an excuse to save money to spend on makeup 😂 I cannot wait to see what I meal prep next week! Join my adventure 😘

 

 

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Food

Caprese Salad

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Side/starter to grilled Pork Chops and Wild Rice

It is definitely tomato season and a great way to enjoy and appreciate tomatoes (in my opinion) is a Caprese Salad! I am not a huge fan of plain tomatoes and I am for sure not the type of person that can take a big bite out of a tomato as if it were an apple or munch on cherry tomatoes. However, I am IN LOVE with this refreshing salad that is so fresh and rewarding on a summer night.

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Ingredients (serves 3-4 people):

Thorough Directions:

  1. Cut the Tomatoes into thin 1/4 inch slices (I need to learn how to cut a tomato into uniform slices… sorry the appearance isn’t Food Network worthy).
  2. Cut the Mozzarella Cheese Ball into slices around the same thickness as the Tomatoes.
  3. Remove the Basil leaves from the stem
  4. Layer the Mozzarella, Basil, and Tomato until the plate is full and ingredients are used.
  5. Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar on top of the layers.
  6. Add a dash of Sea Salt and Kosher Salt (or to desired taste – you can also add pepper if you would like).

 

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Beauty

“Face on Fire” Mask

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First off, I know this mask isn’t cute. I’ve been told it looks like vomit on my face, but it works wonders, so who cares!?!?

I am an avid face picker and I have been struggling to stop myself from spending hours in front of the mirror picking at every little pore to see what’s hiding down below (gross right?). ANYWAY as a result of my picking addiction, I always tend to have redness and discoloration (luckily no visible scars). I have been determined to limit my time in front of the mirror. I am a very frugal person and I hate spending money on gimmicks or beauty products that I can find for cheaper. In this case, I just used ingredients I already had at home in my pantry.

This face mask includes 4 very simple ingredients: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Raw Honey, and Lemon Juice. These ingredients have many properties that make them such incredible components to this face mask.  In a nut shell, these ingredients create a high antioxidant, antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic mixture. Isn’t that just quite the mouthful?? All you need to know is this is reallllyyy good for your skin.

The first time I used this face mask I put it all over my face and man did it STING and BURN! But after about 5 minutes of persevering through the burning sensation, the feeling became tolerable and almost unnoticeable. I continued to use this mask twice a week for three weeks for 20 minutes and with every application, my face became less sensitive to the face mask (and super soft and redness free!). * If the face mask is unbearable for you even after 10 minutes I would suggest taking out the lemon juice, as the high acidity levels could be the culprit to the prolonged irritation.*

Recipe:

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  • 1 TBS Cinnamon
  • 1 TBS Nutmeg
  • 1/2 TBS Raw Honey
  • 1/4 TBS Lemon Juice
  1. Mix all the ingredients into a bowl until there is a paste that is more on the liquid side of the spectrum.
  2. Apply the face mask (Note: I started using q-tips but it took too long so I started putting it on my face with my hands).
    • While I put it all over my face for testing purposes, I now only put it mainly in my t-zone and upper cheeks where I have the most discoloration
  3. Try to work your way up to 20 minutes, but initially start at 10 minutes if the burn is too much.
  4. Wash off the face with warm water – I usually use Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser and a wash cloth to get all the gritty pieces out of every nook. However, the cinnamon and nutmeg coarse texture does an incredible job exfoliating the skin.
  5. Moisturize – I use Eucerin Everyday Protective Facial Lotion

Let me know how this works for your skin!

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