Monday, September 29, 2014

Cheddar & Pumpkin Beer Bread (6 ingredients!)

As I mentioned last week, I have officially been bitten by the fall bug. Meaning, nothing seems more exciting to me than fall decorations, I want to bake, and I want all things pumpkin!

I made this Cheddar and Pumpkin Beer Bread the other day and it was so delicious. It is soooo easy to make and it only requires six ingredients-- I bet you already have them on hand. 

This bread shares my festive fall spirit with Pumpkin Ale baked right into it! Don't worry, the beer flavor isn't at all overwhelming. It's just perfect! 

Just choose a bottle of your favorite fall-inspired ale. I picked up mine from World Market. Their selection is endless!

This bread is a perfect companion for a soup or stew and it's also great as an afternoon snack. I'm sure I will bake this bread at least a half dozen more times before winter gets here. It's that easy and that delicious!

Even though I kept this bread simple, the possibilities and add-ins are abundant (think herbs, spices, or even bacon). Have fun with this recipe and see what you can come up with!

Cheddar & Pumpkin Beer Bread

Inspired by


3 cups flour (I used half whole wheat and half all-purpose)
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
12 ounces of pumpkin beer
1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 350* and spray a 9" x 5" loaf pan with cooking spray. Add the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt to a mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Add the cheese and stir until well combined. Finally, add the beer and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the top of the bread is lightly browned and the middle is set. Let the bread sit on a cooling rack for 15 minutes until serving. 

Hope you all have a wonderful week. 
If you make the bread, I'd love to hear your thoughts :)

Friday, September 26, 2014

30-Minute Gym Interval Workout

Hello, hello. It's Friday!!! I'm having a wonderful Friday so far and I hope you are too. I got a jump start on the weekend, as yesterday was my last day of working at New Balance. I start my new job on Tuesday and I'm so excited... more on that later!

Anyway, the fall bug has officially "bit" me. I've been in baking mode and I'm craving indoor workouts. It may have something to do with the lower temperatures and the abundance of rain we've been showered with all week...

Aka, the perfect opportunity to curl up with a cup of coffee and my kindle.

And speaking of indoor workouts, here's a gym-inspired interval workout, which can be done at the gym, outdoors, or at home. It only takes 30-minutes and it's sure to make you sweat! If you're not a fan of running, just walk the 5-minute treadmill intervals. The goal is to get your body moving :)

*Always start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down. Remember to listen to your body, rehydrate, and modify each exercise as needed.

Here's a glimpse of this week's workouts:

Sunday- rest day & stretch

Monday- 2 mile run at the park

Tuesday- HIIT workout and 30 minutes on the stationary bike

Wednesday- 3 mile run on the treadmill

Thursday- rest day & stretch

Friday- I plan on a killer HIIT workout and some time on the stationary bike

Saturday- I plan on running 3 miles on the treadmill

Hope you all have an amazing weekend. 
I'll be back on Monday with a yummy recipe for you :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Simple Syrup -- It's simpler than you thought!

Hi, friends. How's it going? I'm off to a great week-- working the last few shifts of my current job and about to start a new one! Details coming soon. I'm really loving my new city and enjoying the fall-ish weather. The fall decorations everywhere and pumpkin-spice everything make it even better!

I have a super easy DIY project for you today: simple syrup. Some call it sugar water or classic syrup; it's all the same!

I was in the baking aisle of the grocery store and I couldn't believe what I saw... simple syrup was for sale. I had no idea that something so easy and inexpensive to make was available to buy. That's was a shocker to me, but the even bigger shocker was the price.

A small bottle of simple syrup cost much more than a 5 pound bag of sugar. Do you have any idea how much simple syrup you could make with 5 pounds of sugar???? Let's not even go there.

Instead, I'm going to share how to make simple syrup. Simple syrup serves many purposes, but the most common is to sweeten liquids like iced coffee and mixed drinks.

Have you ever gone to a coffee shop and ordered an iced coffee and wanted it sweetened and the barista points you in the direction of sugar packets? Oh man, good luck getting the sugar to dissolve in ice cold coffee! I think it's a complete shame that any coffee shop wouldn't have simple syrup. A huge turn off for this iced coffee lover!!

Making simple syrup is very easy. Just add equal parts of water and sugar to a sauce pan and boil until the sugar dissolves. Let it cool and store it in a glass or plastic container, preferably one that has a pump or squeeze lid to make your life easier when you go to use it (an oil/vinegar glass container would be ideal). And that's it; your simple syrup is ready to be used. Let your iced coffee (and mixed drinks) rejoice!

Hope all of you are having an amazing week.
I'll be back Friday with an awesome workout :)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Freezing Fresh Fruits & Veggies

Hello, and happy Monday! My local news channel informed me that it will officially be fall at 10:29 pm. I'm so excited; fall is my favorite time of the year. 

I hope all of you had a fabulous weekend. I worked for most of the weekend, but babe and I both have today "off", so we're going to pretend like it's Saturday!

On to today's post...

There's nothing better than fresh fruits and vegetables. When in season, they're bursting with flavor and packed full of nutrients. 

Freezing produce when it's reached peak ripeness allows you to enjoy it all year long, even when it's not in season. And friends, having a freezer full of fresh strawberries and peppers from the garden is a very beautiful thing.

But freezing fresh produce isn't as simple as dumping fresh berries into a freezer bag... there are a few tricks and tips (courtesy of my mamma) that will help you get the most out of your fruits and veggies!


  • Freeze fruits and veggies when they're at their peak of freshness.
  • For fruit: wash/prepare fruit thoroughly and let dry. Place the fruit on a cookie sheet in a single layer (not touching) place in the freezer. Once the fruit is partially frozen, transfer it to a Ziploc bag or any other type of freezer-safe storage container. Allowing the fruit to first freeze while not touching other pieces of fruit ensures that you will be able to take out individual pieces of fruit instead of one huge chunk of strawberries. For fruits that tend to brown (think apples), treat them with ascorbic acid first. 
  • For veggies: veggies are best frozen when blanched first (briefly submerged in boiling water). Then, place the veggies in an ice bath to prevent the veggies from cooking- the purpose of blanching is to preserve the color, nutrients, and flavor of the veggies.
  • Most veggies can go straight from the freezer to boiling water to be cooked. Most fruit should be defrosted/thawed at room temperature. Some people aren't crazy about mushy defrosted fruits, so eating them just before they're completely thawed is also an option.
  • Frozen fruits can be stored for about a year, while veggies can last for up to 18 months in the freezer. They can be stored for longer, of course, but the quality can start to decline.

Now you can eat fresh fruits and veggies all year long!

Hope these tips were useful :)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Triple Threat Workout!

Hello, friends! I'm writing from Panera Bread. Why is their soup so good???

I have a quick, but killer workout to share with you today. But first, I had to share this photo of Arthur. 

She went for her 16-week shots today and she was not a happy camper! She's usually crazy and all over the place, but she actually acted like a good little kitty today. Don't worry, as soon as we got home she was back to her normal monster kitty self!! 

So back to this workout... It's a butt kicker, but you'll love it! It consists of three exercises, performed for one minute each, for four rounds. I understand that not everyone will have a basketball court to work with, so choose any starting/stopping point for running suicides. 

*Always start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down. Remember to listen to your body, rehydrate, and modify each exercise as needed.

Hope you all have an amazing weekend :)
If you try the workout, let me know how it goes!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Homemade Plant Food

There's no simple pleasure I love more than fresh cut flowers on the table. They instantly brighten any space and add a smile to my face. 

I used to resort to buying fresh stems at Harris Teeter or Trader Joe's, but now I'm blessed with having a local farmer's market that has the most beautiful assortment of flower bouquets. Beautiful flowers for my home + supporting small businesses = super win. 

The only downfall to fresh cut flowers is that they don't last as long as I would like them to (well that and my cats try to chew/shred them). I always wondered what the trick to long-lasting flowers was, and now I have it! My friend Jennifer shared a simple solution that she picked up from a florist and I'm excited to share it with all of you today. 

I've already tried this solution and I'm happy to report that my last farmer's market bouquet lasted nearly two weeks! I will be using this Homemade Plant Food every time I get fresh flowers; it's magic :)

Hope you're having a glorious week :) I'll check back in on Friday with a fun workout.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week(end) Things

Hello, hello. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. It was so great having my mom stay with us for a few days. I've really been missing her :) We showed her a few of our favorite spots in Wilmington, made a trip to the farmer's market, and did a little shopping. I tried to convince her to just move in with us, but was unsuccessful. Here's a few snapshots from the week and weekend.

beautiful cone flowers

lovely breakfast with babe and momma

farmer's market flowers

fall decorations everywhere

pumpkin spice latte @ java dog

look what found its way back to TJ's
i'm a happy girl :)

historic wilmington 5k

i manned the new balance booth, as we were a sponsor.

love the new quick bread ideas in this month's food network mag.

our apartment is finally starting to shape up...

Hope you have a fabulous week :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Easy Oven Baked Frittata

Hello, hello. The weekend is here! My mom will be here late tonight to visit us; we're so excited to see her and show her our new place. We're trying to figure out how to show her all of the things we love about our new city in just a few short days. It will be challenging for sure!

Earlier in the week I tempted you all with a photo of an awesome oven baked frittata I made. You guys have to try it; it's delicious and so easy to make. I've always been afraid to make true frittatas-- something about cooking it on the stove, flipping it, then transferring it to the oven-- it was just intimidating. This frittata bakes in a pie pan, cake pan, or any baking dish and comes out perfect. It even reheats beautifully. Make this oven baked frittata for an easy breakfast for the week or for your next brunch!

And here's the recipe I promised...

Oven Baked Frittata

This recipe was inspired by Kate at Cookies and Kate


6 eggs
Splash of skim milk
Handful of shredded cheese (I used Colby jack, but feel free to use your favorite)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 package of sliced mushrooms
2 big handfuls of spinach
Handful of chopped deli ham (or any other protein)
Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 400*F and spray a 9” baking pan with cooking spray (or line with parchment paper). I used a small ceramic baking dish.

Sautee the veggies in a medium-size pan in a little bit of olive oil or cooking spray. Once tender, set aside and let cool.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Add the cheese, deli meat, and salt and pepper. Add the sautéed veggies and combine well.

Pour the mixture into your prepared dish and bake for 25 minutes or until the eggs are set and the center feels firm and springy. My ceramic dish baked for about 30 minutes. 

Enjoy :) And have a fabulous weekend, friends!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tabata Wednesday

Hi, friends. I hope you are all having a wonderful week :)

Our park workouts have become quite the regular thing. I think the extra dose of Vitamin D is doing awesome things as well. There’s something nice about moving to a new city, doing bear crawls and Russian kicks at the park, and not knowing any of the people that stare as they walk by! The fitness instructor in me almost wants to make a sign that says “feel free to join us”.

I have a fun tabata workout to share with you today. Ok, so you might not feel like you’re having fun while you’re doing it, but this workout will leave you feeling fresh and revitalized. This triple tabata is super quick and effective- just 12 minutes long. Finish this cardio quickie with a walk around your neighborhood or in my case, the park.

If you don’t already know how a tabata works, it’s really simple. Each exercise is performed for 20 seconds as hard as you can go, followed by a 10 second break. This 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest cycle is repeated for a total of four minutes.

The first tabata (squats and jump squats) will look like this:

10 seconds rest
20 seconds squats
10 seconds rest
20 seconds jump squats
10 seconds rest
20 seconds squats
10 seconds rest
20 seconds jump squats
10 seconds rest
20 seconds squats
10 seconds rest
20 seconds jump squats
10 seconds rest
20 seconds squats
10 seconds rest
20 seconds jump squats

Take a break between tabatas or even within the tabata if you need to. They’re meant to be tough, so get your game face on! It’s only for 20 seconds at a time; you can do anything for 20 seconds :) If any of the exercises are too tough or if you feel like you can’t go on any longer, feel free to swap out the exercises for something else... jumping jacks, regular lunges, butt kicks, skaters, etc. Anything that gets your heart rate going is great.

Always start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down. Remember to listen to your body, rehydrate, and modify each exercise as needed.

If you try this workout, let me know how it goes in the comment box below. Have a wonderful day!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Last Week Things

Last week was certainly a low key week, as was the weekend. Full of work, coffee breaks, and workouts at the park.

Hope all of you have an amazing week!

Can you guess where I'm working?

Dinner a la Whole Foods

My  little "garden"

Oven baked frittata... Recipe coming soon!

Our crazy Arthur cat

Friday, September 5, 2014

Easy Mushroom Couscous

The last few weeks have been very busy! We're adjusting to life here in Wilmington quite well. Our time has been spent with lots of unpacking, working, and experiencing the new things that city life has to offer. We've been having a great time. 

My favorite thing about our move is having a real space of our own. If you've been following me for a while, you might know that we lived with my parents back on Hatteras Island. It's nice to have my own kitchen and to be able to cook without feeling like I'm in the way. I'm trying my best to avoid the easy and convenient take-out at my fingertips and instead, trying to cook wholesome meals that won't undo my diet. This super quick and easy couscous is so simple and is even more convenient than take-out! Serve it alongside a protein and some greens, and you've got a great balanced meal!

Easy Mushroom Couscous
Recipe Inspired by The Deen Brothers

Makes six servings


2 tablespoons olive oil
10 ounces mushrooms, quartered and thinly sliced
1 medium (about 1 cup) Vidalia onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup uncooked couscous
Optional: 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves (for garnish)


Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook until softened, about 7 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and the salt. Bring to a boil and stir in the couscous. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, cover it, and let it sit for about 5 or so minutes.

Once all of the liquid is absorbed, fluff the couscous with a fork. Transfer the couscous to a serving bowl, garnish with the optional basil, and serve immediately.

What have you been cooking up lately?
Hope you have an amazing weekend :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Countdown Workout!

Hello, hello. I hope you all had a wonderful Labor day. Hopefully it wasn’t spent working!! 

It’s been so hot here; I’m really looking forward to fall weather! Even with the heat, I’m still trying to spend time outdoors and get in workouts. Babe and I have been going to the park for HIIT workouts and walks after work.  I love having a workout partner—I always push myself harder when there’s someone watching me :)

I came up with a super sweaty countdown workout that we did last week. It was rough, but in the best way!

Countdown workouts are simple. Perform 10 repetitions of each exercise. Then perform 9 repetitions of each exercise, then 8, 7… all the way to 1 rep! By the time you are finished you will have completed 55 reps of each exercise. Most of these exercises are pretty basic and familiar. The burpees are full burpees with a push-up. The butterfly sit-up is similar to a basic sit-up, but the bottoms of your feet are together and your legs are open to the sides (like the butterfly position we used to sit in in PE class as kids). When you come up to complete the sit-up, try to reach past your toes.

Take as many breaks as you need to, but try to move quickly from one exercise to the next. Always start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down. Remember to listen to your body, rehydrate, and modify each exercise as needed.

And play some tunes to get you moving. I can't get this one out of my head!!!

If you try the workout, let me know how it goes in the comment section below. Hope you have a wonderful week :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

One Month

It’s a strange THING; getting in your car, turning on the engine and pressing “go home” on your GPS… when the very place that feels like home is in plain sight of the rear view mirror—just 50 feet behind you. In case you haven’t figured it out already, I’ve moved. In fact, today actually marks one month. It’s a good thing, I think. But it’s still scary.

This certainly doesn’t explain my absence here on the blog; I have a million reasons as to why my last post was May 31st. I was preoccupied with work, we were taking lots of short trips to scout out potential cities to relocate to, babe got a new job off the island, Hurricane Arthur hit (which came with a stray four week-old kitten, deliberately named Arthur), and we leased a new apartment in the city, making the move to Wilmington, NC.

Arthur kitten

We’re really enjoying exploring our new city. We’re exploring the new restaurants and shops, taking walks around downtown, getting in workouts at the park, and loving the fact that anything we want is just minutes away. I can hardly believe that there’s a coffee shop that’s open until midnight. We’re definitely not on Hatteras Island anymore!

Our new favorite coffee shop- Java Dog

farmer's market flowers

 hot pink cake stand

the best little two-bite cupcakes to sample

a restaurant we will never return to!

 lots of HIIT workouts in the park

found in a used bookstore downtown

My least favorite thing about our apartment… we opted for a six-month lease and therefore, couldn’t find any Internet deals that didn’t require a one-year contract. Yes, no Internet for this lady! It will definitely make blogging a bit challenging, but there’s a selection of coffee shops nearby and I’ll be bumming their Internet :)

 Enjoy your Labor Day!!