Goooood afternoon everyone!
I hope you all had a great week and for those of you in here in the states, I hope you are ready for the long weekend! The forecast doesn’t look too great – rainy and actually chilly until the holiday on Monday, so no traveling will be happening, but lots of time with those I love, workouts, relaxing, and good food are in the forecast.
Before we get absorbed with the weekend and all of the wonderful things that comes with it, let’s get absorbed with a Fact Filled Friday!
Fact Filled Friday – #28
1. I have off from work today! Sleeping in definitely happened and knowing that next week is another four day week, makes this long weekend even better.
2. 21 more wake-ups! Are you sick of hearing it yet, because I’ll probably announce it randomly until the last day of school? Don’t say you weren’t warned.
3. Little purchases make me happy. I stopped by Target for some new rugs for my bathrooms,
and happened to see this Sangria pitcher for $7.00. To say I’m excited to make Sangria reeaaaal soon would be an understatement.
4. I’ve seen pictures of these popping up all over the blog world, but has anyone tried them??
5. My goal to go to bed earlier and get seven hours of sleep instead of six has been successful this week as well. Now my goal is to step away from the computer/social media a bit more and power down earlier. That extra hour of sleep has made a huge difference throughout my day, but I honestly think I would get even more quality sleep if I wasn’t on the computer or scrolling through Instagram until my eyes close.
6. I was able to increase my weights this week! While teaching on Monday, my tricep in my right arm was actually having a spasm to the point that the kids could see it. Weird?
7. A VERY important post is coming soon…
8. I never knew I liked Brazil nuts as much as I do, but I’ve managed to pick out and eat everyone from my Waste Not Trail Mix. Anyone else eat them? What do you use them in/for?
9. Four new tires + Front brakes + Oil Change + Something with the Steering Wheel + a Wheel Alignment = No Bueno Bill
10. Our new Giveaway winner is….
Congratulations Amy! Please email me at BeautyinStrengthxox@gmail.com with your shipping address, and I will get your prize out to you!
Have a wonderful Friday everyone!
Question of the Day: What is your favorite summer beverage?
Quote of the Day: “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” ― Charles Dickens
Hi loves! Happy Thursday! How did today go for you? Today was pretty gosh darn fabulous on this end. Although it was another steamy, humid, sticky hot day, today was wonderful for three main reasons – We have off tomorrow and Monday for Memorial Day. The boy was in the area for a business meeting today and surprised me for a lunch date. I had a cool, creamy, delicious breakfast.
As you’ve probably noticed, I like oatmeal just a tad. Believe it or not though I had never tried the healthy and tasty Overnight Oats that I hear so many great things about all over the blog world. This morning I tried, and I now understand what all the fuss is about.
Overnight oats are easy to prepare and are perfect for a fast or on-the-go breakfast. They are simply plain rolled oats (not instant) that soak up liquid overnight in the fridge. You can use any type and combination of liquid ingredients you like, but I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
I began by putting 1/2 cup gluten-free, old-fashioned oats in a bowl with 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
After I mixed the three ingredients together, I covered the bowl with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for the night.
The next morning I took the bowl of oats from the fridge, and they were beautiful.
I gave them a quick stir, and let them sit out at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. I then stirred in 1 thinly sliced, riped banana and 1 Tablespoon milled flax seed (optional) before adding another 1/2 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk to get everything moving. You can add more or less milk based on your preference. The half cup made the oats more of a cereal consistency, but if you want it more like traditional oats 1/4 of a cup would be perfect.
I topped my bowl with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon and 1/2 Tablespoon of natural almond butter for a boost of protein before digging in!
These oats were chewy, sweet, and quite delicious! It reminded me of an oatmeal cookie dipped in milk, and I can now see why overnight oats are addicting to so many!
At first I didn’t think I would be up for eating cold oats, but I actually liked it straight from the fridge or at room temperature. Plus, they kept me full and satisfied for hours! I’m excited, because now I have a new breakfast idea for the days I know I’m going to be pressed for time or on those hot days over the summer where a cool breakfast is needed.
The best part is that, just like with stove-top oats, the possibilities for mix-ins and toppings are endless! Plus, it keeps well in the fridge so the process can be streamlined by making a double batch for a couple of days!
Catch you tomorrow!
Question of the Day: Have you ever tried overnight oats, and if so, what is your favorite combination?
Quote of the Day: “”The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.” —Ashley Montagu
Hi my friends, and Happy Hump Day! Actually, for many of you, including myself, “Hump Day.” may have been yesterday. With the holiday weekend approaching, our school district has both Friday and Monday off for Memorial Day, so today is really like a Thursday in my mind.
Anywho, since it’s still technically Wednesday in the real world, it’s time again for another What I Ate
Wednesday Tuesday. As always, I want to send a big thank you to Jenn over at Peas and Crayons for hosting such a fun party!
Broccoli florets sauteed in garlic, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, and EVOO and topped with shelled edamame seasoned with sea salt and a squeeze of lime
Banana sprinkled with cinnamon and dipped in PB2
Granny Smith apple sprinkled with cinnamon
Enjoy the rest of your day everyone!
*P.S. On Friday, our 6 Month, Health and Wellness Giveaway winner was announced. Please email me at BeautyinStrengthxox@gmail.com with your shipping address so I can send you your prize. If I do not hear from our winner by Friday, I will announce a new winner in our Fact Filled Friday post.
Question of the Day: Is this a short or regular work/school week for you?
Quote of the Day: “To be a great champion you must first believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are.” – Muhammad Ali
Hey there folks! How are you this evening? Staying cool?
Today was quite the steamy one here in New Jersey…
By the time I dismissed the kids at 3:00, the classroom and all of us were sticky and hot from the humidity. To be honest, I really didn’t mind. I get cold quickly and prefer warmer weather over colder any day. Plus, with only 23 more wake-ups until summer vacation, it’s making me itch for the end of the school year.
The hot weather often makes us reach for lighter, fresher, cooler meals, and I have a terrific one for you tonight. My Mango Shrimp Bruschetta is quick, easy, healthy, and it’s even beautiful too.
In the mix:
- 1 mango, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1/2 cup medium, cooked shrimp, chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1 Teaspoon ground ginger
The mango and shrimp mixture is a great way to use up some leftover shrimp you may have from a shrimp cocktail or use up some extra shrimp you may have steamed, boiled, or grilled another night.
I toasted two slices of some fresh, whole grain bread (although grilling the bread would be fantastic too),
and sautéed some Brussel sprouts in garlic, red pepper flakes, and EVOO before topping my toast with the mango and shrimp mixture.
Nutritious, colorful, and delicious!
Simple ingredients created a fantastic combination of flavors! The sweet, soft mango with the firm shrimp, and the crunch of the toast was a perfect balance of tastes and textures, and it was also the perfect balanced meal of lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.
Although the mango and shrimp mixture was perfect on top of the toast, it would also be fantastic on top of a bed of brown rice, quinoa, or baby spinach as well! For those of you who may enjoy other types of seafood, try substituting crab or lobster for a special treat. You can use this recipe for lunch, dinner, or even as an appetizer for stress-free entertaining.
Have a great night!
Question of the Day: What is your favorite light and fresh summer meal?
Quote of the Day: “Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can.” – Lowell Thomas
Hi friends! How are you today? Was the first day of the work week a good one? Can I make it even better…?
If you remember from Friday, my sister had left me a note thanking me for the bread I had shared with them, and I had promised you that not only was the bread INCREDIBLE but that I would share the recipe with you soon. Well, it’s soon. After yesterday’s post on healthy baked goods, I thought today would be the perfect day to post this nutritious and insanely delicious Whole Wheat Banana Blueberry Bread.
I had given some to my
guinea pigs big sister and brother-in-law as well as my parents to try, and to say it got rave reviews would be an understatement. They all absolutely loved it, and I was even told this is one of my top three baked good recipes. I hope you enjoy it just as much!
- 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 3/4 cup Stevia
- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
- 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
- 1/2 cup no-sugar-added applesauce
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (flour, Stevia, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon).
- In a separate bowl, mix together all of the wet ingredients (mashed bananas, blueberries, egg substitute, applesauce, and vanilla extract).
- Add this mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir until just blended.
- Spoon the batter into a large loaf pan (about 9″ X 5″) sprayed with nonstick spray (either baking or butter spray works well).
- Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool slightly, and then cut it into 8 slices.
I doubled the recipe to form two loaves since I had quite a few bananas to use, and the smell that filled the house while the breads were baking was amazing!
Once these babies came out of the oven, it wasn’t long until I couldn’t resist letting them cool any long, and I cut into one of the loaves to taste the heel. The warm, plump blueberries combined with the soft bananas and fluffy bread reminded me almost as the inside of a hot pancake when the blueberries burst, run, and melt throughout the batter.
Filled with flavor, a slice or two of this bread is absolutely perfect on its own, but it would also be tasty with a little butter, peanut butter, or almond butter spread on top for breakfast or for a snack. I actually warmed a thick piece up in the microwave and ate it with a spoon for a healthy dessert one night. It reminded me of a blueberry coffee cake! Dare I say a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top would bring it to a whole other level?
One serving, or one thick slice has approximately 140 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.
Since it is made with short, sweet, simple, and fresh ingredients, it does spoil quickly (within a couple of days if not in an airtight container). I kept one loaf out to enjoy, and then I sliced the second loaf, wrapped the slices in plastic wrap, placed them in a freezer bag, and frozen them for quick and easy breakfasts during the week. All I have to do is pull one or two slices out to defrost on the counter or even place it in the microwave to warm up.
Question of the Day: What is your favorite type of breakfast bread?
Quote of the Day: “The measuring and mixing always smoothed out her thinking processes – nothing was as calming as creaming butter – and when the kitchen was warm from the oven overheating and the smell of baking chocolate, she took final stock of where she’d been and where she was going. Everything was fine.” ― Jennifer Crusie
Hi love bugs! How has your weekend been? Fun? Relaxing? Busy with friends and family? Whatever your weekend has been, I hope it’s been fabulous.
Every Sunday, when I wake up for mass, I remember waking up on Sunday morning before mass, when I used to live home, and smelling garlic and oil cooking as my mom began to prepare her Sunday gravy (Yes, we established once before, it’s gravy ). When I used to come downstairs for breakfast, there would be two loaves of freshly baked Italian bread. One for breakfast/lunch/snacking/dipping in the pot throughout the day, and then one again for dinner.
Fresh Italian or French bread and rolls have always been a favorite of mine, and I’ve always preferred them to the packaged, sliced bread and rolls in the bread aisle. They are thicker, heartier, and definitely more delicious. As I’ve grown older I’ve noticed, they’re significantly healthier too – and often less expensive. Score.
While going to an actual bakery is always an option, most grocery stores now have a bakery where they bake on premises. In addition, many bakeries now deliver their products to the supermarkets to be sold, and you can get so many varieties of goods.
100% whole wheat panella for paninis,
and 100% whole wheat rolls for sandwiches.
Where I live in New Jersey, I’m fortunate to have a bakery called Calandra’s Italian and French Bakery deliver to my local supermarkets, and they have always been one for delicious, quality breads. All of their hand-made, brick-oven bread products are 100 percent natural (no preservatives), fat free, sugar free, and cholesterol free. In addition, all of their breads have no trans-fat acids.
They have a wide variety of 100% whole grain breads including whole wheat and semolina, and they use only the freshest and most wholesome ingredients. Their 100% whole wheat, hearty loafs are baked using the finest coarse stone ground, whole grain, whole wheat. Plus, they are the proud supplier of breads to the NY Yankees and Yankee Stadium, MetLife Stadium (Go Giants!), and the Prudential Center (Go Devils!).
Let’s compare ingredients…
A fresh baked loaf of bread from a bakery contains simple, quality ingredients, such as stone ground whole wheat flour, purified water, salt, and yeast. A packaged bread in the bread aisle?
SO many unprounceable, unrecognizable ingredients, and the third ingredient is sugar! Ingredients are always listed in order of how much the product contains. The product contains the most of the first ingredient and so forth. Also, just because a product says whole grain, whole wheat, multi-grain, or even 100% whole wheat doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In fact, some packaged, 100% whole wheat breads can raise you blood sugar level more than a candy bar.
The Nutrition Facts in fresh baked goods are better too! They are are often lower in calories and fat and high in fiber content with usually over 3g of fiber (10% of your daily value). My rule of thumb? Keep it short and sweet. Look for freshly baked items in your local bakery or in the bakery section of your local grocery store with five ingredients or less, and make sure they are pronounceable, recognizable, wholesome ingredients.
Just remember that the longer the shelf life of a product, the worse it is for you. For that reason, often fresh baked goods spoil quicker, so you may want to freeze a portion of the loaf of bread or a few of the rolls if you aren’t going to use them within a couple of days. This goes for bagels too!
Just take a look at the ingredient list in 100% whole wheat bagels sold in the bread aisle…
I like to purchase my 100% whole wheat everything bagels from a local bagel shop in town. They are hand-made and hand-rolled bagels, boiled in water and baked everyday. Made from the freshest and finest ingredients, they are baked daily on premises. If you aren’t sure how the bagels are made or the ingredients, don’t be afraid to ask. Also, many bagel shops give you the bagels for half price after a certain time of the day, so they are cheaper too! I got a half dozen for only $2.50, and honestly, the nutrition, taste, and texture greatly surpasses the packaged varieties!
I left one out for me to enjoy and froze the rest.
Have a great night everyone, and remember to keep it short and sweet.
Question of the Day: Do you buy more fresh baked products or packaged baked goods?
Quote of the Day: “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ― Confucius
Hi everyone! How is the weekend going so far? Well, the weather here is certainly NOT what was predicted. This weekend was supposed to be warm and sunny, but instead we woke up to cool and dreary. It’s even been drizzling here and there, and from what I hear, that’s going to be the theme for the next week. Boooo. :( Although the temperatures are supposed to rise into the 80s next week, there’s a pretty big chance of showers every. single. day. Oh well. At least Morgan and I got to the park before the gloomy weather set in.
Rainy weather often calls for one activity for many….the movies. Whether you go to the movie theater or curl up on your couch (perhaps with a glass of wine and someone you love? ), the most popular movie snack is buttered popcorn. As delicious as it is, and should certainly be enjoyed in moderation, there is also a fantastic, healthy alternative that not only packs lots of flavors and textures, but also a nutritional punch.
This is another one of those, “recipes,” that I can not truly call a recipe. In essence it’s combining whatever you may have in your house at the time or even some leftover ingredients that you are not quite sure what to do with and may throw out otherwise. That’s why I call it my Waste Not Trail Mix.
After making my Dark Chocolate Cherry Amaretto Granola a couple of weeks ago, I had some nuts and seeds leftover. While they would be great for a snack on their own or sprinkled over Greek yogurt, salads, or fresh fruit, my packed freezer didn’t leave much room for the best storage.
I began with a combination of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds,
and then added in some raw almonds, Brazil nuts, and a couple of random packages of mixed nuts I had which contained cashews, pistachios, filberts (hazelnuts), and pecans.
Some raisins were added for some sweetness,
and the big bowl was stirred so that everything was evenly combined.
While I covered the bowl with some plastic wrap for snacking or to sprinkle over some Greek yogurt, after a couple of days you should transfer the mix to an airtight container to keep it fresh.
This is one of those
recipes ideas to completely make your own with your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruit (Try to find dry fruit that it sweetened with apple juice instead of sugar or oils.). You may want to add dried cherries, blueberries, or cranberries, raw walnuts, unsalted peanuts, dark chocolate chips or raw cacoa nibs, or even some dry cereal (You know when you have all of the broken pieces at the bottom of the bag?). It’s a delicious, crunchy, chewy snack that will provide you with healthy fats, protein, and satiety.
Get creative, and enjoy!
Question of the Day: What is your favorite movie snack?
Quote of the Day: “There is no beauty in sadness. No honor in suffering. No growth in fear. No relief in hate. It’s just a waste of perfectly good happiness.” ― Katerina Stoykova Klemer