Sunday, May 25, 2014

Coconut Pie Smoothie

Today I had to have coconut pie. I did. Ever since we moved into this house I've been dreaming of all things coconut. Weird, right? 'Cause we're in Oklahoma and I have yet to see coconut advertised as a local flavor.

Nevertheless, when we moved in my mom and I discovered this fried pie shop down the street. It's actually the same fried pie shop that's nestled safely in the Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma. If you're driving up and down I-35 from Dallas to OKC then you've seen it and hopefully you've stopped in. 

Mom and I decided to pop in before they left town so that we could enjoy a bite of our favorite flavors. For some reason I decided to steer clear of my favorite cherry flavor and even passed by on the delicious apricot flavor, another favorite. No, that day I went for the coconut and thus began the year long obsession with all things coconut. 

I've posted dozens of coconut recipes on Pinterest hoping for the perfect occasion to arise when I could finally taste that sweet flavor again. I've always adored coconuts. I used to love the Sonic Coconut Cream Pie shake and I remember begging my mom as a kid to buy a coconut so I could have real coconut milk--it was not what a five year old would expect. Mostly I get my food obsessions from books. I'm sure that's where the coconut craze came from. Some character eats or makes something and it sounds so fabulous that I go on this food quest to recreate it. It's how I found the mozzarella and tomato panini from Panera, a grown up grilled cheese that I adore! 

Back to coconuts! I just had to have something sweet and I'm trying really hard to be better this week with Barre3 menus. I've only got one week left of the challenge and ever since my birthday I've been struggling to get back on track with the menu and not grazing to the "off limit" items. Once you cheat it's nearly impossible to go back to where you were. It's truly been a case of me stating all over again, only much harder this time. 

In a serious attempt not to cheat, I took a recipe I made earlier this week and changed it up a bit. The end product...
The Coconut Pie Smoothie

It's super simple and pretty dang close to the real thing. Here's the recipe: 

1 medium/large banana
1/4 - 1/2 cup of almond butter 
1/4 - 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of coconut milk 

Toss everything in the blender, mix it up really well, pour it in a glass, and enjoy. So. Dang. Good. It's also great to share it with someone cause this drink is RICH. Hindsight is 20/20 though...

Sure, I guess you can call it gluten free, vegetarian whatever. I just call it good! Now all I need is an umbrella, a beach, and a good book! 

What's your favorite smoothie? 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Feeling Creative

Feeling a little creative tonight and doing a little day dreaming...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What a Beautiful Day

Birthday has come and gone and what a beautiful day it was! I started the day with a Rise & Dine at Barre3--A class is given on the patio of Cafe 501 and then we all go eat a delicious brunch after it's done. I got the chance to catch up with a college friend afterwards and I thoroughly enjoyed every story and every belly laugh!

The chips and treats were for my "splurge" day
--no, I didn't eat it all!
After a great start to the morning, Pyro Man made me wait a little bit longer before coming home. Why? Well, he had a little surprise for me. I walked into to see a beautiful table laid out with bright flowers, a buttercream frosted cake, cards, a couple of gift boxes from friends and family. But the sweet surprise wasn't over. I unwrapped a book while Pyro Man handed me a pen and sticky notes. "You're going to need this, he said."

In my book was a list of page numbers. I carefully followed each page number and found one letter underlined. At the end of it all I had a simple sentence that started a birthday scavenger hunt! I raced from room to room, all around the house, front yard and backyard until I finally made it to the garage. With a little guidance, I finally found a package inside of his bow case. Very appropriate, right?

Cheesin' with my new iPad!
Well, my sweet surprise was an iPad! I couldn't believe my eyes! I kept stealing Pyro Man's for recipes and Pinterest projects. Truly this gift is not just for me, but for him two. Now we can both do our projects without having to share the same "computer." I'm in hog heaven!

We spent the afternoon searching for the perfect cover when we ended up finding one online for half the price. PLUS I got this cute fold up keyboard. But it was all about being together that afternoon, no matter if we walked out of the store with anything or not.

The day ended with drinks and dinner with a group of friends. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day, a round table of conversation, laughter, and good food. How could I ask for anything more?

And, of course, no birthday is complete without a little cake. 

 How do you like to spend your birthday? 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Birthday List

Happy Birthday to me! 

Throwing it back to the early years in honor of my birthday! 
Birthdays are always so fun to me and I love celebrating them! Everything about birthdays are wonderful. Sure, we celebrate our lives every day but there's only one day a year that you can "Hey World! Thanks for another year on this earth!" Plus there are delightful added goodies to the day like the cards you get in the mail, the sweet phone calls and text messages, and of course, the cake! Buttercream, please!

Well, this year I'm doing something special to keep me celebrating my special day all year long. A Birthday List! If you missed my post about it, check it out here. Before I reveal it though, I have to make a small confession. Coming up with 27 things was incredibly difficult. So difficult, in fact, that I decided to cut my list to 15. Yes, I know, that's 12 short of my initial plan, but I had to. It started turning into work projects and to-do's...totally not what this little list is all about.

So here it is, my Birthday List, the ultimate year long to-do list of awesome goals!

1. Attend a concert of a favorite artist. 
So many talented artists come through OKC and I always miss out. What's funny is that I'm always telling myself I want to go see some of these people live. It's time to stop missing out! 

2. Go to a Thunder game!
Here I've been in OKC since the Thunder was assembled and I have yet to go to one game. Not any more!  

3. Try five new OKC restaurants or shops. 
Even though I've been hear for nearly ten years, I've yet to explore OKC as much as I could. Plus, when I go out to eat, I tend to go to the same places and order the same thing. Time to branch out!

4. Blog once a week for a full year. 
That's 52 posts! In my spare time I dream about this blog, about making it something wonderful. I can't do that if I don't commit to it. So here goes. 

5. Donate my hair to Locks of Love or another similar organization. 
I've had friends donate their hair and I've always admired that act. As a woman I value my hair and always been a part of my identity. I can't think of a more selfless thing for do than donate my hair to someone who needs it. Might take a little bit to grow it out a little more, but it will be worth it all. 

6. Read 15 books. 
I can read ten in a summer and if I'm able to squeeze in five during the school year, that would be amazing! I love reading and I want to make a better effort to do it more often. 

7. Once a month date night with Pyro Man. 
We're both busy and we both deserve at least one night out with one another outside of the house doing something fun! 

8. Go to the theater more and shoot to see five shows this year. 
I just need to see fresh material, renew my love of musical theater, and remember what made me dream to be a dancer. 

9. Travel during my school breaks to new places. 
I tend to go to the same place on vacation times, home. Don't get me wrong, I love being with family but I want to explore the spots I've always wanted to see. 

10. Stick to a healthy regime.
Since starting Barre3 I've found a whole new form of exercise that really speaks to me. I want to stick with it for the next year and all the great recipes I've acquired, too!

11.  Try my hand at photography. 
That's a very personal one I've been wanting to do since I used to pose my American Girl dolls in my mother's flower beds for photo shoots. I've always wanted to pick up a camera, but I've been to scared to really learn about it. I'd like to try it out and see how I really like it. 

12. Stay crafty with four new projects! 
I've enjoyed testing my crafting skills this year and I plan on continuing to explore sewing and crocheting. 

13. Pay off my smallest loan. 
I have several, but paying off one would feel like the biggest victory and I'm so close to doing it. 

14. Go pickin'!
I've always want to visit an orchard and pick apples or peaches or just about anything! It's going to happen this year. 

15. Teach myself something new.
This year it was sewing, last it was crochet, the year before embroidery. What next? Hmmm...

There you have it! My whole Birthday List for the next year of goals to accomplish. Can I do it? Sure I can! Just got to set my mind to it and make the effort. I'm excited about some of these and I look forward to writing about them, too. 

Happy birthday, ya'll!

How will you celebrate your birthday this year? 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Top Five: Didn't Know I Liked!

I pretty much spent all last week stretching my taste buds a bit and enjoyed some new and interesting flavors. I've never considered myself a picky eater, but I know I would have turned my nose up at a few items just because I'd never had them before or didn't care for them in the past. Me oh my, how surprised I was!

Top five things I've tried and didn't know I liked:

1. *Sung to the tune of "I Kissed a Girl"
I tried eggplant and I liked it! Baked up, it was so fantastic!
(And if you were wondering, I was singing this in my head the entire time I was eating it. Yes, it was just that good. )
2. Turnips--who knew turnips could make a rockin' soup?!
3. My peanut butter obsession grows to almond butter and sunflower butter.
4. Coconut milk? Yes please!
5. Well, I've always liked asparagus, but asparagus and eggs for breakfast is actually pretty awesome!
BONUS: Tahini--never used it before, but it's going to be a staple now!
The adventure continues this week as I start Week 2 of the Barre3 Challenge. I'm done a few pounds, feeling pretty great, and enjoying trying new and interesting dishes. What new things have you tried lately?
Quinoa bowl with chicken, steamed veggies, and a delicious Asian style sauce!

Shrimp and quinoa bowl with sugar snap peas, red cabbage, carrots, and flavorful dressing.

Energy smoothie--banana, coconut milk, berries, chia seeds, and almond butter. A new favorite for sure!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Challenge Accepted

A few weeks ago I signed up for the barre3 Spring Challenge. For one full month I'll be full committed to taking four classes a week and a whole new diet. And it all started on Monday.

So far I'm hanging in there and enjoying the changes...for the most part. I love the classes, it makes me feel so much better! I look forward to spending a full hour focused on improving my body and finding a sense of balance. Since it's been finals week, I've been able to find a spare hour four days this week to go and let me tell you, it's been one of my favorite ways to spend an hour of my day.

I mentioned there was a switch in my diet, right? Truthfully, it's not that bad. Fresh veggies, grains, fruits, and protein. See? Not so bad. The toughest part has been reduction in my sugar intake. Y'all. I really didn't know how much sugar I was eating until this week. Man! My sugar intake had gotten a little bit crazy and I have, therefore, been a little bit crazy this week trying to stay away from it. I knew my eating habits had slipped a little bit, but apparently I haven't been exercising as good of judgement as I would have liked.

I weaned myself off coffee this week--surprisingly that wasn't too hard. I just miss the luxury of a hot cup of coffee with a hint of vanilla in the morning. I'm going to see if tea strikes my fancy in the morning now. I also miss the luxury of quick meals--Chik-fil-a was calling my name yesterday!

But today I'm feeling a little bit stronger and a little bit more secure in the new meal plan. Everything really does have  flavor and pushes me a little bit more out of my comfort zone. I made turnip and white bean soup the other day and I actually loved it! Go figure. I'd never eaten a turnip before. Had to look up online how to prepare the darn thing.

At the end of all this I hope I'm really feeling great and that this gives me a good kick start to a summer of better habits. When life gets busy and stressful, it's super easy to get off track. Good habits break so easily, it's the bad ones that take time to work through. I'm ready for a full month of good eating and good exercise to balance out a better me!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Birthday Inspiration

My birthday is right around the corner and I've been inspired to do a year long project in honor of it! Over the last year I've been following a sorority sister's blog, Live, Laugh, & Lunch In Louboutins.  Elizabeth and I are actually twins, we share the same big and the same beautiful family! She was just a year behind me in school, but we saw each other often since we studied in the same department.

Recruitment my last year! 

Adding to the family line! 
Now she lives in OKC and I'm sad to say between both our busy schedules, it's been some time since we've been able to sit down and catch up. Fortunately through the blogging world I'm able to keep up with her and all of her adventures! When Elizabeth turned 25 she created a list, 25 while 25. Basically she sat down with a list of 25 goals she wanted to complete before her 26th birthday.

I was fascinated and followed her the whole year as she worked her way through each project and goal. Some were as big as running a marathon, some as simple as trying new recipes. She documented everything on her blog for all to follow as she checked off each item and each new experience. Seeing her complete the list was pretty cool--a whole list of goals and all of them were completed! Now she's got a new list going, 26 while 26!

23rd Birthday

I have my own little birthday list that I do. A few years ago I was having a hard birthday, just having a hard time getting into the birthday celebration--totally weird for me, but at the time I was in a weird place trying to figure out where I was going and what I was going to do. To pull me out of my funk, I sat down and wrote one blessing in my life for every year I'd been on this earth. Birthday blessings. It did me a world of good and I've kept it up ever since. As long as I have a birthday to celebrate, I'll keep writing my Birthday Blessings down, but those are for me only, a nod of thanks for what I have, a reminder of all I have to celebrate. This isn't quite the same as list of goals to reach.
24th Birthday

Reading and following all of Elizabeth's goals and seeing the final finish made me think back on all of my personal resolutions and lists of goals. I often think about things I really want to do, little things that I make a mental note for the future. I find myself constantly saying "oh, I really want to do that sometime," or "I've always wanted to do this or that." It happens so frequently that instead of actually doing this or that, I only think about it and make a mental note.

Well, Elizabeth, you've inspired me! I'm ready to make this year a really fun one by completing my own list of things to do before my next birthday. I think this grown up birthday list will be a way to celebrate all year long! It's just the ticket to get me out of my rut and into my life a little more!

I've been making a list of things and deciding what I think will be good for next year. I'll post The Birthday List on my actual birthday and document as I go along this next year. Thank you, Elizabeth, for the inspiration of a year long bucket list all for the sake of celebrating another turn around the sun!

26th Birthday! 
What will be in store for my next birthday? 
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