Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week Recap: 10/27

Hello, hello. I hope you all had a great week and a fabulous weekend. Though I worked extra hours this week with my regular job and my part-time job, I still managed to fit in some time for fun and good eats.
Along with my regular fitness classes and dance classes I taught, I completed my three training runs as planned. It's getting a little bit easier, but now that I'm increasing mileage, I've noticed that my left knee has started to hurt. No bueno! If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it.
Some photos from the week:
Veggie stir-fry over rice at The Good Life Gourmet.
This beautiful sunset made for a nice drive home after a great afternoon on the mainland.
Date night with Babe! Gidget's has the best pizza ever in case you were wondering.
On Saturday, I decided to go to Ocracoke and postpone my run until the evening. I always have so much fun on Ocracoke- it's a small little island with beautiful beaches, shops and boutiques, restaurants, and more. And everything is in walking distance. It's so much fun to take the ferry ride over, park the car, and spend the day walking from one end to the other.

My first stop was brunch at The Flying Melon Cafe. My veggie omelet was amazing.

I had forgotten that this weekend was the Pirate Jamboree. I lost track of how many "Pirates" I saw walking around. There were lots of booths set up- food vendors, arts and crafts, and a pirate encampment. If you didn't know, Ocracoke is where the pirate Blackbeard (Edward Teach) was killed.


The ferry ride home.

Dear Brooks: Please bring back the Green Silence.
These shoes really belong in the dumpster, but I can't bear to toss them.
*Sigh* best running shoes ever.
The lighthouse in site while on my 4-miler.
I managed to assemble treat bags for the neighborhood kiddos without eating a single piece of candy. Self-control is bittersweet.
What are your plans for this week? Anything special for Halloween?
No huge plans for Halloween over here, but I'm having a Halloween Costume Party at my Zumba class on Thursday.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Blueberry Muffin French Toast + Bosu Circuit

Good Morning and Happy Saturday. I just love weekends :)

Remember those Blueberry Muffins that I shared with you on Wednesday? Well, if you didn't make them, you're missing out! Why, you ask? Because today, I'm turning the leftover muffins into French toast- that's right, Blueberry Muffin French Toast.

It all starts with my go-to French Toast recipe. First, scramble an egg. Next, add a splash of milk, a pinch of salt, and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Mix all of the ingredients until well combined. Slice your leftover muffins in halves or thirds and dip into the wet mixture.

Cook the muffin slices over medium-low heat until golden brown on both sides.

Ahhhh, Blueberry Muffin French Toast perfection!

And it only gets better with a drizzle of syrup. Ok, maybe two drizzles.


And after you indulge with this ah-maz-ing French toast, you can get moving with this Bosu Blast Circuit I created.

If you're not familiar with Bosu balls, they have a flat platform on one side and a rubber dome on the other. It naturally creates instability and it encourages you to use your core to keep balanced during your workouts.

Don't have a Bosu ball at home? If you have a gym membership, your gym probably has one that you can use. Otherwise, most of these exercises can be done without the Bosu.

And if you don't feel comfortable using the Bosu, please do the exercises without it-- Bosu balls create instability and I don't want anyone to injure themselves. Listen to your body!

Any plans for the weekend?
I've got a run scheduled today (4 miles) and plan on doing nothing else for the rest of the day, but try to stay warm! We went from kind-of-like-fall to winter weather here on the island.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Easy Blueberry Muffins

Hello, hello. It's Wednesday!

I hope your week is off to a great start. I'm working on some new material for my classes and I'm right on schedule with my running plan- today's run is an easy 2 miles. I never thought that I would actually be excited to run again, but it really is exciting and I feel so refreshed after each run. I have noticed that my left knee starts to ache when I try to work on my speed, so I back off a bit and listen to my body when that happens. Otherwise, it's all good; my cardiovascular endurance has certainly improved since last year, which really helps :)


Do you guys like blueberries? Blueberries never go to waste in my house. I love topping oatmeal or bran cereal with fresh blueberries and I also eat them by the handful. I know they're not quite in season anymore, which is a shame, because it seems that I want them the most when they're not fresh and local.


I've been searching for the perfect blueberry muffin for years. You see, my boyfriend loves blueberry muffins. His favorite ones are from Whole Foods- right in the bakery area- the kind with the streusel and sugar on top. If you've ever had a blueberry muffin from Whole Foods, you know what kind of muffin I'm competing with... it's not even a competition. Needless to say, I've tried quite a few recipes over the years, hoping to make something that compares. And while this recipe didn't quite pass his test, I still thought they were great. I've even included a streusel recipe that will take this muffin to a whole new level.

These muffins are great at breakfast or alongside your afternoon coffee or tea.

Makes one dozen regular sized muffins.


1 1/2 all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup oil (vegetable, canola, or even applesauce)
1 egg
1/3 cup skim milk
1 cup fresh blueberries


Preheat oven to 400*F and line a muffin pan with liners or spray with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, oil, and milk. Combine the wet and dry mixtures.

Gently fold in the blueberries.

Evenly distribute the batter between the muffin tins. Optional: top muffin batter with streusel topping (see recipe below).

Bake for 18 minutes or  until done.

Streusel Topping:

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Mix ingredients together with a fork and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Recipe adapted from

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week Recap + DIY "Spooky" Ghosts

I hope all of you enjoyed the weekend; I definitely did! Sundays are now my favorite day of the week- my only rest day. I spent the day catching up on the housework I've been neglecting and I downloaded a few more books to read on my Kindle.
I had a week full of teaching fitness classes, plus 3 training runs. It's hard, but I'm determined and I plan to get through it :) After all, race day is just 46 days away!

Here's a few photos from the week-

Have you decorated your house for Halloween yet?

If not, I've got a very inexpensive DIY project that will get your house in the spirit!

Today, I've got a very simple, but fun craft to share with you: "Spooky" Ghosts. I used to make them with my mom each year as a child, and we still decorate with them for every Halloween. If you have kids, they will love to help "decorate" them by adding spooky faces.

This craft costs practically nothing and you probably have some of the supplies at home already. You will need an old white sheet or a t-shirt, orange yarn or ribbon, Poly-fil or some stuffing from an old pillow, scissors, and permanent markers.

First, cut a square from a sheet or t-shirt.

Next, place some Poly-fil or pillow stuffing in the center of the square. The stuffing will be the head of the ghost. Tie a piece of yarn or ribbon around the base of the "head."

Next, with a pair of scissors, cut two slits in the very top of the ghost head.

Thread a piece of ribbon or yarn through the opening.

Finally, draw a face on your ghost. Kids will love to help with this part!

And hang them inside from a chandelier or outside from a tree. We usually have about a dozen hanging from the trees outside. It definitely gets us in the Halloween spirit and the neighborhood kids love seeing them when they come  trick-or-treating .

Do you have any Halloween traditions?

We usually decorate the house, carve pumpkins, and hand out candy to the kiddos. There's usually a caramel apple or two involved :)


Saturday, October 19, 2013

White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

Happy Saturday everyone! I have a full weekend free from work-- I can hardly believe it! Before I go on my training run, I wanted to share a delicious recipe with all of you. Blogland has been on a pumpkin rampage since fall rolled around, so it's about time I pitched in and celebrated fall with a pumpkin recipe.

It's the weekend and weekends call for special treats! I made these White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins last weekend while I was on my pumpkin kick and oh my... they were pretty tasty! Totally decadent, but really moist and flavorful. You should make these ASAP.

Makes 12 Muffins


3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup white chocolate chips (feel free to use anywhere between 1/2 and 1 cup)


Preheat your oven to 400*F. Fill the muffin pan with muffin liners (if you don't have any, cooking spray and flour work well).

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs and add the remaining wet ingredients. Mix well.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.

Slowly incorporate the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Fold in the white chocolate chips.

Fill the muffin tins 2/3 full and bake for 15-20 minutes.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Homemade Apple Butter

It's Wednesday! And Boss's Day!  And we're halfway through the work week!

OK, enough excitement for now; I've got a busy day ahead of me. On the agenda for today: a run scheduled, teaching three classes, taking a trip to the mainland after work (mattress shopping and running shoe shopping), and supervising knitting group this evening (for work). 

When I've got a busy schedule, I love recipes that come together with minimal effort. This recipe for Homemade Apple Butter (that I found here) is no exception. Just prep the apples, toss them into the slow cooker with cinnamon and some liquid, and come home to a house that smells amazing and an awesome spread for your toast! It's such a treat and is so much better for you than the jellies and jams that are loaded with added sugar.

It all started with some apples from my trip. I used about 3 pounds of apples, which ended up being about 9 of my apples.

Next, I peeled, cored, and sliced the apples. I placed the apple slices into my slow cooker along with 1/2 cup water and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. I then gave it a good stir to coat the apples and distribute the cinnamon.

And after 5-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low, it looked like this:

To get a smooth apple butter, puree the apple mixture in your blender or food processor.

With this recipe, I was able to completely fill a pint sized mason jar and I had just enough left over for my toast! The apple butter will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

You might be wondering what the difference is between apple butter and apple sauce... I certainly was! Apple sauce has a very light color and the cooking process is fast. Apple butter, on the other hand, is a dark caramel color from the spices that are added and the much longer cooking time. Apple butter is also has a thicker consistency than apple sauce.
What's your favorite thing to make with apples?
While Babe loves apple pie, apple crisp kind of makes my heart sing!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Homemade Pizza Crust

I've expressed my love of the bread machine on this blog many times. My love has recently increased exponentially. I've finally tried the Pizza Dough setting and ohmygosh it is so good. In fact, the family has decided that we definitely prefer it to all frozen pizzas and we even prefer it to the fresh pizza at some of the local pizzerias.

This pizza crust comes together relatively quickly with the help of my bread machine. Just pour in the ingredients, select the pizza dough setting, and let it do its thing! The machine handles the rising and kneading processes and really saves you a lot of time.

If you have a bread machine that has a dough setting, give this recipe a try on your next pizza night!

Don't have a bread machine? No worries, Pioneer Woman has you covered with a great homemade pizza dough recipe.


Makes two regular size large pizzas or six small pizzas.

1 tsp. dry yeast
16 3/4 oz. (3 3/8 cup) bread flour
1 tbsp. powdered milk
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter
11 3/4 fl. oz. (1 7/8 cup) water

2/3 cup tomato paste or pizza sauce, for brushing on top of pizza
3 cups Mozzarella cheese, for sprinkling on top
Your favorite toppings


Beginning with dry ingredients first, place the first seven ingredients in the bread machine (the yeast will go in the yeast dispenser if there is one).

Select the pizza setting. Press start.

Once the bread machine signals that the process is completed, remove the dough from the pan and place on a lightly floured surface until it becomes elastic and springs back when touched.

Divide the dough into the desired sizes (2 large or 6 small) and place dough balls in a warm area for 10 minutes.

On the pizza stone or pizza pan, shape the dough ball into a flat circle and spread out the dough evenly over the pan. Prick the dough with a fork (making lots of little holes) so that the crust doesn't puff up. Let the pizza crust rest for 15 minutes at room temperature.

While the dough is resting, preheat your oven to 340*F.

Brush each pizza with the tomato paste or pizza sauce. Sprinkle each pizza with cheese and top with desired toppings.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Rainy Day + Killer Circuit Workout

I'm sure that many of you are aware of the government shutdown. If you're not, I'm guessing that you don't have TV. Or Internet...
Anyway, this means that most of the gorgeous landscape around me is closed, as much of our island is a national park. Fortunately for me, I know of a few private beach access points and I can still take in all the fall glory that our island has to offer.
Our beach walk the other night was breathtaking to say the least. On a rainy day like today, it's nice to be able to look at photos of a beautiful day!

And cruddy weather is the perfect time to brew some coffee and cuddle up on the sofa with a good movie... I think I'll be renting The Great Gatsby. I think I'm the only one who hasn't seen it yet.

Thank goodness I just re-stocked my coffee supply! The best coffee in the universe - Dancing Turtle

But if it's not raining where you are and you happen to be looking for a fun workout idea, here's a circuit workout I taught last week. It was a lot of fun and definitely made me sweat! I may have even felt a little sore from the burpees...
 Let me know if you try it!
What's your favorite rainy day activity?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Trip Recap

Hello, hello. I hope you all had a great weekend. My weekend was far too short, but it was good to get back into a routine with work today. I taught three classes this morning and had a fairly easy day after that, so I can't complain!
We spent the weekend in Virginia (Williamsburg to Charlottesville to Staunton and back) retrieving/delivering furniture for a good friend. Babe and I had the chance to visit Carter Mountain Orchard, have some time away from the island getting to go to stores we don't have (lots of time in Barnes & Noble, a trip to Trader Joe's, Anthropologie, and a few others), stuffing our faces with too much junk food, and we even got some great furniture out of it!
While the mountains weren't quite yet in their full Fall glory (It was in the upper 80s while we were there), we did get to see a few leaves that had changed colors. We simply love the mountains no matter the season; it was gorgeous!
Chipotle- we don't get to visit this place enough!
The guiltiest pleasure of the trip... a Mini Vermonster to share

World Market


Apple Cider Donuts

Falafel and pickled turnips @ Aromas Café
Chicken Shawarma Wrap @ Aromas Café - loved the flavors!
The food at Food for Thought was delicious and it's such a neat restaurant

Grandma's Meatloaf

Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa

I've told myself that I won't get on a scale for at least a week! We definitely indulged on this trip, but hey, that's what "vacations" are for!
What did you do last weekend?