Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cheddar Biscuits (Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits Copycat Recipe)

I think that I'm the only one out there that has never been to a Red Lobster. In my defense, I live on a tiny island that doesn't even have a Walmart- I'm not even sure where the closest Red Lobster is. Besides, I have amazing fresh local seafood all around me. Why would I even want to go to a chain restaurant for seafood?

Well, apparently they have these amazing cheddar biscuits. Babe even says they are amazing, so I really want to try them. And, as I previously mentioned- no Red Lobster in site. My solution? Scour the Internet for a copycat recipe... This recipe comes from Top Secret Recipes.

These biscuits are incredible. So, so, so incredible. They were inhaled at the dinner table so quickly! Trust me, you need to try these ASAP.

You could even bake up a batch of these to serve with your Turkey Day dinner!

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits Copycat Recipe
(Makes 12 biscuits)

2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix*
4 Tablespoons cold butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cup cold whole milk
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Brush on top:
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
Pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine Bisquick and cold butter using a fork or pastry cutter.  Don't combine too thoroughly.  There should be small chunks of butter in your mixture. 

Mix in cheese, milk and garlic powder by hand, only until combined.  Drop 1/4 cup portions onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown.
After they finish baking, remove the biscuits from the oven.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter, garlic powder, parsley and salt.  Brush all of the garlic butter on top of the biscuits- you don't want to skimp on this.

*Don't have any baking mix on hand? Make your own!

1 cup of Baking Mix can be made by combining 1 cup four, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon shortening.

This recipe can also be made with whole wheat flour- it has a different flavor (obviously), but it still tastes great.

What's on the menu for your Thanksgiving?
We typically have turkey, mashed potatoes, a sweet potato bake, veggies, and cranberry sauce (for the color, of course). I'm also going to be making some sweet potato biscuits- they're delicious!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Running Troubles

It's Friday. Thank goodness!
The 10 mile race I'm running is just over 14 days away and I'm not feeling so prepared. I was so excited for this race and I still am, but I've faced some challenges with this time around!
I stuck to my training plan really well, until I went out of town for a long weekend. Tons of driving + unfamiliar cities + no access to a treadmill = no running for me. I ended up skipping two of my runs, and believe it or not, I already feel like I'm out of "running shape." Saturday's 7-mile run turned into a 5 mile run and Monday and Wednesday's runs became "mostly runs" with a little bit of walking. I'm nervous to see how tomorrow's 8-miler goes.
And I've been having a tough time finding a shoe that works for me. While I used to love my Brooks Cascadias, I've transitioned to lightweight shoes for my fitness classes and no longer like how heavy my Brooks are. I've tried some of their lightweight shoes, but couldn't find a good match.
I need just the right amount of support, so it's been tricky. After buying and returning over a dozen pairs of running shoes from Amazon, I finally settled on these Gel-Lytes from Asics. They're lightweight and they have some support, but they're not perfect.
 I'm still convinced that the perfect shoe is out there.
My running schedule paired with my work schedule (lots of fitness classes) has been tricky on my knees. I'm just 22 years old, but my body has been feeling more like 80. I needed some sort of a quick fix, so I ordered these Mueller's Jumper's Knee Straps from Amazon. While they don't fix the problem, they make my runs more bearable. I think that my body really just needs a rest, but it will have to wait until December 8th.

On a positive note (sheesh, about time!), I've been preferring outdoor runs to the treadmill runs. I used to dread running outside, but I now love it. I get to look at the scenery around me instead of a wall, and no two runs are ever the same.

Hope you enjoy the weekend!
If you're a runner, what are your favorite shoes?
Have any races planned?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Peach Crisp for Two

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope your week is off to a great start! On Monday I shared printables to get you ready for Christmas and today I'm sharing a recipe that will take you back to summer. Crazy, I know, but this cold weather is killing me :)
I adore fresh fruit; it's probably my favorite type of food and it's the top reason why I love summer . I was beyond excited to get a little "get well" bucket full of fruit from my friend, Mary Beth, when I was feeling under the weather back at the end of summer. I usually like to eat fresh fruit raw- the way it's found in nature, but when I saw two beautiful peaches at the bottom of the bucket, I knew I had to bake one of them.
Peach crisp for two, anyone? Yes, please!
This recipe is quite decadent and utterly delicious. Don't say I didn't warn you :)
P.S. -- I'm totally aware that peaches aren't in season, so feel free to used canned or frozen peaches if needed.
1 ripe peach
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons oats
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
1 tablespoon shredded coconut
1 tablespoon slivered almonds
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
Preheat the oven to 350*F. Cut the peach in half and remove the skin. Or do it the other way around...

Remove the pit and slice the peach into 10 pieces. Place the slices in a ramekin or small baking dish.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon, oats, salt, almonds, and coconut. Once well combined, pour the mixture over the peach slices. Place the butter cubes over the dry mixture.
 Bake for 20 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown. Mine was looking a little flour-y, so I stirred mine halfway through.

You guys, this smells delicious! I'm not even exaggerating. And it tastes divine. Still, no exaggeration. Other than eating a ripened peach as-is, I'm convinced that this is the best way to eat a peach. Hands down!

What's your favorite thing to do with peaches?


Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas Card Organizer Printable

Hello, hello! I'm back... While I was out of town, I had the opportunity to go shopping. I stopped by a mall and was amazed by the Christmas decorations. It was just the second week of November! And of course, Walmart and Target are fully stocked and ready for the holidays.
I don't usually like to think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but a little organization never hurt anyone-- that's why I made this Christmas Card Organizer Printable.
I don't know about you, but there's always one person that I forget to send a card to. Having this printable handy will make the process so much easier. As soon as you receive a card from someone, add them to the list so that you can make sure you remember to reciprocate!
And if you're a fan of printables, feel free to use this Christmas Gift Organizer, too! I may or may not already have one filled out...

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lemon Pound Cake

Hello, hello and Happy Veteran's Day! A huge Thank You to all the Vets who have served our country.

Did you guys have a great weekend? I'm out of town enjoying a change of scenery and having a fabulous time. While I'm away, I wanted to share a recipe for a delicious Lemon Pound Cake I made back in September. I'm not sure why it took me so long to share this one, but here it is!

When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make lemon pound cake instead!

Babe brought home a bunch of lemons from work and we weren't quite sure what to do with them. I finally decided to bake some sort of a cake for a knitting club meet-up that I was hosting that week for work. I referred to a Martha Stewart recipe and after a slight tweak, Lemon Pound Cake was born! Oh, Martha!

This recipe made use of my lemons, and it was incredible. It was really moist and it had the perfect texture. The glaze adds the perfect hint of sweetness! The ladies at knitting club all raved about this lemon cake and one even called the next day asking for the recipe :)


Makes two loaves (they freeze beautifully!)

For the pound cake

1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
3/4 cup milk
Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs

For the glaze

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice, about 1/2 large lemon


Preheat oven to 350*F. Butter and flour two loaf pans (4.5" x 8" work best).

In a small bowl, combine milk with lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture, in three parts alternately with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Beat just until it comes together. Do not over-mix.

Divide batter evenly between pans and smooth the top of the batter. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. If the loaves start to brown too quickly, cover with foil.

While the cakes are baking, make the glaze. heat the sugar and lemon juice in a small pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir. once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and let sit until cakes are done.

Once the loaves are done, let them cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Turn the loaves out on a cooling rack and use a pastry brush to spread the glaze evenly over the tops and sides of the loaves. Let dry and completely and cool, for at least 2 hours.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Traveling Tips + Hotel Room Workout

I love to travel. I was away at the IFTA fitness workshops last weekend and I'm going out of town again this weekend (more details later). Whether I'm visiting somewhere new or spending time with family in nearby states, I love a little break in the everyday routine to relax, explore, and visit with the ones I love. When I'm not organized, traveling isn't so fun and I'm left wishing that I had been a little more thoughtful with planning ahead.

Today, I'm sharing a few tips that I use when I leave town. These tips make the whole process much easier; there's less stress involved, I'm not waiting until the last minute to pack, and I know I didn't forget anything.

A lot of what I'm about to share might seem incredibly obvious to you and if so, just ignore this part of the post :)

The week before:

Start making lists! Make a list of everything you will need to take with you. Because you're making this list so far in advance, you're not likely to forget something!

Make a list of your game plan. A lot of my trips involve shopping for things like grocery items or personal care items. The closest Wal-Mart is about an hour and a half away from where I live and the closest Target is nearly three hours away. When I leave the island, I tend to stock up essentials!

Check your car! If you will be driving your car, do you need to get the oil changed? How are the tires? Do you need to put air in the tires?

Two days before:

Laundry time & packing! This is when I start to pack my clothes. I lay out outfits on my bed and I try to pack things that can mix and match so that I don't over-pack. While packing clothes, I usually start a load of laundry, as I usually have a favorite shirt or sports bra that needs to be washed so that I can take it on my trip. It's also nice to come home to an empty clothes hamper; I hate coming home to a list of chores waiting for me.

Also, go ahead and pack snacks or any food items that you know you'll need while you're gone (or at least get an idea of what you might want to pack). This is important if you have dietary restrictions or picky eaters on hand. There always seems to be a long stretch of road without restaurants or stores and that's always when hunger strikes! I always end up packing snacks because I need to eat every few hours. On the chance that I go a while without food, I can feel my blood sugar dropping and my mood changes. Babe says I remind him of the people in the Snickers commercials... "You're not you when you're hungry." :)

The day before:

Load up the car & fill up. I've recently started packing my car the night before a trip and it's the best idea I ever had, especially when you have to leave early in the morning. It saves so much time and decreases stress, especially if you've got kids or family members that are slow movers. I love waking up, having coffee/breakfast, getting myself dresses and ready, getting into the car, and driving away! No extra work involved and no leaving anything behind.

I also usually put a few gallons of water in the car. I'm always thirsty, (does traveling dehydrate everyone or just me?) so it's nice to have a supply of water on hand whenever I need it. The day before is also the time to fill up on gasoline and to make sure you have plenty of cash on hand. Why give yourself an extra step on a busy morning?

The workout:

When you've finally reached your destination, here's a quick workout that can be completed wherever you go; no equipment needed!

Happy Travels!

What are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Spaghetti Squash 101

If you're like most of the world's population who has had spaghetti squash, feel free to ignore this post :)

Have you guys ever had spaghetti squash? It's full of nutrients and it's a great low-carb substitute for things like pasta. Growing up, I don't remember ever having any type of squash, especially spaghetti squash. Since these things are in season, I figured I'd finally take a stab at cooking one. There are several methods that can be used, but the simplest option for me was baking it in the oven, and I'm all about simple.
So, grab a spaghetti squash and get cooking!

First, preheat the oven to 375°F. With a sharp knife, halve the squash lengthwise. Find a strong man to do this if your knives are wimpy...

Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and funky junk from the middle of each half... like you're cleaning out a pumpkin! Save the seeds for your garden or throw discard them.

Place the squash in a 9- x 13-inch baking dish, cut sides down. Pour 1/2 cup water into the dish and bake the squash until just tender, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Once the squash is cooked, rake a fork back and forth across the squash to remove its flesh in strands…like spaghetti!

For a simple dinner idea, try sautéing mixed peppers and onions in a little bit of olive oil or butter.
Once tender, mix in the spaghetti squash and add your favorite seasonings or herbs.
Another meal idea: Substitute spaghetti noodles for spaghetti squash and top with tomato sauce and low-fat turkey meatballs.

How do you like to eat Spaghetti Squash?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

The day has finally come. I had my big first blogging fail. I was finishing a post I had been working on and I hit save instead of publish. Oops. I'm blaming it on the fact that it was prior to 6:00 am. So, here's Saturday's post. Pretend it's Saturday, pretty please!
I'm so glad that Saturday is here! I've got a busy weekend ahead of me, so I'm posting a little early this morning. And I apologize in advance for the fact that this post is all over the place :)
First things first, Happy Birthday to by grandma. She's so precious; I've never heard her say one mean-spirited thing about anyone and she's got the best sense of humor, even with a forgetful mind.
Happy 93rd Birthday Grandma! I love you!
I'm just about to head to the IFTA Fitness event in Chesapeake, VA for fitness workshops and trainings. I'll be taking several workshops today and I'll spend tomorrow in a Kickboxing certification. I'm so excited to learn some new things and I can't wait to integrate my new skills into the fitness classes I teach at work. Teaching the same things for several months starts to get stale; it's great to add some variety!
I'll also be doing my next "long run" this evening wile I'm gone. This one is 5 miles; it's a distance I haven't covered in a while, so I'm sure I will sleep nice and sound tonight! Wish me luck :)
Now to the food...
Before I hit the road, I wanted to share a super easy, yet delicious and nutritious recipe with you: Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes. I know that Halloween has come and gone, but I'm still on a pumpkin kick and I hope you are too :) After all, it's still fall!
You guys, these pancakes are awesome! They kept me full and focused during a full morning of fitness classes- not too many breakfasts can do that for me! Feel free to use all-purpose flour if you're not a fan of whole wheat.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
Makes 8-10 pancakes, serves 2-4
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon canola oil
Prepare your skillet, griddle, or frying pan. I preheat my Presto Griddle to 325*F and I don't need to use any nonstick spray.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients with a whisk.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat the egg with the whisk and add the milk, vanilla, pumpkin, and oil. Whisk until well combined.
Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix well.
Use a small measuring cup (like 1/4 cup) and portion out the batter (batter will be thick). Cook the pancakes until the edges start to brown. Flip the pancake and cook the other side.
And a few drizzles of light syrup... pure perfection! I'm wishing I still had that Pumpkin Butter from Trader Joe's. Now that would taste amazing on top of these!


Any plans for this weekend?