Saturday, November 29, 2014

Four-Layer Pecan Pie

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving!! I ate way too much and felt miserable... sounds about right! My mom cooked most of the meal, but I did contribute a pie.

I knew I wanted to contribute something that didn't involve a lot of work on Turkey Day. With only one oven and a million things that needed to be cooked, I was not going to get up at the crack of dawn (after driving forever the night before) and bake it. So, I crossed my fingers, made the pie last weekend, wrapped it in two layers of plastic wrap and two layers of foil, stuck it in the freezer, and hoped it would fair well.

Folks, I am happy to report that this pie is delicious and you should go make one ASAP. It has a delicious graham cracker crust, a creamy cheesecake layer, a sprinkling of pecans, and a delicious sweet sugary layer on top. It's quite heavenly. Just make it, ok?

Four-Layer Pecan Pie

Recipe adapted from


1 graham cracker pie crust
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
4 eggs, divided
1 cup corn syrup
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, 1/4 cup of the sugar, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract, and 1 egg. Beat at low speed until smooth; set aside. In another medium bowl, beat 3 eggs. Add the remaining sugar, the corn syrup, and the remaining vanilla; mix well. Spread the cream cheese mixture into the pie crust. Sprinkle with the pecans and slowly pour corn syrup mixture over pecans. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until the center is set. Let cool, then refrigerate 4 hours or until ready to serve.

Hope you're having a wonderful day!!!
Still feeling over-stuffed? Get your fit on with my Turkey Day Workout!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Turkey Day Workout!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I have a lot to be thankful for, especially for all of you!! I hope this day finds you in good company, surrounded by lots of friends, family, and good food :) 

We arrived at my parents around 11 pm last night and enjoyed sleeping in this morning. My mom made breakfast and we watched some of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (as we do every year), and she’s been cooking all day long for our feast. Thankfully, I only had pie and sweet potato duty :)

In the event you get a little too carried away with the food, I’ve got you covered with a quick workout that’s sure to make you burn off some of those holiday calories. Give it a try, even if it’s just to justify another slice o’ pie!

Here's what to do: Set your timer to 50 seconds work, 10 seconds rest. Perform up to 3 rounds for an awesome workout.

A few reminders: listen to your body and take breaks as needed, stay hydrated, and always start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down.

Have a wonderful day :) 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Table Place Cards

Hello, happy Monday. Hope you all have had a fabulous weekend. We've had the most laid-back weekend over here. It's been nice, but sort of a little too laid-back, if that makes sense.

Even Arthur has been a little too lazy...

You guys, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I'm so excited and I can hardly handle it. We're going "home" to visit my parents and I can't wait to see everyone and eat some delicious food! It will also be nice to get away from work for a few days. I love my job, but this girl needs a break.

Are you guys planning a big Thanksgiving feast?? We are! I have pie duty, but I won't be driving home until late Wednesday night. The oven will be occupied all day Thursday, so I made mine yesterday and stuck it in the freezer. If it turns out well, I'll be sharing the recipe on Friday :)

And speaking of Thanksgiving, look at these fun cupcakes at Whole Foods. They crack me up! I'm not sure how I feel about the one meant to look like mashed potatoes, especially with the "gravy" running down it.

I'll also be printing these fabulous little place cards for our table. I made them today and they're the perfect amount of festive without being tacky. I'll hand-write everyone's name, fold it in half horizontally, and place it at their spot. Feel free to copy/paste or save it and edit it as you please :)

Have a wonderful week :)
How early do you start cooking for Turkey Day??

Friday, November 21, 2014

Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Friday, friends! I know it's the weekend for many of you, so I wanted to share a fun treat: Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I've mentioned dozens of times that I have a crazy sweet tooth. I just can't help it. I usually give in and I try for moderation, but it's not always easy-- especially when most cookie recipes make dozens of cookies. 

And it's not always easy to halve or quarter a recipe. Baking is a science after all and if a recipe calls for 3 eggs and you want to make a quarter of that recipe, how on earth do you decide how many eggs to add?

So, I spent better part of an evening finding the best small batch cookie recipe for you, my friends. And what I found is that Nicole over at knows her stuff. Her recipe is my answer to the "I just want a few chocolate chip cookies" problem. 

This recipe makes just 12. Or 18 small cookies. It's up to you.

Just try not to eat them all by yourself, k? Or do. I won't judge you :)

Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
6 tablespoons butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


In a small bowl, add the dry ingredients and mix well. In another small bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Mix until creamy and smooth. Add the vanilla and egg to the wet mixture. Mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Once well combined, add the chocolate chips (you may want to stir them in with a spoon instead of the mixer, if you are using one). Chill the dough for up to an hour, but preferably overnight. Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350*, scoop out the dough into balls and place on your cookie sheet 2" apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden and delicious :)

Have a wonderful weekend, friends :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lunge Attack Workout

Hello, friends! I hope all of you are enjoying your week so far. It's been a crazy few days back at work for me and I'm wishing it was Saturday already. Why are weekends so short??

When I have a lot going on, it's easy to not find the time to exercise. But the funny thing is, all I really need is exercise in those moments. A quick sweat session is all I really need to clear my mind and get me feeling sane again.

This quick Lunge Attack workout will do just that. It consists of just five exercises with either 15 or 20 reps of each exercise, repeated three times through. I guarantee your body and mind will thank you and I'm hoping your legs will feel the burn. Mine did :) Hurts so good!

Remember to listen to your body, stay hydrated, and always start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down.

Enjoy, friends! And you will definitely want to stop by on Friday. I have a delicious recipe to get your weekend started right :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Weekend Things

Hello, hello. I hope all of you had a fabulous weekend. I'm still enjoying the tail-end of mine. It seems like weekends are so short, but I try to make the most of them. Here are a few photos of my weekend.

Fun wrapping paper at Target

Love the painted on windows downtown

Salted caramel cupcake to share @thepepperedcupcake

Sunday funday

 A pumpkin cheesecake donut to share from @9bakeryandlounge

crazy Arthur

I still can't believe I grew this crazy looking flower

and the true star of the weekend: I made homemade wheat bread :)

Have a fabulous week. I'll be back to share a yummy recipe along with a workout and a diy. Stay tuned, friends :)

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Best Brown Rice Method

Hello, friends and brown rice consumers. Let me take a moment to profess my love for brown rice.

Brown rice is the best. It has protein. It has fiber. It is so versatile. It can serve as a key ingredient in any salad bowl (think Chipotle), it can be an awesome addition to fish tacos or stuffed peppers, and it can even serve as a filling side dish.

But let me ask you a question.

How many times have you followed the directions on the back of the brown rice bag, and ended up with a glob of mushy rice that by no means resembles what you would get from a restaurant???

I know I have!!  Until now anyway...

A few months ago I was finally fed up. I was flat out tired of gross-tasting brown rice. I can cook white rice perfectly, so why was my brown rice turning out awful???

I must have read a dozen recipes and tried a half dozen and this is the one. I don't know the science behind why this method works well and the others don't.

I only know the best method only method that I will now use to cook my brown rice. This one.

The Best Brown Rice Method



rice (any type)
water (4 cups of water to 1 cup of rice)
salt, to taste


In a large pot, boil the water. While the water boils, rinse and strain the rice in cold water. Once the water is boiling, add the rice to the pot. Stir and reduce the heat to meduim. Cook for 30 minutes, uncovered, while stirring occasionally. Once 30 minutes has passes, strain the rice and return to the pot. Remove the pot from the heat, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and let sit for 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes has passed, uncover the pot and fluff the rice with a fork. Season with salt as desired.

Ta-da! No more bad brown rice ever again. And seriously, set your timer for the 30 minutes of cooking and 10 minutes of resting (steaming). It doesn't turn out quite right unless you follow the directions :)

Have a super lovely weekend, friends :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Hello and happy Wednesday! If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably already seen these photos. But in the event you don't (what are you waiting for??), here's a glimpse of life lately...

a night at the fair

fried oreos

HIIT workouts

the best meal ever

A Million Ways to Die in the West

when you're out of iced coffee, you take a morning walk to Starbucks

flowers make everything better :)

first 9 experience @9bakeryandlounge

filming taking place downtown


Hope you are having a wonderful week.
I'll be back Friday with a recipe staple :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Make Your Legs Cry (Full-Body HIIT Workout)

Hello, hello. It's Monday again! Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

It's really feeling like fall again and I couldn't be happier. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and if everything goes as planned, I'll be making a trip home to see my family, get my hair cut by my favorite stylist, and even run the Turkey Trot 5K. I'm so excited. Fall is my favorite season for sure.

Please don't let the title of this post scare you. It's really not that bad :)

I've said it before... HIIT workouts rock. I love how quick and efficient they can be. So much better than an hour of steady-state cardio and I always feel so accomplished and proud afterwards. This 9 minute 35 second workout works your entire body, but will really target your legs. Get ready for the burn! Repeat the set 3x for a killer workout.

p.s. If you don't know what the 1, 2, 3 Push-up is, here ya go.

*As always, please honor your body and take breaks as needed. Start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down.

This week's workouts look a little like this:

  • Monday: "Make Your Legs Cry" workout + 1-mile run (fast)
  • Tuesday: 3-Mile run
  • Wednesday: HIIT workout + 30-minutes cycling
  • Thursday: Rest day
  • Friday: 4-mile run
  • Saturday: "Make Your Legs Cry" workout + 1-mile run (fast)
  • Sunday: Rest day

What workouts are you planning this week?
Make it a great week :)

Friday, November 7, 2014

My New Favorite Iced Coffee Recipe

Happy Friday! Hope all of you have had a great week. Any exciting weekend plans? My weekend starts Saturday at 5 and I can't wait! No plans yet, but I'm just thankful for two days of sleeping in :)

And for those mornings when I can't sleep in, coffee is a life saver. I've never made much iced coffee at home, mostly because I fail to plan ahead and have coffee already chilled. But now, my new method is easier than ever and requires so few ingredients. Iced coffee for the entire week can be made in no time at all.

The Method: 

Brew your favorite coffee. I typically use a spoonful of ground coffee for every 8 ounces of water. Once brewed, add your favorite sweetner of choice. For 11 cups of coffee, I used four packets of Truvia. Stir. Let the coffee chill. Once chilled, pour a glass of coffee over ice. Add half-and-half or creamer, if desired.

Coffee lovers: hot or iced??

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tips for an Acne-less Face

Hello, hello. I hope you are all having a wonderful day. I am SO glad that voting day has come and gone. I was getting so sick of all those commercials and ads. I can't even imagine all of the good things we could do with the money spent on elections #worldhungersolved

Anyway... Life in Wilmington is still an adventure. Even after three months of living here, we’re discovering more and more about our new city and it’s been great. The city is full of art and music, and there’s always something to do. So much fun!

Today I wanted to talk about something that’s not-so-fun… acne. Acne was never a problem for me until the last four or so years. It comes and goes, sometimes it’s hormonal, sometimes it has to do with what I’m eating, and sometimes it’s related to my stress level. 

Regardless of why I’m breaking out or how much I’m breaking out, it’s uncomfortable and it affects my self-esteem. I've tried just about every over-the-counter product out there (Proactiv, Relogy, Neutrogena, and the list goes on), but nothing ever really worked. I was only left with dry, irritated skin and bleached out clothes and sheets from harsh chemicals.

Even though I still get light acne, I've discovered a few tips that have greatly reduced my breakouts.

Having a clean pillowcase is probably the most important step in preventing acne. I have super thick curly hair that requires leave-in conditioner. That conditioner leaves residue on my pillow, which travels to my face and causes me to break-out. It’s probably best to have my hair in a pony-tail or a loose bun to keep it away from my face, but I just can’t get comfortable sleeping like that. Changing my pillowcase every few days ensures that bacteria, dirt, and grime don’t get transferred to my face. While I’m on the topic of clean, it’s also important to only touch your face with clean hands. It’s also important to clean everything that comes in contact with your face (phone, sunglasses, make-up brushes, etc.)

I don’t wear make-up often, but when I do, I use a gentle cleanser to remove it. Otherwise, I use a clean soft washcloth and water and follow up with a good moisturizer. That’s it! I always used some sort of cleanser or scrub in the past and I've found that it’s not always necessary. I still use an exfoliating scrub on occasion, but it’s not a daily thing whatsoever. While on the topic of make-up, don't go to sleep with it on. Just take the extra 2-minutes and remove it.

Every face is different, but I've found a positive correlation between my dairy intake and my acne. Read: the more ice cream I eat, the more I break out. Personally, I’m less likely to break out if I’m drinking soy or almond milk. Some people find that they tend to break out more if they consume sugary processed foods. Sugar only seems to affect my waistline. Ha!

Finally, the more water I drink, the less severe my breakouts are. I try to aim for at least 96 ounces of water each day. When I reach my goal water intake, my skin looks cleaner and brighter and I feel better overall. Water does a body good!

What are your tried and true tips for clear skin? 
Have you tried an acne product that works?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday HIIT Day Workout

Hola! Hope you all are having a fabulous day and had a wonderful weekend. I'm blogging live at Starbucks. 

Gotta have a little passion tea in my life... that and I'm bumming their Internet! Ha! It's funny to me that the second Halloween is over, Starbucks whips out the Holiday drinks. They don't waste any time, but it will be a while before I'm ordering the Peppermint Mocha or any of its other holiday-drink counterparts. 

The kitty is getting spayed today. Poor thing. She doesn't even know it's coming. We're really hoping she might calm down a bit after her surgery. Don't let her fool you; she's never this calm. 

I've been in a little bit of a workout rut lately. I had been concentrating more on running than anything else, training for an imaginary 10K really. Though I sometimes truly enjoy running, I'm not the fastest runner and I need to work on lowering my heart rate before I can work on speed. It was getting frustrating, so I decided to switch things up and do what I love: HIIT training. 

I find HIIT training to be a lot of fun. I love the quick bursts of energy and the fact that even if you hate a specific exercise, it will be over in 30 seconds. Anyone can do anything for 30 seconds.

So if you're in a workout rut like I was, get your HIIT on and try this workout. Each set will take 9 minutes and 35 seconds. Complete the set 3 times for a quick, but effective full-body workout. You can do it!

*Please remember to honor your body and take breaks as needed. Always start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down. Happy exercising :)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Saturday Favorites

So... I've been sort of absent this week. Sorry.

But in my defense, we've had company and we've been working with a realtor to find the perfect home. Excuses. I'll be back to normal blogging next week, but wanted to share our adventures from last week.

Have a wonderful weekend :)