Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kauai Recap: The Food

Hi there! How has your week been? I can barely believe that it's Thursday. I have spent most of this week playing catch up from vacation. I recently went to Hawaii with my family and I am so grateful to for the time I spent relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the island.  If you have never been to Hawaii, it is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world and needs to go on your travel bucket list. 

We vacationed on the island of Kauai and stayed in Hanalei Bay. Our beach house overlooked the ocean and had an unbelievable view. We were able to run on the beach, walk into town and soak up the sun.  Kauai is often referred to as "the garden isle" for its beauty and is the second last of the major Hawaiian islands.


I wanted to share my favorites spots and activities with you, so that you can enjoy a slice of Kauai wherever you are or add it to your travel list.....Let's start with one of my favorite subjects.... food!

Hanalei Coffee Roasters was our favorite early morning spot.  I loved playing cards on the patio while drinking an iced coffee with soy or a vanilla freeze. If you are traveling to Kauai and love coffee, this is a must stop.


My husband and I enjoyed a date night at a local tapas restaurant, BarAcuda. We ordered a bottle of Sauvingon Blanc and enjoyed our romantic little spot in the patio. We started with a cheese plate and spinach salad, followed by risotto fritters and blackened shrimp. My husband raved about the short rib and meatballs.  The portions were perfect, the food was nothing short of amazing and the atmosphere reminded me of some of our favorite restaurants in Sonoma. It was cozy and sophisticated with a touch of trendy.

My absolute favorite dining experience was Pat's Taqueria.  Pat's is a food truck that serves tacos and burritos and can be found on Black Pot Beach. The tacos are divine. The bean and rice taco was served on a lightly crisped taco shell with light cheese, pinto beans, seasoned rice, cabbage and pico. If you can check out one restaurant in Hanalei, it has to be here.


My family is addicted to Bubba Burger, especially my niece, who described this burger as her "favorite burger ever". You can order sandwiches gluten free and they'll serve them wrapped in lettuce. Bubba's serves grass-fed Kauai beef and offers a small menu of sandwiches, fries and onion rings. The perfect all-american stop for your Hawaiian vacation.

We had to try all of the tacos in town, so Tropical Taco was on our agenda. The tacos were gigantic and some of the largest that I have ever seen! I ordered a vegetarian taco on a crispy corn tortilla shell. The tortillas were homemade, so they were slightly larger than what you would find at the grocery store. My taco came loaded with all the fillings - rice, beans, cheese, lettuce, guac, salsa - and was served in a bag to keep the contents from spilling out.  All in all a must try.


My favorite sushi on the island came from The Hanalei Dolphin. I can say with absolute certainty that it was the best sushi that I have eaten in my entire life. The fish was fresh and smooth, the flavor combinations were incredible and the atmosphere was perfect. The decor reminded me of a cross between a beach restaurant and a japanese garden. If you love sushi and are in Hanalei, you need to stop here. We enjoyed the Flying Hawaiian, Stolen, Spyder and U Megan Me Crazy rolls. I decided to take the stomachache and possible migraine for sushi (a few rolls were not gluten free) and it was 1000% worth it.


Vacation wouldn't be vacation with at least one stop at happy hour, right? We hit up Kalypso  for half-priced wine night and enjoyed appetizers and outdoor seating. The chicken nachos were my personal favorite! If you're looking for cold brews and delicious appetizers, it's the perfect happy hour spot.  They also offer a large dinner menu as well.

Hope you enjoyed my food reviews! Next up on my Kauai recap... the activities!

Have you been to Kauai? What was your favorite restaurant? 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Favorites 1/23/15

Ohhh heyyyy!!  Happy Friday!!! TGIF!!  I am here to share my Friday favorites here with you, just in time for the weekend. Any big plans on the agenda?

I am currently escaping the cold and will be the first to admit that I am not quite ready to return to winter.  I have truly enjoyed the beach, beautiful scenery and total relaxation that our trip to Kauai has provided. My last weekend here will be rather low key and I would not trade that for the world. I will be back next week with a full recap of my trip, but now, it's time for Friday favorites!

Housewife Glamour


Food - Single Serve Desserts


  • Give me a quick and easy dessert when I decide to indulge. I made these single serve desserts last week using the microwave and a few basic pantry staples - they were a hit! Pancake mix + applesauce + chocolate chips + almond milk topped with vanilla ice cream. Oh so good and oh so easy.

Fashion - Puffer Jackets

  • I am all about the puffer coat this winter.  I love mine for keeping me warm during these brutal Cincinnati winters! Most puffer jackets are filled with down, allowing them to be warm without leaving you looking like a marshmellow.  Unfortunately, the one I own and love is sold out, but here are a few alternatives: similar, similar, similar
Find - Maaji Swimwear

  •  I love the thick fabrics and fun patterns. Maaji is a little pricier than other swimwear but all of their suits are reversible, giving you up to 2-4 different looks per suit. Word to the wise - I have found that the bottoms run a little smaller than most, so size up. Need a little winter inspiration to stick to your workout? How about a new swimsuit as a reward. See my top pics here, here, here and here (on sale!) 

Fix - Iced Coffee

  • I'm all about coffee. My newest warm weather fave? Iced coffee with soy milk. The soy adds just the perfect touch of sweetness, without needing to add any additional sugar. That makes it a winner in my book!
Fun - Overdrive
  • Did you know that you can borrow books from your libary and read them on your tablet for free? I have already sped through 3 books on my trip. My library uses the Overdrive App. It's easy peasy - just download the Overdrive app, search for your libary, sign in using your library card number and browse through hundreds of books! If the book you want is checked out by other readers, you can add yourself to the holds list and it will download as soon as it becomes available. It really is the perfect app for bookworms like myself.

What's your Friday fave?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Eggcellent Start to the Day

Slow cookers are one of my favorite kitchen appliances. Have you ever used your slow cooker to make breakfast?  It's life changing. This breakfast casserole was everything that I dreamed it would be and will quickly be making its way into your breakfast rotation.  It reheats beautifully, making it perfect for leftovers during the work week.  Planning breakfast for dinner?  Set this up and let it cook while you're at work.

If my kitchen walls could talk:  Feel free to leave out the bacon to make this a vegetarian option.  Saute onions in a saucepan and throw them in to add warmth and flavor to this dish. Depending on the size of your slow cooker, the potatoes may not all fit. I removed about a half a cup from the top prior to pouring the eggs in the last step. Add salt/pepper based on your personal preference; I used about 1/4 tsp of each.



Overnight Breakfast Casserole,  adapted from According to Elle

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
28 oz shredded potatoes, frozen
6 slices bacon, cooked
1/4 cup green onions, diced
8 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup 1% milk
12 eggs
salt/pepper

1. Add olive oil to slow cooker. Lightly grease sides of slow cooker. Layer half of potatoes into the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with half of the bacon, green onions and cheddar. Top with remaining potatoes.  Slow cooker will appear very full, eggs will fill in spaces.
2. In a small bowl, beat milk, eggs, salt/pepper.  Pour egg mixture into slow cooker.  Top with remaining bacon, cheese and green onions.
4. Cook overnight on low for 8 hours.

Have you ever made breakfast in the slow cooker? 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

From Drab to Fab: Jeans Edition

Hey there. If you are anything like me, you have a pair of favorite jeans that you just cannot bear to part with... am I right?  They might be falling apart or might just be looking a little worn.  Well, you can breathe new life into that denim and get more miles out of them before you part ways.  Want to know how?  Keep reading.

Distressed denim is everywhere - stores, style blogs, fashion magazines.  I owned quite a few pairs in college and like before, everything old is new again.  Back in those college days, one of my friends taught me a trick for times when those "new" destroyed jeans were not quite destroyed enough.  Today, I am going to share that trick with you. All it takes is patience and caution!

These J Brand skinny jeans were my favorite.  However, they started to develop a hole in the knee.  I have been craving a pair of destroyed denim, so I threw caution to the wind, broke out my tools and got to work.  All you will need for this project is an X-Acto knife, available at any arts and crafts store, and an old pair of denim.



DIY Destroyed Denim

Ingredients  

Old denim
X-Acto knife
Chalk (optional)
Cutting board

1. Begin by selecting the area you would like to destroy. Feel free to try the jeans on and mark with chalk as desired. Remove jeans and place on a steady surface.


2. Place something sturdy behind the area that you are destroying, such as a cutting board.  Make a few horizontal slits across the denim in your desired area. Use the tip of the blade to gently pull apart the threads as shown.



3. Next, run the blade vertically across the new destroyed portion to collect the balled up thread.  The threads will begin to ball up along the sides of the fabric, remove them using this method and move on to the next area you wish to destroy. 


3. Repeat until your desired look is achieved.  


Do you like the look of destroyed denim? 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Two Seconds and Breakfast

After an epic pancake fail, I needed something quick that I could eat right this second. Vegan pancake recipes are some of favorite and these get a quick start using gluten-free pancake mix as the base. You might call that cheating but today I call it a time savor. Mix in a few add ins to bump up the nutritional content and have your pancakes on the table in minutes. It sounds like a win to me.


If my kitchen walls could talk: Check your brand of gluten-free pancake mix to make sure your mix is vegan to align with your dietary restrictions.  Feel free to swap out almond milk for coconut or soy. Not vegan? Feel free to use cows milk.  Top pancakes with margarine, syrup or powdered sugar. Add strawberries for a decadent treat.

Vegan Coconut Flour Pancakes 

Ingredients

1/3 cup gluten-free pancake mix
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp flaxseed, ground
2/3 cup almond milk
1 tsp chocolate chips
1 tsp coconut oil/vegan margarine

1. Combine first three ingredients in a bowl, mixing until combined.  Add almond milk, allowing mixture to set 2-3 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Stir in chocolate chips.
2. Grease a medium saucepan using choice of above oil, heat over medium.  Divide batter evenly into 4 pancakes.  Cook until edges begin to lightly brown. Flip and cook on remaining side.


What are you using as your pancake topping? 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Weekend Recap!

Hi there! Just checking in with a weekend recap. It was full of relaxation and gave me a chance to get ahead of this cold that I just cannot seem to shake. I finally feel like I might be getting better!

Friday night started with a quick 1.5 mile walk with my husband at our gym. I have been working out pretty hard lately with all of the LYB workouts, so I decided to keep it low key. After our gym date, we came home and got ready to meet our friends for dinner at Bella Luna. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they could make pretty much anything on the menu gluten free!  I dined on a caprese salad and proscuitto wrapped scallops with apple risotto. It was divine! Our post-dinner adventures took us to one of my old haunts. My friends and I used to frequent MLT's for every weekend for at least 2 years post-college. It was fun to have a reunion and to see how everything has changed!


Saturday was the laziest day of all and it was glorious. I started the day with the best breakfast ever (scrambled eggs), coffee and lots of lounging around. Instead of going to the gym, my husband and I lifted weights in the basement.  If you are trying to tone up this year, I highly recommend finding a friend or significant other to work out with, it really helps keep you accountable. I picked up Chipotle and we watched an episode of The Profit (obsessed).  Then, we took a trip to Home Depot to pick up some necessities for the house. Any other married ladies ever think that they would be spending weekends at Home Depot... and loving it?  We came home, made homemade pizza, watched and I was in bed before 11 pm.  Perfection.

Sunday morning started with a 3.1 mile run at the gym!  I ran for 30 minutes straight, something I haven't done in weeks thanks to this cold.  Running a 10K is on my bucket list for the year, so I was happy to learn that I may have more endurance than I previously suspected. I was anxious to come home and make coconut pancakes!  I thought that I had found the perfect recipe online and was eagerly awaiting the results. If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen me post this photo.....


They looked so beautiful... but they tasted like death, so into the trash they went. I suspected the proportion of baking soda in the recipe was off but chose to ignore my judgement.  In a quick hurry, I whipped up these vegan coconut pancakes on the fly... and they were divine.



After inhaling my breakfast, I did a quick change into more appropriate shopping clothes and hit up a few stores for aviators and an ipad case.  We have a trip coming up and I needed a few travel essentials.  Luckily, I seemed to find exactly what I was looking for!  I always check out discount stores to find better bargains on basic items.  Some of my favorites?  Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx and Steinmart. I always find sunglasses at Steinmart... who knew?


I came back home and picked up husband for a quick trip to Kroger. After stocking up on the basics, I threw buffalo chicken in the crockpot like I always do and now I'm looking forward to a relaxing evening to close out the weekend. Better get back in the kitchen to prep some meals for a healthy week!

What was the highlight of your weekend? 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Favorites 1/9/15

Hi there!  Can you believe it's already Friday? I feel like it was just Monday night. I'm not complaining, obviously, and I am definitely excited for another relaxing weekend to go in the books. While Friday is one of my busier days at work, I am hoping for a relaxing Friday since this cold won't quit.

On an exciting note, our new countertop came yesterday (!!!) and it is beautiful.  This does mean that we don't have a faucet, meaning I won't be making any coffee this morning.  Looks like I'll be going to Starbucks this am to get my caffeine fix. Any other coffee junkies out there? Can someone explain to me what a flat white is?  Maybe I'll order one this morning....

Anyway, enough small talk, it's time to get to my favorite part about Friday.... Friday Favorites!!


Housewife Glamour


Food - Breakfast Protein Cookies 

  • I am obsessed with these breakfast protein cookies!  I modify the recipe to make 6 "cookies" instead of 8 to increase the calories/protein to make them a perfect breakfast option for my drive to work.  I can honestly say that the breakfast rut of the past 6 months is over :) 

Fitness
  • The Love Your Body Challenge seriously owns me. I've been keeping up with all the workouts despite having an awful cold. I am already feeling stronger!  My fitness digs are up in the air currently,  I canceled my gym membership yesterday after "the case of the broken treadmills" and I'm looking forward to scoping out a new one soon. What's most important to you when choosing a new gym? 

Fashion - Aviator Sunglasses


  • I used to have a gigantic collection of sunglasses. Somehow, now all that I have left is a pair of Ray Ban Wayfarers.  I love them, but I'm totally craving a pair of aviators.  They have been all over style blogs lately and I'm feeling like I need to jump back on the trend! 

Fact

  • A little inspiration for this Friday. I love this. 

What are you loving this Friday? 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Cold Weather Cure

Hi there!  I hope you have been staying warm, despite the freezing (or not so freezing, depending on your location) January temperatures.  Unfortunately, it is currently 2 degrees in our neck of the woods.  In the winter, there is nothing better than a warm bowl of soup.  It is not only comforting and filling, but it also seems to warm the soul.  I have been on a bit of a soup kick lately - chicken tortilla soup, baked potato soup, tomato soup - but this broccoli cheddar soup just might be my favorite.  It's full of broccoli and has the perfect cheese taste.



If my kitchen walls could talk: This soup freezes beautifully for easy leftovers on another chilly night. Feel free to top your soup with additional shredded cheese.  Looking for more warmth?  Try a drizzle of truffle oil.  Feeling extra decadent?  Top with crisp bacon or croutons.



Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Ingredients

1 yellow onion, diced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 C butter, unsalted
1/4 C brown rice flour
6 C 1% milk
40 oz frozen broccoli (about 4 bags) 
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
8 oz sharp cheddar, shredded
1/4 C half-and-half (optional)

1. In a large pot, combine onion, garlic and butter over medium high heat.  Continue cooking, about 5-8 minutes, until onions begin to lightly brown.  Add brown rice flour, stir to combine, continue cooking another 1-2 minutes.
2. Add 1% milk, stirring to combine until mixture begins to bubble and thicken.  Reduce heat to medium low, add broccoli.  Cover pot and continue cooking 30-35 minutes, until broccoli has softened.
3. Stir in salt, pepper and cheddar cheese until cheese has melted.  Using an immersion blender, puree soup until desired consistency is achieved.  If desired, stir in half and half or additional 1% milk if soup appears too thick.

What's your cold weather cure? 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

1/7: WIAW

Hi there! It's been bitterly cold in the Midwest this week!  What's the weather like where you are?  I've been bundling up for trip to work with Ugg boots, a parka and a huge scarf. My trick is to leave ballet flats at my desk, so I don't have to worry about cold feet on my way in and out of the office.  

While January is in full swing and snow storms are on the horizon, I might not very excited about the weather, but I am excited for my favorite guilty pleasure - the return of The Bachelor. Remember Bachelor Ben? Bachelor Sean?  I have blogged about alllllll the bachelors at this point. Honestly, this may just be the best season of The Bachelor yet, even though the first episode required me to watch it over two nights due to my old lady, early bedtime lifestyle. Did you watch?  What were your thoughts? 

Moving on... my day was packed with delicious eats - including soup, the perfect antidote for chilly temps!  I'll be posting the broccoli cheddar soup recipe tomorrow, so feel free to stop back if you would like the recipe. Now, onto what I ate Wednesday!



Breakfast: protein breakfast cookie + coffee


Snack: grapefruit


Lunch: broccoli soup (recipe coming tomorrow!) + veggies


Snacks: quest bar + peanut butter date





Dinner: salad + brown rice pasta, edamame, truffle oil and parmesan




What did you eat this Wednesday?

Monday, January 5, 2015

1/4 Meals for the Week

Hi friends!  I hope your week is off to a great start.  Unfortunately, I spent the weekend and most of today in bed recovering from what may have been the flu.  One thing that I managed to get accomplished was updating the recipe page, so feel free to check it out if you're looking for some new meals this week. Some of my personal favorites include baked potato soup, buffalo chicken lettuce wraps and truffle oil mac & cheese.

Anyway, my meal planning is a little off near the end of the week because our countertops are being installed on Thursday and Friday!!  I'll be giving you a much needed kitchen update soon.  We won't have a kitchen sink on Thursday night, so I needed to keep dinner easy.  I'm looking forward to leftovers and to sharing the recipe with you later in the week.  Needless to say, I also stocked up on plenty of produce when I was at the grocery store.  I always pair our meals with plenty of fresh vegetables!


Here's what's on the menu....

Sunday: Summer Slow Cooker Chicken (recipe coming soon!)
Monday:  Oven baked nachos 
Tuesday: Family Dinner
Wednesday: Salsa Chicken 
Thursday: Broccoli Cheese Soup (recipe coming soon!)
Friday: Pizza 
Saturday: TBA 

What are you preparing for the week? 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Friday Favorites 1/2/15

Hi there!!! Happy Friday!!! TGIF!  Any big weekend plans for tonight? I'm all about a run at the gym, pajamas, healthier homemade pizza and playing some old school Mario - what can I say, it's winter, let's hibernate.  I love Friday because it's also my opportunity to share the things I'm loving lately with you. It's time for Friday Favorites!!  So, let's get started, shall we...

Housewife Glamour



Food - Green Juice

  • Nothing starts off the morning quite like a glass of green juice.  If you haven't tried it yet, I can honestly say a glass of green juice is as energizing as a cup of coffee. I'm planning on stocking up on the veggies this weekend and breaking out the juicer. Find my favorite juice recipe here.
Food - Slow Cooker Breakfasts

Fashion - Jane.com

  •  I love stacking gold bracelets to jazz up any outfit. Lately, I've been loving the deals on Jane.com. New deals are posted everyday and last for 48 hours, the sellers are various boutique shops.  There are great deals on accessories, clothing, crafts, etc. I've scored quite a few amazing finds, so I highly recommend checking it out.  My picks for today would be these double pearl earrings or this pave link bracelet (a total replica of my favorite J Crew bracelet that I always wear!!)
Fitness - Love Your Body Challenge 

  • I'm committed to getting in even better shape this year and what better way to go about that then participating in the Tone It Up Love Your Body Challenge?  For the next 6 weeks, I'll be  focusing on healthier eating and sticking with my workouts.  If you have similar fitness goals, you should join in on the fun. 
Fun - Winter Vacations 

  • Nothing helps take away the winter gloom like a getaway!  Plan a little (or big) excursion within your budget to help beat the winter blues.  Looking for a big trip?  You can often find good deals on all-inclusives or cruises when you are booking last minute in an off season.  Looking for a little trip?  Book a hotel at a city a few hours from yours, plan a fun dinner out and a local activity.  No time for a weekend getaway?  Plan a date night and break out of a rut by trying a painting class, brewery tour, cooking class or city tour. 
What are you loving this Friday? 


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!! 2014 was a wonderful year that I will always look back on with many happy memories. I fell even more in love with fitness, left an unfulfilling job, started a new job that I love, worked on many home improvement projects, watched many friends get married and have babies, went on a fantastic trip to Nashville with my friends, married my best friend and love of my life, went to the Caribbean for the first time, turned 29 and re-found my voice as a blogger.

While 2014 was wonderful, I have a feeling 2015 will be even better.  Intention is the start of any action and I intend for this to be my best year yet!  I'm starting with a vision board on Pinterest that you can view here and I challenge you to make your own.  I'll be writing my own goals for the year in my new 2015 planner - some of my major things to work on include carving out downtime for myself and relaxing, spending less time mindlessly scrolling through my iphone, finding a new fitness routine, continuing to improve my relationships, work on complaining less and striving to always love more.


Wishing you a magical and wonderful new year! Today is the first page in a new chapter, make this year the best year yet.