Food

Summer Faves

I love summer so much. Some would say that winter, being the season that gets Christmas, is the most nostalgic season. Growing up in Miami, winters meant nothing for me, because it never dipped below 50 degrees (and that was pushing it). Summer was what I looked forward to all year, because it meant that it was time to play. I still look forward to summer as an adult, even though I don’t get to experience the anticipation of the last day of school, or a two week paid summer vacation from work. The heat, the aromas in the air, and the overall theme of childhood that swirls around me for those glorious three months is the best. So my favorite things about summer are:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what are your favorite things about summer?

Trains vs Roller Coasters

The month of April came and went like Mary Poppins on her dang umbrella. It happened wayyy too fast. Daniel and I were in a wedding and we also had Abram’s big first birthday party to put on. Those were just extras added on to our normal busy lives, and I must confess that we did not eat very well. The month consisted of pizzas and whatever we could find that was the fastest to grab and consume.

I had many headaches last month.

May has nothing major planned, and we’ve both decided to be better with the time that we have. That being said, we are trying to get back on the health train. Abram and I went to the produce market on Monday and did some grocery shopping, and that picture up there is what we left with.

I really enjoy shopping for fruits and veggies because I feel so refreshed just from picking them out. They are colorful and vibrant and smell like the earth. I know, when I’m gently putting them in my cart, that these life-savers will make me feel so good when I eat them.

That’s the thing though. I have to eat them.┬áMy hand has to bypass the cheese in the refrigerator and grab the apple or cucumber. I actually have to cut them up and put them in my mouth. But then the left over hot dogs from the party would be sad because I wasn’t giving them any attention.

Getting back on track is so hard, and at first seems impossible. And that goes for everything. I was always told that it takes 21 days to build a habit or a routine, and so far that has held true. What sucks is that you work hard for those three weeks and feel like you’ve arrived. Then one night you decide to reward yourself with a piping hot pizza, a Vanilla Porter and some M&M’s. You then make an excuse to eat a candy bar and some bacon the next day, and then a doughnut at church on Sunday… and by Monday it’s all gone to crap. Might as well eat that bowl of cereal and that piece of cheese for breakfast instead of turning on your juicing and drinking super juice.

Now that your food choices have spiraled out of control, you’ve got a headache. Your body is achy, and your kid is driving you crazy (or your finals have stripped you of your last bit of humanity and you have become the walking dead). Might as well skip the workout. It’ll be fine. You’ll do it tomorrow. But you don’t.

Sound familiar?

Sound like the roller coaster of health you’ve ridden too many times?

Sigh. I’m tired of it, aren’t you? I just want to eat right. I just want to work out even when I don’t feel like it. For a while, I was overcoming discouragement and using it to fuel the fire that burns the calories. Encouragement was coming from left and right. The food I was putting in my body was strengthening me to great accomplishments. I was working out everyday, and dropping the pounds left and right.

But that dang April.

As tempting as it is, I refuse to let this hiccup in health ruin the whole thing. God has worked too much on me to be a quitter. I’m getting off of the roller coaster and back onto the nice and steady train. Those fruits and veggies up there need to get all ate up. Mostly because it’s good for me, but also mostly because they don’t come cheap.

There is too much at stake each day to not be optimizing our energy with the best foods and the healthiest work outs.

Let’s have a conversation about this. Let’s keep each other accountable.

Yummy Spring Cupcakes

So I had been itching to make a batch of some cute cupcakes to scarf down after I found these wonderful vintage inspired cupcake liners from The Bakers Confections on Etsy. I’d like to think I’m pretty good at baking, but the real truth of the matter is that I don’t get to do it that much. So perhaps I have great POTENTIAL… but am still working out many kinks. Anyways, I really love lemon and raspberry flavored things, so I decided to do the cake part lemon and the frosting raspberry. Here’s something that I’ve learned the hard way: if you are going to make butter cream frosting, DO NOT use salted butter. No matter how bad your hand wants to pick up that savory, fatty brick of goodness, head my advice (and probably the advice of every baker who knows anything).

Anyways, this batch of cupcakes turned out pretty delicious and I thought I’d share the recipe. I looked up several different recipes and kind of took bits and pieces from each to form my own. So here it goes:

For the Lemon cake (12 cupcakes):

1 1/8 cups of all purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large egg whites

2/3 cup buttermilk

lemon zest from one lemon

3/4 cups sugar

1/2 stick of unsalted butter, room temp.

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line your cupcake tin. In your mixing bowl, add together the flower, baking powder and salt. Then add the ingredients in the order they are listed, giving each ingredient a few minutes to get well acquainted with the others. The recipes I read said I had to mix certain ingredients in other bowls with my hands and let them sit and then add them, but I didn’t have time to do all that and they turned out great. Spoon the batter into your liners about 3/4 of the way and your all set! Mine only needed to bake for 18 minutes, so just check them with a nice or a tooth pic if you have to go over that time.

For the Raspberry Vanilla Butter cream Frosting (unless you have your own recipe):

1 stick of butter

1-2 cups of powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1/4 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1/4 tablespoon raspberry extract

1-3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Start with your butter. Make sure it is room temp and has a nice smooth consistency. Mix the butter by itself with the paddle attachment on medium speed for a couple of minutes. Sift your sugar in one cup at a time at low speed, and eyeball it to see where you’d like the consistency to be at. Once the sugar is well incorporated, add the salt and extracts. Then add the milk or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time while watching the consistency. You might not need 3 tablespoons, but only 2 or 1 so pay attention!

Enjoy your yummy spring cupcakes and let me know how they came out!