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Monday, January 21, 2019

Envy Apple and Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

*This post is in collaboration with Envy Apples. All opinions are my own.


Envy Apples was kind enough to reach out to me to see if I'd like to attend a cooking class presented by Central Market. Of course I would! The husband and I rarely get to get out of the house together, sans kids, any more so we were so grateful for the mid-week date night opportunity!

The entire night was tasty and the class (which was really a cooking demonstration as we did zero cooking ourselves) was entertaining and informative. None of the recipes demonstrated were mind-blowing in their ingredients or complexities, but I think that's the point of a class like these; recipes you can easily make for yourself at home.

One thing we both learned about Envy Apples specifically was that these apples don't turn brown for at least 3 hours after they're cut! That's pretty nifty information for all the Mommas and Daddy's out there who like to pack lunches in their kiddos snacks/lunches, right?

I posted all of the pictures from our evening and then asked my Instagram followers which recipe I should share. I mean, they were all really great! There were votes for every recipe and it was really a close race. I chose to share this Baked Oatmeal recipe first as I feel it's something that I'll be making for breakfast often- we have some oatmeal lovers in my house!


Envy Apple and Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
Serves 6

2 cups Rolled Oats
1 cup Walnuts, chopped
1 tsp Baking Powder
1.5 tsp  Cinnamon
1 tsp Fine Grain Salt
1/3 cup Maple Syrup
2 cups Milk
1 Large Egg
1.5 tbs Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled slightly plus more for buttering the pan
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste (or vanilla extract)
1 large Envy Apple, washed and chopped
6 ounces Blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 375* F
2. Butter the inside of a square 8" baking dish
3. In a bowl combine the oats, half of the walnuts, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl whisk together the maple syrup, milk, egg, butter, and vanilla.
4. Spread chopped apple pieces in the bottom of the buttered pan, top with the oat mixture and drizzle the liquid mixture over the oats. Scatter the walnuts and the blueberries over the oats.
5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top is golden and the oats are set.
6. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.


This recipe has been adapted from Heidi Swanson's Baked Oatmeal, Epicurious, September 24, 2015.
I was compensated for this post. All photos, opinions, and experiences are my own.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Foods to Incorporate Into Your Diet When You're Trying to Lose Weight


January tends to be a prime time of year for weight loss. There are various factors that result in increased numbers of people actively trying to shift weight and get in shape. Festivities over the Christmas period in December can see us indulge in more unhealthy foods than we generally would at any other time of year. After all, who can turn down mince pies, Yule logs, hot chocolates, and piles of potatoes and stuffing on our Christmas dinner? January also represents a new page in the calendar and a fresh start to our lives - we come up with resolutions that can help us to prosper and flourish over the next twelve months. A change in attitude is extremely positive. But losing weight successfully requires a little more than an optimistic and progressive outlook alone. You’re going to have to conduct a fair amount of research that will allow you to make the right decisions in regards to your exercise and diet. Let’s focus on diet for now.

Eating in Moderation 

The first step towards losing weight by changing your diet should revolve around eating in moderation. Sure, you should cut out fatty foods, sugary foods, and foods with excessive levels of salt. But you can still maintain weight by eating too much in general. Make sure that your diet is balanced and that you tick off all of the major food groups. This will ensure that you are getting sufficient calories to fuel your body throughout the day, that your digestive system is getting enough fiber, and that you are getting other essential vitamins and nutrients. Once you have achieved this, you can then start incorporating some of the following foods into your diet as well in order to benefit from their different properties.

Ginger 

Ginger has plenty of health benefits. This flowering plant, which originates from China, has a long history of use in traditional medicine, as it contains gingerol, which has medicinal properties. It is highly effective in relieving nausea and vomiting. But in regards to weight loss, it is a natural appetite suppressant and also speeds up the emptying to the stomach, aiding indigestion. It comes in various forms, with some of the most popular being whole, powdered, or as an oil. If you aren’t the best chef and can’t see yourself realistically cooking up a storm in the kitchen, incorporating ginger into your usual meals, then remember that the benefits of ginger shots are the same as eating ginger in any other way - if anything, you get to consume a more intense dose all in one go.

 Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are low in calories and carbohydrates, making them a great filler if you’re looking to lose weight. You can use them to fill your plate and bulk meals up without having to worry about gaining pounds while eating them. On top of this, they have the bonus of being packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals such as calcium. Some leafy greens that you might want to try out could include:
-Kale
-Spinach
-Collards
-Swiss Chards

Cruciferous Vegetables 

Chances are that you haven’t heard the phrase “cruciferous vegetables before”. But there’s a good chance you have eaten them - they include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. These types of vegetables contain a lot of fiber and they tend to be filling, which makes them pretty filling. But they have low energy density and could spur your weight loss journey on in the right direction!

Avocados

Avocados are becoming an increasingly popular addition to people’s diets. Demand has spiked in the past few years alone. This goes to show that it’s pretty tasty! But on top of being genuinely enjoyable for most, avocados are loaded with the right type of fats that your body needs to function well. If you don’t like the taste of olive oil, but want to incorporate monounsaturated oleic acid into your diet, eating avocados is one of the best ways to achieve this.

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Apple cider vinegar is another food item that has gained significant levels of popularity in the past few years. Held on a pedestal by the beauty community, this type of vinegar can also be incorporated into vinaigrettes or salad dressings. If you’re feeling brave, you could even dilute it  and drink it. Having some of this at the same time as eating can make you feel more full, encouraging you to consume fewer calories throughout the day.

There are, of course, other foods out there that are great for weight loss. But try incorporating these few into your diet to start with!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Vacationing in Rockport, Texas

One year ago Rockport, Texas was hit by Hurricane Harvey. The destruction was unimaginable. This little fishing town on the coast of Texas took an incredible blow which resulted in many homes and businesses being flooded and destroyed. But Rockport is rising. 
I recently took a long weekend trip to Rockport with a girlfriend, our kids, and her parents. We stayed in a house right on Copano Bay. Driving in, the destruction left by Harvey was still very visible. While there were a sprinkling of houses that were rebuilt and like-new, there were more homes that were clearly still being recovered. Many of these home-owners did not have hurricane insurance and the repairs can quickly become too much for any homeowner to manage.




The goal of our trip was to have a simple, relaxing, low-key weekend where we could fish, enjoy some cocktails on the deck, enjoy the sunsets, and unwind. That is exactly the trip we got. We had moderate luck with the fishing and crabbing but maybe that speaks more of the fishermen than the fish? The sunsets were lovely and the weather, although humid, was really great. The rain that was forecasted all weekend held off for the most part and the breeze was consistent and lovely.



















Though we spent the majority of our weekend at the house, we did spend some time one afternoon at Rockport Beach Park. Texas does not boast white-sand beaches. Until you get closer to Mexico, Texas beaches are good for fishing and shrimping, but exceptionally beautiful beaches they are not. However, the babies had never been to the beach so they have no frame of reference! Lydia loved splashing in the water and was extra surprised when a wave popped her in the mouth and the water was salty! The water at Rockport Beach Park was warm and there was almost zero current making it the perfect first beach experience for my little mermaid. Thomas also had a good time at the beach, but it turns out he's a sand man. He wasn't too thrilled with the water that moved by itself. He was perfectly happy playing in the sand under the fabulous straw-topped umbrella canopies that dot the beach.


Something else to note is that Corpus Christi, Texas is just a short 30(ish) minute drive away which means making a trip to the Texas State Aquarium or U.S.S. Lexington is super easy.


*All photos are mine, all opinions are mine. This is not a sponsored post.