Sunshine Ginger Blondies

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Y’all. I have a great new recipe to share. These blondies are light, just the right amount of sweet, and pack a delightful ginger punch. (If you don’t like ginger, this is NOT the right recipe for you!)

Blondies

I’ve told you guys about Sunshine in past posts (the wonderfully tasty ginger berry-flavored pick-me-up of good energy that my company makes), and I’ve shared a Sunshine cupcake recipe before, too (which is delicious, by the way).

This blondie recipe also incorporates Sunshine as an ingredient, further proving that Sunshine can be delicious in so many forms: straight from the can, as a cocktail mixer, in baked goods, and more.

(Also, if you’re not following Sunshine already on Instagram, you should totally do it. Shameless plug, yes, but also there are great cocktail recipes along with other awesome content on that channel. Go for it!)

Ingredients (for blondies)

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Sunshine
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root

Ingredients (for glaze)

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons Sunshine
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
  • 15 finely crushed ginger snap cookies

Directions (for blondies)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9″x13″ pan or line the pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt.
  • Add the butter, eggs, Sunshine, ground ginger, and freshly grated ginger, beating until well blended.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes (until the blondies are light golden and firm to the touch).

Directions (for glaze)

  • While the blondies are baking, prepare the ginger glaze.
  • Combine powdered sugar, Sunshine, and grated ginger root together in a bowl, whisking until smooth.
  • Once the blondies are done baking, remove them from the oven and pierce the cake with a fork in several places.
  • Pour the glaze over the blondies, spreading it evenly.
  • Sprinkle crushed ginger snap cookies on top of the glaze.
  • Let the glaze set for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

 

Friday Favorites

Friday, Friday, FRIDAY! Man, it’s been a hot week. I’m ready for the weekend (which will be equally hot, but at least life will get to move a little slower). I’m also glad it’s Friday because it means I get to see Kevin for the first time in a week. He’s been in Las Vegas for a Fulton & Roark trade show since last Sunday and is flying back into Charlotte tonight. Wahoo! And then tomorrow night, we’re headed to dinner at The Katharine for a late birthday celebration (since he was out of town for my actual birthday last Sunday). I can’t wait to try that restaurant for dinner! Lots of fun things to look forward to, for sure.

Okay, on to this week’s Friday Favorites:

  • I recently learned about All Birds shoes, and would be interested to try them! They’re made of lightweight, breathable New Zealand merino wool, and are supposed to be moisture wicking, cool in warm weather, and warm in cold weather. And they’re cute!:

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 5.15.52 PM

  • Amidst all the Olympic coverage, seeing this 1980 Steve Martin diving video was perfectly timed. It’s SO funny. He’s SO funny. (Also — fun fact — we share a birthday! Happy belated birthday, Steve, and thanks for making this awesome video!):

  • I think these candles — made to smell like each state — are a brilliant idea, and would be the perfect gift item (especially for someone moving to a new state).

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 5.23.18 PM

  • I’ve been loving Asian dishes lately (I always love them, but have been even MORE into them of late), and so I can’t wait to give this soba noodle recipe a try. Doesn’t it look amazing? (Bethany: Up for another virtual cooking session?)

soba noodles

Hope y’all have a fun weekend ahead! Stay cool out there…

Friday Favorites

Tags

, , , ,

It’s Friday leading into my birthday weekend (my bday is on the 14th — this Sunday!). That makes this an extra fun weekend. Even more fun? My mom, sister, and I (who live in Atlanta, Columbia, and Winston-Salem, respectively) are meeting up in Charlotte tomorrow night for a Dixie Chicks concert. I can’t WAIT. Susan and I got my mom tickets to celebrate her birthday back in March, so we have been looking forward to being together for this show for several months. It’s just a bonus that it falls on my birthday weekend, too!

I hope you have lots of fun things planned, too. While we wait for the weekend to actually begin, though, here are this week’s Friday Favorites from Curiouser & Curiouser:

  • The Olympics have been the theme of every evening at Keller Manor this week. (We’ve kept the TV on at work, too, and so it’s been fun to keep up with events during the day as well.) Kevin and I come home and tune in to the day’s events (we don’t have cable, but have been impressed with NBC.com’s streaming and replays), constantly in awe of the talent these athletes possess. I love the inspiration the Olympics convey, and the pride in country. Frank Bruni’s New York Times op-ed piece, “The Olympics Make a Grown Man Cry,” was spot-on, as far as I’m concerned. They’ve been a welcome relief amidst this insane political season and our cynical lives in general. This piece is definitely worth a read.

antigua

  • Last Friday night, my friend Bethany (who lives in Richmond) and I had a virtual dinner date. Y’all — it was SO much fun! We’d found this Bon Appétit recipe for Thai Drunken Noodles (one of my FAVORITE Thai dishes) and both wanted to make it. We realized it would be much more fun to make it together, and so we did just that! We FaceTimed as we prepped and made dinner, then sat down and ate “together” as well. It was awesome, and we can’t wait to do it again. It honestly felt like she was in the kitchen with me, which made me so very happy. (And these noodles? Uh, yeah. I’ll be making them again soon.)

IMG_0667

  • Did y’all know there was a stationary-themed subscription box? It’s called Papergang, and it sounds incredible. (That is, for those of us who love all things paper — think notebooks, gift cards, desk accessories, and more.)

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 10.35.24 AM

  • Last, but certainly not least, Tim Regan-Porter, who I met while interning at Paste Magazine back in 2010 (he was the president and CEO at Paste) is now the Director of Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism as well as the father to a 3-year-old daughter, Rose. He recently wrote this piece on raising a daughter, and the importance of language in the process. I just loved his perspective, and wanted to share it with y’all.

Happy weekending!

Slowing Down These Days

I read an interesting New York Times article recently about a woman who, in an effort to track how busy she REALLY was, began logging her time for a full year. The mother of four (all under age 8) found that, true, she kept busy, but she also had time to read, to work out, to sleep. She found she didn’t work as many hours as she thought she did (right around 40 per week).

“A life is lived in hours,” she writes. “What we do with our lives will be a function of how we spend those hours, and we get only so many.”

I found it interesting to think about a year in this way, especially against the backdrop of our crazy-busy society where people love to wear busyness and stress like a badge. And then, there’s more to it than the actual hours when you think about it. It’s your mindset during those hours, too. Did the article’s author feel that she was able to be present and mindful even in those non-hectic moments? I wonder.

The article reinforced how tired I’ve grown of the “I’m so busy!” mantra so many people have, and I’ve tried to pretty well eliminate it from my life. I mean, yeah, I get busy, but everyone is, right? I’m not impressed when people seem to be busy just to be able to say they’re busy. You should be busy — busy doing things you’ve committed to and are responsible for, balanced by things you enjoy and that enrich your life.

And the mindfulness thing, too. It’s so important, and easy to overlook. I used to feel like I had to have a crammed-full schedule, making the most of every moment and saying “yes” to everything and everyone. And not so much out of obligation, either, but more because I a.) didn’t want to feel left out and b.) genuinely wanted to do most of those things.

Lately, though, I’ve noticed a big shift in myself. I crave quiet and stillness in ways I haven’t historically. And I love it.

I love being still, not talking, and getting immersed in an activity that’s just for me (reading, baking, running, walking Fulton). Maybe that’s just part of getting older for some people? I find it interesting — and definitely new — but also remarkably peaceful and meditative.

IMG_0638

I don’t plan on tracking the next year based on how I spend each hour. I’m not too concerned about fitting it all in, making it all work, or having it all. I’m confident it will fall into place. And for some parts, I’ll be (happily) on the sidelines, and that’s okay. I love my more-quiet-lately life, and taking my foot off the gas (something that just seemed to happen on its own) has been quite freeing.

Have any of y’all noticed a similar natural slowing in your lives?

Friday Favorites

Happy first Friday of August, y’all!

I hope everyone’s had a great week. Kevin and I had summertime colds last weekend (YUCK!), but are feeling much more human now. Thank goodness. He’s headed to Charlotte this weekend for the Charlotte Men’s Show (for F&R), so Fulton-pup and I will be flying solo. (I think making a batch of these drunken noodles will be on the agenda. I LOVE to order this from Thai restaurants, and can’t wait to try it at home!) Also on the agenda: teaching and taking Pure Barre classes, hitting up a yoga class, meeting some friends for coffee, and watching my latest Netflix obsession, Marcella. Should be fun!

But before we get this weekend party started, here are a few Friday Favorites I wanted to share:

tumblr_obcvg988jG1vcpbzio1_1280

  • The Faroe Islands makes a bid to be included on Google Maps’ Street View with this awesome campaign. (Note: I’m dying to visit the Faroe Islands after watching this beautiful footage.)
  • Please watch this bear wave to a woman in response to her wave. Adorable!:

  • I love this new ad from IKEA:

Slappy's Chicken

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

2016’s Watermelon Trend

Tags

,

This summer, the flavor trend is most definitely centered around all things watermelon.

This comes as great news for me, since I’ve been a fan of watermelon dating waaaay back to the early 90s. (Proof below — I’m the second from the right.):

FullSizeRender

I got the first whiff of this watermelon fad at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago when the cashier recommended their new cold-pressed watermelon juice (just watermelon juice and lemon juice). Since then, I’ve been seeing more and more watermelon-flavored beverages pop up (many in the beer category) along with other watermelon-laden treats. In fact, it looks like even Beyoncé is getting in on the watermelon action, as she recently invested in a cold-pressed watermelon water startup called WTRMLN WTR.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 1.23.12 PM

This is good news from a nutritional standpoint. After all, watermelon is high in lycopene, which maintains good bone and cardiovascular health. Watermelon also contains an amino acid called citrulline, which can assist in improving blood flow and reducing fat cells. I’ll take it! Plus, this stuff is just so darn refreshing and classically summer.

In celebration of this welcome trend (and to make a nod to National Watermelon Day, one day late), I’ve rounded up a handful of watermelon recipes that will help you enjoy summer to the last bite:

(Oh, and if you’re looking for some refreshing watermelon cocktail recipes, check out my recent post for Beyond Yoga, where I rounded up five tasty recommendations.)

 

 

My Thoughts On Natural Deodorant

Tags

, , , ,

You can easily find arguments on both sides of the “is conventional deodorant bad for you?” debate. Some (mainly within the natural community) will claim the aluminum used in most mainstream deodorant brands poses a danger to users’ heath, potentially leading to diseases like breast cancer. (In traditional anti-perspirant deodorant, the aluminum ingredient is used to block the sweat glands to keep sweat from getting to the skin’s surface.) Other sides cite a lack of research specifically tying mainstream deodorant to any increase in disease.

I’m not one to tend to get overly paranoid about this kind of thing, but at the same time when you consider all the chemicals we expose ourselves to — via beauty products, household cleaners, the air we breathe, even some of the foods we eat — it does make me take pause and wonder if I should try an alternative. After all, there are SO many natural deodorants on the market now. If I can find one that works for me — minus the aluminum — why not go that route, right?

Since coming to this conclusion, I’ve tried three different kinds of natural deodorant and wanted to share my thoughts on each, in the event you’re also contemplating making the switch:

  1. Native Deodorant

I’ve tried two Native scents, Unscented and Fresh, and like both but think I prefer Unscented.

In theory, I like that Native is applied like regular deodorant. However, I’ve found that the consistency is a little different than standard deodorant (it doesn’t glide on quite as smoothly), and so I end up having to use my fingers to apply it anyway. (This happens more frequently with the Fresh scent, for some reason.) Coverage-wise, I felt like it keeps me feeling fresh throughout the day.

native

2. PiperWai

You may have heard of this natural deodorant if you’re a Shark Tank watcher, as it was featured on the show. This version is a charcoal-based deodorant that you rub directly into your armpits (just a pea-sized amount on each pit). I was impressed at how easy it was to rub in, and even though it starts out gray, it quickly turns clear upon application. (Whew!) The charcoal ingredient is key, as activated charcoal can absorb 1,000 times its weight in moisture. You can see where that might come in handy in this instance!

piperwai

3. MALIN + GOETZ

My third natural deodorant pick (like Piper Wai) has one scent option: eucalyptus. It smells so refreshing, and glides on the smoothest of the three (like a standard roll-on deodorant). With odor-neutralizing ingredients, this stuff is formulated to keep you smelling so fresh and so clean, clean.

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 11.07.12 AM

My overall recommendation? The Piper Wai ended up being my favorite of the three. Yes, it’s a little weird to rub on deodorant with your fingers, but once you get over that new approach this stuff works really well. Go, activated charcoal! I plan to keep using it in lieu of regular deodorant. (My next pick is Malin + Goetz, followed by Native. But I do like all three brands!)

For others who have tried natural deodorants, what have your experiences been? Any favorite brands?

Vegan, Gluten-Free Blueberry Cobbler

Tags

,

I just realized it’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe on Curiouser & Curiouser, and decided that needed to change. And since Sundays are perfect days for baking, I spent some time in the kitchen this afternoon and wanted to share my results.

And friends, this mouthwatering blueberry cobbler recipe (which just so happens to be vegan and gluten-free) is worth passing along. Trust me.

IMG_0605

Also, some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream would take this over the TOP. Just sayin’.

Now, truth be told, I actually started out with the intention of whipping up some vegan blueberry muffins. (I’ve been trying to improvise more in the kitchen rather than following recipes, you see.) I quickly realized, upon pulling the “muffins” out of the oven, that they definitely weren’t going to work in that form (they didn’t come together enough), but they sure were tasty anyway. I just repurposed them in a shallow dish rather than the muffin tin and — voila! — a delicious (and healthy) summertime dessert, full of fresh berries. I love it when mistakes can be salvaged into something great.

Here’s how you can whip up a muffin-mistake-turned-dessert-success of your own:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 flax eggs (2 Tablespoons ground flax meal mixed with 6 Tablespoons of water)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups gluten-free oats, ground very slightly so you have a very coarse oat flour (I use the food processor for this)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Grease a small, shallow, oven-safe pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
  • Mix your flax eggs in a small bowl and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the coconut oil and beat (using the paddle attachment) on high speed until smooth.
  • Add coconut sugar, beating well until incorporated.
  • Add in flax eggs.
  • Beat in vanilla, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Remove bowl from the mixer and, using a large spoon, stir in half the coarse oat flour, then half the almond milk. Then add the rest of the oat flour, and stir, then the rest of the almond milk, and stir.
  • Gently fold in blueberries.
  • Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until slightly browned and bubbly.
  • Serve warm (it’s a must!), topping with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream/frozen yogurt/coconut milk ice cream, and perhaps a few extra berries. Enjoy!

My Favorite Apps

Tags

,

There’s a set of pretty standard apps that most of us use frequently. You know, the social media standards (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat), The Weather Channel app, Google Maps and Waze, etc. But then we all have those extras that we love and use pretty often that others might not know about.

IMG_0560

I wanted to share some of those “extra” apps — outside of the rather ubiquitous social/maps/weather set — that I use frequently. (I have an iPhone, by the way. I think some of these are iOS specific.) Here goes!:

Waterlogged: I’ve raved about this app before, but wanted to mention it again. It allows you to set a water consumption goal for the day and then track against it as you chip away at the goal. Go, hydration!

Wunderlist: This is the perfect app for fellow Type A list makers. You can make lists galore (and then share them with others as necessary). I have lists for groceries, blog post ideas, movies I want to watch, books I want to read, gift ideas, recipes I want to try, and more.

Ibotta: I’m not all that into coupon clipping, but I do enjoy using Ibotta to get money back on grocery items. Once you hit $20, you can deposit it right into your PayPal account. Easy!

Ebates: Y’all. I know, I’ve talked about Ebates a ton, but that’s because it’s amazing! Getting cash back for purchases you’re already going to make (at sites like Nordstrom, Target, Expedia, and more), no strings attached?? Anyway, the app version is essential for when you’re shopping via smartphone.

Cardstar: Good news! You can get rid of all those pesky little loyalty cards with barcodes that make your keychain massive. Just put the bar codes into your phone instead and pull up any card you need as you’re checking out! Talk about streamlining things.

Calm: I’ve been trying to incorporate more meditation, mindfulness, and stillness into my life, and have to say it doesn’t come naturally. This app has been a helpful reminder and, with sessions starting at just five minutes, is a good way to ease into things.

SkyFit: I’ve shared about this app just recently, but couldn’t not include it, as it’s one of my new favorite finds. The app is populated with tons of on-demand workouts — ranging from indoor or outdoor running to yoga workouts and more — led by a variety of trainers. I’ve been using it mainly for outdoor running so far, and have loved the way my runs have been flying by. It’s a subscription-based, paid app, just as a heads up. I think it’s very worth it, though!

What are some apps you use all the time? I’d love to add some cool new-to-me ones to my line-up!

 

 

Friday Favorites

Welcome to Friday Favorites — the new name for what was formerly Links I’m Loving. (I realized some of the things on my Links I’m Loving list weren’t always links, per say — they were more just things I was enjoying in general — and so I opted to go for a different title. A little rebranding can be healthy, right?)

Anyway, here are some of the things I’ve been pretty pumped about recently. Short and sweet this week!:

  • SkyFit: This workout app is totally up my alley. I talked about my love of group fitness in a recent workout post, and SkyFit is able to offer me that effect in a running context. The app is populated with tons of on-demand workouts — ranging from indoor or outdoor running to yoga workouts and more — led by a variety of trainers. I’ve been using it mainly for outdoor running so far, and have loved the way my runs have been flying by. I tried the seven-day free trail and then ended up signing up for a three-month subscription because I’m convinced this is going to make me a better runner. I highly recommend it!

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 7.59.56 PM

  • Speaking of workout motivation, Nike’s new India-based music video, “Da Da Ding,” is sure to get you pumped for a workout. It’s just so visually stunning — I can’t stop watching it! Plus, these women are total badasses:

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 8.15.40 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 8.15.48 PM

Happy Friday!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 126 other followers