Friday, October 31, 2014

The Friday Five

1. Reading:
My boss recommended this to our entire staff.
From Amazon: Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin? Do you simultaneously feel overworked and underutilized? Are you often busy but not productive? If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist. The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done. It is not a time management strategy or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.

2. Eating:
This Thai Crunch Brussels Sprouts Salad from How Sweet Eats. I made this for lunch today and added shrimp for some extra protein. I can't wait to have the leftovers over the weekend.

3. Listening to:
Shocker, I know. I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous when I learned that 1989 wasn't going to be a country album. I wasn't sure anything could top Red but T Swift did it again. I've been listening to the album on repeat since Monday. I can't get enough of Style, All You Had To Do Was Stay, and Wildest Dreams or the rest of the album for that matter. 

4. Recipe I'm pulling out of the oven:
I took advantage of my day off today and had quite the kitchen dance party while making these Super Soft Glazed Pumpkin Cookies. I put the glaze on a few of them, left some plain, and then added chocolate chips into the last batch. So good!

5. Things making me laugh:

Happy Friday and happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Homecoming Recap

Last week/weekend was a busy one with all the homecoming festivities. Wednesday, we hosted Mr. Wofford and I can honestly say that I have not laughed that hard in a long time. The winner impersonated our Dean of Students during the costume round and absolutely nailed it. For our annual homecoming event on Thursday, we had a cookout and showed "Remember the Titans" on the jumbo tron at the football stadium.  
Friday, the majority of our staff headed to a conference on the other side of town. I am thankful that I get to work with such great people on a daily basis and take advantage of so many professional development opportunities.
That night was the annual Terrier Ball which was held at the Marriott this year. It was so fun to have ML and Lash in town and to be able to catch up with so many alums.
Saturday, I had to work for a few hours setting up the student tailgate lot and a brunch for the homecoming court before getting to tailgate with ML and friends.
During halftime, I got to go down on the field as we crowned our homecoming queen.
Saturday night we headed to dinner at Limeleaf before stopping by the Street Party. Overall, it was a great week/weekend. I love my new job and getting to assist the students with all their events. It was a crazy couple of days but it was so worth it - it only took me three whole days to recover!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What I Baked on Sunday

Gooey Pumpkin Bars 
Gooey Pumpkin Bars are one of my favorite things about fall. One of my college roommates introduced me to the recipe sophomore year and I've been making them ever since. This year, I turned it up a notch by swapping out the yellow cake mix for a spice cake mix. Add this recipe to your fall baking repertoire asap.

         (Recipe from Cookies and Cups)
1 box Spice Cake Mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted


  • Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  • Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
  • In a bowl, combine the dry cake mix, melted butter, and egg. The mixture will be stiff. Press into prepared pan and set aside. 
  • In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Mix in vanilla, eggs, cinnamon and butter. 
  • Sift powdered sugar into the bowl and mix,
  • Pour mixture into the prepared base. Bake for 45 minutes or until the edges are set and the middle is still slightly gooey.
  • Sprinkle with more powdered sugar if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Whole 30 - Week 4

I did not go grocery shopping for the last week since I was going to be at a conference for the majority of the time. I had to get creative with my food choices and did the best I could while traveling. Whole 30 is certainly doable while you are on the road but it gets hard when you are working with preset meals.

Our hotel did not offer a continental breakfast but we did have a kitchen in our room so I made sure to pack hard boiled eggs and plenty of bananas. On Sunday, I was happy to be back home and made another batch of paleo pancakes with lots of cinnamon while I watched USEF finals on my iPad.
Lunch and Dinner
Lunch and dinner the last week were a hodgepodge. I had a salad from Chick-fil-a for lunch on the way to the conference and a zalad from Zaxby's for dinner on the way home. I rarely eat at Zaxby's and was impressed by their grilled chicken. The nice thing about being in Myrtle Beach was the access to fresh seafood. We had a lunch on our own one day and I had a piece of blackened mahi with steamed veggies on the side.
Overall Thoughts
Even though I did not follow the Whole 30 guidelines to a T, I enjoyed experimenting with paleo. I did not set out to lose weight but I am down 4 pounds and a few inches. My energy levels are up and I am sleeping better at night. I really did not miss carbs or alcohol for that matter. I did struggle with sweets and will continue to work on my cravings. Going forward, I plan to implement the 80/20 rule (Paleo 80% of the time and 20% for when life happens). I would highly recommend the program to anyone looking to jump start clean eating.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Whole 30 - Week 3

This was by far the hardest week of the Whole 30. My sweets cravings were out of control and I ended up giving into them more often than not (damn you Reese's ice cream). I went back to the website to read the breakdown of each day and they said this week is when people are most likely to fall off the band wagon and give in to random cravings. Even though I may have failed this week by Whole30 standards, I am committed to finishing this challenge on a high note.

Breakfast was more of the same this week - hard boiled eggs and bananas. On Sunday, I made these sweet potato pancakes topped with cinnamon and served with a banana and almond butter. To make the pancakes, combine half of a cooked sweet potato, skin removed, with an egg. Cook in a skillet coated with coconut oil. They were more on the savory than sweet side and were a nice change from the egg and banana pancakes that I usually make. 
I decided to make a big pot of soup this week since the temperatures are finally starting to drop. I made this "Creamy" Cauliflower Soup minus the cheddar. The recipe was fairly easy to follow and I had fun using my roommate's immersion blender. I ate this pretty much everyday with a side salad. 
The nice thing about the Whole30 is that it has encouraged me to mix things up and try new recipes. I made this Beef Stir Fry with Broccoli and served it over cauliflower rice. This dish was out of this world and fairly easy to make. I will definitely keep it in the rotation going forward. 
Also on the dinner menu this week was a hamburger patty with sweet potato fries, and a superfood salad. I have been loving sweet potato fries dipped in dijon mustard. 

It is hard to believe we are entering the final week. Here's to finishing strong!