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i’m dreaming of a white chocolate christmas

Brant and I took a baking class on Saturday at the Cambridge Culinary Institute and had so much fun!

It got us into the holiday spirit and was nice to get some new ideas and tips from our instructor.

The class was I’m Dreaming of a White Chocolate Christmas and was (obviously) a class filled with baking with white chocolate.

There were a variety of recipes for us to choose from.  Some people focused on cakes and some kept it simpler, like us.  We decided to try a few different recipes for scones, cookies and truffles.  All of which were easy to make and tasted delicious!

First up, White Chocolate Scones:

Making the dough was fun!

Form the dough into a circle and cut into triangles.

Bake for 20 minutes until slightly browned.

Instructors tip: Stack 2 cookie sheets together while baking so that the bottoms don’t brown to quickly.

These scones were delicious!  Crispy and flaky, just like a scone should be. 🙂

Next up, White Chocolate Dream Cookies:

Mix all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Chop white chocolate and toast macademia nuts before adding.

Using an ice cream scoop, form into balls and place on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until browned.

Yum!

Last up, White Chocolate Truffles:

These truffles were super easy!

Melt cream, butter, vanilla and white chocolate in a bowl.

Cool for a few hours, or pop the bowl into an ice bath and stir until harded enough to form balls.

To make it easy, we scooped the cooled mixture into a pastry sleeve and portioned out the chocolate mixture.

They don’t need to look pretty because you will be reshaping them once harded.

After a few hours in the fridge or 10 minutes in the freezer, use your hand to form the truffles into round balls.  Serve plain or dip into mixture of choice – we chose crushed pistachios and toasted coconut.

These would make perfect holiday gifts!

All of our goodies.

Other folks in the class make souffles and cakes!

We got a little of everything to sample at home.

It was a great and informative class!  I would definitely do it again!

eastern market & le pain quotidien

Don’t forget to check out my post on Living Harvest about Staying Healthy, Active and Motivated All Winter!

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Before heading the the airport, we had some breakfast and checked out the famous Eastern Market which features a flea market, farmer’s market and craft fair!

Breakfast was first..at Le Pain Quotidien.

The restaurant is all over the world in various countries, including the USA.  I have been to the NYC location before, so I was excited to see it directly across from our hotel.

They use all local and sustainable ingredients in their meals.

Everything on the menu looked great, but I decided on the Harvest Porridge and some toast.

Farro with almond milk, cranberries, mixed nuts and garnished with strawberries.

And, a side of toast with their amazing hazelnut spread and jam!

A bit later, I ordered a Hot Chocolate while waiting for others to finish up breakfast.

Oh my gosh!  Delicious!

My hot chocolate was served as a cup of steamed organic milk and a side of melted chocolate.

I poured in the chocolate to get the best hot chocolate yet!

Once we were fueled for the day, we headed to Eastern Market.

If you haven’t noticed recently, my favorite thing to do while travelling is to check out the local farmer’s markets. 🙂

This one had a variety of produce.

And, holiday vendors.

We strolled through the neighborhood eyeing the adorable houses.

And, our view of the Capital.

And like that, I was off to catch my flight…

It was a wonderful few days in Washington DC!

white house tour, georgetown & cupcakes

Day 2 of our Washington DC trip featured a private tour of the White House (including the kitchen, bakery and flower shop!!) and a trip to Georgetown for some shopping and eating.  definitely a fun day!

The White House (shown here at night) was all decorated for the holidays.

We headed through the gates…

…and down the quiet path to the White House.

Each year, the White House has a different decorating theme.  This year, it was Simple Gifts.  Everything was made out of simple things…and transformed into elaborate Christmas Trees and decorations.

A peek inside…

The decorated rooms led us right into the flower shop.

And, the kitchen and bakery, where we enjoyed on a chocolate truffle mouse!

It was a fabulous tour!

After the tour, we hopped in a taxi and headed straight to Georgetown.

We walked around and enjoyed the shops, then found some lunch…and a delicious cupcake shop!

There was a line out the door when we spotted the shop…who knew that cupcakes could cause this much chaos!

Chocolate PB Chip for me…and White Chocolate Peppermint for mom.

Hands down the best cupcakes I have ever had!  The chocolate cupcake was filled with PB chips, and the frosting was pure PB…delicious. 🙂

What a day! 🙂

white house tree lighting, 2010

Happy Holidays!  Can you believe that Christmas is next weekend?  I love the holiday season!

Check out my guest post on the Living Harvest website where I talk about Staying Healthy, Active and Motivated All Winter Long!

New Years is the time for resolutions, but my tips will help you keep it up throughout the year. 🙂

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Late last week, I was lucky enough to fly down to Washington DC to attend the National Christmas Tree Lighting!

The tree was lit on Thursday night, so we flew down that morning and were seated by 4:00pm for the lighting.  Before heading to the airport, I made up a smoothie for breakfast (and packed up some snacks).

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 6-8 frozen strawberries
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed
  • 4 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 1-1.5 cups milk

Topped with a little granola for garnish.

We were very close to the stage and the tree for the lighting!

Our family friends really hooked us up!

It was freezing cold!  So, we bundled up and sat close together for some warmth.  It was definitely worth it, though!

Once President Obama and the first family arrived at the lighting, the party was ready to start.

Ready, set…

LIGHT!!

Apparently, this is the most energy efficient Christmas tree ever!  I’m not really sure how it can be with all of those lights…

After the lighting, Maroon 5 and other singers performed before Santa made his way on stage.

It was a gorgeous night!

amazing grass products

A few months ago, the wonderful folks at Amazing Grass sent me some samples of their protein powder and bars to try out.

I already knew that I love Amazing Grass products, but I was really excited to try out the new Vanilla Chai flavor!

If you are not familiar with Amazing Grass products, they have a variety of protein powders, superfood powders and energy bars.  Each of their products contain plant based mixes of whole fruits and vegetables that allow you to easily get some green nutrition every day.

Personally, I prefer to get my nutrients from the actual foods – eating whole veggies, fruits, etc – but, I love these Amazing Grass products when I am on the go or running out the door and don’t have a chance to eat as many fruits and veggies that day.  I always pack a few packets with me to take on vacation, like I did when we went to Florida last week.  Mixed with milk or water, they make a great post-workout snack or a regular snack while on the go.

Superfoods

From the Amazing Grass website:

Amazing Grass Green SuperFood is a perfect blend of alkalizing greens, antioxidant rich whole food fruits and vegetables, immune boosting support herbs, and friendly pre & probiotics. Our powder mixes so easily with water; you’ll wonder how essential green nutrition could taste this good.

The green superfood definitely tastes, well, green!  To me, I don’t love the taste alone, but mixed with a smoothie, I can hardly taste it!  Luckily, there are a variety of flavors to choose from – chocolate and berry are my favorite.  The chocolate mixed with 8oz of milk tastes like chocolate milk (with a green kick!). 🙂  It also makes you feel great and gives you a boost of energy if needed.

Amazing Meal

From the Amazing Grass website:

Amazing Meal is a powerful and satisfying blend of Green SuperFoods, plant based protein, phytonutrient rich fruits & vegetables, digestive enzymes and probiotics. The way Mother Nature intended…Organic, Raw and Delicious.

The ‘meal’ powders are my absolute favorite, especially the chocolate!  Mixed with milk and a banana (and blended), it makes an amazing meal on the go.  Chocolatey and delicious, and barely any grassy flavor.  I made one of these smoothies everyday in Florida and it was great.  It gave me plenty of protein, fruit, greens and dairy to start my day refreshed and energized.

The new Vanilla Chai flavor is delicious!

It does contain stevia, which I don’t love due to the taste, but when mixed into a smoothie, I can barely taste it.  I have been mixing this flavor into any type of smoothie, but I particularly love it mixed with cherries!  Cherry Vanilla Chai – yum!

Energy Bars

From the Amazing Grass website:

Our certified Organic Green SuperFood Energy Bars feature a premium blend of nature’s most nourishing and delicious SuperFoods. The energy bars provide health conscious consumers with a more potent, convenient and affordable way to satisfy their hunger and deliver nutrients to their bodies the way Mother Nature intended – unprocessed, organic and delicious.

We’ve combined our best-selling and alkalizing Organic Green SuperFood drink powder with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to create a delicious and healthy treat. Loaded with nutritious organic nuts and seeds…

I was definitely a little skeptical about these bars!  I mean, I didn’t want to eat a bar that tasted like greens…that didn’t seem like fun!  But, I was pleasantly surprised. They have a good, normal bar texture and have a little crunch to them.  My favorite is by far the Chocolate Peanut Butter.  And, I love that they contain all natural and organic real foods mixed up into the bar.  Some bars on the market these days are basically candy bars!

Overall, I love the Amazing Grass products!  I have since found their products are Whole Foods and other Natural Food stores.  They are a little pricey, but you pay for what you get.  These powders and bars don’t contain any fillers, so you are paying for real whole foods (in powder and bar form!). 🙂

Thanks, Amazing Grass for sending me these awesome products!

i’m pregnant, week 24

Week 24…crazy!  It is going by so fast…and my belly is growing every day!

This second trimester has been great!  I have so much more energy than the first trimester and I feel 100% better.  There are still days that I just don’t feel like ‘myself’, but I’m pregnant – it’s expected!  And, those days are few and far between, so overall I have been feeling great! 🙂

The last 4-5 weeks, I have noticed a big change in the size of my belly.  The baby is getting bigger…and I can tell!

(check out my last post to see previous pics!)

Week 18:

My appetite is definitely back and I crave real foods again!  I have been loving salads with a lot of toppings, as well as, brussels sprouts.  My body wants greens…but, it also wants carbs!  I have learned to give in to my cravings.  Thankfully, I haven’t been craving too much sugar on most days.  My eating has still been very healthy, so I am not too worried about what I am eating at this point.  I am just eating when I’m hungry (which is much more on some days!).

Week 20:

It feels great to workout.  Some days, I find that I definitely just need to take it easy and rest, but on the other days, I love my workouts.  I have been keeping them mostly low-key, just trying to get my body moving and to get my heart rate up for 30-45 minutes each day.  But, I am enjoying my workouts so much more!  I find them therapeautic and fun, whereas before, I felt like I needed to workout.  These days, I want to workout.  I want to be healthy for my baby…and for myself.  Walking and swimming are my workouts of choice these days, but I also still try to enjoy a slow run/jog once or twice a week, even though it is getting harder!

At week 22, Brant and I ran in a Turkey Trot in Orlando!

We took it slow, but kept a good pace, finishing in 31 minutes!

Week 22:

I feel the baby moving a lot, which definitely makes being pregnant very exciting.  It is a constant reminder of the little one inside of you…and a constant reminder that you are the one who needs to provide for this baby!  With each week that passes, we get more and more excited.  We can’t wait to feel the baby start kicking!

Week 24:

We have about 3 months to go…and our birth classes start this week!  It’s getting so close! 🙂

carbs, carbs and more carbs

My body is craving carbs!

Instead of my favorite smoothie this morning, I decided on an Ezekial english muffin – 1/2 almond butter, 1/2 berry jam.

Ezekial english muffins are great!  Very thick, but still light.

With some decaf English Breakfast tea with lemon.

Mid-morning, I snacked on a slice of Banana Bread.  Still delicious from sunday!

And, lunch was a salad and chocolate yogurt.

Romaine lettuce with dried fruit, pecans and honey balsamic dressing.

And, a juicy green apple.

I headed to get my haircut after work, so I knew dinner would be late.  Good thing I had a larabar and chocolate milk with me!  It was a perfect pre-dinner snack.

After my hair appointment, I headed out for a 40 minute walk around downtown Boston…it was so pretty all decorated for the holidays!

Once home, I tossed some broccoli with olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and popped some it in the oven at 400* for 20 minutes (turning once).

I also made some whole wheat pasta and topped it with the roasted broccoli, tomato basil sauce and parmesan cheese.

Another easy weeknight dinner…and the broccoli was a great addition to get in some green veggies!

Good night!