Tag Archive | easter

Have a Special Easter Sunday

Happy Easter ! I hope you’re all having having a wonderful day with your families. Since this is the first Easter I’ve ever spent away from my family, I went to bed vowing to wake up and only do things that make me happy today in order to keep my spirits up.

First up, I baked these adorable M&M inspired Birds Nest Cookies:
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Next, I’m heading out to grab a latte and walk on the beach.
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If I can’t be with my family today, I at least need to do things that make me smile, right?
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What are your Easter plans? Please share!

P.S.
In case you’re in need of a last minute Easter treat, here’s the cookie recipe…I had a blast making these, and I think they’d be adorable on any Easter table! This recipe is on the back of the
“Spec-tacular Eggs M&M Milk Chocolates” bag, which they don’t have in Australia, so I owe my girl Sarah for sending me these. Love you Sar!

Birds Nest Cookies
Inspired by the Spec-tacular eggs M&M Milk Chocolates bag
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Ingredients
1/2 bag M&M speckled milk chocolate m&ms (or any variety!)
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 and 1/3 cups flaked coconut

Directions
1) Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread coconut on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet, and bake in the oven for about 20-minutes, until golden brown. (p.s. the aroma from the toasting coconut is AMAZING!) Once this is done, remove it and set aside in a bowl.
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2) Turn up your oven to 350 degrees, and in a large bowl, add your softened butter and sugar, whipping with a hand or stand mixer until it’s light and fluffy. (I used a hand-mixer). Then beat-in your egg and vanilla.
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3) Combine the flour and pinch of salt in a medium mixing bowl, and then blend it into your creamed mixture.
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4) Roll the dough into balls (each about 1 inch in size), and then roll them each in the baked coconut.
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5) Place them on parchment-paper lined baking sheets, and put a thumb indentation in the center of each cookie. Then cook for about 12-15 minutes, until the coconut is browned.
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6) Let them cool completely, and then fill your pastel-colored m&m’s into each indentation. Voila, you have birds nest cookies!
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I’m taking a couple of these along as my treat of the morning to enjoy with my latte down by the beach. Have a special Easter Sunday!
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Work-Out Motivation Via Clothing…I’m Ready For The Weekend!

Happy-almost weekend! Does anyone else think 4-day weeks always seem longer than 5? The anticipation of a long weekend made this short week feel like an eternity to me. I could tell I was ready for the weekend when my alarm went off at 5 a.m. this morning for body pump and it took me over 8 minutes to pick out my gym clothes…8 minutes! All for something that I was just going to sweat in. Clearly, I’m ready for the weekend. I’ll admit that 8 minutes to pick out gym clothes is a bit excessive, but this outfit helped me get-up and stay-up rather than succumb to more sleep.
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Photo post work-out, please excuse the sweat!

Now seems like a fitting time to talk about my clothing/accessory/matching obsession. If I’m late for anything, it’s usually due to clothing decisions(or indecisions for that matter). I haven’t really talked about this on here , probably because normally I’m talking about food or baking, but I truly adore clothes.  In my next life, I’ll own a clothing store and be a stylist. I’ve found that my obsession is just getting worse as I’m getting older.  In fact, when moving to Australia,  my five suitcases and two carry-on items were all stuffed full of one thing…clothes.
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In the last few years, I’d say the area of my closet that has grown the most is my athletic clothing section. These clothes take up almost as many drawers in my bureau as my regular clothes!  Since I wear them everyday, I’m 100% okay with this, but please tell me I’m not alone. Who else has an overflow of gym clothes? ( I know my twin sister does!) In addition to my clothing problem, I acknowledge that I also have an accessory problem.  I almost always match my headbands with my tank-tops and sports bras, and usually my sneakers coordinate, too. This might be why it took me 8 minutes to pick something out this morning…whoops.

Here’s a few examples of my matching obsession:
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As you may be able to tell, I love my headbands and I am loving the neon trend!

I blame my increasing love of clothing on the fact that for the last four years, I had to wear a black or blue suit to work every.single.day. I had never been so bored with clothing in my life! I made it a daily goal of mine to wear a fun blouse with my suit or wear a dress-suit to mix-it up, which really helped lift my spirits at work.  Liking my outfit ALWAYS made my day a little better…and I still feel that way about clothing today. When I like what I’m wearing, I feel better about myself,  about my day, everything.  Plus, clothing can be motivating too. There have been many other occasions besides this morning when my work-out outfit is what has motivated me to get out the front door and just run!
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Besides clothing helping to motivate my work-outs, I also find that trying new running routes, taking a new exercise class,  or downloading  a new playlist on my iPod also helps motivate me.

Does your clothing ever motivate you?  What else helps motivate you when you’re not feeling like working out?

Are you ready for the weekend?
I know I am! I just purchased my first “hot cross buns” to celebrate our first Easter here in Australia, and I’m very excited to try one. I may just attempt to bake some, too! Happy Easter to all!
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Australia Loving…March Edition

Hello, hello! Happy Sunday in the states/Monday in Australia : – )

May I just say, holy WOW time flies. The last “favorites” post I did was over a month ago! Based on the number of pictures I’ve taken on my phone in the last 30 days, I’d say it’s about that time I share some new things I’m loving in Australia. To me, one of the most exciting things about living in a different country is discovering new things on a daily basis. Anything from new foods, different product packaging, a new walking path, a coffee shop, a restaurant; the possibilities are endless, and it makes every day exciting. Plus, I’m very hopeful that maybe, just maybe, some of my dear friends and family will read these posts and be inspired to come visit us and see these things, too : – ) 
A girl can dream!

Anyway, here’s what I’m loving so far in March:

1) Seeing cruise ships from the treadmill: Yes, you read that right, cruise ships from the treadmill.  That’s just one of the benefits of joining a gym that overlooks the ocean I suppose! I was that weird girl taking pictures on the treadmill but I didn’t care. I have a slight obsession with cruises.cruise

2) New cereal boxes: I’m honestly age 26 going on 6… I think the marketing here on cereals is the cutest thing! The prices, however, are another story. $8 for Nutri-Grain…yuck!
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3) Boost Juice Bar Smoothies: A few weeks ago Brandon and I went to the mall and I was craving a smoothie more than anything, but I’ve struggled to find healthy options here. Boost Juice Bar offered a large variety of healthier options (such as low-fat yogurt and skim milk) for a decent price, too.  I’ll be going back!
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4) Sunsets and sunrises on the ocean: I will never, ever, ever get tired of looking at these!
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5) Ciabatta Restaurant: A few weeks ago I had my favorite meal thus-far in Australia: Macadamia Crusted Wild Baramunndi  (a white fish, similar to Cod) served over a bed of butternut pumpkin, peas, pine-nuts and pan-fried gnocchi, all in a sage and butter sauce. Best.thing.ever.
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6) A new-to-me Pink Moscato Wine: this beauty is only $6 and absolutely delicious.  I felt like I was at Trader Joes when I bought it…$6 for wine?!! Such a deal.IMG_1428

7) Pretty coffee: This has been in my favorites before, but really, I don’t think I’ll never get sick of “latte art”. One of my goals in the next couple of months is to take a coffee-making class so I can learn how to do this.
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8) Running in the sunshine: Still loving it!
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9) Australia celebrating Easter: Many of the holidays we celebrate in the U.S.A. aren’t celebrated here as much, so I was PSYCHED when I spotted chocolate Easter bunnies and Cadbury eggs!
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10) Icecream and fro-yo trips: Obviously, Australia has ice-cream, but anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE soft-serve, waffle cones, and cookie dough icecream. I had my first scoop of cookie dough and my first waffle cone here yesterday at Baskin Robbins, and it was glorious! The perfect Sunday treat.

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What are you loving lately?

Easter Egg Cookie Cups

Easter ranks a VERY close second to Christmas as my favorite holiday of each year.  When I was younger, it was because my sisters and I always woke up to stuffed bunny rabbits at the foot of our beds. Now, it’s all because of  one thing: Cadbury eggs.  Sad, but true. The second these babies are on the shelves at CVS, I lose all self control and buy them immediately.  This year was no exception, and just when I finished my first bag, my darling mother sent me another! I absolutely needed to get these out of my house, so….I baked with them!

Here’s a spin on my favorite homemade cookie-dough recipe, filled with Cadbury eggs.

Easter Egg Cookie Cups

Ingredients
1 stick butter
¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 ¼ cups white flour
1 cup (or as many as desired) Cadbury milk chocolate eggs
1 cup heath-bar bits(optional)
cooking spray

Directions

1)Preheat oven to 350, and prepare cupcake liners in muffin tins. Spray them with butter spray.
2) Soften butter in the microwave on low power—do not melt.
3) Once the butter is softened, mix in sugars with a spatula.
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4) Once mixed, add in both eggs and vanilla.  Stir until mixed.
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5) Add baking soda, and gradually add the flour.

6) Once mixed, add heath bar and Cadbury eggs.

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7) Scoop cookie dough into cupcake liners. Top each cupcake with Cadbury egg.
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8) Bake at 350 for 14-16 minutes, or until browned. (I like mine slightly undercooked).

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These are super festive and super easy. I’m bringing these into work as a pre-Easter treat. I have NO willpower if they stay in my house! Enjoy J
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