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Two years gone by

Hi friends, Happy Easter Monday! I hope you had a memorable day and weekend with your families. I spent Easter with some of my favorite people.
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We were missing a few other favorites (furry friends included) but one in particular was constantly on my mind:
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Today’s the day that I (along with his family and friends) have been waiting for for over two years now: today Brandon comes home FOR GOOD! It’s hard to believe that two years have gone by, but somehow they have. And now we can officially kiss our long distance relationship goodbye…AMEN! I’m headed to the airport tonight with his family and oh.my.gosh. the butterflies in my stomach are out of control. I swear I will have a permanent smile plastered on my face for the next year.  When I knew he was boarding his plane last night, the smiles just didn’t stop. Someone pinch me, I can’t believe it’s finally here! 
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I couldn’t be prouder of my love for his accomplishments over the last two years. In that time, he made lifelong friends and a lifetime of memories. I am so happy we were able to share part of his Australian journey together.
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Anyway, I have so much to share but for now, here’s the recipe I promised last week. I made this way too many times last week…literally for 3 out of 7 days this was on my dinner plate. Whoops. I guess you could call me an incredibly boring eater, but like I said, it’s just too good to stop! And yes, I have a cauliflower problem.

Cauliflower Poppers
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Ingredients:
3/4-1 head of cauliflower
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt

Directions:
1) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a large mixing bowl, mix olive oil, nutritional yeast, and garlic salt together.
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2) Wash and chop cauliflower into florets; then place in mixing bowl with the other ingredients.
3) Stir all together until the cauliflower is mostly covered with the yellowish mixture.
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4) Place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, then turn each piece over with a fork and bake for another 25-30 minutes, until browned.
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5) Try not to eat the entire batch…good luck! 
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This dish is gluten-free, dairy-free, and relatively low in calories, too. It has quickly become my staple side-dish… I am hooked!  I suggest making a double batch if you are serving four or more people, otherwise, you might run out too quickly. Just a tip!

Counting the hours until we’re off to the airport tonight, yay! Wish me luck : –)
Also, best of luck to all of the Boston Marathon runners today, I’m cheering for you. And to my dear friend Michelle, who continues to be my inspiration day-in and day-out, I’m thinking of you. Love you, girl xoxo

How was your Easter?
Do you like cooking with nutritional yeast?
I was a bit afraid at first, but now I love it!
What’s your favorite cauliflower recipe?

U.S.A. Bound!

Hey friends! I simply can not wipe the smile off of my face today. Seriously, just writing that title made me giddy! Today I am home-bound for the next five weeks and I couldn’t be happier.
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(Like my t-shirt? Brandon’s friends Lauren and Rob gave it to me when I moved! Maine-er for life!)

The last couple of weeks were pretty stressful due to having 4 finals, so I’m thrilled to be done. It is a great feeling to have my first semester of pre-requisites completed, and if I never see a library again, I’ll be happy girl. This was me in the library Monday-Friday last week:
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LOL. Don’t I look thrilled? I am SO looking forward to not touching a textbook over the next month-and-a-half. Thankfully, I survived exam week with the help of exercise breaks, a study buddy (hi Kristina!), lots of coffee, nutritious food, and help from Brandon around the house and in the kitchen. These were the highlights of my study weeks:

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A fruit&yogurt cookie for a Saturday studying treat

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Keeping hydrated while studying: water, cappuccino, iced coffee. #necessities

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A healthy-homemade dinner of pork with apples; recipe coming soon : –)

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A pretty cappuccino
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A much-needed running break!

Another highlight of the week was Brandon’s baking. Among other talents, he is seriously quite the pastry chef. Just look at this homemade angel food cake strawberry shortcake he made over the weekend:
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Let me tell you, after having homemade angel food cake, I’m not sure I’ll be able to revert back to the boxed version ever again. It was light, fluffy, and perfect!

Anyway, after my last exam yesterday, I rewarded myself with two of my favorite things: a pedicure and a little shopping to prepare for my trip. Does it get any better than a pedicure and shopping? I think not. Followed by a dinner-out with B, it was the perfect celebration to the end of the semester.

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And after a day of packing, I’m officially USA BOUND! See you from home, friends : –)

Do you like angel food cake?
I love it, despite being a huge chocolate lover! 

What do you do to keep busy on long flights (besides sleeping?)
I have 36 hours ahead of me and I need some new ideas!

The best part of my weekend

Hey there, how was your weekend? I feel like I’m still recovering from mine, but in a good way. I’ve come to the conclusion that because I did so many different things, my weekend felt longer. Strange, but true! And longer weekends=happy Meredith!  Although I was utterly exhausted on Sunday night after a very busy Mother’s Day shift at work, Friday and Saturday were full of rest, exercise, ice-cream, good food and good friends. Can’t beat that!

Here’s a few of my favorite things from the weekend:

-A skinny Cappuccino to start Saturday off right:
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-Ice-cream in a waffle cone for lunch:
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…because sometimes you just need ice-cream for lunch! Who’s with me?
One scoop cookie dough and one scoop gold rush. I think this was the greatest lunch I’ve ever eaten. I have no regrets!

-Shopping purchases from Saturday, when Brandon bought me the greatest oven mitt EVER invented:
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Don’t worry, we didn’t buy Brandon one. He was just being a good sport and trying it on for me : – )

-Some Saturday studying, but studying is always a little easier when it’s on the ocean:IMG_2771

-Saturday night attire for dinner with the girls:
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That’s probably the most uncomfortable skirt I own, but I still love it!

-Mother’s Day 5.2K race on Sunday morning with my friend Kristy:
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It was a fun race with great energy and a lot of people, which surprised me for a Sunday! I loved that it honored all of the Mom’s out there. Plus, I got a PR so I was quite excited!
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-Part of my Sunday post-race brunch:
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Note to self, I REALLY need to start making muesli parfaits. This was delicious!

-And finally, the best part of my weekend:
I purchased my flights home for late June through July!!!!! Boston and Maine, here I come! I.am.ecstatic!
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Source
The countdown to home begins : –)
All-in-all, a lovely weekend. I just wish I could have spent it with my Mom. Next year I hope!

What was the best part of your weekend?
Do you ever eat ice-cream for lunch?
I do it from time-to-time and it always makes me happy, so I think it’s perfectly acceptable!

There’s no place like home

My two weeks home in America has come and gone…insert sad face here. As much as I didn’t want to leave my family and friends, the one thing I didn’t mind leaving was the snow.  After just two months in this tropical climate, my body did not have the easiest time adjusting to the cold weather. After two snow storms in two weeks, by the time we boarded our flight home I was more than ready for warm weather!

Weather aside, I’ve quickly  learned that the hardest part about going home is going to be leaving. Really, what’s better than home? Familiar faces, places, people, smells, stories, and best of all…family. Here’s some pictures from our special Christmas:

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Best cupcakes ever

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035My twin and me <3

 

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059Nana
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068 In Boston with my best girls <3

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Of course, while I was home, I also baked…. a lot. Although most of it went undocumented, I did snap a few pictures of my personal favorite baked good over the holiday: Peppermint Oreo Truffles. I found this recipe through Pinterest, and immediately bookmarked it as a MUST-make! I blogged about regular Oreo Truffles last Christmas, which are always a hit recipe in our family, but these added a “Christmas” feel to the simple treat. Plus, if you’re like me and love anything with a mint flavor, you will love these!

Peppermint Oreo Truffles (Recipe from Kraft)

  • 36 reduced-fat Oreos
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips
  • 2-3 crushed candy canes or peppermint candies (for decorating)

Directions

  • Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and set aside. Place the Oreos in a food processor and blend until finely crushed.  In a mixing bowl, blend together cream cheese and peppermint extract. Add about 1/4 of the cream cheese mixture to the crushed Oreos in the food processor, blend, and then continue to add in the cream cheese until the cream cheese and Oreos are thoroughly combined, so it looks like the picture below.

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  • Now, scoop the mixture out with a spoon (or your hands) and form into 1 inch balls. I lined my hands with plastic sandwich bags to do this, because the mixture is a bit sticky!  Place the truffles on the prepared cookie sheet, and put them in freezer for 10-15 minutes.

 

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  • Crush your candy canes at this point, and set aside. Then melt the white chocolate chips in a double boiler while the truffles are hardening in the freezer. Once melted, remove the truffles from the freezer and dip them in the melted chocolate, evenly coating them. You’ll have to do this pretty quickly, because the chocolate hardens in minutes! To do this,  I used a toothpick to pick up each truffle and roll it in the chocolate. Return the truffles to the baking sheet and immediately sprinkle the tops with crushed candy canes. I dipped about 3 truffles at a time, and then sprinkled each with the candy canes, so that the candy would stick to the chocolate! Once you’ve completed this process, store your truffles in the refrigerator.

 

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These looked adorable on the dessert table and tasted delicious, too. Now I miss Christmas…What was your favorite holiday recipe this year?