Happy Valentine’s Day!

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129 days to go! Had such a good night last night with my Valentine!

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Kalamazoo Ski Trip

While some people might shudder at the thought of freezing temps and snowy streets, we threw on a couple extra layers and headed to Bittersweet ski resort for Morgan’s birthday!

Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles

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Are you trying to cut down on carbs and eat more veggies? Zucchini noodles are a healthier, low carb, gluten-free alternative to pasta.

To make zucchini noodles you can use a spiral slicer. I used a spiral slicer like this one. Just a couple of quick turns and in less than a minute you will have a plate of zoodles (zucchini + noodles=zoodles).

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into noodles (See Kelly’s Notes)
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Place a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and heat it for 1 minute. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook them for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add the shrimp to the pan and cook them, stirring as needed, until they are cooked throughout and pink on all sides, about 3 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and then using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl, leaving any liquid in the pan.

Increase the heat to medium. Add the white wine and lemon juice to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, cooking the wine and lemon juice for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Return the shrimp to the pan and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

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Salted Caramel Cookies

 

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Happy Monday, friends! I understand that there are about a million different chocolate chip cookie recipes out there, but if you were to make one recipe, THIS would be the one I’d recommend! The cookies have a smooth sweetness from the caramel used in the batter, and then a nice hint of salt from the sea salt on top.

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup caramel bits or caramel candies, (Werthers) chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons flaky sea salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and fine salt together in a bowl.

With an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, granulated sugar and butter together in a large bowl until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and caramel bits.

Scoop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between the cookies (you will have cookie dough left over). Sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of sea salt.

Bake the cookies until golden brown, rotating the position of the baking sheets halfway through, 13 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. Meanwhile, cool the baking sheets and repeat with the remaining cookie dough.

Mexican Quinoa Skillet

This week I am trying to stick to clean eating. I have to get some control over my eating before June! With a fun Mexican twist, this dish is packed full of so many delicious flavors, from the lime juice to the hint of spiciness from the chili powder and jalapeno. And not only is this healthy and nutritious but it’s also unbelievably easy to make. Simply throw everything into the skillet and that’s it. Even the quinoa is cooked right in the pan, I love a dish that doesn’t require a lot of dishes.

 

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and jalapeno, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in avocado, lime juice and cilantro.
  3. Serve immediately.

| Quinoa Stir Fry |

The Best App: Honey

These days, all my purchases are pretty much made online. I love being able to compare prices, not leave the house and avoid waiting in lines. Why put on shoes and go down to the store when you could just buy what you need from the comfort of your couch? If you can relate, you’re going to love this shopping hack that I just discovered last week it’ll get you the best deals online and save you so much cash.

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The secret? Honey.

Honey is a free browser app that automatically scans the Internet for every working coupon code while you’re shopping online. Then at checkout, it magically applies the best deal to your cart. Automatic coupons, how amazing is that?

Here’s how it works:

First, add Honey to your browser for free. You’ll see a little “h” button appear in your toolbar.

When you’re about to buy something online, you literally just click that button and the total price instantly drops if Honey finds a deal for you. It’s really that easy.

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Do yourself a favor and get it now before you start your holiday shopping, you’re ready to go.

ADD THE HONEY APP BY CLICKING HERE!

 

READ MORE

I NEED and WANT to get back into reading. I just haven’t found the time to sit and read a good book, and I suppose it hasn’t been a priority.

Well, I want this to change.

So, over the next year I have set myself a goal to read at least 10 books. Here is a list of books that I’ve been wanting to read for a while, I can refer back to this list, to give me some motivation to read throughout the coming year!

 

Let’s see how many I actually read!

What are your favorite books? Are there any you recommend that I read?

| 10 Must Reads | Favorite Blogs to Read |

 

What your morning coffee can do for you?

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Many of us rely on a cup of coffee to kick-start our day and now new research suggests that our morning caffeine infusion may also help ward off different diseases and depression. Every morning I make sure that my mug of coffee is always in hand when I walk into the doors of my current office job.

What does coffee do for your mood? Short answer — a lot. I’m not a morning person and the first thing I do every morning is wake up excited to have my first sip of coffee each morning. It not only puts me in a better mood but makes me more productive throughout the day.

It got me thinking — while many immediately think of coffee when trying to piece together a solid morning, what does it really do to our moods and bodies? Well I started reading out on the web and found some pretty good reasons why I should continue to drink my 3-4 cups of coffee a day.

1. Coffee is a potent source of healthful antioxidants.

Some have cited coffee as a major — and in some cases, the primary — dietary source of antioxidants for its subjects.

2. Caffeine provides a short-term memory boost.

Caffeine appears to affect the particular areas of the brain responsible for memory and concentration, providing a boost to short-term memory, although it’s not clear how long the effect lasts or how it may vary from person to person.

3. Coffee may help protect against cognitive decline.

In addition to providing a temporary boost in brain activity and memory, regular coffee consumption may help prevent cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

4. Coffee is healthy for your heart.

There is some evidence that coffee may support heart health by protecting against arterial damage caused by inflammation.

5. Coffee may help curb certain cancers.

Researchers have  found ties between regular coffee drinking and lower rates of liver, colon, breast, and rectal cancers.

6. Coffee may lessen your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

A growing body of research suggests an association between coffee drinking and a reduced risk of diabetes.

7. Your liver loves coffee.

It’s true: In addition to lowering the risk of liver cancer, coffee consumption has been linked to a lower incidence of cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis.

8. Coffee can enhance exercise performance.

Caffeine is a performance and endurance enhancer; not only does it fight fatigue, but it also strengthens muscle contraction, reduces the exerciser’s perception of pain, and increases fatty acids in the blood, which supports endurance.

9. Coffee curbs depression.

Multiple studies have linked coffee drinking to lower rates of depression in both men and women.

10. Coffee guards against gout.

Independent studies on the coffee consumption patterns of men and women suggest that drinking coffee regularly reduces the risk of developing gout.

 

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