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Fun Fourth Favorites

Happy 4th of July everyone!  What a fun time to plan family and friend gatherings, hitting the nearest fireworks show, or heading out of town.  We all get busy; therefore, I love to keep things simple – quick and easy!  One of my favorite magazines is Real Simple.  They always have lots of easy, fun, creative ideas that anyone can do.  It’s my go-to stress free guide!!!  This year we’re going to Mystic, Connecticut for some family fun, but if we were celebrating at home these would be my simple favorite picks for the 4th of July!  (Click on the pictures for more info from Real Simple)

1. Red, White and Blue Cocktails for the adults!  What’s a 4th without drinks!!!

Cocktails

2. A fun drink for the kids and everyone else.  Mix different types of fruit with anything – even water!

Drinks for everyone

3. Don’t forget the snacks!  A simple and festive idea.

Snacks

4. There’s always something delicious on the grill.  Kabobs are easy and fun!  Love this honey glazed chicken idea with grilled corn.  Cook them both at the same time.  Yummy, easy, and quick!

Honey chicken skewers

5. Everyone will be waiting for a light refreshing dessert!

Dessert

6. Dessert or Snack!  Everyone loved these berry marshmallow kabobs when I made them for Maddie’s party!  With the colors, they look very 4th of July.   My shot doesn’t compare to the pictures above but you can get the idea.

7. Lets keep the kids happy, having fun and busy!  Making pom-poms is easy to do, only a few supplies are needed, and they can use them all day.

Kid's project

 

Do you have some fun creative ideas for the 4th of July?  I could always use more great ideas!  Enjoy your 4th everyone!!!

Until next ride,

Amy

Healthiest Meal on Earth – Verdict Is In!

 

Healthiest Meal On Earth worth eating or not?  Is it satisfying?  Does it taste good?  Would we eat it again?  Verdict, please!

It’s been in the news the last few weeks, online and in the magazines.  I was intrigued when I read the headline Healthiest Meal on Earth and then thought, ‘it must not taste very good.’  I started to read through the ingredients; there was salmon, which I could eat everyday if I really wanted to, and lentil, yogurt, walnuts, chicken, and caramel.  Really, caramel?   Don’t judge too fast, this meal might have possibilities!  We could be onto something here.

Could my taste buds accept something so healthy?  I usually assume healthy is less flavorful and boring, so healthiest in the world must mean, zero flavor!  I think?  However, I was intrigued by the title and it didn’t seem too terrible to try.  Would my husband get excited over lentil, veggies, and then yogurt for dessert, a good guess is no, but decided to give it a shot!

Here it is, the almost healthiest meal in the world!  I included everything except for the chicken, which was suppose to be in the lentil, so our healthiest meal in the world lacked a little protein.  I just didn’t get a chance to make the chicken, no other reason why.  I had gone to the grocery store late, Maddie was getting restless in the stroller, my basket was getting very heavy, I needed to get home, and the chicken was at the other end of the store!  It might not seem far, but when you have a hungry restless toddler, the end of the isle seems far!

The meal is actually very quick to make, especially since salmon cooks in just a few minutes (click here for recipe).  I added a squeeze of lemon for flavor to the salmon and used olive oil as salad dressing.  Looking at my finished product, I probably could have dressed-up the plate and dessert bowl a little with a few garnishes.  I’ll have to remember that for next time!  I always think presentation of a meal and table setting can make mealtime fun and inviting and adds conversation.  I really like table settings with lots of color (you know how I like color! ) from placemats, napkins, candles and flowers, and don’t forget, the food and drinks add color as well!  In the picture above, I used colored placemats and napkins, and I quickly put a couple purple flowers in a small vase, and wallah, done!

The verdict is in!!  Dean and I really enjoyed the meal.  There was a nice variety of food and a tasty dessert!  At first, I didn’t think I would be able to eat so much food, however at the end of the meal (I ate everything!) our taste buds and stomachs felt satisfied, not stuffed!  There was a nice amount of flavor from the salmon with lemon, the vegetables with mixed greens felt light and fresh, and I’m sure a squirt of lemon on the salad would have been palate pleasing as well.  I really like lentil, but I think Dean could have done without it.  The yogurt dessert with caramel was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!  Overall, we both enjoyed the meal and would have it again!

Have you tried the healthiest meal in the world?  If so, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Until next ride,

Amy

A Splurge

This weekend I admit I splurged.  I just had to have it!

As I walked down the West Village cobblestone streets, with my family, strolling in and out of the trendy boutiques, admiring the store front windows, peeking in the high-end mom and pops restaurants envisioning ourselves eating there someday, meandering through a couple of my favorite side streets admiring the beautiful brownstones on Charles and Perry, yet knowing all too well, what was tempting me only one block away.  Was I trying to purposely distract myself by taking slight detours, was I trying to use the cute boutiques and cafes as deterrents?  Somehow, I’m not sure how, I don’t think I know how it happened, but I ended up face to face with it.  There it was in the window looking right at me.  It was a Magnolia cupcake!

It had been so very long.  I remembered waiting in their outside line for up to an hour, wrapped around the corner, on hot summer days or at 2am, just for a cupcake; however, for the last year sweets have been off-limits, while I worked tirelessly to lose my post-pregnancy weight.  I’m oh-so-close to reaching my goal!  I have now lost almost 50 pounds, with 5 pounds still looming over me.  Everything that has entered my mouth, for the last year, has been a calorie count.   Dieting has not been easy, to say the very least, and as I looked at the cupcake in the window, I saw my 5 pounds staying with me a little longer, but didn’t care.  This was no ordinary cupcake and today was the day.  I was going to splurge.

 Magnolia is a cozy vintage bakery that has become iconic over time.  Cupcakes lovers and tourists from all over will  stand in line, at all hours, for hours, for one small cupcake.  The old fashioned store has been feature on numerous TV shows and popular movies.  When entering, you hand pick a soft colored vanilla or chocolate cupcake, probably take a picture or two, or someone may ask you to take their picture.  After I took a happy cupcake lover’s picture, I carefully picked my splurge and chose water over milk; a little less calories and a little less guilt.

We walked over to a park bench, I carefully unwrapped the cupcake and took my, which felt like my first ever, bite; sweet, moist, and oh-so-decedent, just as I remembered.  I took only a couple bites, stopped just before the guilt set in and felt satisfied.  Delicious!  Hit the spot!

Maybe on our next stroll in the West Village I’ll be down the last 5 pounds of baby weight and my reward will be the whole cupcake!  A reward at the calorie counting finish line!

Do you have a favorite type of food you indulge in?  What are your taste buds’ weakness?

Until next ride,

Amy

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