Blog Archives

Single Girl Recipe: “Prownies”

Guilt-free, yummy, brownies? I'm on it!

Guilt-free, yummy, brownies? I’m on it!

I’ve spent the last few months trying to make different protein bars from scratch, so I could avoid buying the expensive ones from the store. I used bags of coconut flour, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut, protein powder, flaxseed, paleo-friendly chocolate chips… and while, some of the recipes I tried were okay, they weren’t really what I had in mind.

So, I looked for some options that were partially-homemade, and I finally found what I was looking for. Here’s my method, and you can switch it up any way you please:

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

Put the brownie mix and the protein powder into a mixing bowl. Drain the can of black beans (rinse, if desired), and puree them until smooth. Add the peanut butter to the food processor, too, and blend until everything is completely mixed.

Add the beans/peanut butter mix into the dry ingredients, and mix until smooth.

Now, here’s where you can mix things up, if you want. You don’t HAVE to use the Pilsbury brownie mix, I just love it’s consistency. You’re using the black beans and the peanut butter instead of oil, water, and eggs, so if you start mixing and things aren’t quite coming together, feel free to add one egg or a few tablespoons of water. The consistency should be thick, but you want to make sure all of the powder is mixed in.

If you want, you can omit the protein powder, and still have fantastic, pretty healthy brownies. Feel free to add nuts, for extra protein and flavor, too.

Use the instructions on the brownie package for pan size, oven temperature, and baking time.

FACTS

Using the above recipe, the entire batch of “Prownies” has 101 grams of protein in it. If you cut it into 12 prownies, that’s a little more than 8 grams of protein per piece, plus fiber from the beans and peanut butter. It’s really not bad for a delicious treat!

Pic of the Week.

Sunset over Chicago.

Sunset over Chicago.

After a pretty epic weekend, it was difficult for me to choose one picture to represent it all — but I can never turn down a sunset (hope you’re not getting tired of it).

I got to Chicago Friday morning, and meeting up with one of my best friends. After checking into our hotel downtown, we took a walk to the Water Tower Center. Along the way, we caught a street show, and I nabbed a decent picture of Trump tower.

Once we got to the Water Tower, we went shopping at the American Girl store — a stop I was really excited to make. We had plans that night to take a dinner cruise on the Odyssey Chicago, so we had to get ready.

We boarded the boat, and to our delight, the view was gorgeous. We enjoyed a four-course meal (lobster & cilantro salad, crab cakes & pecan salad, filet mignon with brussel sprouts & mashed potatoes, and bread pudding). The dinner was followed by dancing (a DJ on the main floor and an acoustic guitarist on the deck) and of course, the magnificent view.

Saturday morning, my friend and I went to Chicago’s Bliss Spa, located in the W hotel, and were treated to pedicures and the “Fabulips” treatment, which included a lip cleanse, scrub, collegen mask, and lip plumper.

Following the spa, we enjoyed brunch, and then got ready for a wedding, followed by a fabulous (still doesn’t even do it justice) reception at Chicago’s renowned hotel, The Drake.

We enjoyed yet another four-course meal, followed by dancing. Sunday, we finally checked out of the city, and headed for home.

A fantastic weekend, indeed!

All Aboard: NOL > CHI.

Favim.com photo: Will I find love on the train?

Favim.com photo: Will I find love on the train?

Greetings! I am publishing this post while aboard the Amtrak #58, traveling from New Orleans, LA, all the way to Chicago, IL. With more than 900 miles between destinations — I shouldn’t have to tell you that it’s been an interesting ride on the “Spacious Superliner.”

Really, this is my first time traveling via train. I like planes. I like driving, too, but I also like to sleep, drink, and sometimes, read. A train, I figured offers the best of all worlds, while offering an affordable ride, with a view to write about (that’s what I do).

I rode the train as a child, from Indianapolis to Chicago, and remember feeling ill — which is why I packed Dramamine. Other than that, I’ve never been aboard a train. And I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t have “Love Train” stuck in my head for the entire trip (see my Twitter account for proof of this).

To make my ride as comfortable (and as fun) as possible, I purchased some travel essentials specifically for the train:

Of course, I packed a few snacks, drinks, and loaded up my iPad with tons of books (of the romance variety). For the sake of blogging and Tweeting along the route, I brought my own WiFi, via my T-Mobile HotSpot.

While I had reserved a seat on the upper-level of the train car, the seat was first-come-first-serve. I was thankful to get a window seat. Honestly, I expected the train to be like a bus… but I was in shock at how nice it is. It’s clean, and roomy (stretching my legs out all the way, I still can’t touch the seat in front of me).

I did a little bit of work on the train, but was really excited to get started on a book. So, aside from chatting with my fellow passengers, I read most of the 19-hour journey.

Sunset in Greenwood, Miss.

Sunset in Greenwood, Miss.

As we approached Greenwood, Mississippi, I was able to catch the sunset, and many of my readers may remember, that I am a sucker for sunsets and sunrises — I think they are the most beautiful things to see. I was all smiles to see that sunset.

Around 8pm, we stopped the train for a “cigarette break” and I checked out the observation car (which was very cool), and purchased a sandwich for dinner, along with some wine.

I fell asleep around midnight, and awoke as we were traveling over a bridge, and could see two boats on the water.

About a month ago, I went on a date with someone whom I told my upcoming trip about. Having traveled a similar route, he told me to pay the extra money for the sleeper car, to avoid meeting people. He also said there was “nothing to see” on the way.

Call me a sap, but miles of fields, a sunset, water, neighborhoods… that’s amazing to see. And of course, I set my alarm to wake up in time for the sunrise.

It wasn’t until I woke around 5:30 am that I realized I’d gotten a passenger in the seat next to me (the train stops nearly every hour) — she was already asleep. At a reasonable hour, I asked her what time she got on the train and where she was headed (4:30, Milwaukee…if you’re curious).

So, what am I doing in Chicago? While my train ride wasn’t necessarily full of love (although everyone was kind), my trip is. I’m in Chicago for a wedding — quite possibly an epic wedding — and of course, to see my friends.

Traveling, and especially traveling alone, always leaves time to reflect. And often, when I’m traveling home, to the Midwest, I wonder what exactly I was hoping to find when I left. I really wanted to land a Southern gentleman… but I’m still waiting for that to happen.

Sometimes I wonder if what I was hoping for isn’t still waiting for me right here, at the end of the train tracks.

Pic of the Week.

We're so summery...

We’re so summery…

Saturday night, my friend Liz was celebrating 10 years living in Louisiana! She invited me to join in her celebration — and it felt special, because not only have I been in Louisiana for ten years, too, but I’ve known Liz for most of those years!

I asked my friend and gym-influencer, Derek, to join me, and we made a day of it, traveling to New Orleans to go shopping (where I found a great sparkle skirt for $10), have lunch (oyster club & a house-made summer ale), and then we went to the party.

It really was a fabulous day, and night, so worthy of my pic of the week. I got to see some friends I haven’t seen in awhile (some in years) and I met plenty of new ones, and had some great conversation — pay no mind that it was laced with champagne bubbles.

Derek and I even learned a new game: Get Buckets. It involves tossing baby satsumas onto a roof and cheering it on to… “Get buckets!”

I’ve been thinking about time a lot lately, and it’s weird… When I left Indiana to live here, I never thought I’d reach the ten year mark. But I have.

I don’t know if I’ll stay in Louisiana forever — there are definitely other places I’ve dreamt of living. But no matter where I go, I can say with certainty that this place has had a great effect on my heart.

I guess I feel that I was following my instincts, and at the same time being guided by the best. I became totally intrigued with Louisiana — the people, the food. It is a part of my life. Everything that has happened for me since moving here has just been icing on the cake. 

—Emeril Lagasse 

The Longest Ride.

My latest summer read...

My latest summer read…

The second book I finished this summer, “The Longest Ride” by Nicholas Sparks, sure was a goodie!

Unlike most Sparks books however, I didn’t immediately fall in love with this one — it took some time. “The Longest Ride” brings two love stories together in a unique way.

One story is that of Ira and Ruth, the other is that of Luke and Sophia. Ira and Ruth were married for many years, and when readers meet Ira, he is a widower, trying to survive a bad car accident in freezing temperatures.

Luke and Sophia are college-age, lovers who meet at a rodeo, where Luke is competing. They both come from hardships of their own sort — her from heartache, and him from loss.

The chapters switch between the stories of Luke, Sophia, and Ira, which is a style I always appreciate, as it gives a fresh perspective every couple of pages.

I enjoyed reading about Sophia and Luke (admittedly) much more than that of Ira, and I think that’s simply because of the age gap.

However, I knew the stories were going to cross paths at some point, and as the book continued on, I felt myself wondering just how these two couples would intertwine. The way they did was pretty unexpected (no spoilers here).

I will say, that since it took me a little while to really get into this book, I carried it with me everywhere, so that I could read it at any moment, even if it was just a few pages.

Once, I was reading it while standing in line to buy movie tickets, and an older woman tapped me on the shoulder.

“Is that ‘The Longest Ride?'” she asked.

I nodded.

“That’s the only book of his I couldn’t get into,” she said.

So, be warned. However, it’s not slow the entire read. It’s a different formula than most of his books (there’s actually a happy ending), but it’s still a great book, and definitely one I would recommend.

If you don’t get to read it this summer, at least check it out before the movie version hits theaters April 2015.

Pic of the Week.

Nerd alert: I got a library card!

Nerd alert: I got a library card!

If you could only see the happy dance I’m doing right now! I am WAY too excited over my brand new library card!

This all started many years ago, when I registered to vote in East Baton Rouge Parish. My voting spot is just down the road from my apartment, at a library. The only thing is, the voting area wasn’t around any books — or other evidence that it was in fact, a library.

A few people in my office later started telling me about the wonders of the library; the digital collection, DVDs, and of course, endless piles of books! I officially put it on my to-do list to get a library card.

Although it took me awhile to get around to it, I picked a rainy day after work when my muscles were too sore to get to the gym. I had my ID in tow, along with a list of books I was looking for.

It took all of two minutes to obtain said library card, and I was free to roam the stacks. There were so many books on my list that I saw on the shelves, but checkout time is three weeks, so I didn’t want to go overboard.

I ended up with two books that I’m really excited to read:

the-uncoupling-hi-res_custom-f61effc60970bdf97a735b6adf6fa9e8479a59d8-s6-c30The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer: “The latest from Wolitzer (The Ten Year Nap) is a plodding story with a killer hook: will the women of Stellar Plains, N.J., ever have sex again? After new high school drama teacher Fran Heller begins rehearsals for Lysistrata (in which the women of Greece refuse to have sex until the men end the Peloponnesian War), every girl and woman in the community is overcome by a “spell” that causes them to lose all desire for sex. No one is immune, not Dory Lang and her husband, Robby, the most popular English teachers at Eleanor Roosevelt High School; not Leanne Bannerjee, the beautiful school psychologist; or the overweight college counselor Bev Cutler, shackled to a callous hedge-fund manager husband.

The Langs’ teenaged daughter, Willa, who eventually lands the lead in the play, is also afflicted, wreaking havoc on her relationship with Fran’s son, Eli. Despite the great premise and Wolitzer’s confident prose, the story never really picks up any momentum, and the questions posed—about parenthood, sacrifice, expectations, and the viability of long-term relationships in the age of Twitter—are intriguing but lack wallop.”

9923372Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan: “For the Kellehers, Maine is a place where children run in packs, showers are taken outdoors, and old Irish songs are sung around a piano. Their beachfront property, won on a barroom bet after the war, sits on three acres of sand and pine nestled between stretches of rocky coast, with one tree bearing the initials “A.H.” At the cottage, built by Kelleher hands, cocktail hour follows morning mass, nosy grandchildren snoop in drawers, and decades-old grudges simmer beneath the surface.

As three generations of Kelleher women descend on the property one summer, each brings her own hopes and fears. Maggie is thirty-two and pregnant, waiting for the perfect moment to tell her imperfect boyfriend the news; Ann Marie, a Kelleher by marriage, is channeling her domestic frustration into a dollhouse obsession and an ill-advised crush; Kathleen, the black sheep, never wanted to set foot in the cottage again; and Alice, the matriarch at the center of it all, would trade every floorboard for a chance to undo the events of one night, long ago.

By turns wickedly funny and achingly sad, Maine unveils the sibling rivalry, alcoholism, social climbing, and Catholic guilt at the center of one family, along with the abiding, often irrational love that keeps them coming back, every summer, to Maine and to each other”

As usual, I’ll keep you posted on how they are. As far as other summer reads, I’ve also loaded up my iPad with Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska by John Green, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple, and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. What are you reading this summer?

WYSK: The Pioneer Woman.

The Pioneer Woman!

The Pioneer Woman!

I have always loved watching The Food Network, and I really love catching episodes of The Pioneer Woman lately. Her name is Ree Drummond, but she is really known as Pioneer Woman, which started from her wildly popular blog.

Ree is a mother, and she lives on a working ranch “In the middle of nowhere.” Her cooking reflects her tastes, as well as those of her children, and her husband — a true cowboy.

What I love about her show, and the blog, is that its accessible. None of the ingredients are anything fancy, it’s simple, but it’s homemade, and often hearty.

I also love that the show is really filmed in her Oklahoma Ranch home — which is beautiful — but the kitchen is huge, and it’s cool to think she actually lives there and isn’t just cooking on a set.

Her blog gets more than 20 million viewers each month, and it was named Blog of the Year in 2009, 2010, and 2011. These numbers overflowed into book sales, as her cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl is a #1 Bestseller.

She has another book (a memoir), Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, which debuted at #2 on The New York Times Best Sellers list for nonfiction hardcover. She also has a popular children’s book series, based on the adventures of her dog, Charlie.

According to her website, she went to college in California, and worked in the corporate world for years. During a visit to her hometown, she fell in love with a cowboy, and now spends her days as the pioneer woman!

If you haven’t seen her show, definitely check it out — new episodes are on every Saturday morning at 10/9 central, on The Food Network.

Pic of the Week.

Angela & I in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Angela & I in Cincinnati, Ohio.

This week’s picture is a little different — it’s a throwback… to probably 2001-ish? The photo is of me and one of my best friends, Angela, on the roof of One Lytle Place (or as Angela calls it, One Little Palace) in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I picked this for this week’s photo, because today is Angela’s birthday.

I met Angela when I was in 6th grade, through another friend. It didn’t take long for us to become best friends once we met, having sleepovers, and bonding over two things: our love of Hanson, and our uncanny ability to eat loads of candy without gaining a single pound.

Over the years — the near 17 years that we’ve been friends — we’ve been through a lot together. We’ve taken many-a-vacation together, visiting Pensacola, Florida several times, seeing Mall of America, visiting the white sands of St. Thomas, and taking road trips to Tennessee.

When I visited her in San Diego, we took our first wine tour of the Temecula Valley, a trip I will never forget. She came with me to Baton Rouge, to stay in my dorm room during my first week at college. And I stayed in her dorm room in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

She’s come to Mardi Gras, and I’ve helped her cook the last six Thanksgiving dinners — one of my all-time favorite traditions (which is followed by opening Christmas gifts and watching Christmas movies).

But our friendship has seen more than just good times. Angela was there for me when I had my first (second, and third) car accident, when my parents got divorced, for every breakup I’ve been through, for the funerals we’ve had to attend. And a few times, we’ve gotten in fights… but thankfully, they never lasted too long, and with forgiving hearts, our friendship endured.

I’ve always believed that physical distance won’t break a true bond, and my friendship with Angela is proof of that. But Angela is more than my friend — she has become my family.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And so, Angela, I want to wish you a very happy birthday — it won’t be the last! I hope your day is as fabulous, and as bright as you are! Cheers to our years of friendship, and many, many more. 

Happy Birthday! 

Pic of the Week.

Wait, let me take a (bathroom) selfie.

Wait, let me take a (bathroom) selfie.

A few days ago, I was driving to work, and while looking in my rearview mirror, it appeared my foundation had already smudged near the start of my left eyebrow.

At a stoplight, I proceeded to blend the smudge with my fingers. I had no luck, and upon closer inspection, I realized that it was indeed NOT a smudge, but a deep wrinkle where my makeup had settled.

I gasped in horror. There was no fixing that line without a needle-full of botox.

I turn 29 tomorrow, and I’m feeling a little stressed. It didn’t really hit me until about a week ago — I honestly kept forgetting that my birthday was around the corner.

Blame it on the old age, but it seems like a rare moment when I even know what day it is. I rely completely on my calendar, and if it’s not on my calendar, then it’s not really happening.

Just a few weeks ago, I mailed a check without putting an address on it. It’s happening already, I’m a year away from 30, and I’m forgetful, careless, and I need facial injections.

Irrational thinking is common around my birthday. I do more reflecting on July 2 than I do on January 1. I start thinking about where I’ve been, where my life is going, do I have a plan?

And I’ve almost always been single on my birthday, leaving me to question that as well — is this how it’s going to be, forever? Since I’m not sold on having children, it’s not necessarily a biological clock issue, but more of just a life issue. I’m not getting any younger, and obviously my face isn’t getting any smoother, chest isn’t getting any perkier, and I don’t think my personality is blossoming.

I need to find a dude, and fast… or do I?

I’m still feeling wishy-washy on the whole subject; despite creating an online dating profile last week (more on this later).

Seriously, sometimes I wonder… is there really going to be a guy out there willing to put up with me? I like to sleep with my TV on, and lay around for a majority of a Sunday (no matter how nice it is outside), and I like to read trashy novels, and sometimes I eat junk food.

I’ve never really been able to share this part of me with a guy, for fear that if I do, he’ll run. But I’m so old, and set in my ways, that the next guy is going to have to take it or leave it.

So, about that birthday thing… where’s the chocolate?

Pic of the Week… & Another Giveaway!

June Tattly pack!

June Tattly pack!

Last week, I got my monthly subscription from Tattly in the mail, and I realized that although I am always posting pictures of my Tattlys on Twitter, I have never really mentioned them on my blog.

…Which is completely foolish, because getting a pack of Tattlys in the mail makes my day (and sometimes my whole week)!

So, what’s Tattly? Here’s what their website says:

Tired of putting poorly designed temporary tattoos on her daughter’s arm, Tina Roth Eisenberg took matters into her own hands. After soliciting a dozen world renowned artists and designers, hiring the first two team members, and learning what a temporary tattoo was actually made of, Tattly began moving at full force.
In July of 2011, Tattly launched online, featuring an all-star lineup of professional designers and illustrators. Starting with just a handful of designs, Tattly received thousands of orders from around the world.

So there you have it, Tattly is a company that makes temporary tattoos that look cool, and they’re fun. Plus, I like wearing the ones that say “Fuck Haters” under my long sleeves at work.

Made for me...

Made for me…

It’s my own, personal way of sticking it to the man.

And so, since I love Tattly so much, I wanted to share! Because of that, I’m giving away a $5.00 gift card to Tattly (which will get you a pack of two tattoos of your choice) — although may I recommend the Tangy Lemon Tattly?

Had to.

So, leave a comment by Wednesday night at 9 pm Central, tell me WHAT Tattly you’re going to get, and I’ll select a random commenter using Random.org. I will post the winner’s name and number on THURSDAY’S blog post, so be there!

Happy commenting!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 802 other followers