September 29, 2013

Camel Tracks

A couple of weeks ago Brad and I hosted a "S'more Party" at our house.  Wanting the party to be a success, I bought way too much, putting out a s'more making spread of various graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolates.  We started a bonfire and lit a few sterno cans for marshmallow roasting as well.  I dressed up the sterno cans by placing them in a glass containers surrounded by decorative pebbles.  The sterno was actually perfect for roasting the marshmallows, they got heated from the inside and therefore didn't catch fire and get charred.  Unfortunately for the first few marshmallows we were unaware of this and we lost a few as they melted off the sticks.

I like to think the party was a success.  I really enjoyed seeing my friends, who I don't think I make enough time for.  At the end of the night though, there were a ton of left over s'more ingredients.






  • Honey Graham Crackers
  • Cinnamon Graham Crackers
  • Chocolate Graham Crackers
  • Dark Chocolate Hershey Bars
  • Milk Chocolate Hershey Bars
  • Reese Cups
  • Regular Marshmallows
  • Brownie flavored Marshmallows
  • Neapolitan Ice Cream Flavored Marshmallows
  • Giant Marshmallows
There had even been toasted coconut marshmallows but those didn't make it to the end of the night.  

I needed a way to get rid of all this extra stuff, so I search Pinterest for s'more recipes.  I couldn't believe how many "s'more" recipes use ingredients other than the basic ones needed to make s'mores. I decided a variation of this recipe would be best to help me get rid of the leftovers.  Of course by "variation" I mean that I made a graham cracker crust and then melted chocolate Hershey bars and marshmallows on top.  (In case you are wondering, despite popular belief, crushing graham cracker in a blender DOES NOT WORK.) These s'more bars tasted good and got great reviews from my coworkers but it was difficult to cut apart and the graham cracker crust was too crumbly.  At the end of this experiment I was still left with quite a bit of graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows.

This week I decided I HAD to get rid of this stuff.  Since I had already been disappointed with my Pinterest search results, I decided to take a different approach and went about opening all of the cupboard in the kitchen.  I came across Rice Krispies and thought about making Rice Krispie Treats, I'd still be stuck with all the graham crackers though.  Then it hits me, MAKE GRAHAM CRACKER MARSHMALLOW TREATS!

  • Smash apart graham crackers until you have 6 cups of crumbs.  There should be pieces of graham cracker, NOT crushed finely
  • Heat 10 oz of marshmallows and 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. I heated mine for approximately 1 to 1.5 minutes depending on the size of marshmallows I used.
  • Spray a spatula with Pam or some other cooking spray (so the marshmallow doesn't stick to the spatula) and stir the marshmallow into the graham cracker
  • Press mixture into a pan that has been sprayed with Pam or drop spoonfuls of mixture onto wax paper and let harden.
My first thought was to line a pan with pieces of chocolate and press the mixture into the pan.  This was a failure, every time I tried to press down the mixture, the chocolate pieces moved.  The marshmallow mixture did end up sticking to the chocolate but it wasn't in a square bar form.  There were just hunks of mixture with chocolate hanging off the end.  They may not have looked pretty but they were delicious.

My second attempt I used a mixture of the honey graham crackers and the chocolate graham crackers.  I also used the Neapolitan ice cream marshmallows.  These I forwent the pan and dropped spoonfuls of the mixture onto wax paper.  This was much easier than trying to press the mixture into a pan.

I took both of these treats into work on Wednesday and sent out a "Happy Hump Day Treats in the Kitchen" e-mail with this cartoon:


Our Marketing Director said she figured the treats were called "Camel Tracks you know like Moose Tracks only camel because of the cartoon you sent."  Seems fitting enough, I dub thee "CAMEL TRACKS."  Someone else asked me why I brought crack in, because "they're like crack, I can't stop eating them."  I'd say that's a pretty good review.

So two weeks later I've finally managed to get rid of most of my remaining s'more ingredients with a new amazing recipe for future use.  I hope you all had a Happy Hump Day.




September 18, 2013

Fat Flush Water

I should begin by saying that I don’t really believe in “cleanses” per say.  Drop weight by cutting out food and replacing it with juice; one banana; a supplement; one ounce of cheese (okay maybe I saw THAT ONE on “The Devil Wears Prada”) - is it me or isn't it obvious that if you cut out food you WILL drop a few pounds no matter what you replace it with?  I can’t say that I personally find this method of losing weight to be healthy.  To be honest even if I did “believe” that cleanses work, I definitely do not believe in the idea behind them:  shed a few pounds with little to no effort on your part?  If you really want to feel better about yourself you have to work for it.  If you think that being the modern day version of skinny will solve all of your problems then you probably have more pressing underlying issues that you need to deal with.  Skinny DOES NOT equal happy.

I repeat:  SKINNY DOES NOT EQUAL HAPPY. 


With that said I found a pin on Pinterest that simply read “Five fat-flushing drinks that have you on your way to a trim body in no time.” I honestly only re-pinned this because I thought it might make for a good blog, especially if it worked.  I also like this particular “fat-flushing” drink because it’s not meant to replace food but to be drank before every meal.


The idea is to drink 8 oz of “Fat Flush Water” before every meal for 10 days and it “will have you on your way to slim trim body in no time.”

I tried this for less than one week.  I cut up the fruit (which by the way is A LOT), mixed it in a pitcher with water and put it in the refrigerator.  The website tells you the longer you let it sit the better it works/tastes, so I left it in the refrigerator for about 2 days before I started drinking it.  The water does taste good, maybe a little too grapefruity for my taste but otherwise enjoyable.  I began drinking the “Fat Flush Water” before breakfast, I put it in a water bottle and took it to work for before lunch, I drank it before dinner and often found myself sipping it throughout the day.
 
At first I thought I was getting sick; my stomach began to hurt, and I felt nauseous and weak.  It was as though all the energy had been zapped from my body.  I was really annoyed that I would get sick the same time I decided to try “Fat Flush Water” because I knew it would throw off the results.  I stuck to it though assuming the “sickness” wouldn't last the entire 10 day “cleanse.” 
It wasn't until Saturday morning that I realized maybe I wasn't sick. 

I had slept great the night before and since it was a weekend I got to sleep in too.  I woke up rested and feeling great. I drank my “Fat Flush Water,” ate breakfast and then Brad and I were off to the gym.  As I was sitting at one of the many weight lifting machines I felt exhausted. Brad looked at me and asked if I was alright, adding that I looked as though I were about to pass out.  I felt like I was going to pass out.  How did I go from feeling great to feeling exhausted and sick with no energy?  I told Brad “I think that water is making me sick, I’m going to stop drinking it and see what happens.” 

I didn't drink any more of the water that day, or the next, and I felt amazing.  Coincidence?  I suppose anything is possible but I dumped the water out and never turned back.  I genuinely feel as though my body had an adverse reaction to the “Fat Flush Water.”  Besides, it's not necessary to drink a special fat burning water before your meals, experts say that drinking 8 oz of regular old tap water before every meal tricks your body into thinking it’s full and therefore you eat less.  Also drinking water is just good for you in general so I think I’ll stick with regular, tasteless, thirst quenching water.


With that said, if you want to experiment with this “Fat Flush Water” (or others) for yourself you can, but don’t say I didn't warn you. 

“Fat Flush Water” ingredients:

  • ½ gallon water
  • 6 wedges grapefruit
  • 1 tangerine, sliced
  • ½ cucumber, sliced
  • 2 peppermint or mint leaves
  • Ice

September 11, 2013

Maize and Blue

To be honest, I haven't always been a Michigan fan.  Actually, I wasn't even a football fan.  I'm the youngest and have two older brothers that played about every sport, except football (unless you count my brother Andy's senior year when he was the kicker for our high school football team).  More than anything, my mom was afraid they might get hurt playing football and had all her fears played out in front of her when the kick returner made it all the way down field and Andy had to make the tackle.  He did get the tackle, but I swear I thought we were going to have to call the paramedics for my mom when he got the wind knocked out of him. To say the least, I didn't know anything about football, I didn't understand football, and I didn't really care.  My family are all Buckeye fans but I wasn't even a little interested in the sport so I was a "Buckeye fan" only in name.

Brad, on the other hand lives to watch football.  I was only sort of aware of this before we got married. I knew he was a Michigan fan but was unaware that he revolved his entire Saturday around watching their games.  After one fall of spending Saturday afternoons alone, I knew I had to make a decision...and I did.

It's so strange to me now to think back to just a few years ago when I despised the sport that kept my husband's attention.  Now I'm the girl sitting next to him, revolving her day around watching Michigan football.  Some people think I'm a bandwagon fan because I started watching once Hoke came and the team started winning, but I swear that's just a coincidence and my husband will back me up on that.

In the past 3 years Brad and I have been to The Big House 9 times and have yet to see them lose.  We made it for some especially great moments too.

We were at Michigan Stadium....


11/26/2011 BEAT OHIO 40-34 after a 7 game losing streak


10/20/2012 Beat Michigan State 12-10 after a 4 game losing streak...this also happened to be Michigan's 900th win


09/07/2013 BEAT NOTRE DAME 41-30 Under the Lights in what promises to be this rivalry's last meeting at The Big House for a long time to come

We hadn't actually planned to make it to any Michigan games this year but managed to make it to the first two games this season.  I was so excited for football season to start I put together a week's worth of  Michigan inspired work clothing to celebrate.









My company has dress down Fridays so I got to wear the amazing new cardigan that Brad bought me for our anniversary.  I didn't even care that it was 90 degrees outside!



I hope I've inspired some Maize and Blue spirit into your wardrobe


 Next, I plan to take on Tennessee.


September 3, 2013

Unofficial End to Summer

Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, the last time to gather with family and friends, grill, and play outside.  I always welcome the end of summer because that means soon the leaves will be changing to beautiful colors and falling to the ground.  Fall is my favorite season, it brings football, cool weather, sweaters and boots, Halloween, Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks, corn mazes, pumpkin carving and cooking; I could go on forever.  Maggie, our dog, loves fall too; she doesn't get as worn out in the cool weather which allows her more time to run and play outside.  One of her favorite things is jumping through the leaves while Brad and I are trying to rake the yard (another thing I love about fall.)  The only things  I don't enjoy about the fall season is the shortening of daylight and the winter that follows.

I digress...my parents invited the family over for a Labor Day cookout as usual.  I  unfortunately don't get to see my family very often so when I do I feel like I'm always surprised at how big my nieces and nephews are getting.  They are no longer little kids, but little people, who can carry on an actual conversation.  We still have some little ones running around, my youngest niece is only 2 and there is another on the way.  The younger ones are so cute to interact with, or just to watch interacting with the other children, but it was my 6 year old niece that made my day.

I'm a little different from the rest of my family.  They consider me the "girly" one.  Even in casual situations, like a family cookout, I put extra effort into my appearance.  So, of course, I was so excited when my niece showed up and started telling me all about the accessories she had worn (her leopard print slap bracelet was adorable), she's a little fashionista even at age 6.  I had my sunglasses on my head so my niece made my sister-in-law dig into their bag and find her sunglasses.  Even though it was something as insignificant as accessories, I felt like I had an actual connection with her.  My niece then ate her food exactly how I did (hotdog no bun with mustard.)  My sister-in-law then informed me that my niece hates mustard and never eats a hotdog without a bun.  I've never really been a "role model" before, is this what it feels like?

Maybe she'll grow out of this "fashionista" phase and start playing sports like her sister, but for now I'm feeling pretty excited that she made such an effort yesterday to "be like me."

My niece (on the right) playing in the pool with her cousin

Me wearing some of my nieces accessories
My youngest niece stole all the toys from the big kid pool and put them in her own pool
We play some mean games of croquet (me, my cousin Chris, and my brothers Andy and Danny)


Okay, let's be honest, this blog was mostly for me. Here is what you want.....



Even though I love fall, summer has it's perks too, and the last couple of weeks have been pretty fall- like.  I'm not quite ready to give up my warm weather.  In the spirit of trying to keep summer around I made these edible sandy beaches to share.


Not only are they adorable and tasty, but there also a low calorie dessert.  Eating healthy isn't always easy during a potluck, so if I can save a few calories here and there I'm going to do it.  This beach party is also incredibly easy to make.


Here is everything you need

  • Vanilla Pudding
  • Blue Gelatin
  • Clear Cups
  • Drink Umbrellas
  • Teddy Grahams


Instructions:

  • Make blue gelatin per instructions on box and evenly distribute into clear cups. Let gelatin set in refrigerator
  • Once gelatin is set, make vanilla pudding per instructions on box.  Add thin layer of vanilla pudding on top of the set blue gelatin.  Return to refrigerator to set the pudding
  • Crush some of the Teddy Grahams (I put mine in a ziplock bag and rolled it with a rolling pin, other have said to put them in a blender).  Sprinkler crushed Teddy Grahams over the set pudding.  You don't have to completely cover the pudding, it's more for texture, but you can if you want. 
  • Add an umbrella and some Teddy Grahams to each cup
These desserts can be custom made to each person.  I've seen white chocolate pudding used instead of vanilla, gummy bears instead of Teddy Grahams, someone even rolled out part of a fruit roll-up as a beach towel.  Use as few or as many bears as you want.  The possibilities are endless :)  I certainly hope you liked these as much as I did!


Last but not least - If you are going to take ridiculous pictures with my camera remember, I write a blog and therefore that picture may be shared with the world...

My sister-in-law Evangeline, my cousin Cheri, and my mom