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5.31.2013

Roasted Strawberry and Banana Greek FroYo With a Side of Life Changes


Guess what?!

I've lost 14 lbs. I am just below my goal weight and am at the point where I just need to maintain. You all may not notice the changes in my lifestyle here on my blog. I feel like I've been lying to you all. I'm a big fat fatty faker.

I have been chugging right along posting calorie ridden sweet and savory treats on the blog. While in real life, yes I do eat a treat here and there or a bowl of macaroni and cheese but I balance it all out with healthier choices through out my day and add in a good amount of exercise. I rarely share my love for lighter fresh foods here because they are not recipes that get "pinned" and go viral. I never talk about working out, and the activities outside of the kitchen I enjoy.  My audience tends to like over the top foods so that is what I share, things I am just not that into these days.... and I've been faking it! 



I'm not one who has ever had to watch their weight. In fact growing up and through my teens I was underweight and not by choice. I was the lanky girl with no figure. At the age of 21 I was a whopping 99lbs at 5'5. Fast forward to 3 kids later and edging towards my 30's I put on a good 30lbs. At my heaviest I wasn't over weight but I was not healthy. I reached that number because I ate poorly and stopped exercising as often.

With the help of my fitness pal and a group of food bloggers that are also watching their weight I started holding myself more accountable. I logged my foods counted my calories and started getting back into shape. My goal? To lose 10-15lbs. But more importantly......... to be healthy.



I've been pondering that word, healthy in my head for a few days now. What is truly healthy? Does it mean I need to become a hardcore calorie counter? Do I need to run marathons for fun? Vegan? Vegetarian? No there is no one answer. My health is all about balance. Balance in my diet, regular exercise, balance in my personal life as well as my professional. A healthy Carrie is balanced. 


What are some of the changes I've made to create this balance?

I watch what I eat. But not in a guilty "Oh my god, I just ate a french fry" calorie counting way. I just make sure the majority of the foods I eat are fresh, local, and nutritious. I also make sure I do not deprive myself. If I want a cookie... give me a damn cookie!

I work out almost daily. This is not a 90 minute session at the gym 7 days a week. I just make sure each day has some form of physical activity. It can be anything from a dance party with my kids, Bikram Yoga (my love!), running, spinning, strength training, going for a walk. It varies from day to day.

Spending more quality time with my family.... and less time working on my blog. That might seem silly to some. But those of you who "get it" know how much time and energy is put into a food blog. It is a lot of work.

What does this balance mean for Bakeaholic Mama? 

You may not see me post as often as I was. With the big move coming up next month, school vacation, among other changes in my personal life the blog is taking a back burner. I'll check in from time to time, it just may not be daily or even weekly for a bit.


To kick the summer months off I want to share a healthy alternative to ice cream, it's made with only a few ingredients, can be made without an ice cream maker in under 3 hours!

5.29.2013

White Cloud Frosting and Coffee Talk with Bless This Mess

 I have so many friends I've made over the past two years through blogging. I feel like they have always been there. I can't pin point how I "met" them and started stalking their blogs. Today's blogger Melissa from Bless This Mess, is someone I've become friends with over the past year. I thought for sure we started following each other because of a connection I dreamed up of using the same graphic designer. Nope... she won one of my giveaways... I have such a terrible memory!


When I did stumble upon Melissa's blog I loved it. We are the same age, both stay at home moms to  a litter of kiddos. Pretty sure if she lived closer (she is all the way out in Utah!) we'd be BFF's.  Melissa is not only a mom, wife, blogger, she raises her own chickens, and she and her husband are in the house flipping/remodel business. She shares real life shots and blog posts about her home and family during the chaos of remodeling. I love it. 


Months ago I tried her White Cloud Frosting and fell in love. She calls it icing.... I call it frosting. It's a regional thing. I don't think anyone in the N. East says icing... Anyways.  I've made it more times than I can count. Hands down best frosting recipe on earth. Normally I don't get all excited about frosting, but this is just so good it deserves a blog post dedicated to it. It's light like a meringue or even whipped cream because of the egg whites, but sweetened with corn syrup instead of tons of powdered sugar. Also, it's butter FREE! Fluffy, pipes like a dream, and does great when left at room temperature. Every cake or cupcake you make from here on out should be topped with White Cloud Frosting.

Today I sat down Melissa and asked her a few questions about her blog and life. 
 

  
Melissa, I am so happy you did Coffee Talk with me today! I have just a few questions for you so we can all get to know the blogger behind Bless This Mess.....
Do you have a favorite trashy food you love but hate to admit?

I'm ashamed of my love for Little Debbie's Swiss Cake Rolls. I rarely buy that kind of thing but when you need Swiss Cake Roll, you NEED a Swiss Cake Roll. We just moved a few weeks ago and that little roll of chocolate goodness is the only thing that got me through the mountain of packing and work that moving involves.
What is your must have kitchen tool or appliance?

I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to most things, kitchen gadgets included. I have to say that I good set of knifes is worth the money and will be used over and over again. I literally own four knives including a bread knife, but they are used every single day.


What blog post/recipe are you most proud of?

I posted The Ultimate Chocolate and Peanut Butter Sundae recipe this year and I'm so so proud of it. Food photography is something that I've worked really hard at to improve over the last 18 months and when I looked at the pictures from this recipe I finally felt like a "real" food blogger! The recipe is awesome and the picture do just what they should - make you want to have it. Now.
 The Ultimate Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Sundaes


Our blogging community is full of inspiring bloggers. My reading list grows almost every day. Are there a few blogs you think we all must check out ?

I love this question! You, Carrie, are a favorite for sure (and no, I'm not sucking up... I just love you), and these three ladies are just as impressive as you.

Back to Her Roots - Cassie is a fellow Hoosier (though I live in Utah now) and her blog is just SO much fun to read. She's amazing and inspiring.

Cooking Classy - Jaclyn has amazing pictures and I want to make every single recipe she posts. Her sugar cookie bars are delicious.

One Lovely Life - Emily makes your day better because she's so very positive while keeping it real, and she's a quiz in the kitchen to boot. 
Everyone be sure to snag that recipe for White Cloud Frosting, and check out Melissa's blog Bless This Mess. Also find her on Twitter and on Facebook


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5.22.2013

Snickerdoodle Cookie-Butter Sandwich Cookies




I'm super excited to have my Maine neighbor Alaina, from Fabtastic Eats on the blog today for Coffee Talk. Alaina is a young mom like myself with two boys. I know how busy life can get with two little ones, yet she always has time to share fun new recipes on her blog.

When I took  the time to search her archives for a fun recipe to try out for Coffee Talk, I ran in to a wee bit of a problem. I wanted to make everything. Today I made her Snickerdoodle Cookie-Butter Sandwich Cookies. Not only is one of my favorite cookies a snickerdoodle... I am so freaking obsessed with with Biscoff Spread (Also known as cookie butter). My obsession with the cookie butter is so bad that I can't have a jar in the house, because  it's what I like to call a "trigger food." One of those things I have no self control around. I buy a jar and eat the whole thing on my own in under 48 hours. Do you know how many calories that is?! It's so gross.... but soooo good!


The cookies alone are spectacular, the perfect snickerdoodle. They are soft, buttery, and coated in sugar and cinnamon. The Biscoff Spread sandwiched in the center is just the finishing touch that brings these cookies over the top.


It's official, Alaina is my new favorite Maine blogger. These cookies are spectacular! To get the full recipe be sure to go to Fabtastic Eats for Alaina's Snickerdoodle Cookie-Butter Sandwich Cookies.


Today I sat down with Alaina, and asked her a few questions so we could all get to know the blogger behind the blog.

 


 


When and why did you start your blog?

I started my blog back in 2011 when I was pregnant with my first son. I had grown up with tons of cooking but never tried my hand at it myself until then. I knew I needed to learn to cook for not just us, but this little baby we were bringing into the world! It started with a crazy amount of cakes and cookies, (I had a major sweet tooth that pregnancy!) and it evolved from there. Back then my blog was called “Mommy’s Menu” hardly anyone read it, and I didn’t know a thing! After taking a summer off I came back with a new name, met some great blogging friends, and have learned so much!

Where do you find your inspiration in the kitchen? 

Everywhere! We love going out to eat, we do it often, even with our kids, and we’ve always wanted them to know how to behave in restaurants, so we enjoy taking them! I love recreating dishes from our favorite restaurants! I find it in magazines for sure, other blogs definitely; there are so many amazing and talented bloggers out there, if I’m not careful I can spend hours just browsing and reading other blogs…then my poor kids are starving! ;) My mom and grandmother are amazing cooks, so I get a lot from them..my mom and I talk about food A LOT!
Do you have a favorite trashy food you love but hate to admit?
CORNDOGS! Oh my goodness, I know so many people think they’re absolutely disgusting, but I seriously LOVE them! I ate an embarrassing amount of them during my last pregnancy! A local restaurant we go to sells them for .99 cents, and they taste just like the perfect Carnival corndogs! Dangerous I tell you!

What is your must have kitchen tool or appliance?

A sharp knife. I know a lot of people say that, but I have worked in other people kitchens that don’t have one or all their knives are dull, and it can really make cooking a frustrating experience! It is the one thing that I use over and over every.single.day.

What blog post/recipe are you most proud of?

Hmm this is a hard one! Probably these Double Chocolate Raspberry Shortbread Bars. They may seem simple, but they’re something I came up with completely myself and I’ve made them a few times with incredible results and people love them!!
 Double Chocolate Raspberry Shortbread Bars

Our blogging community is full of inspiring bloggers. My reading list grows almost every day. Are there a few blogs you think we all must check out ?

This is an impossible question! My bloglovin’ is overflowing with hundreds of unread blog posts from all of my favorite bloggers, I just can’t keep up but I love them all so I refuse to trim it down! I guess to just list a few of my favs…
Iowa Girl Eats  Kristin’s writing makes me smile and all of her recipes are completely makeable for anyone and all the ones I have tried have been so delicious!
A Kitchen Addiction  because I literally want to make every.single.thing that Jessica Posts!
Completely Delicious  Annalise is another one who makes me want to get in the kitchen the minute I come across her latest post!
Simply Scratch  I love how Laurie makes everything from scratch and shows you step by step how to do it. I too am a big believer in making most things in your own kitchen, not to mention her recipes are drool worthy!
Thanks again so much Carrie!! This was fun! :)

Thank you Alaina! I loved you and your blog before today... but now that I know you love corndogs too, you just made it to my list of favorite people. I'm a sucker for corndogs!

Be sure to check out Alaina's blog Fabtastic Eats, as well as follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.  

(Get the Snickerdoodle Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookie recipe HERE.)
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5.20.2013

Buttermilk Sugar Cream Pie





I haven't had ambition to blog lately. Last night I poured a glass of wine after the kids went to bed sat down with my lap top and forced myself to start writing. Around midnight I called it a night. All I had left to do was a couple tweaks on some photos and it was done. When I woke up this morning, I re read the post and patted myself on the back. It was one of my best blog posts. A tad personal and emotional, but very well done. I poured myself a cup of coffee, sat back down to my computer. Opened my draft folders again. I had two drafts with the same title. I hit delete on the duplicate file, and then went to open my second one to publish the blog post.

I hit delete on the wrong post. Now if I was smart, I would write my drafts in Word and then copy and paste them into my blogger dashboard. Well, I'm not that quick.... I write all of blog posts, edit, and save right in blogger. That draft is gone forever. No trash can to pick though and recover. Several hours of hard work and one of my best pieces gone. I kind of want to kick myself in the shins.

The recipe was for a Sugar Cream Pie and the story behind it was slightly emotional for me to tell. Most of you don't know this because I talk about New Hampshire and Vermont so much on my blog but my other love is Indiana. My dad is originally from Indy, so I spent many childhood summers there and have a soft spot in my heart for the Mid West.


 On our visits out to Indiana, we always stock up on Mrs. Wicks Sugar Cream Pies. For those of you who do not know, those sugar cream pies also known as  Hoosier Pies, are the Indiana State Pie. Mrs. Wicks just happened to be in the town grandparents lived, so we ate our fair share of those pies every year.  
2010 My sister and I on our last trip out to Indiana
When I get "homesick" even though I never actually lived in Indiana, I always want a slice of that pie. When talking with some blogging friends last year I found out my friend Heather, who is from Indiana had a recipe on her blog that she got from her grandmother for a pie said to be just like Mrs. Wicks. I've made that pie several times, and it's spot on.


The last two times I've made it I just so happen to have a bit of buttermilk left over from other recipes, so I subbed the heavy cream for it. The buttermilk lends a slight tang to the pie that I love. If you are a fan of Mrs. Wicks and want a traditional Sugar Cream Pie, then I'd suggest you stick to Heather's original recipe. For the crust, I'm sticking with the buttermilk theme here, so I use my favorite pie crust recipe inspired by Joy the Baker's Buttermilk Pie Crust.



5.15.2013

Avocado Pizza for Breakfast and Coffee Talk with A Clove of Garlic, A Pinch of Salt


Have I told you guys how obsessed I am with avocados? I eat 1/2 an avocado a day with by breakfast or lunch. My most common use? To just mash it on top of my toast or bagel with a pinch of salt and dill pickles. I KNOW. I'm so strange. But I love it.

This week I sat down with Tiffany from A Clove of Garlic, A Pinch of Salt  for Coffee Talk. She is a California girl so I would imagine she gets plenty of fresh awesome creamy green avocados. Living in New Hampshire our avocados are imported from California or Mexico. This time of year they are the best... so I've been eating my fair share of them the past month or so.


When I saw this Avocado Pizza on A Clove of Garlic, a Pinch of Salt I knew I wanted it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It's so easy, it's healthy, and it is so yummy. Tiffany uses pita bread for her pizzas, I always have pita on hand but for some reason this particular day I did not. However I had some tortillas. So I adapted her recipe a tad by using the tortilla and by adding tomatoes to the top. Yep. This now takes my former favorite breakfast of avocado toast and pickle's place as top dog. Avocados and a sunny side up egg should start my day every day.

 A Clove of Garlic, A Pinch of Salt

I have been a blog follower and friend of Tiffany's for a while now. Her blog always gives me fresh fun healthy ideas for our family. She is a school teacher with a passion for food and she  is a fellow member of Sundays With Joy. Later this summer she may even be coming to visit me up in the sticks of New England! YAY!

Photo Credit: A Clove of Garlic, A Pinch of Salt
I know you will all love her blog as much as I do. Recipes like this Grown Up Grilled Cheese... are exactly why I love her. She has some amazing simple, healthy, and budget friendly meal ideas. What I love most about her blog is that she breaks the recipe down and tells you what it will cost per serving. For this money saving mom it comes in handy! You can find some great Brazilian favorites on her blog too (Her hubby is from Brazil). Also, Tiffany travels a LOT... or at least to me she does. I've visited 2 countries in my 29ish years... and one was Canada and that so does not count. I have not had the opportunities *yet* to travel as much as I would like. Her blog is full of amazing trips she and her husband go on, so I live vicariously through them!

Photo Credit: A Clove of Garlic, A Pinch of Salt
I'm just going to pretend that I went snorkeling in the pacific and captured those gorgeous shots above... You can't snorkel in our cold Atlantic waters..... Or maybe you can... but I'm not sure I'd want to. I'd drown or die of hypothermia!
Photo Credit: A Clove of Garlic, A Pinch of Salt
 I'm so excited to have you on my blog today Tiffany! I have a few questions for you so my readers can get to you know you a bit more!

What made you want to start a blog?

I never really planned to start blogging, it just happened. I kept a personal blog that was private for about a year but then one week I worked my way through a Rachael Ray Weekly Meal Plan -- 7 new recipes in one week -- and I was SO PROUD of myself. I could barely cook back then, and in that week I tried things I never had even heard of: Panzanella, homemade pesto, etc... I wanted to share it with all of my friends and family yet didn't want to open up my private blog, so I just started a new one. I had NO IDEA what lie ahead from that point on... it just kind of came together, and here I am, providing food ideas for my friends and family, as well as complete strangers. Who would have guessed?!

Where do you get your inspiration in the kitchen?
 
It really comes from a variety of sources, but there are three main ones: other bloggers, for sure. I have learned so much from men and women like myself who are working hard in their kitchens to provide good and tasty food for their families. Martha Stewart's Everyday Food has been my biggest source of recipe starters -- I would see something in the magazine (which I am so sad that they discontinued ) and think, "What if I did it like this, or like that?" Then I would go out and try. Another place, though, is restaurants. I eat something I like and then chat up the waiter about the dish. If I can get the main ingredients I can pretty much figure out a way to try it at home. That is the most fun I think, but I don't do it enough. I guess I don't eat out enough now that I know how to cook -- HA!

We all have trashy foods we love.... what is that one food you are embarrassed to admit you love?

 Easy. Cheetos. I have a weak spot for Cheetos. I don't buy them, but I don't say no when they are offered to me. And then I greedily eat them all...


What is the one kitchen appliance or gadget you can't live without?

My food processor. Funny story here -- I didn't even realize all that it could do (shred, chop, puree... that thing is a beast!) and I had three of them sitting in my house. Target had made a mistake on our wedding registry and so when people would pick up the food processor (which I only listed because it seemed like something that everybody else had) it wouldn't get crossed off the list. So we wound up with three. And they wouldn't take them back... they just lived in storage until one day I figured out how amazing they are. Then I gifted one at a wedding (I know, I know... shh!) and the other one is going home with my mother-in-law to Brazil this summer. I can't wait to show her how easy it is going to make her life!

I absolutely love following your travels on your blog. One place in particular that caught my attention was Palau. Can you tell us a little about your connection there?
 
 Oh, Palau, my heart. I wound up there on a mission trip one Spring Break during college, purely because I wanted something fun to do and my church offered to pay for me... not the best reason, but it worked out for the best. When I first got there, on this little tiny island nation in the middle of the Pacific, I thought Hell itself could not compete with the temperature and I was ready to hide away the entire 10 days. Until I met the children. And I fell in love for the first time. The children were beautiful, and so was the natural beauty of the country itself.  A principal there asked me to come back to teach school -- and I didn't even need to finish college to do it -- so a year later I hopped back on a plane and taught 4th grade to little island children who filled my heart with SO MUCH JOY. For the next few years I bounced back and forth between my life here in California and my life there in Micronesia & Palau, until this last November I had the chance to take my husband with me. It was, hands down, one of the best experiences I could ask for. Here were people who had so little, almost nothing compared to what we have, and they rolled out the red carpet for us, because I had 'come home'. Instantly they took my husband in as one of their own, as well. Not that I am surprised -- we are talking about a country that has no orphanages or foster homes, no homeless people, no nursing homes for the old. Nobody has much, but everybody is loved and taken care of. We returned to the States and a week later a huge typhoon came and wiped out the simple houses my friends called home. But they didn't complain. Instead they rallied together to build shelters and move on. When I was finally able to reach them by phone they were laughing and joking around. One friend said, "Tiffany, my house is gone. But that's OK, nobody was injured." And then, "Please, send us your address so that we can mail you a package." WHAT?! Their lives are so 'simple', yet I have so much to learn from them... 


Photo Credit: A Clove of Garlic, A Pinch of Salt
         ~ Such an amazing connection you have with them all. I never even heard of
Micronesia & Palau until, after the Typhoon when your students ran the cookie fundraiser. Such a beautiful place filled with beautiful people. I hope I can visit there someday.


Our blogging community is filled with so much talent! I love discovering new must read blogs to add to my reader. What are a few of your favorites to follow?
 
Of course! For yummy healthy food: A Couple Cooks {http://www.acouplecooks.com/}
For great food stories and community gathering: Eat the Love {http://www.eatthelove.com/}

For a down-to-earth friend: Fearless Homemaker {http://www.fearlesshomemaker.com/}
For photography and writing that will knock your socks off: Happy Yolks {http://www.happyolks.com/}
For food I want to eat and I life that is LIVED: Marshalls Abroad {http://www.marshallsabroad.com/}
And for a look at a dual-cultural marriage such as mine, yet oh-so-very different at the same time: Rachel's Rantings in Rio {http://www.rachelsrantings.com/}

Tiffany, I just adore you and A Clove of Garlic, A Pinch of Salt! Thank you so much for taking time out to talk with me today! 
PS... Come to the New England soon so we can eat sweet potato cookies and I can turn you on to coffee and bacon.

Be sure to check out Tiffany's blog A Clove of Garlic, A Pinch of Salt.... make yourself an Avocado Pizza, and follower her on Facebook and Twitter!  







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5.14.2013

Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies Filled With Caramel and Peanut Butter


Sometimes I throw something together in the kitchen that turns out amazing. A drop what you are doing and come check these out type of recipe. That's what these cookies are. Please drop what you are doing concentrate on these photos, wipe the drool from your chin and go whip up a batch. These cookies deserve your undivided attention.


Are you drooling yet?


Brown butter oatmeal cookies are one of my favorite go to cookies, but when filled with chewy caramels and then topped off with a dollop of peanut butter... there are just no words that do them justice.


Also... can we all agree cookies are meant to be eaten warm? If you eat these cookies cold or at room temperature you will not understand that full greatness of the ooey gooey caramel and peanut butter.


If you find that you can not eat all of these cookies right away. Store them in an air tight container and when the time comes and you want to eat one... microwave it for 10 seconds.  If you do not do this step. Beware. Caramel hardens and will pull any fillings you have out if you are not careful.


What I love most about these cookies, is that they are made in one bowl, are easy to whip up. Push some caramel candies in the center, dollop with peanut butter, bake, then enjoy piping hot with a gallon of cold milk.


5.13.2013

Sriracha Avocado Chicken Salad

Lunch time is my favorite meal of the day, I love salads and sandwiches and never get bored of either. I especially love chicken salads. I think I make a new version weekly. Lately my obsession is this Avocado Chicken Salad. It's simple. Chicken, avocado, lime juice, and a bit of salt. To kick it up I dump half a bottle of sriracha on top. Sriracha makes it into 2/3 of my daily meals. I LOOOOVE the stuff. If you have never had it, it's a Thia style chili sauce that can be found in most ethnic food isles. If you like a little heat added to your foods, check it out.


For the recipe for my Sriracha Avocado Chicken Salad go check out the guest post I did for my sweet friend Liz at The Lemon Bowl. While your there browse around and check out her fun, fresh and healthy recipe ideas!

PS don't forget to enter in my Albion Fit Giveaway worth $112!