Wordless Wednesday: St. Thomas Views

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The view out of our rented Jeep on the first day.

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The view when ziplining

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The view from a bar window

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The view from our rental home – what a tease! It’s too dangerous to climb down…

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The view of me underwater

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My view of my daughters kayaking from my kayak

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The view of Charlotte Amalie lit up at night from a kayak

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The view from our rental home at sunset

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The view from our highest ziplining point

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Underwater snorkeling views

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Me enjoying the views!

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Currently, June 2016

Current Book – I just read 3 books on vacation: “Who Do you Love” by Jennifer Weiner and “Cherry Money Baby” by John M. Cusick were summer fun easy reads, and “The Country of Ice Cream Star” by Sandra Newman, which was a haunting story written in its own dialect. I’m reading “Whatever Makes You Happy” right now, but I don’t like it as much as either of those other 3 books.

Current Guilty Pleasure – Nutella left over from Wendy’s graduation party – right out of the jar.

Current Drink – water. But I did “invent” an apple pie shot the other day of two parts Siegburg Apfel Apple Schnapps and one part St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur.

Current Favorite Blog – http://www.thehurricaneinheels.com, but she’s mostly on Periscope now.

Current Song – “One Thing Leads to Another” by The Fixx

Current Wish-List – reduced shoulder pain

Current Needs – limes to make Denise’s mojo chicken recipe

Current Triumph – Learned how to use Apple iBooks Author at work, helped DD1 paint a desk for her first apartment

Current Indulgence – calories

Current Outfit – jean shorts and an aqua button down

Current Banes of My Existence – ants in the dishwasher

Current Excitement – Brian got a new car for Father’s Day

Current Mood –it’s all good

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S’mores Marshmallow Bites

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We were invited to a Memorial Day backyard BBQ in the Florida summer heat. Although evenings in a backyard might make you think of s’mores, the hot weather keeps us from lighting fires. Instead, we concocted S’Mores Chocolate Nutella Bites. The plate was empty before I got to try one – the teens at the party gobbled them up before the adults got to them. These s’mores require NO campfire, NO stove, NO oven, NO baking… just a microwave and a few minutes. These are great to make with children as well.

First Alice tried just melting chocolate chips in the microwave, but they need some kind of fat to make the consistency right for dipping. I suggested butter. She tried Nutella. That worked great!

For an average bag of large marshmallows, use about 3/4 cup chocolate chips and 3TB Nutella. You’ll also want a sleeve of graham crackers. If you can crush the graham crackers (see gluten free option below) still in the sleeve without it bursting, it helps yield less mess. Or you can put them in a Ziploc Freezer bag, I was just trying to be greener than that. Once the graham crackers are very tiny dusty crumbs, smaller than a pencil eraser, dump them onto a plate.

Melting the chocolate is a bit of guesswork, don’t treat it like real science. You can’t ruin the recipe, you just might run out and have to melt more. We melted the chocolate and Nutella together in a small microwave-safe bowl for 14 seconds, stirred, gave it another 20 seconds, and everything was melted to a great dipping consistency. Microwave times vary, but don’t put it in for a long period so it will melt faster. You want to do short spurts of heat and stir in between. We used a rubber scraper to stir and then we had it ready for scraping the bowl when we were down to the last bits of chocolate.

Now is when you want to work quickly, before the chocolate cools and starts to solidify – although you can always pop it back in the microwave for 10 seconds. Take a large marshmallow, dip it about halfway into the melty chocolate goodness, swirl it around, and then roll it in the graham cracker crumbs. Stand your s’mores dipped marshmallows up on a plate. It’s easy and brainless and delicious!

These are great for parties with themes like camping, adventure, pow wow, gypsy boho, Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts.


Ingredients

  • Marshmallows – large size
  • Chocolate chips
  • Nutella
  • Graham Crackers

Other ideas:

Roll chocolate-dipped marshmallows in something other than graham crackers – like crushed nuts or rainbow sprinkles, but then they won’t be as s’mores-esque.

Swap the Nutella for peanut butter, cookie butter, or SKIPPY® Natural Peanut Butter Spread with Dark Chocolate. We’ve even made a blend of a few of those when we had too much junk food in the house! They all taste great blended with each other and/or with the chocolate chips.

You can make them gluten free by using Honey Nut Chex instead of graham crackers.

You can make them kosher by using Paskesz Marshmallows, Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels, and Nabisco graham crackers.

A full dinner plate of s’mores bites (nearly a whole bag of marshmallows) took me only 10 minutes to make. Enjoy!

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Time for a Fresh Meal Plan!

Sometimes when balancing life and health and food – and for me that means packing lunch for work – I just want to look at the choices and shout, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” Usually though, I try to set aside time on Sunday to cook up healthy food I can portion out for work lunches all week. But as we all know, Sunday Funday plans can ruin best-laid meal planning! Plus, many of my friends are packing lunches for their children as well, not just themselves.

Then dinner menus get added to the mix! It’s so easy to come home from work and NOT want to cook. But eating out means added sodium and other stuff I don’t want in my food.

Recently a friend introduced me to Fresh Meal Plan. By signing up for one of their plans, you can have freshly prepared, healthy and delicious meals delivered right to you! Plus, they offer meal plans to fit many diet types – like paleo, vegetarian, contest prep for bodybuilders, high performance for athletes, and vegan. Or, like me, traditional.

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The food comes ready to be heated up in small containers, so the portion sizes are determined for you. Sign up, select a meal plan, choose delivery or pick-up, and reheat the fully cooked meals!

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mealsI was offered a free week of lunches by Fresh Meal Plan Tampa Bay in exchange for this blog post giving my honest opinion about the food. I had a salmon meal with spaghetti squash and broccoli with honey mustard sauce, chicken stir fry over quinoa, apple pecan turkey salad (shown), and brisket bolognese over spinach with zucchini (shown). Some comments…

  1. The food I tried was delicious! The salmon and turkey salad were my favorites but I would recommend them all.
  2. The portion size was perfect for lunch if I had fruit between lunch and dinner. If I had nothing in between lunch and dinner I was really hungry 5 hours later.
  3. labelThe labels on the meals don’t show the full ingredients. I don’t know what was in the sauces or breadings – just the main ingredients are listed. (shown)

There was another day we had a catering tray from Fresh Meal Plan at work to share. The gluten free waffles were too bland for me, but the banana muffins were delicious with very rich frosting – even though they were paleo – no wheat, no gluten, no dairy.

I also really enjoyed the sweet potato fries, pasta, farro with cranberries and chicken satay. The green beans had too many onions for me. I didn’t try the Mediterranean salad because I don’t care for olives.

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Fresh Meal Plan is not a diet system using shakes, pills, cookies, or preserved and packaged meals. It’s all freshly made from a culinary team comprised of the highest level chefs led by Patrick Delaney. They also have 100% organic, raw, cold-pressed juices, but I have not tried one yet.

Not convinced? Here’s what they suggest:

For one week, log every dollar you spend on food and how much time you spent shopping for it, prepping it, cooking it and then cleaning up after it. Then think about how much your time is worth and realize that not only did you NOT save time or money, but you also do not have the variety of food that Fresh provides our Fresh Family clients with on a daily basis.

What is more convenient then having your own personal Fresh Chef deliver healthy meals right to your home, office, or school? You need a full spectrum of nutrients to achieve inner wellness and they’ll provide them at an exceptional level. Let their team of nutrition experts do the work for you so that you can use your spare time to do something much more fun!

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