Sunday, July 27, 2014

Low Cal High Fiber Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Squares

I'm taking a cake decorating class at Micheals, and for this week's lesson we were asked to bring in rice crispy treats. However, I wanted rice crispy treats that I felt good about eating, so here's a recipe for

Low Cal High Fibre Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Squares

In a bowl, mix:

2 Cups brown rice crispies (240cals)
60 grams (or two single serving packets) of Quakers Quick Oats (240cals)
1 Cup of All Bran Buds (70cals)
1/4 Cup of mini chocolate chips (100cals)

In a sauce pan, on low heat, mix:

6 tbsp Kraft Light Peanut Butter (480cals)
4 tbsp Honey (240cals)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract (12cals)

Stirring as it melts, when smooth remove from heat and pour over the dry ingredients. Make sure to get it all out of the pan using a spatula. Then mix thoroughly. Line medium sized baking dish with tin foil, pour in mix and press flat. Refrigerate for 30min to an hour before cutting into squares.

Makes 12 squares, each at 115 calories, and they taste great, fill you up and pack a tonne of fiber!

Cake Decorating at Michaels Lesson 3

 Tonight I had my third lesson at Michaels in decorating cakes, we mainly focused on making flowers and boarders.

 Zig-zag and ribbon boarders.

 Green leaves and grass.

 Scrapping off the used icing and mixing it together for some large flowers.

 Large flowers with the extra large flower tip!

And complex flowers, daisies and sunflowers.

So putting some of my skills together I decorated these Healthy Rice Crispy Squares with some pretty flowers.

You can find the recipe by clicking here for these 115 calorie (no icing of course), high fiber, chocolate peanut butter squares. squares.

Week 1- cupcakes
Week 2- layer cake
Week 3 - decorate with flowers
Week 4 - ???

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday...thanks for the smile mom!

My mom saw this picture from yesterday.

And thought I look just like I did as a baby.

And sent me these pictures.

Apparently I wasn't very happy as a baby or something?

Anyways, it cracked me right up.

Happy Thursday!

Book Review: Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed

Let's be honest, we've all read Eat, Pray, Love; or at least seen the movie. Elizabeth Gilbert's hugely successful tale of her year spent abroad, post crushing divorce and consuming rebound. Her story certainly inspires me to want to take a year off from life and just live in Italy, India and Bali. Especially if it would end with finding the hot Brazilian man of my dreams, just like her year did (ok maybe not that part....I loves you Kevin! lol)

But what happens next for her? I mean she can't very well spend the rest of her life in Bali? And Elizabeth and Felipe (also divorced) have no interest or belief in getting married again.

Committed picks up where Eat, Pray, Love leaves off, and importantly the events in this book take place before Julia Roberts is cast to play Elizabeth in the movie (I can't help but think things might have been different had her book already been famous before the events of this next chapter).

Elizabeth and Felipe, after spending a year traveling the world together and flying back and forth between the US and Bali, decide to settle permanently in the USA. The problem, Felipe isn't American... and so the two are forced to have a quickie engagement at US Customs, before Felipe is 'technically not deported'.

They spend the next year living abroad, waiting for paperwork for his visa to be processed, and Elizabeth embarks on  a quest to discover everything she can about Marriage before giving it a second round.

So here are 7 things that I learned about marriage by reading Committed:

1) We Westerners are raised to believe that we are special, and that we all believe that the pursuit of happiness is our natural birthright, and have come to believe that our husband's (yes I should just use the word spouse here, but for me it would be husband and this is my list)... our husband's job is to make us abundantly happy. EG points out two things "Plant expectation, reap a disappointment." and as an old Italian woman once told her "Who's happy?"

2) Always, under all circumstances, listen to what old Italian women have to say, and consider it. My nana may keep telling me to just be a Pharmacist and to hurry up and get married 5 years ago... although I probably won't do either of those things, I think I understand why she wants that for me. As for "who's happy?" it's true, any person or importantly any relationship you could point to and say that is happiness, that's what I want... well from a different perspective it might not be all that great.

3) Not that we shouldn't expect our husband's to bring a great deal of happiness to our lives. We should, I mean who would want to be married to someone who makes you sad? But we shouldn't expect that to be their job, or worse, if you are unhappy as a single person, you are welcoming trouble to go into marriage believing that your new husband will suddenly give you happiness. You should never rely on someone outside of your self to provide you with happiness. It comes from within first. If you are depending on another person to provide you with happiness, you really are setting yourself up for disappointments, and you are likely going to just end up dragging that person down with you.

4) I was raised Catholic... and you know, I'm probably supposed to get married in the Church one day, before God and a Priest who will hopefully say my name correctly during the vows (At my cousin's wedding the priest called her Christina throughout the entire ceremony, despite multiple corrections to Krista... kind of takes away some of the sacredness from the sacrament no?) But I was surprised to learn that for the early days of Christianity (by early days, I mean the first 1000 years), the Church went about  trying to stamp out marriage in favor of global celibacy. As EG points out St. Jerome wrote "one should not even rightly compare virginity to marriage-because you cannot 'make a comparison between two things is one is good and the other is evil'." Or St. Paul to the Corinthians "It is not good for a man to touch a woman.", instructing all good Christians to be celibate like himself. At the end of the day, the holy sacrament of matrimony came about because it turns out you have happier Christians if you don't keep telling them their natural desires to be wed to one person are sinful, and the Church doesn't just adopt practices, it wraps them up in regulations and rules and rigidity.

5) The Church aren't the only ones to try to deny marriage over the years, not just to specific groups, or between specific groups, but even to populations as a whole. EG touches on the Soviet Union's early attempts to eliminate marriage, before scoring, changing suit, and declaring the family (married husband-wife with kids) to be the basic/foundational unit of a good communist society. But points out that regardless of who is trying to regulate marriage, it always prevails in the end. EG takes a whole chapter to elaborate on (and draw courage/belief from) the idea that marriage is fundamentally subversive.

6) Legal marriage is a social necessity. Sure you can have your own private promising ceremony, and happily live your lives together. But the fact of the matter is, that marriage can also be viewed as the biggest financial decision most of us will ever make. By choosing to live manogomously with one person, whether legally married or not, you will eventually merge financially into one unit. Unfortunately, the simple fact, married or not, not all couples will stay together for life. Legal marriage can therefor be kind of seen as registering your merger with your society, so if your two companies try to split, there is some paperwork up front to make the process easier (for society... not your hearts). If everyone were to give up on legal marriages, with our current 50% divorce rate, when half of all these couples eventually split, society might halt while we try to reach consensuses on who got together when and with what assets and whatever. And like vaccines, the 95% of people sticking to the regimens protect the 5% who don't. I don't know if I'm getting to the point here, but seriously, it turns out that things run more easily when unions are formalized and recognized.

7) Turns out mairrage is super good for men but not so much for women. EG draws the reader's attention to studies which show married men live longer, earn more money, are healthier and happier than single men. The same studies show that the opposite is true for women. Yet of the people my age, it's the ladies who are dying to get married and then men who don't even want to hear the word. Though things have been steadily improving for married women, so hopefully our generation will turn out more equality between the genders.

That's all I've got for now, at it's really just a long winded ramble about what I, an unmarried 26 year old took away from the book. However I will say it is a must read for anyone heading down the path towards marriage. You really should know what you're getting in to, and really should take the time to consider why you're making the choices you are.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On Wednesdays we wear pink.

So I was at the mall tonight to buy my cousin and I matching 105 Singlets for the Sea Wheeze next month. We went with purple. And I thought I'd do the full walk around... and found a new store.

And subsequently had to buy a new shirt...because it was hanging front center, and brought me back to my highschool days in an instant.

Only once I got it home I released that if I wear this shirt into the lab, probably noone will know what it's from... since they're all either too old, too young or too male to appreciate Mean Girls.

I also picked up a black oversized tee, and a couple of cheap tanks from stores like old navy and bluenotes (you know, the kind of stores I feel too old going into).

In other news... I'm working on a new project (and not just the #100happydays that I've been doing on Instagram @Turner_SR )... So I've been busy as heck lately... Can't wait to share it here tho... in 19 more days!

Happy Humpday!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cake Decorating at Michaels Lesson 2

So I think it's time to quit grad school and open up a bakery. I mean last week's cupcakes turned out pretty awesome, and this week was even better I think.

Week two of Michaels level 1 cake decorating class (using all Wilton products of course) required that we bake, fill, ice and decorate a layer cake. I'm still calorie counting this month (which means I wouldn't be eating my cake) so I went with a box cake mix, chocolate fudge. For the filling I simply mixed a can of chocolate icing with half a jar of strawberry jam. And I used the Wiltons icing that you can buy in the big jug at Micheals.

We gel transferred an image onto our cakes, and then went to town with the decorating.

My cousin's baby, Penelope, is turning one next month, and so I decided to make her a pre-birthday cake with a cute little owl (since she has a thing for owls).

I was seriously impressed with how the cake turned out, and Kevin informed me that despite being made from a box, it was quite delicious.

So what do you think? Should I decorate cakes for a living?

Week 1- cupcakes
Week 2- layer cake
Week 3 - decorate with flowers
Week 4 - ???

Easy Crochet Baby Blanket with Pattern

Everyone I know is having babies, or getting married...or having babies and getting married... or their babies are getting married. Anyways, as I usually like to hand make gifts for such important things in peoples lives I've been surrounded in yarn lately. I just finished up this pretty and simple crocheted baby blanket, it's adapted from a pattern from the 1960s or something from my grandmother. So I've included the simplified pattern below.

The finished blanket is actually pretty large (that's it taking up about a third of my double bed).

I really enjoy the fact that it looks almost like it was worked in squares and then assembled, but the easy 95% double crochet pattern means no seams and really quick work up.

The pattern is very straight forward. You can use any yarn you like (and the recommended hook size on the label), my blanket took just under 4 balls of Bernat Giggles in Giggling Green (although in these pictures it does look more blue) and the white yarn was just left over Red Heart Soft Touch, which is a bit smaller than the Bernat, but I thought it still looked fine.

Anyways, feel free to use this pattern, just link me back, and drop me a comment so I can come see how your project turned out.