Monday, April 14, 2014

Make It Count

Happy Monday!
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Exactly four weeks from today, I'll pack up my room and drive back to Ohio, an official college grad. Where the last four years have gone, I have absolutely no clue, but I do know that I need to make these next four weeks count, not just in the sense of enjoying Chapel Hill, but enjoying the friends I've made here. As in, now is probably not the time to watch the first three seasons of Game of Thrones, it's the time to go out with friends, eat at my favorite restaurants, and take it all in. There are so many people that I will genuinely miss and don't know when I'll see again. Trust me, I've had several panic attacks about it. That may have been an exaggeration, but you get the point. 
So, whether you're just beginning a new chapter of your life or getting ready to end the one you're in, here's to making the days count.

Also, because I love this and it goes along with the theme...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Carrboro Farmer's Market

Every time my parents visit Chapel Hill, we make sure to go to the Carrboro Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. We always get cheese from Chapel Hill Creamery and the best chocolate chip banana bread from Sari Sari Sweets. It's so moist that it sticks to your fingers when you tear it off, because no, we can't wait to get home and cut it up ourselves. There's great produce, homemade lemonade with fresh mint and ginger, fresh pasta, nut butters, ceramic mugs and if nothing else, it's just fun to walk around! 
As embarrassed as I am to admit it, I've never gone without them. As in, I live right down the street and never go. Thanks to my quarter-life, I'm-about-to-graduate-and-leave-Chapel-Hill-crisis, a couple friends and I decided to take advantage of it last weekend. It was perfect morning and we had so much fun walking around, sampling food, and taking lots of pictures. If you're ever in Chapel Hill for a weekend, this is a must!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Monday mantra once again comin' at ya on Tuesday. Plus it's probably too long to be a mantra, so we'll call it Tuesday thoughts? Doesn't sound as good. I'll work on it.
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 Oh, Steve Jobs. You sure do have a way with words.
I think it's so easy to doubt your choices. We've all been there before. We had a decision to make, made it, then whatever it is that we chose suddenly wasn't easy anymore. Did I pick the right major, the right job, the right grad school? Am I where I'm supposed to be? It's so easy to look back at that fork in the road and wonder where the other path may have taken us. But, what good does that do us? None
So, trust in your instincts and have confidence that it will work out in the end.
Because it will.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Oatmeal Banana Bread Bars with a Swirl

My friend Miranda made some banana bread with Nutella swirl from The Nutritious Kitchen and raved about the recipe, so Maggie and I decided to bake some a couple of weeks ago. Okay, I lied, it was over a month ago. I'm the worst at updating. 
Anyway, we had a minor problem: we don't have bread pans. So, what was supposed to be banana bread turned more into banana bread bars, which were just as good, if not better. 
We made a couple of changes to the recipe by using almond meal in place of half of the oat flour, honey instead of maple syrup, and coconut oil instead of canola oil.
Also, instead of Nutella, we decided to do a little experiment and swirl almond butter into 1/3, peanut butter into 1/3 and cookie butter into 1/3, to do a little taste test, which they all passed.
They're the bomb.com and you don't have to feel too guilty about eating them.
p.s. I buy my almond meal from Trader Joe's. It may seem like an unnecessary purchase, and I was initially hesitant to buy it, but I've ended up using it a lot! It gives your treats a nuttier texture and takes them to the next level, so promise me you'll try it at least once?
p.p.s If you don't have oat flour on hand, just put regular oats in a food processor until its flour-like in consistency and voila! Oat flour.
 
Oatmeal Banana Bread Bars with a Swirl
Adapted from The Nutritious Kitchen

Ingredients:
1 cup oat flour
1 cup almond meal
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3 slightly browned bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 Tbsp raw oats
4 Tbsp of your choice of spread! (Almond butter, peanut butter, cookie butter, Nutella, etc.) ;)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix oat flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.
3. Mix bananas, vanilla, coconut oil, Greek yogurt, honey and almond milk in a separate bowl.
4. Mix wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined.
5. Spray a ___ pan with cooking spray. Add the mixture to the pan and flatten out with a spatula.
6. Swirl in the spread of your choice!
7. Sprinkle raw oats on top.
8. Bake for ~20 minutes, but keep an eye on them! To be honest I can't remember exactly how long we baked them for, so just wait for the smell and test with a toothpick
And yes, they smelled so good that we couldn't wait to eat them. Hence, the two missing bars from all of these pictures. Sorry. (not really)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Portobello Road

Our first destination after a not-so-good nights sleep in a hostel with four snoring strangers, Courtney and I made our way to Portobello Road. Portobello Road is the famous road running through Notting Hill, and features a market with antiques, jewelry, vintage clothes, maps, flags, compasses, food and anything else your heart desires! 
I had gone over spring break but it had been so cold and snowy that I didn't take in all that the outdoor market had to offer. This time, we weren't able to go during one of the busy market days, but it was still worth the trip!
You can find out when the full market is held here.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Yellow

 Coldplay, Kings of Leon and Disclosure have been on repeat over here this past week. So, rather than a quote for the week, I've decided to change things up a bit and give you this masterpiece of a song that always makes me smile.
I'm pretty sure Coldplay is at the top of my list of concerts I need to experience because I'm pretty sure I know it would be life changing, so here's to yellow and hoping I see them live in the near future.

Happy Monday!
xoxo

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Comfort Zones

Remember last Monday when I said I was gong to post a little Monday mantra inspiration every week from now on? Well, it's Tuesday. Better late than never?
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We've all heard it said before. 
Going to a school out of state wasn't exactly comfortable, studying abroad in Italy was by no means familiar, and deciding to get up in front of a group of people and lead a cycling class was absolutely terrifying.
 By no means am I saying that I'm this picture perfect example of a risk-taker or that I step out of my comfort zone at every chance possible, but I will say that some of my favorite memories and best experiences have come from doing just that.
So, last week, I bit the bullet and signed up for my first sprint triathlon. I'd been thinking about it ever since I fell in love with cycling, but if I'm being honest, the most fitness-focused cycling I've done has all been on a stationary bike and I can't remember the last time I swam laps in a pool.
Scary? Yes. Crazy? Maybe. Excited? Absolutely.