what i ate

welcome to what I ate wednesday! I haven't done one of these in a while but I was excited to jump back into it this week. thanks to jenn @ peas & crayons for creating this and to laura @ sprint 2 the table for hosting this week!

 I've been using My Fitness Pal to track my calories and so far it's going pretty well. I wanted to drop a few pounds before my sister's bachelorette party this weekend (!!!) and so that has been great motivation to stay strong. Without further ado, here's my daily eats from yesterday!

wiaw 7.29.15 overnight oats

breakfast: iced coffee + my first overnight oats! I combined 1/2 C old fashioned oats, 1/2 C milk, 1/4 C Greek vanilla yogurt, dash of vanilla, dash of cinnamon and let it sit in a covered container overnight. I brought it to work, sliced up a banana on top and my morning life got significantly better.

wiaw 7.29.15 thai salad

lunch: Thai chicken crunch salad from just salad, our standard work lunch spot. My new favorite salad! The spicy peanut dressing on this was divine.

wiaw 7.29.15 fruit

snack: some gorgeous strawberries + grapes that I brought from home. I also had a very late afternoon string cheese.

wiaw 7.29.15 chicken veg

dinner: simple chicken breast roasted with salt + pepper. Roasted broccoli + cauliflower florets in the side. This was a great, super simple hands-off weeknight dinner.

snack: handful of animal crackers; not pictured because i just ate them immediately.

what have you been eating lately? share a recent day of eats in the comments! i'm always looking for new ideas and love seeing/hearing/reading what others eat in a day!

Fruits of Summer

One of my absolute favorite things about the summertime is the abundance of delicious fruit. I hate the winter when fruit is astronomically expensive and just not up to par with summertime quality.

Over the last bunch of weeks, Shaun and I have been enjoying the fruits of summer like it's our job. Each week we stock up on lots of fruit goodies and proceed to devour it all. 

It's just one of those things that I simply don't mind spending some coin on. The season is so fleeting and what better snack than some of nature's candy?

Some of my favorites this season include:

Juicy, acidic pineapple

Sweet cantaloupe

Cherries (perhaps the most fleeting of them all) and bright, crunchy green grapes. To me, grapes are only sufficient when the skin is taut!

And not so much in the fruit category, but another healthy snack I've been enjoying...carrot chips! I love these so much more than baby carrots! They actually feel like you are eating chips. Sort of. Dipped in hummus, tzatziki or light onion dip, these are my new go-to carrots!

So that's a little glimpse into my snacks of choice lately. In fact, I'm about to devour some grapes, pineapple and cantaloupe right now!

Hope your Tuesday is off to a fantastic start my friends!

What are your favorite summer fruits?

What about favorite summer snacks in general?

 

Chocolate Dipped Fruit Pops + Marshmallow Sauce

I've now been sick for 1 week.

Although I still partied like it was my job at my brother-in-law's wedding, I've also been employed by the cough monster. Or 'the mongus' as Shaun likes to call it. I'm so beyond over not sleeping due to Cough Fest 2011. I'm drinking tea, swigging Robitussin and downing cough drops like nobody's business. Luckily, I got an antibiotic yesterday but admittedly, it hasn't helped much in the way of feeling better...yet.

You know what has helped me feel better? Reminiscing about these delicious fruit pops:

I have now made these delicious pops twice, and both times they were gone in an instant. They are so easy to eat and seem so luxurious...yet little do people know how unbelievably easy they are to throw together. I first came up with this concept when I had a hankering for marshmallow dipping sauce. The conversation in my head went a little something like this:

What am I going to make for this party? I really, really need to have some marshmallow dip. It needs to happen.

I'd better get my laundry going...

Ok so what goes with marshmallow dip? Cookies...pretzels...fruit...

I could totally just cut up fruit for the dip. That would work. It's not that fun...but it would definitely work.

What if I put the fruit on a pop? Everyone likes everything better on a pop. Right?

Is that too boring to bring for a party? I have a rep to protect.

Ooh, my kitchen floor really needs to be mopped. Probably not going to happen though.

Maybe I could dip the fruit pops in the marshmallow sauce and display them pre-dipped.

But it probably won't harden. I'd have a runny marshmallow mess. Duh.

You know what does harden? Chocolate.

Yep. Chocolate dipped pops. With marshmallow dipping sauce. It has to happen. Immediately.

So with that in mind, I made these for a barbecue at Shaun's parent's house and later for my cousin Veronica's engagement party. I hope you enjoy them!

Chocolate Dipped Fruit Pops + Marshmallow Sauce
for the fruit pops:
1 container strawberries, tops sliced off
1 pineapple, bark removed, cored and cut into chunks
8 oz. milk or semisweet chocolate pieces or baker's chocolate (depending on how many fruit pcs)
1 tsp canola oil
Lollipop sticks (either thin white cardboard sticks or flat wooden popsicle sticks)

for the marshmallow sauce:
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 C marshmallow fluff
1 C confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

special equipment (for display):
1 long piece of styrofoam
wrapping paper to cover styrofoam

First prepare your display. Wrap up a piece of styrofoam with wrapping paper to make it look pretty. For Veronica's party, we used white and silver 'love' paper since it was an engagement party. You could do so many fun things with the paper! Holidays, birthdays, kids' parties...Keep it near your work station so that the pops can go right into the foam board as you dip them.

To make the pops, cut up all of your fruit. Let rest in a paper towel-lined bowl or dish. This will help dry the fruit so that it won't be too wet when dipping into chocolate.

Next, melt the chocolate. Place chocolate and a bit of canola oil in a bowl. I then heat it in the microwave at small intervals, stirring the chocolate in between each interval until completely melted.

Then, place the popsicle sticks into the fruit and dip in the chocolate. (NOTE: I found that the flat wooden popsicle sticks work best on the strawberries. The thinner sticks tended to go right through the tops of the strawberries. I still made it work, but it was more time consuming and less precise than the previous time when I'd used the flat sticks).

Place the dipped fruit into the wrapped styrofoam board to rest. I used a meat thermometer to 'pre-drill' holes in the board, but the popsicle stick should work well on its own too.

They don't have to be perfect. I like them rustic.

To make the marshmallow dip, beat the cream cheese for 30 seconds in the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. Add the marshmallow fluff and beat until combined. Add the confectioners sugar, 1/2 C at a time until completely mixed. Stir in the vanilla extract. Give a few more mixes for good measure. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 hours before serving. Transfer to a cute bowl and display near the fruit.

Dip the fruit into the marshmallow sauce. It's so good. You can't eat just one. I promise.

So there you have it. A super easy, delicious and semi-healthy dessert. You know, if you don't count the chocolate and marshmallow dip :)

Questions of the Day:

What's your favorite easy yet glam dessert? I love how these pops are seemingly luxurious but are really so easy peasy!

What are your at-home remedies for feeling better? Please send help!

psst...Kimberly's blogging about being unplugged during Hurricane Irene...head over to The Peach & The Pit to share your Hurricane stories!