Monday, August 15, 2016

Healthy Key Lime Pie Popsicles



Happy Monday!  With the summer heat still raging on here in Austin, we decided to make some healthy (well, by my definition) key lime pie popsicles to stay cool this past weekend.  These popsicles don't have the sugar, butter or condensed milk you'll find in a classic key lime pie - but, the taste is spot on! They're a perfect treat to whip up and have on hand over the last few weeks of summer.  Austin is supposed to get a lot of rain this week, which will push temperatures down into the 80s!  I am so looking forward to the cooler weather.  Yes, 80 degrees in August is cool for a Texan :).  Find my guilt-free key lime pie popsicle recipe below!


Healthy Key Lime Pie Popsicles:
  • 1 can coconut milk, chilled
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • shredded coconut for topping
Instructions:
Put all ingredients (with the exception of coconut flakes) into blender and puree until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.  Top with shredded coconut if desired! Recipe makes about 8 smaller popsicles.


Do you have a go-to healthy (well, healthier) dessert recipe?  I'm always looking for guilt-free ways to satisfy my sweet tooth.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

Love,
Aly


Monday, August 8, 2016

Simple Roasted Brussel Sprouts



Happy Tuesday!  I can't believe it's already August and fall is just around the corner...although, I am definitely ready for the cooler months and all the seasonal food that comes with autumn.  Today, I am sharing an easy recipe for roasted brussel sprouts.  This dish is simple, healthy and has a bit of heat to it - would a Texan have it any other way?  While roasted brussel sprouts are perfect for the fall, I've been enjoying them this summer alongside salmon.  My take on roasted brussel sprouts is inspired by the Tone It Up nutrition plan.  If you're looking for mapped out healthy meals and fun workouts, I highly recommend checking out their site.  Alright, onto the recipe!


Simple Roasted Brussel Sprouts:
  • 1 lb brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 tsp celery salt
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and trim/halve your brussel sprouts.  Trimming involves cutting off the stem and pulling any wilted or damaged leaves off of the brussel sprout prior to halving.  Mix olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings together in a medium-sized bowl.  Once mixed, add in brussel sprouts and toss until well-coated.  Place brussel sprouts onto a foil-lined baking sheet and pop in the oven at 400 degrees.  Cook for about 30 minutes, regularly stirring around brussel sprouts to ensure everything cooks evenly.  Makes 4-5 servings. 


Do you like brussel sprouts?  I must admit, I always avoided them growing up and only gave them another shot a few years ago - but, I'm glad I did!  On another note, I've been hunting for the perfect blue glasses to showcase in the open-shelving in our new kitchen.  I finally found exactly what I was looking for at HomeGoods - love these!




Thanks for stopping by!  What's your favorite way to make brussel sprouts?  Please let me know if you try the recipe!

Love,
Aly

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Mango Banana Nice Cream



Happy Saturday, friends!  Now that Taylor and I are finally settled into our new house, I'm excited to get back on track with posting regularly on this little ole blog of mine.  I've been so MIA since we moved back to Austin! It's about 100 degrees here this weekend - so hot - which makes this the perfect time for a cool treat. Today I am sharing a mango banana 'nice cream' recipe that is light and healthy. It's great for satisfying your sweet tooth on a hot summer day!  

Mango Banana Nice Cream:
  • 1 frozen banana (slice before freezing)
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 8 oz almond milk
  • Shredded coconut for garnish
Instructions:
Combine frozen banana, frozen mango and almond milk in blender.  Blend until you obtain a sorbet-like consistency. Garnish with shredded coconut and enjoy!


Thanks for stopping by! Hope everyone has a great rest of the weekend - we are going kayaking on Lake Austin tomorrow morning.  I can't wait :)

Love,
Aly














Tuesday, July 12, 2016

27 Things I am Grateful For

Hi Friends!

Today is my 27th birthday and I'd like to celebrate by listing out 27 things I am grateful for in life.  Too often I lose sight of what is important, and focus on the things I don't have or haven't yet achieved.  One of my goals is to be more grateful and appreciative of where I am in the current moment.  This is obviously not an exhaustive list, just 27 things I am currently thankful for :)

1. My husband & best friend, Taylor.
2. My loving parents who have given me every opportunity in the world.
3. My funny little brother, Corey, who isn't so little.
4. My Grandma Gloria - anyone who has met her knows she's literally the best.
5. My Grandpa Charlie - even though I never met him, he must have been awesome if Gloria married him.  Plus, he raised the best mom in the world.
6. My in-laws, who gave me the best husband anyone could wish for.
7. Our 3 month old Golden Retriever, Shiner.  He is a monster, but I love him still.
8. My best friends - you guys know who you are :)
9. Health - I feel so blessed that my loved ones and I are healthy.
10. Our first home! We purchased our first house in April.  I love it and still can't believe we are old enough to own a home!
11. My job, which has allowed Taylor and I to pursue our dreams, travel and purchase our first home.
12. Traveling! Our trip to Iceland was beyond amazing. We are looking forward to traveling to New Zealand in 2017.
13. Coffee - Seriously, where would I be without coffee?
14. Austin, TX. This city is so beautiful and fills me with hope for the future.
15. My almost 10 year old car, Eunice.  I am so grateful my parents gave me this little Chevy Equinox my freshman year of college. Life without a car payment has been a blessing.
16. The Office.  We don't watch much TV, but have been watching The Office on Netflix- always good for a laugh!
17. Grocery Shopping. I actually hate the act of grocery shopping, but am so thankful that I have the means to do it every week and never have to worry about where my food will come from.
18. The outdoors.  Over the last year, I have come to love the outdoors and the natural beauty that the world has to offer. I used to take this for granted.
19. Chapstick. This should probably be higher on the list.  I have an addiction.
20. Drinking coffee in bed with Taylor.  We try to spend 30 minutes every morning sipping coffee in bed together - it's one of my favorite times of the day.
21. A short commute. On a bad day, it takes me 25 minutes to get to work. For almost 3 years I drove 1 1/2 hours each way to my office in Atlanta...I can't believe I did that for so long! But, I am grateful for the friendships that long commute brought me :)
22. Taylor's passion. If you know Taylor, you know how much he loves cars and motorcycles. He could spend all day working in the garage and literally forget to eat.  I admire that passion.
23. My creativity. I love being creative and use this little blog to express some of that creativity.  Lately, I have fallen off my schedule of posting regularly and need to carve out more time to pursue my passions.
24. Cameras. I love how easy it is to capture great memories.
25. My teeth. Is that a weird thing to be thankful for? I'm grateful that I got to wear braces in high school for almost 2 years and I'm grateful that I haven't had a cavity.
26. Easy access to clean water.  So grateful for that.
27. My dreams. Taylor and I have big things we want to accomplish on this planet. I am thankful for those dreams and the ability to pursue them.

Love,
Aly

Sunday, April 10, 2016

It's Been Far Too Long...

Hello, friends!

It's been way too long since I've updated this little blog of mine.  A lot has changed since my last post (which was in August - yikes!).  Since then, we've moved back to Austin, I started a new job, went on the trip of a lifetime & bought a house! What a crazy few months it has been.  We officially close on our home in just over two weeks and I can't wait to share our new space with you.  In the meantime, I wanted to share a few of my favorite photos from our trip to Reykjavík, Iceland last month.  I'll be writing a post detailing our trip and a few tips for anyone traveling to Iceland.  If you're pondering visiting, I highly recommend it - the country is breathtakingly beautiful, with adventures around every corner.  Plus, the food is excellent and everyone is incredibly nice!  Here are a few of my favorite photos from our trip - follow me on Instagram for more travel photos :)


 View of Reykjavík from Hallgrímskirkja


Tjornin Lake, Reykjavik, Iceland 


Barnafoss


Gulfoss


Stay tuned for full details from our amazing trip! I'll be sure to include tips for traveling to Iceland (what we wish we had known), as well as restaurant and activity recommendations.

Thanks for stopping by!

Love,
Aly

Monday, August 24, 2015

5 Tips for Working from Home More Efficiently


Hi, friends -  hope you had a fantastic weekend and that your work week is off to a great start!  Over the past few months, I have transitioned from cubicle life to working remotely 100% of the time - Yay for no more Atlanta commutes!  While working remotely has been quite the adjustment, I've figured out a few things over the last few months and wanted to share my top 5 tips for maximizing productivity when working from home.
  1. Develop a morning routine - While working from home provides the perfect opportunity to roll out of bed 5 minutes before your day begins, having a set morning routine will help prepare you for a day of success.  I recently learned about the Miracle Morning, a book (and lifestyle) outlining steps to take every morning in order improve your mindset and productivity.   I absolutely love starting my day with meditation, exercise and chatting with my husband over coffee while discussing our goals.  Waking up before you have to wake up is key and helps set the tone for your day. 
  2. Get ready - no slippers! Since you aren't going into an office, it may sound nice to rock PJs and slippers all day long.  Trust me, trying to work in last night's pajamas can tank your productivity.  Putting on real clothes (and shoes!) helps you look and feel more put together - which is reflected in your work.
  3. Have a designated workspace – Although opening your laptop from bed or on the couch may sound like a great idea, having a designated work space is essential for working from home.  Physically being in a room or space that you can designate for work helps separate your personal life from your work life.  Having this separation can help keep you sane! 
  4. Organize your day and cut down on distractions – Working from home provides a much more autonomous environment, but can also provide a ton of distractions. While having the option to throw some laundry in the washer mid-day is great,  I’ve found it’s important to lay out personal and professional to-dos at the beginning of each day.  This certainly helps with staying on task and maximizing your productivity.  With no one monitoring your Pinterest and Instagram activity, it's important to actively keep yourself on task.  You don't have to stay away from your favorite social media sites all day, but I do recommend scheduling social media breaks.  Treat your social media check-ins as a reward and schedule time for them after a few hours of solid work.
  5. Organize and decorate your work space - A cluttered space can lead to a cluttered mind, so it's important to keep your designated workspace neat.  Thankfully cute office supplies are pretty easy to find nowadays - check out these options from Target.  Why not make your office space organized and inspiring?! I love decorating our office with motivational quotes, like the one pictured below.  Check out this recent post for some serious home office inspiration!

Do you have any tips for staying productive at home?  It's been an adjustment, but spending zero time in traffic is definitely a game changer.

Have a great week!

Love,
Aly

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mini S'more Pies



Hi friends! Hope your week is off to a fantastic start.  I kicked off my week by celebrating National S'mores Day on Monday and definitely don't regret it.  You can't really go wrong with graham crackers, chocolate and toasted marshmallows.  While this dessert is the epitome of the American summer, I decided to put my own little twist on the classic campfire favorite.  These mini s'more pies are delicious and adorable too!  Definitely the perfect treat to whip up for an end of summer get-together or backyard barbecue.  The recipe is super simple and they keep in the fridge quite well!


Mini S'more Pies:
  • 1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • Your favorite chocolate, melted
  • Mini marshmallows
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and thoroughly mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl.  Once the ingredients are well incorporated, firmly press mixture into lightly greased (and unlined) muffin tins.  This recipe yields about 6 mini pies, although I did make my crust rather thick.  Pop in the oven for 6 - 7 minutes, checking to make sure your crusts don't burn.  Once crust is barely turning brown, remove muffin tin from oven and let cool on a rack.  Don't be alarmed if the crust looks rather soft - it will firm up while the pan is cooling!



Turn oven down to 350 degrees, and once crusts have hardened and cooled a bit, remove them from the muffin tin and place on a baking sheet.  I found the crust came out rather easily after running a knife around the perimeter of each crust.  In a small bowl, melt your chocolate of choice in the microwave for about 1 min.  I opted for dark chocolate with sea salt - my favorite thing! Spoon melted chocolate into mini pie crusts and top with mini marshmallows.  Pop baking sheet in the oven for about 2 minutes - checking to ensure your marshmallows don't get charred or overflow!  If you want some extra toasty deliciousness, and aren't afraid of fire, you can bust out a small torch and have a little fun... I let Taylor handle this aspect :)


These mini s'more pies are delicious and I will absolutely be making them again.  Please let me know if you give them a try!  What's your favorite way to put a twist on the classic s'more recipe?  

Love,
Aly