Quick + easy meal prep!

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate packing lunches for the week. I procrastinate doing it the night before and then find myself rushing through packing a lunch the following morning. Nine times out of ten, I barely remember what even made it into my lunch bag by the time my break rolls around, and then I am highly disappointed with my choices!

Behold – an easy, tasty and filling lunch prep!

It’s no secret that 1) I hate cooking and 2) I can’t really cook, so the thought of meal prepping was always somewhat of a turn-off to me, as I didn’t want to be stuck in front of a stove or an oven stressing out over whether or not I would succeed at making a delicious lunch. Most recently, however, I have been looking into easy prep, no-cook meal preps that anyone in the world could handle making, myself included.

Not only do I like the way this lunch tastes, but I love the bright colors included in each meal – a huge turn from a drab, boring peanut butter sandwich and whatnot.

So, if you’re looking for a change and looking to eliminate rushing through making a lunch at 5:30am before work, stick around a little longer and check out the “recipe” below. I promise you’ll be a fan!

Turkey Spinach Pinwheels Meal Prep

Ingredients 

  • 1 slice cheddar cheese
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 1 (8-inch) spinach tortilla
  • 6 baby carrots
  • 1/4 cup grapes
  • 5 cucumber slices

Directions:

  • Place cheese, turkey, and spinach in center of tortilla. Bring bottom edge of the tortilla tightly over the spinach, folding in the sides. Continue rolling until the top of the tortilla is reached. Cut in sixths.
  • Place wraps, carrots, grapes, and cucumber into meal prep containers.
  • Enjoy!

Since I am a beginner, I’d love to hear from you! Do you meal prep? If so, what are some meals you swear by! xoxo.

Really, another Target haul?!

Yes, you read correct. Another Target haul.

This post is to make up for my lack-of blog post yesterday due to me finishing all of my school work late last night and into this morning for the rest of my life! What better way to celebrate the forever-end of school than waking up at 5:30am to finish up final assignments and taking yourself to Target at 8am to celebrate?! [If you think I am totally psychotic. . your answer is correct].

Truth be told, my Christmas shopping was done on Black Friday. However, I woke up this morning exhilarated by the fact that, “holy shit, it’s almost Christmas!” and was way too excited and overjoyed that it is the holidays that I couldn’t even contain myself. Honestly, as lame as it sounds, I felt like I was jumping out of my own skin and had to be a part of the Christmas shopping madness, even though I was done. This annoying over-excitement could be due to either the fact that I was up at 5:30am, or the fact that I used my free Starbucks drink on a venti Carmel Brulee latte.

Anyways, I went to Target on a mission to find things for a DIY gift [SPOILER ALERT: find this on the blog next week!!]. Naturally, I got all that I needed and then some – what is it about Target that just sucks you in and makes you think that you need stuff that doesn’t even logically belong in your life?!

If you are interested to see in what the heck I bought during this caffeinated Target blackout, scroll right on down because the remainder of this post is for you!

Grocery

  • Christmas Rice Krispies
  • Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Instant Coffee
  • Almond Breeze Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Kraft Marshmallows
  • Hershey’s Kisses (Milk Chocolate/White Chocolate Hugs, White Chocolate Candy Cane, Holiday Milk Chocolate x2, Milk Chocolate Santa Hat, Holiday Dark Chocolate Mint)

Health-Beauty-Cosmetics 

  • Up & Up Makeup Remover Wipes
  • Wet ‘n Wild Lipsticks x2
  • Maybelline Fit Me Foundation
  • e.l.f. Translucent Powder

Home

  • 12-pack Quart Size Mason Jars *on my way to the checkout, I saw the box was on sale and replaced the jars in my cart with the box for a way cheaper price*

Seasonal

  • Gift Tag Set
  • Stocking x2
  • Gift Bows
  • Blank Write and Tie Gift Tags

Stationary-Office

  • PaperMate Colored Marker Pens

Toys-Sporting Goods

  • My Little Pony Surprise Gift Bag
  • Disney Aurora Tsum Tsum
  • Lego Friends Building Set
  • Lego Ninjago Building Set

I was going to end this post by asking if you’ve been to Target this holiday season, but I already know the answer is yes. So, what are some things you’ve gotten?! xoxo.

 

Things to Share Thursdays?! | Holiday 2017

 

Did I struggle with the title of this blog post? Abso-freaking-lutely. Trying to be creative with a fried brain results in struggling to no end on all levels of imagination. I promise, you’ll never see this title again! But, enough of the rant and onto the post!

With the end of the semester so close to being a reality, my procrastination daydreams have been reeling toward Christmas cookies [also thanks to our newest addition.. our Christmas tree!]. Does anyone else agree that Christmas cookies taste 100% different than just regular day cookies? Sure, in some instances they might be the same recipe, but I swear they just taste so much better on Christmas.

While there are some cookies in my family that are an absolute staple, there is always room for one or two other recipes to throw in. For us, some of our staples include (and are totally not limited to): chocolate chip, peanut butter kiss, cranberry white chocolate shortbread, hello dollies, pizzelles, and sugar cookie cutouts.

So, I am asking you, what are some of your favorite cookies to share on Christmas? I’d love to broaden my horizons this holiday season! xoxo.

Sweet tooth Tuesday?!

As some of you may remember, I wrote up a blog post about some treats I found on Pinterest that I was debating making for Thanksgiving. Well, this newest blog post is to reveal which recipe I picked, lay it out for you, and let you hear about the results!

With an over-abundance of pies and cookies, I decided on making the Fall Oreo Acorn Balls. Easy enough for someone like me who has slim-to-no talent in the kitchen, cute and festive enough for the holiday, and tasty enough for anyone of any age to enjoy. So, once I narrowed my choice down, I headed on over to the supermarket, picked up my ingredients, and headed straight to the kitchen to start “baking.”

The process at times seemed extremely tedious, as my OCD wanted every “acorn” to look as identical as possible, and be covered in the same amount of chocolate and sprinkles, etc. However, the turn out was amazing! They looked adorable, tasted great, and seemed to be a huge hit!

If you’re interested in trying this recipe, today is your lucky day, because you will find the recipe below! Everything that I did differently from the original recipe is highlighted with italics text.

Fall Oreo Acorn Balls 

Yield: 30-40 balls

Total Time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of peanut butter Oreos (15.25oz), pulsed in a food processor
  • 1 package of regular cream cheese (8oz), softened
  • Nestle milk chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. Crisco vegetable shortening
  • Brown sprinkles
  • Pretzel sticks, broken into small pieces

Directions:

  1. Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature.
  2. Put half of the Oreos in the food processor and pulse until you have Oreo crumbs. Add the other half of the Oreos into the food processor and pulse again, until all the Oreos are fine crumbs.
  3. Once the cream cheese is soft, mix the Oreos and cream cheese together, making sure the mixture is very well blended.
  4. Use a tablespoon to measure the Oreo mixture and form it into acorn shapes. I used a bit more than 1 tbsp. for each acorn – to make an acorn, I formed the mixture into an elongated oval, pinching one end to make it slightly tapered and flattening the other.
  5. Place the acorns on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and place them in the freezer for 1 hour. I left mine overnight. 
  6. After the acorns are hard, begin to melt the Nestle chocolate chips with the Crisco in a double broiler. You will need a double broiler to keep the chocolate warm while dipping all of the acorns.
  7. Once pencil sticks are broken into small pieces, push/twist into the hardened Oreo ball. You will then be able to dip the Oreo ball into the chocolate while holding onto the pretzel stick “stem.”
  8. To dip, place 1 acorn in the saucepan with melted chocolate. Use a spoon to spoon chocolate on top of the acorn, if needed. To remove the acorn use a fork to lift it out of the chocolate. Move the acorn to another baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  9. Cover the top portion of the acorn with sprinkles.
  10. Continue this process until all of the acorns are dipped. Allow them to harden at room temperature.
  11. After they set, serve and enjoy!
  12. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

What were some of your favorite Thanksgiving desserts? xoxo.

What’s in my bag? | Volume II

All bag carriers, unite!

I know, I know. You’re probably all thinking, *really, another bag haul.. didn’t she just do this?* The answer: a month ago, yes. But a lot changes in a month [bag included], and I figured it was time for you to see the unnecessary crap I am carrying in my bag this month! So stick around – it’s gonna be a great time!

The bag:

YALUXE Women’s Vintage Style Soft Leather Work Tote Large Shoulder Bag | I got this handbag as a gift from my honey on our anniversary. I told him I had wanted a larger bag to carry all my things in for work that looked a little more professional, but wasn’t too expensive, as it gets shoved in a locker everyday. Low and behold, this bag has become the best thing ever. It holds everything I need, it’s stylish, comfortable. It’s great. Find it here.

What’s in it:

  • Kate Spade Cameron Street Lacey wallet | A repeat from last month, but this wallet is my ride or die.
  • Vera Bradley Breakaway Lanyard | Again, a repeat from last month, but how would I get myself into work without it?!
  •  Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Body Lotion in the scent Comfort | Hand creams are my absolute best friend when the weather gets cold and my hands get dry. I had a coupon for a free item *score* and was able to pick up this hand lotion a few weeks ago. Let me tell you, the name does not lie. The vanilla and patchouli mashup makes you feel as if you are wearing a giant sweater and getting the biggest hug. And your hands are left feeling so soft. Totally a 10/10 recommendation.
  • Kiehl’s Facial Fuel No-Shine Moisturizing Lip Balm | Shoutout to my Nana for this one, because she bought me two of these and they are my new obsession. For the last few weeks I have been battling a horrendous sinus/cold sickness, leaving my lips extra chapped due to not being able to breathe through my nose. This has been my lifesaver. Especially at night before I go to bed, it gives me that extra protection.
  • Gloves | For when the cold weather is really too much for me to handle at 8:45am when I am getting students off the bus.
  • Dayquil/Nyquil Combo Tablets | To assist with my aforementioned germiness.
  • e.l.f. Mattifying Setting Powder in the shade Translucent | A repeat from last month, this product has become my ride or die and has helped make me get some life back into my face mid-day.
  • Belvita Breakfast Biscuits | These have been my go-to when I don’t have enough time to make myself breakfast in the morning. I kid you not, literally every single flavor is so good that I never have a consistent one. But, also come in handy when I am left wishing I had an afternoon snack. A little snap of the fingers and *poof* my prayers are answered.
  •  Vaseline | To help with my super-chapped, red nose. Thanks, Kleenex.
  • A pen | For those moments I really need one.
  • Checkbook | To make me feel like I am a functioning adult.
  • Orbit gum | I should really buy stock with them.
  • Vera Bradley Soft Eyeglasses Case | To, you know, hold those things that make me able to see.
  • Asthma inhaler | For those moments that you take my breath away.
  • Keys | To be able to go into my house and lay in my bed, or go into my car and get the heck away.
  • iPhone | Duh.

What are some things you can’t leave the house with? xoxo.

Sweet tooth | Thanksgiving edition

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, my mind is already reeling over things to make and things to bring to Thanksgiving dinner.

Would it be any surprise to any of you if I said I have turned to Pinterest for a little help? No? I didn’t think so.

Since I am not the world’s greatest cook [the first step is admitting it], my mind is leaning toward baking some fall desserts. When I think Thanksgiving desserts, naturally, the first thing I think of is pie; pumpkin pie, apple pie, cherry pie, you name it. With that being said, I am thinking of stepping outside of the traditional Thanksgiving cookie cutter dessert and diving into something more non-traditional, but still very fall and still very good [hopefully].

Because Pinterest is really a world that seems larger than the one we live on, I had to stop myself somewhere, take a step back, and analyze everything I had found [which was a lot]. Attached are my top five potential dessert ideas that are festive, easy and look a heck of a lot of good.

What are some Thanksgiving desserts you just can’t live without? xoxo.

Kid friendly [and safe!]

halloween

Working in an allergy sensitive environment has really started to open my eyes to peanut/tree nut free, gluten free, casein free foods. Reading labels of foods has become a new habit of mine, as the school I work in has strict allergy guidelines to ensure the safety of our kiddos.

With Halloween just around the corner, it has become so much harder than I thought to find candies safe for all six of my kiddos to eat during our trick-or-treating celebration.

For the sake of your own sanity, I’m going to do all the work for you! I’ve begun compiling a list of allergy-safe goodies for kids [and grown ups!] to enjoy.

Free of Top 8 Allergens (aka milk, egg, soy, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, fish, shellfish)

  • Amanda’s Own
  • Gimbals
  • No Whey Foods
  • YumEarth

Peanut Free and Tree Nut Free

  • Dove Chocolate
  • Hillside Sweets
  • Hershey’s
  • Jelly Belly
  • Sixlets
  • Sunkist
  • Tootsie aka tootsie pops, tootsie rolls, double bubble, sugar daddy, junior mints, dots, you know the drill

Milk Free and Egg Free

  • Chocolate Emporium
  • Jelly Belly
  • Sunkist

Wheat Free and Gluten Free

  • Chocolate Emporium
  • Hillside Sweets
  • Jelly Belly
  • Sixlets
  • Sunkist
  • Tootsie

Corn Free

  • Amanda’s Own

I am just a beginner to this allergy-free thing, but my list has slowly but surely begun growing and growing. What are some allergy-free treats or snacks you would recommend? xoxo.

 

 

October recipes | Pinterest edition

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I’ve been going pin-crazy on Pinterest with all things fall before the season even began. So, imagine me now that we are right in the midst of my favorite season of the year! Between home-decor inspo, costume ideas for Halloween, desserts, and other fall recipes, I have found enough to last me through every fall for the rest of my life!

Some of my favorite recipes that I am dying to try this fall, I have included below in this blog post to, both, share with you, and to motivate myself to actually make these within the next 31 days! I’ve taken my top 10 most desirable – here you go:

  1. Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
  2. Maple Glazed Chicken with Sweet Potatoes
  3. Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies
  4. Autumn Roasted Veggies with Apples and Pecans
  5. Oktoberfest Sheet Pan Brats with Roasted Vegetables
  6. The World’s Best Baked Honeycrisp Apples
  7. No Bake Peanut Butter Pumpkins
  8. Smoked Sausage, Kale and Potato Soup
  9. Slow Cooker Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate
  10. Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies

If you’re interested in seeing all of the other fun things I find, follow me on Pinterest, here.

What are some recipes you love making in the fall? xoxo.

National coffee day | My kind of holiday


It is no surprise that coffee has slowly but surely become my best friend. I remember at a young age, probably around 10 or so, drinking “coffee” – a concoction of loads of milk and sugar and a dollop of coffee. The older I got, the more prevalent the relationship between coffee and I became. I mean, hell, just today I drank four cups – one right now as I write this post!

So, on this #NationalCoffeeDay, I’ll give a little break down of my go-to drinks at some of my favorite coffee spots:

Tim Hortons: medium dark roast coffee with one cream and two sugar

Dunkin’ Donuts: medium cold brew with two cream and one sugar, with a hazelnut flavor shot [most recently, I have been a fan of the maple pecan flavor shot – yay fall!]

Starbucks: medium iced chai latte with a shot of espresso, aka “dirty chai” [most recently I have also become a fan of the coconut milk mocha macchiato]

Spot Coffee: medium caramel macchiato

Panera Bread: caffe latte, one size

Wegmans: medium organic hazlenut coffee with one cream and one sugar  

7/11: medium blueberry coffee with one cream and one sugar packet

Keurig K-Cups: Folger’s gourmet classic roast, Dunkin’ Donuts original blend, Starbucks veranda blend, The Original Donut Shop coconut mocha

Coffee creamer: Coffee Mate Natural Bliss sweet creme coconut milk, Coffee Mate Italian sweet creme coffee creamer

Are these the only places I get coffee? Nope. Usually anywhere that offers coffee, I take a cup! Today, I went so far as to even have coffee at Denny’s on my lunch break from staff development day!

What are some of your favorite coffee spots/drinks? xoxo.

Whole Foods | Welcome to the 716!


On Friday, September 15, 2017, Buffalo got their very first Whole Foods Market.

Happy one week anniversary!

I was only at a Whole Foods once in my entire life. It was in Cleveland and I had been talking about it ever since I went. Once I heard the news that a Whole Foods would be coming to my hometown, I spent every day from the press release three years ago to the grand opening so excited for this exact moment, and it did not disappoint.

Within the four walls of the Buffalo storefront, you can find a multitude of unique and amazing things:

  • Bar 1818 – called so as an ode to the year Amherst was founded, you can find anything from milkshakes that can be upgraded with a shot of alcohol, a pool table, and a killer menu with locally themed items such as Ru’s potato pierogi, a burger on weck, and a vast rotation of local brews.
  • More than 30 local brands to shop through, including Anchor Bar wing sauce, Lloyd Taco Factory rocket sauce, and Weber’s horseradish mustard, to name a few.
  • A bocce court in the front of the store, complete with balls straight from Italy.
  • A spatious produce area filled with perfectly stacked fruits and veggies with a neighboring bulk food station filled with pasta, granola, nuts, and trail mix.
  • A glass alcove cutting room where you are able to watch the butchers carve meats, all within a large display area for seafood and other various forms of meat that is scaled and rated from “no cages, no crates, no crowding” to “animal centered, entire life on the same farm.”
  • A bakery stocked with the most scrumptious variety of freshly baked goods with a neighboring prepared food section big enough and offering a large enough selection to eat something different every single day for at least a week.
  • A coffee and juice bar featuring endless varieties of coffee, espresso, and tea drinks.

The store has a very rustic, yet somewhat modern, feel to it. It is bright, welcoming, and perfectly stocked, especially for the large crowd that was there on opening day. I was impressed with everything from the atmosphere to the food I’d eaten in Bar 1818.


I cannot wait to go back once the “hype” dies down and I will be able to look through all of the products on a closer level, as the amount of people in the store prevented me from appreciating it as it should be.

Where: Whole Foods. 3139 Sheridan Drive, Amherst, New York, 14226.

What to try: Bar 1818 – Sweet Heat burger. A fresh burger patty topped with avocado, pineapple jalapeno relish, pepper jack , and cilantro. Absolutely to die for!