Thoughts On “Getting Back On Track” After Vacation

It’s only been a week since we got back home from vacation, and we’ve gone through two bunches of bananas already.

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I didn’t ask a question, but thanks for the answer anyway, Madre ūüôā

Last week was as great a week of work as any could have been after vacation. I am so grateful for wonderful coworkers and mentors who make my job so enjoyable.

Let’s talk about “getting back on track” after a vacation.

After having three (or five) course meals for dinner every night on the cruise and heavier-than-normal breakfasts every morning, I was looking forward to a little bit of a break from endless food (although, I definitely chose to indulge in more food on the cruise). You could say that I was looking forward to “getting back on track”.

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my first meal back at home was classic avocado egg toast

But when I think of “getting back on track”, the first things that I’m tempted to do are:

  • Cut out all desserts for the next month.
  • Eat “clean” (whatever the heck that means) 100% of the time for the next month.
  • Compensate for the amount I ate on vacation by cutting down the amount/density/volume of food I eat.
  • Be strict about exercising and doing the “right” kind of exercise to maximize calorie burn.

Hear me out: These are just the first things that¬†pop into my mind¬†when I get back home. However, I’ve learned that¬†this kind of absolutist mindset¬†does me a huge disservice, and it stresses me out more than anything, which I don’t need for my digestive health or overall health.

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Pop and I went out to dinner the night we got back because we didn’t have any¬†groceries yet // vegetable bibimbap + Kalbi beef short ribs to share

I definitely did NOT eat “clean” 100% of the time¬†before¬†the vacation, so why do I need to change anything¬†after vacation?¬†I’m still working, exercising, doing my activities of daily living, etc. Those still require fuel. I also often like to eat something sweet after a long day of work, so I don’t really want to deprive myself of that.

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still lots of sweet breakfasts (that sometimes had ADDED sugars in them *gasp*)

This doesn’t mean that I still want a three course meal with a decadent¬†dessert every night. All I wanted was dried figs (which have quite a lot of sugar in them, even if it’s natural sugar) with Greek yogurt for a few nights last week, so that’s what I had.

Other days, I did still have some not-as-natural sugars. Like a slice of homemade banana bread at work, a Reese’s egg…also from work, and this snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich for National Ice Cream Day.

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You might be thinking, “Sure, Alison. But what if I actually gained a lot of weight on vacation?”

Well, I am in agreement with many wise RDs (like Robyn!) and healthy living bloggers;¬†without too much thought,¬†our bodies tend to naturally shift back to our happy weight. You’re going to be hitting your regular workouts¬†again, which I presume worked well for you before vacation. You’re going to be back to your own kitchen, and you’re not going to have access to as much food as on vacation anyway.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with consciously and deliberately¬†eating healthier and/or lighter foods after vacation. I just don’t think it’s helpful to shift to any kind of extreme “cleanse” mode.¬†

You went on vacation to get away from everyday routine for a little bit. Let yourself¬†enjoy¬†that during the vacation, but don’t let it haunt you after the vacation.

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spicy honey chicken thighs (based on this recipe) + roasted green beans for a dinner last week¬†‚ěĒ this was SO GOOD!

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turkey¬†quinoa taco bake with avocado and cilantro (and Greek yogurt added post-photo) based on this recipe¬†for another night¬†‚ěĒ this was¬†ALSO SO GOOD

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avocado egg toast + salad with homemade honey mustard dressing

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hunk o’ asiago sourdough

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quinoa with teriyaki chicken thighs + chicken spinach sausage + sautéed green beans a la Madre

It’s nice to be back in the kitchen to make our own nutritious food, but it was nice that none of us felt the need to eat oil-less, dry chicken breasts with steamed vegetables and brown rice every day. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s kind of sad if you feel like you¬†need to¬†do that as¬†“recompense”. I know I used to feel that way.

If you do want to “get back on track,” maybe focus more on the quality and nutrients of your food¬†rather than the calories or amount. Eat what you know you need and what you know makes you feel genuinely¬†good,¬†whether that’s kale or chocolate cake. Treat Trust yoself.

Needless to say, I still indulged in some sweets and rich foods this week. For the most part though, I’ve been eating foods that I normally love, which are generally nutritious and delicious. As for workouts, those have also been the same (a post about my workouts is coming soon!).

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I got Ben on the overnight oats train *high fives*

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lots of perfect cado-avos

My family even decided to go out for a rather fancy dinner on Saturday night after Mass. We were planning on using a Groupon (of course) at a Thai restaurant, but it was closed. Thus, we were diverted to a nice Greek restaurant called MP Taverna that we had been wanting to try for a while.

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three dips to share // chickpea (with some extraordinary spices), eggplant, and cucumber yogurt

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“dumplings”: basically the fluffiest ricotta gnocchi you can imagine in a tomato-based sauce with spinach, lamb sausage,¬†sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and feta #dead

Hooray for family time and outdoor lighting! ūüôā

Yesterday I hung out with my good friend Joe from college in the city! We celebrated National Ice Cream Day with ice cream sandwiches from Melt Bakery on High Line.

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We ate lunch after dessert, which is extra acceptable on National Ice Cream Day. Joe actually suggested salads, which was shocking but welcomed.

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I think there were tomatoes, roasted red peppers, broccoli, beets and brussels sprouts in there with creamy sriracha dressing

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you literally asked for it, Joe

It was so good catching up with him and walking around, despite the fact that we were being slow-cooked by the NYC heat.

I hope you all have a fantastic week! Eat foods that are fluffy, cheesy, creamy, and spicy this week. Report back on Friday.

So tell me:

What are your thoughts on “getting back on track” after vacation?

Did you celebrate National Ice Cream Day?

Two things you did this weekend!

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Meet One of My Closest Blog Friends: Colby Triolo

I don’t know if you’re ready for this.

I am bubbling over with excitement, because today you all get to meet one of my best blog buddies! Allow me to introduce Miss Colby Triolo!

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Technically, I’ve introduced her before a couple times on the blog. I met this¬†cool chick¬†at Blend last summer.¬†We were cabin mates, and we were also two of maybe three¬†people¬†under 20 on the retreat, so we connected on that level.¬†Confession: I stalked her Instagram beforehand and was very intimidated ‚ÄĒ so many followers, so much success, so many ab muscles‚ÄĒ but that was all nonsense on my part, because Colby is¬†one of the most genuine¬†and caring souls I’ve met through the blog world (and life in general)!

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I also had the privilege of meeting up with her earlier this year for lunch + carrot cake (our true love).

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Colby’s motto is “You Make You,” which is evident through her dynamite Instagram account, blog, Youtube channel, and personal training business. Boom boom, fire power.

Some of my favorite things about Colby:

  • She takes her work seriously, but she doesn’t take herself too seriously.
  • She has a passion for healthy food and fitness, but she doesn’t let fitness¬†take over her life (‚Üź READ THIS!)
  • Most importantly, she cares for others and works hard to make sure people know their worth and know that they are capable of not only overcoming setbacks, but also going above and beyond what they could have imagined.

Now why don’t I let¬†Colby tell you about herself!? ūüôā


What is your favorite breakfast? 

No question‚ÄĒscones w/ a cappuccino (all hail Lactaid).

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What is your favorite way to move? 

Call me crazy (you’re crazy -A), but I LOVE stadium workouts. ‚ěĒ Like this one!

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*Rocky music*

What is your favorite word (just one!)? Why did you pick that word? 

Can.”

About a year ago, when I was going through my chronic pain issues, I decided to take the word ‚Äúcannot‚ÄĚ out of my vocabulary. I was constantly being told that I can‚Äôt run, I can‚Äôt sit without my back perfectly straight, I can‚Äôt go away to college, I can‚Äôt live ‚Äėnormally‚Äô, I can‚Äôt ‚Ķ

And for over two years I believed these things. However,¬†the day that I removed “cannot” from my mind and replaced it with ‚Äúcan‚ÄĚ, I stopped giving pain power, I gained my life back, and I proved that if you want something bad enough‚ÄĒyou can achieve it by setting your mind to it.¬† Anything and everything is yours to take.

 

A photo posted by Colby Triolo ‚ÄĘ YouMakeYou¬ģ (@colbytriolo_youmakeyou) on May 4, 2016 at 2:28pm PDT

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Tell us about why you started your blog/Instagram account.

On a sad note, I started them in high school when I got a really bad concussion. After my concussion healed, post concussion syndrome set in and all I could do was work out and cook (and clean, yay). That was all my body could handle.  So I decided to put it to good use and start a blog!

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her pancake towers more appealing than the NYC skyline, honestly

What does your blog mean to you? What can we find on your blog? Has your blog evolved at all?  

I have had many ups and downs with blogging/social media.  There was a point where it was just a place for my mind to go, and then it took over my life, so I removed myself over the past year and now I can say I am back at a nice place of balance.

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are you drooling like I am right now???

My blog is a place for me to go to share my knowledge and interact with you lovely people.¬† It is also the reason I know this beautiful soul of a person, Alison! (Awww. I can say the same about you! ‚ô•Ôłé -A)¬† On my blog, you can find healthy recipes, workouts, and general empowering articles.¬† I like to think of it as an online community for empowering others to empower themselves!¬† There is a also a motivational wall where readers can anonymously post their goals/dreams to work towards!

What is one major lesson you’ve learned through blogging/your presence on social media?¬†¬†

As awesome as social media is and how amazing the relationships you can form are‚ÄĒsocial media is ~not~ real life.¬† There is a distinct difference between being behind a computer screen and out enjoying the real world.¬† In the same sense, it is essential to ~not~ compare yourself to what you see on social media because you are seeing such a small fraction of the real story.

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What is one goal, and how do you plan to achieve it? 

I have this dream of making the words ‚ÄúYouMakeYou‚Ä̬† have an influence on millions of peoples lives.¬† It saved my life, and it is so simple to integrate into your life that it can make a world of difference. When you realize that the answer is simply changing your mindset and believing in yourself/aligning your actions the right way, what can happen is amazing! I plan to achieve this by taking small steps on my blog and social media daily, and just sharing my knowledge while being true to myself and my story.

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WHAT A WOMAN.

I am honestly honored and #blessed to know you, Colby. Thank you for your refreshing and honest presence in the healthy living social media community. You make the world a happier place.

For more of Colby’s fantastic recipes, killer workout challenges, fun vlogs, and empowering motivation, check out:

Also, head over to her blog to read her interview of me if you want!

Hope you all have a kick-butt day! Make a positive difference in someone’s life, no matter how small.

So tell me:

Are you going to follow Colby!?

What is your one favorite word and why? 

Who are some of your favorite positive influences in the healthy living social media community? 

“Five” Survey + National Pancake Day!

This post has more pictures than words, I feel.
TODAY IS NATIONAL PANCAKE DAY!
Can we just take a trip down memory lane to reminisce on some of the wonderful {mostly banana} pancakes that have been featured on Daily Moves and Grooves?
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green banana oatmeal pancakes via The Healthy Maven
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blueberry pancakes from a diner
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whole wheat banana pancakes via Sally’s Baking Addiction
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dining hall pancakes¬†‚ô•Ôłé¬†
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Ebelskivers aka pancakes in puff form
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chunky monkey greek yogurt pancakes via Running with Spoons
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simple paleo pancake via Yeah…Imma Eat That
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egg white oatmeal protein pancake via Peanut Butter Fingers
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Catholic Center pancake brunch
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whole wheat banana pancakes via The Baker Mama
I just learned that I should be a self-proclaimed whole wheat banana pancake connoisseur. I’ll probably be celebrating this national pancake day with some leftover banana pancakes a la mode tonight ūüėÄ

Part two of this blog post…
Since I’m on spring break and have time to do leisurely things, I thought this would be prime time for a fun survey! This is the “Five” survey that Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers started.
Five Places I’m Dying to Visit:
  • Banff, Alberta
  • Santorini, Greece
  • Zion National Park
  • New Zealand
  • Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
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[source]¬†The water is really this color. See Jo’s blog for proof.
Five Foods I Eat Every Day:
  • banana
  • nut butter
  • spinach
  • bread
  • eggs
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Five Talents I Wish I Had:
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Five healthy living bloggers who I wish could cook for me every day:

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via Pinch of Yum

Five Favorite Instagram Accounts:
  • @kaisafit¬†‚ěĒ amazing athlete and holistic¬†outlook on health and fitness
  • @docjenfit¬†‚ěĒ inspiring and talented athlete and physical therapist
  • @3bulldogges¬†‚ěĒ THREE BULL DOGGIES.
  • @torikelly¬†‚ěĒ she’s adorable
  • @zachking¬†‚ěĒ incredibly unique, creative, and double-take-inducing posts
Five things I wear almost every day:
  • my cross pinky ring (from my First Communion!)
  • rosary bracelet
  • athletic pants
  • comfy top
  • underwear..? (wear this one every day for sure)
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spot the ring and bracelet?
Five Songs on Repeat:
Five Beauty Products I Use Every Day:
Five movies I can watch on repeat:
  • The Parent Trap
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Chronicles of Narnia
  • The Help
  • Up¬†

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[source]

Five Books on My Current Reading List:
Five Random Things I Ate Yesterday:
  • cookie dough breakfast cereal
  • avocado and egg toast with sriracha
  • mango + clementines
  • a whole lot of roasted brussels sprouts!
  • dried figs with plain Greek yogurt

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Five Random Things I Did Yesterday (I added this section):

  • exercise physiology studying
  • have a spa day with Madre
  • roast brussels sprouts
  • move and groove
  • called some physical therapy clinics about a summer job

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real cute kneeling knees + dance feet + burpee wound from 1.5 years ago

So tell me:

Five places you’re dying to visit.

Five talents you wish you had.

Will you be celebrating national pancake day?

Overnight Breakfast Obsession

God bless refrigerators.

Some of you might know how much I love overnight oats (<‚ÄĒ I need to update that recipe a little!), but in the past couple years I’ve discovered some other overnight breakfasts that are making me dance before I’m fully cognizant in the morning.

Not only are these breakfasts delicious (thanks to the breakfast trifecta), but they require little to no effort in the morning when you’re running late so ready to eat breakfast. Here’s a look at some of the overnight breakfasts I’ve been loving lately.

“Banana Pudding for Breakfast” via Yeah…Imma Eat That

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One of the most ingenious and impressive-looking breakfasts ever. It’s basically a peanut butter oatmeal cookie – yogurt parfait. Praaaaise.

Next up is this banana bread “custard” oatmeal, inspired by The Big Man’s World.

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Get this: You cook oatmeal on the stovetop the night before, and you add a whole egg and some coconut flour to make it the most doughy, fluffy oatmeal ever. Then you chill it in the fridge overnight, which makes it this dense, cake-like dish.

The night before, I cooked 1/2 c. rolled oats in 1/2 c. water and 1/2 c. milk. Then I stirred in half a very ripe banana, 1 tbsp. coconut flour, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, a pinch of salt, and a drizzle of honey. Once it was thickened, I turned off the heat and whisked in a whole egg.

Optional: eat with a side of plain Greek yogurt for some more texture and creamy dreaminess.

Last one is something you’ve often seen: overnight oat smoothies, inspired by Kath Eats.

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This is what I ate this morning, and it was the most luscious smoothie ever. I’m sad it’s gone.

In the blender last night:

  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. oats
  • 1/3 c. plain greek yogurt
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1-2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • pinch of salt

Pop it in the fridge. Then in the morning, add half a frozen banana and half a frozen peach (~1.5 c. frozen fruit total). Add more milk as needed to blend your concoction into a magical cloud of peachy, peanut buttery goodness.

The chia seeds and frozen fruit MAKE this smoothie.

I’m done¬†fan-girling¬†over my breakfasts.

(for today.)

Now onto Weekly Moves and Grooves! I’m still keeping workouts low-key¬†and¬†feeling pretty awesome. I’ve loved working on mobility and skills such as handstands this summer.

weekly moves and grooves

  • Friday: handstands and mobility in the hotel
  • Saturday:¬†Rest
  • Sunday:¬†Rest
  • Monday:¬†8 minute abs
  • Tuesday:¬†45 minute yoga
  • Wednesday:¬†1 mile walk, (probably too many) air squats and other bodyweight leg exercises, handstands
  • Thursday:¬†Rest

Today is my last day at my physical therapy internship! It’s been an amazing learning experience, and I’m grateful for the people¬†with whom I’ve worked.

Tomorrow starts early for Dad and I, since we’re driving up to Ontariooooo. It’s been a hot minute since we visited our relatives in Canada, so I’m stoked!

Happy Friday! Let your hair loose, let your foot loose, don’t let your dog loose.

So tell me:

Do you like overnight breakfasts? Any favorites?

How did you move this week?

What are you doing this weekend?

I’m Bad at Creating Recipes

I have two quasi-recipes for you today!

They’re both sweet, both freaking delicious, and…both lacking in measurements.

You see, when I cook anything new (this does not apply to baking), I either follow someone else’s recipe or I just make my own recipe by eyeballing the ingredients. I don’t measure or write down how much of an ingredient I put into¬†it. I just throw things into the cooking vessel like a mad scientist until I think:

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Upon tasting,¬†if the recipe leaves something to be desired, then I add that desirable something if possible. It’s usually one of three things that need to be added: salt, sugar, or liquid. For cooking, those things can often¬†be added at the end of the cooking process somehow.

Thus, I suck at creating recipes, because I never have anything exact to share with you.

Nevertheless, I’m going to share two foods I made recently! They’re flexible recipes anyway, so you just be your own mad scientist and do what you will.

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Sweet and Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

(aka the best roasted sweet potatoes I’ve ever eaten if I’m tootin’ my own horn, which I am.)

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  • 3-4 medium/large sweet potatoes, washed and chopped into 1-inch chunks (about 4 cups after chopping)
  • enough oil to lightly coat the potatoes (olive, avocado, or melted coconut oil works)
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want your taters)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you want a bigger kick in the taste buds)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. Place the washed and chopped sweet potatoes on a sheet pan (lined with foil if you want easy cleanup).
  3. Pour/dump/sprinkle all the remaining ingredients over the potatoes. Try to distribute evenly.
  4. Use your hands to toss around the seasoned potatoes to make sure all they are coated with the flavorful goodness.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through. Baking time depends on your oven, the size of your chopped potatoes, and how roasty you like¬†’em.

Serves 2, with leftovers. Actually serves 4-5.

Note: All measurements are estimates. Follow recipe exactly at your own risk. Temperature and times are accurate.

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Strawberry Banana Almond Butter “Ice Cream”

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  • 3 frozen very ripe¬†bananas
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1.5 tbsp almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • milk as needed
  1. Place frozen fruit and almond butter into a food processor or high speed blender with a small splash of milk (maybe 2 tbsp).
  2. Blend. Stop the blender and scrape down the sides as needed.
  3. Continue to blend and add small splashes of milk as needed to get the blender rollin’. Make sure not to add too much that the mixture becomes a smoothie.
  4. Be patient. The ice cream texture will happen.
  5. Serve up your creamy, dreamy, cold treat with a cookie, granola, more nut butter, muffin, chocolate chips, etc.

Serves 2.

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I understand that a lot of you are advanced-enough chefs to not need these recipes, but for those of you who need a little inspiration, I hope these sparked your interest!

This is why I say “nay” when my friends and family refer to me as a food blogger. That suggests that I know what I’m doing in the kitchen, but in fact, I just pretend that I do. I mostly make other people’s recipes and kinda¬†make my own.

I like it this way though. Let the wind take you to where it blows! Or something like that.

P.S. banana soft serve checked off the food¬†bucket list! ūüôā

So tell me:

Are you an “eyeballer” when it comes to cooking, or do you like to measure everything?

What’s the best recipe you’ve created or tried recently? Please share!