Wednesday, January 30, 2013

50. Go to Niagara Falls

Sorry I was missing from the blog, but I have a good excuse... I was in Canada!!! I have been busy trying to catch up on my 101 in 1001 days list. This past weekend I went to Niagara Falls for the Ice Wine Festival. It was a blast! I traveled with a girlfriend, April, and over and over we kept saying how nice Canadians were. We also received soo much free stuff. Free food, free wine, seriously such really nice people. We wanted to move there! :D Below are some pictures from the weekend, enjoy!

This was the view of Niagara Falls from our hotel room. We had an awesome view from our fallsview room. We were upgraded to a high floor in the Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview Hotel and Spa. If you ever go there, definitely check out the packages because they were only about $50 more than the price of a room (per night) and you get daily breakfast, a wine tour, wine samples at two different wineries and a dinner credit at the restaurant at the hotel!

The first night we checked in we thought we missed all the fireworks that they had over the falls, but lucky us, they still had them for one more night! I got to check off one more item from my 101 in 1001 days list!

54. Watch fireworks - DONE!

We were busy over the weekend going to nine wineries/vineyards on Saturday and twelve wineries/vineyards on Sunday (send me a message if you want the list, I'd be happy to share). We also visited a chocolate factory and did a tour of a winery on Sunday. It was a busy weekend! I was able to acquire the pictured regular wines, late harvest wines and ice wines in the picture. Want to know the difference between a late harvest and an ice wine? Here is a good explanation.

Where have you traveled to lately? Any trips out of the country coming up soon? Do you like sweet wines? Have you had late harvest or ice wine before?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

35. Make a Painting for the House

On Saturday I went with my dear friend, Jennifer, to Wet Your Palettes for Girls Night. We had a blast! We got in touch with our creative side for a change and I was able to complete #35 of my 101 in 1001 days. It's always nice to play with paint and get a little dirty somewhere other than your house. You had to be over 21 years old to go there on this particular night because it was BYOB. We didn't bring any wine to drink while painting but I did have a nice "DC Tap Water" to drink at Busboys and Poets before the class.

I even started a trend of putting snow for snow capped mountains on the purple mountains we had to paint. Quite a few other people in the class followed, what can I say, I'm a trend setter!

Here is a picture of us with our paintings!

What have you done lately to get in touch with your creative side? What creative/crafty types of activities do you like to do?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I Made Homemade Almond Butter and Protein Bars!

This weekend I got it in my head that it was a great idea to make homemade protein bars. I love to bake, how hard can it be to make protein bars, right? ;P

First step for me was to find a recipe that I liked. There was no way I was gonna fly solo and make this up on my own! Lucky me, I remembered that a Facebook friend posted a link for homemade protein bars, score!

Second step, I made a trip to one of my favorite stores - Wegmans! The recipe called for lots of hard to find products which usually you would need to go to a speciality store for or order online, but I got it all from Wegmans. Granted, I walked around the store for about an hour looking for everything because even the associates working there weren't very helpful during this trip... But I got what I needed!

Third step, started the recipe! So I pulled out my food processor to make almond butter. Darn it if my $200 KitchenAid food processor that I only used twice wouldn't work. The lights came on, but clearly the motor was telling me it didn't think so :(

Back to the second step, I went to Walmart to get a cheapo food processor. I bought a $19 ninja.

Finally I get to start the the first recipe! I fired up my ninja and made my almond butter. At first I thought maybe I was doing something wrong because it got really doughy and was very compact. But then all of the sudden, tada it started to liquefy! Yay me!

Next the second receipe, the protein bars, my Piece de resistance! These were actually much easier to make than I expected. First I ground my oats in the ninja per the recipe below. I gathered all my ingredients and I used my handy KitchenAid stand mixer which, thank all that is good above still works (I would have some serious issues if it didn't as we just got that sucker for a wedding gift last year!) to mix everything together. Once that was done and everything was in a "cookie dough" consistency I poured it in my parchment lined brownie pan and into the refrigerator it went overnight! See pictures below, but I think it all turned out pretty well and they taste super yummy!

Raw Almond Butter:
Receipe from Chockohlawtay
(makes about 1.5 cups)
   3 cups Raw, unsalted Almonds

1.  Add the almonds to a food processor and pulse to chop.
2.  Blend the chopped almonds for about 10-15 minutes, scraping the sides when necessary.
3.  Add salt or stevia/sweetener to taste (I didn't, but it all depends on taste) and scoop/pour into a pretty sealable jar.  Store tightly sealed in the fridge.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Bars 
[no bake, low sugar, high fiber/protein]
Receipe from Chockohlawtay
(makes 10 bars) *mine made 12, it's all in how you cut them*

   144g (1+1/2 cups) Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
   128g (1/2 cup) Raw Almond Butter
   1 cup + 3 tbs Unsweetened Almond Milk
   10 packets Truvia (or sweetener of choice)
   1/2 tsp Stevia Extract
   1/2 tsp Butter Extract
   1/4 tsp Salt
   40g (1/4 cup) Brown Rice Flour
   168g (8 scoops) Unflavored Brown Rice Protein Powder
   1/3 cup Mini Dark Chocolate Chips

1.  Line a 9*13" brownie pan with parchment paper both ways and set aside.
2.  Blend the oats into a flour and set aside.
3.  In a large stand mixer bowl, add the almond butter and almond milk and stir
4.  While the mixer is still mixing, add the Truvia, stevia, butter extract and salt.
5.  Still mixing, add the brown rice flour and oat flour.  Add the protein powder (dough should be thick like cookie dough)
6.  Take the bowl off the stand mixer and fold in the chocolate chips.  Dump into the prepared pan and flatten with the spatula (or if you're fancy, a pastry roller).  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
7.  The next day, slice into bars and store covered in the fridge.

Where can you/ find these Ingredients?
I was able to find all of the ingredients at Wegmans or if you want to order online you can go through the links on Jessica's blog.

Have you made almond butter or protein bars before? Where did you get your recipe?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sparkly Soul Headbands (Discount Code Included!)

I've been eyeing up the sparkly headbands on Sparkly Soul for quite a while. Yesterday on Facebook Sparky Soul announced they are giving 15% off all Lavender, Black and White (Go Ravens!) or Black, Gold and Red (Boo 49ers ;P) headbands until Super Bowl Sunday!!! Make sure to use the code "SUPERBOWL" at checkout.

I quickly purchased one of each of these babies because they are awesome!!

Don't delay.. go now!!

Loving my morning workouts!

I've been so motivated this month to get up every morning, at 5:15am, to get in an elliptical workout. I'm also able to catch up on my Facebook, Instagram and Tweets while I rock out to music and get in "extra" steps on my fitbit one.

My morning workouts are what I have challenged myself at least all throughout January (I don't do resolutions) and I'm doing it with the wonderful blog ladies who set up goalgetter2013. Last week I posted a few pictures of my morning workouts on Instagram. Here is one of my pictures, make sure to check me out @livecraftsweat for my other pictures and to see how I do for the rest of January! Pretty snazzy for around 5:30am don't you think? ;P

So, here is today's Monday Motivation -

What do you think about working out in the morning? Do you get in a better workout in the morning, lunchtime or evening?