A little change of pace here from my food posts, and a little more about me. Hopefully, you’re interested or at least a little curious, and didn’t already close the page out of boredom. Seriously though, I haven’t shared too much about myself, aside from my three-part health story, so I thought a little shear randomness might be entertaining. So anyway, here are some things (aka guilty pleasures) that I’m totally digging right now:
- Peppermint extract: Seriously, I’ve been using this so much lately and adore the freshness factor it adds to treats. I’ve used it for homemade hot cocoa, my cocoa mint holiday truffles and even homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream (made with unsweetened cacao nibs and frozen kale for green color!). I’ll have to share the recipe!
- Flannel reindeer sheets: I just bought these sheets last week after discovering I still had a Bed Bath & Beyond gift card from last Christmas. I got a great deal on them and was super excited about the holiday print! I absolutely love flannel sheets and flannel pajamas too (I grew up in Michigan, remember?). In fact, I like to call my flannel pajamas my Michigan lingerie. Tee hee hee!
- Having a Buick: For those who don’t know, my grandmother passed away this past spring and rather then sell her car, my mom decided to gift it to me. After 4-1/2 years living in Portland without a car, I realized that having one (with school and all) would be a huge help for me. So, my mom drove it to Minneapolis and Jesse flew there, and drove it back. I’ve had it since October now and enjoy driving it around. Plus, I always feel like I’m with grandma when I’m in it and that she protects me while I’m driving. I miss her so much. Pretty good though — I’m almost 28 years old and this is my first time owning a car.
- Cocoa powder: Now that I know I can tolerate cocoa powder (for some reason it’s SCD-illegal … still don’t know why), I’ve been kind of obsessed with it. Homemade hot cocoa, homemade chocolate ice cream, truffles and lots of other possibilities. Just in time for the holiday season too!
- Spaghetti: Lately, homemade meat sauce (made with ground turkey or beef) on top of spaghetti squash has been tasting so good, and I’ve been craving it on a weekly basis (Jesse too). It’s so simple, yet so satisfying. Plus, making homemade sauce is so darn easy. When I’m really in a pinch, I take a jar of no sugar added marinara sauce and mix it with browned ground meat and sautéed onion and garlic (and mushrooms if I have them). Meals don’t have to be difficult, people!
- 5-minute couplet workouts at Recreate: I am loving this format right now at my gym (where I also work part-time). The workout consists of four sets of exercises (2 exercises in each set) and you spend five minutes in each set, going back and forth between the two exercises for the entire five minutes. Then, you switch to the next set. I love it and never get bored. Plus, it’s very challenging. Click here for an example of what we do at Recreate for this style workout (scroll down, below the pictures).
- My Austrian deer plate: My mom and aunt recently traveled to Austria for two weeks to visit my sister and her beau. Upon returning, she sent me some lovely goodies including different flavored rock salts, a beautiful dish towel and a lovely hand-painted plate. I am in love with the plate and the adorable deer painted on the center.
- Holiday scented candles: I admit, these are a big-time guilty pleasure of mine, and Jesse’s too actually. We are both suckers for candles and love having their glow and aroma in the house, especially in the fall and winter. It adds such an element of coziness and the smells are comforting and reminiscent of the holidays. My go-to place for candles is Bath & Body Works. I love many of the holiday scents they put out (not the sweet ones though) and they often have deals on the 3-wick candles (2 for $20 and they’re normally $20 a piece). Plus, they always mail me coupons, so there’s always additional savings. I can often buy three 3-wick candles for $20 and then get something for free. It’s a pretty sweet deal! Jesse and I popped into a store a couple weeks ago to stock up on a few candles, and he helped me pick out some new scents. Isn’t he sweet?
- Coconut oil as a body moisturizer: I started using coconut oil as a body moisturizer post-showering a couple months ago, and it’s awesome. It’s great at combating dryness, is pure and natural, and makes my skin nice and dewey looking. I’m not sure why I waited so long to jump on the coconut oil moisturizer bandwagon, but I’m glad I did. It’s great for removing any remaining mascara (on the rare occasion that I’m wearing it) after washing my face too. I just rub it on like eye cream and wa la, makeup is gone! If you want baby smooth, glowing skin, use coconut oil!
- Knowing that I’m leaving for Hawaii in 10 days: Yep, I’ll be done with all my classes by next Monday and then on Friday, Jesse and I head to Oahu for a lovely week-long vacation. I’ve never traveled anywhere warm during the holiday season, so I’m excited to see what it’s like. Plus, no school and a vacation for the two of us, which has only really happened once before — nearly two years ago on our first trip to Hawaii. We were stupid enough to get conned into buying a timeshare (a point-based one that allows you to travel all over the place). It’s been for sale all year long and since it hasn’t had any bites, we decided to use it. After all, we lose our points to travel this year if we don’t go, so why not? Plus, we’re still paying on the darn thing. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but lesson learned … don’t invest in one if you’re not really settled into your career yet. We got too far ahead of ourselves and the 2-hour meeting with the sales reps turned into 6-hours! Needless to say, they did their job well.
If you want to share any things you’re loving right now, feel free. I adore hearing from my followers!