Brown Sugar Blueberry Pie

As promised…. here is my recipe for Brown Sugar Blueberry pie, straight from ingredients I had in my pantry! (except for the crust- sorry Monica, but I went pre-made this time around!)

4 cups of fresh blueberries (check for stems if you picked them off the bush like me!)
3/4 cup light brown sugar (or Splenda brown sugar blend)
1/4 cup white sugar (or granulated Splenda)
1/4 cup Bisquick mix
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce
2 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts

Follow the directions for the 2 crust pie on the box. For the crust top, you can choose to keep it whole and pierce it, or come up with something cute like I did and create a lattice or other decorative top!

For the filling, whisk together sugars, lemon juice, zest, cinnamon, salt, Bisquick and applesauce until combined well. Add whole blueberries and stir. Pour into the 9inch pie crust and make sure it is evenly spread. Add the top crust and brush with a slurry of milk and egg wash.
Bake for 15 minutes at 450. Cover the crust edges with tin foil (or a handy little pie crust silicon cover), reduce heat to 375 and cook for an additional 45 minutes until bubbly. Let it cool for at least 2 hours at room temperature.
The inside of the pie will continue bubbling, but then will congeal, giving you the perfect slice when the time comes to cut.

Top with whipped cream (of course), and enjoy!


Violet Beauregarde

In a previous post I introduced you all to
one of my favorite local springtime spots: BlueYouth Berry Farm in
Odessa. Well, I’m excited to share pictures from our 2nd annual
trip out to the farm! The berries were a-plenty: ripe, juicy and
HUGE! There were some that were almost the size of quarters! Very
impressive. The temps were amazing- we went at the absolute perfect
time (early AM)- and I left with 2lbs of blues, 1 bell pepper tree,
and a basil plant, all for $12! Here are some shots from our romp
in the blueberry bushes:

After our outing
I stopped by my local Publix and took a peek at what they were
selling berries for.I was shocked to see a teeny tiny 8oz package
of blues selling for $4.99. And they’re a product of Chile! Sorry,
but I feel much better about driving 15 miles out to Odessa to pay
$6/lb of fresh, right of the vine, pesticide free,
local berries with my own bare hands.
I’m back at home with fresh
blueberry muffins cooking away in the oven. Stay tuned for that
recipe and a delicious blueberry pie and cornbread as
well! It’s definitely blueberry time around these parts. Let’s just
hope the guy and I don’t turn out looking like poor
bubblegum chewing Violet:

Play Ball

I love baseball.In fact, it’s the only sport I’ll watch. I love everything about it: the rules, the teams, pitching, live games.
It’s America’s past time, you know.

And with that brings a love of playing the game, as well, which is why I decided to finally join a softball team last year and get my cleats dirty once a week.

(That’s me catching)

I remember seeing an advertisement on Craigslist about a City of Tampa team looking for a few girls to join their coed slow-pitch league. Although I hadn’t played in Y-E-A-R-S, I decided to give it a season and see how I liked it.

(and batting)

4 seasons later, Wednesdays and Thursdays have become my favorite days of the week! It’s competitive, but not in a “we’re going to kick you off the team for dropping that ball” kind of way. The people are laid back and it truly is an awesome way to spend an evening.

(more batting)

I’ve pretty much always played catcher (which I don’t mind ONE bit). I love interacting with the pitcher, the home plate ump and all the players at bat for the opposing team. It’s fun to hear the self-pep talks, groans and smart ass remarks they’ll make about anything and everything related to the game.

I’m by no means a power player, but I never miss a game, and always give it 100% while I’m out there on the field.

Oh, and before I go, check out this video of one of my at-bats where I make contact! Don’t laugh at my running though- running in clay with cleats is different than the pavement!

(turn up the sound to hear that lovely crack of the bat!)

Many of my readers are runners or triathletes. Aside from those individual sports, do you play any team sports? Which do you enjoy more?



Blueberry fields forever

I’m obsessed with U-pick farms.
Especially when
it comes to pumpkins. I’ve only actually chopped the pumpkin off
the vine once up in North Georgia, but it was enough to get me
hooked on gathering my own produce the “old fashioned way”.

Since then I’ve found great places (both local and
not so local) to pick apples, citrus fruits, pumpkins and, most
recently, blueberries.

Up in Northwest
Tampa lies a small little farm known as BlueYouth Berries. I happened
to stumble across their Facebook page one day, then
decided on a whim to head out there one Saturday last

I. Was. Hooked.

And although we went late in the season, the
berries were still plump and a-plenty; perfect for our
first romp out in the fields.

I was totally
surprised to find out that blueberries grew on tall
bushes! For some reason I had envisioned low to
the ground, strawberry-like shrubs.

I was shocked
when I saw that very little bending was involved at all! Some of
the bushes were up to my shoulders in height, which completely made
the experience that much more enjoyable.

So why am I
blogging about this NOW?
Well, BlueYouth opens for the
2012 season THIS Saturday!
And guess what. Yup. I’ll be
there. With bells on.
Want to join us? We’ll be up there
by 8:45am, so google the address from the link above, then message
me here on the blog and I’ll be on the lookout for you!

PS- Children and
strollers ARE welcome (and even get their own little
bucket), but pets are not. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and good
shoes. There’s some uneven areas of the farm, and some spots with
soft dirt/sand. Bring cash (berries are $6/lb) and clean out your
trunk in case you’d like to buy a blueberry plant to take home!

See you there!



3 weeks ago I was screaming at my feet, my hips, my legs, my brain for signing up for a15k race.
3 weeks ago I was saying there is NO way I was going to EVER do another race longer than a 5k.
3 weeks ago I thought I would never be able to walk another mile. (dramatic much?)

It’s true what they say- you have to forget your last long race (and triathlon too!) in order to sign up for your next long race.

Although I LOVE sprint triathlons, the swim portion is always my nemesis, and I truly have to forget about each prior swim training or race in order to get back into the water.

Being an athlete is all in the mind I tell ya.
Sure it helps to be strong, and have endurance, but in the end, it is truly a mental game.

I’m almost ready to tackle another long race. Almost. However, I’m definitely ready to sign up for another 5k for the month of April and I cannot wait for tri season to start full force.

While I have summertime goals set in my sights, I also have life goals that have taken the forefront of my thoughts.

A year ago we found out that my mother had breast cancer.
11 months ago we started our chemo journey.
8 months ago we survived chemo.
6 months ago we found out the cancer had spread to her brain.
5 months ago we endured radiation.
3 months ago we received the cancer free news.
2 months ago hair began to grow.
1 month ago life was becoming normal again.
1 week ago my heart broke. The cancer is back. It’s aggressive. It’s terminal.
12 months ago we had hope. Today we have hope. We will have hope tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. Until our home is bursting at the seams with buckets of hope.

No matter what life brings, make space for extra time, happy experiences, cherished moments, personal goals, positive influences, silliness, uninterrupted talks, quiet times and healthy habits.
You never know when life will take an unexpected turn.



Deal Alert: Water Bottles

As I was perusing around Publix today, I stumbled upon an AWESOME deal! I never go down this aisle, so it was pure luck that I spotted this while cutting across the store.
The South Tampa Publix (Neptune and Dale Mabry) has buy one, get one free on Rubbermaid’s Filterfresh water bottles. They’re $9.99 and come in 4 different colors (green, blue, purple, and gray). With the BOGO deal, $4.99 for a bottle this is an awesome steal!

Here are the specs:

  • 20oz
  • include the first filter (which last 3 months before they need changing)
  • BPA free
  • finger loop and twist off cap
  • fits in cup holders
  • dishwasher safe (just remove the filter and rinse it under hot water)

I’m not sure how long the sale will last, so you may want to call ahead, especially if you’re going to visit a different location.

Oh, and guess what came in the mail on Monday? That’s right, my new Brooks Ravenna 2 running shoes! The guy and I took them out for an inaugural jaunt around the neighborhood and I’m just smitten with these things! They felt like little rocking lazy boy chairs for my feet. If you haven’t tried Brooks yet, you don’t know what you’re missing! (Just a word of advice: they run SMALL! I had to go up a whole size so that I’d have enough room in the toe box, and even then, I could spare to use maybe another 1/2 inch (which should fix itself as break in the shoes).

(my feet after our first 2 miles together!)
Catch ya later,

Product Review: Salad Shakers

Did any of you attend the Gasparilla Fitness Expo after picking up your race packets during race weekend (or maybe even after you crossed the finish line?). We went late on Friday evening to get our packets in preparation for the next day’s 15 and 5k races. We didn’t really take in all that the expo had to offer (especially all of those freebies!), but on the way out we did stop at the Publix booth to snag some of the goodies they were giving away. I was super stoked to see that they were handing out some really cool looking salad shaker containers! We both snatched took one. Man, I love free stuff!

Last night I chopped up some romaine and baby spinach for a couple of dinner salads. I decided to wash and chop the entire bag of both, so I thought that the remaining roughage would give me a great opportunity to try out these new shakers before I go to work next week (yay for spring break!).

These salads were in the containers from around 8pm until I ate lunch around 1pm the next day. The cool thing about these containers is that they feature a separate container for the dressing. Oh, and check out the pic below- there’s also a fork! Many of these salad containers aren’t truly all-in-one because they don’t have their own fork (which I don’t know about you guys, but I have eaten more than one salad with my fingers because of forgetting the all important fork).

I love how all of the parts of this salad shaker snap together tightly, including the lid of the salad dressing holder. Even after “dropping” it on the floor a few times, everything stayed put.

The dressing cup holds a whopping 3 tablespoons of liquid, so keep that in mind when planning your meal. I made a orange and lime vinaigrette (recipe below) and not a single drop leaked out. Even when it “fell” on the floor.
Additionally, there wasn’t a speck of spillage after shaking the dressing in, but I wasn’t thrilled with the salad and dressing that became stuck in the lid. It was an easy fix with just a few scrapes with the fork. The container is a bit deep, so you might have a hard time picking up the salad at first, but overall the salad was crisp and cold, the dressing made it all the way to the bottom, and cleanup is a breeze- put it all back together, take it home and throw it in the dishwasher! (yes, it’s dishwasher, BUT not microwave safe). So salads for lunch next week? You betcha!
Here’s the recipe for my favorite salad dressing:
Orange and Lime Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco (can omit)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon no sugar added orange marmalade
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey or agave (for a little sweetness)
  • Whisk together all ingredients. Add more salt if needed (to taste).

    Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Pie

    If you know me well, then you know how much I love Fall! Once October rolls around, and the weather cools down, I’m in the kitchen baking so many delicious treats with aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, apple and pumpkin.

    In honor of Pi Day (3.14), here’s a pie recipe I’ve faked that gives you all the warmth of Fall, without the warmth of new fat rolls!

    Ingredients: Will yield 2 pies
    2 pre-made 9-inch pie crusts (not graham cracker)
    1 29oz can of 100% pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
    1 cup agave syrup
    4 large eggs
    1 tsp. salt
    2 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. ginger
    1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    1 12oz can of Fat Free Evaporated milk
    1 jar of Smucker’s sugar free caramel topping (Usually found near the ice cream, where the ice cream toppings are)
    2 cups of chopped pecans

    1. Open the can of pumpkin and place into a large mixing bowl.
    2. Add agave, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Stir to combine.
    3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Then add them to the pumpkin. Stir to combine.
    4. Slowly add the evaporated milk into the pumpkin mixture, stirring as you add.
    5. Continue to stir until smooth.
    6. Divide the mixture between the two uncooked pie crusts.
    7. Place in a 425 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325 and bake for an additional 40 minutes, or until fork test proves done!
    8. Cool or refrigerate for an hour.
    9. Remove caramel topping from a jar, and place in a microwave safe bowl. Place in microwave for about 25 seconds. Stir.
    10. Using a spoon, drizzle caramel over each pie (1/2 bottle per pie), then sprinkle with chopped pecans (1 cup of pecans per pie)
    11. Chill for 2-3 hours. Serve cold.

    foodie_views_link_url = ‘http://fakedgoods.blogspot.com/2009/11/sugar-free-caramel-pecan-pumpkin-pie.html’;


    Just keep swimming

    It’s Spring Break around these parts. The time when teachers run amok and enjoy the time away from the little devils darlings.
    It’s only Tuesday, but so far I’ve:

    • done laundry
    • cleaned house
    • raked the backyard
    • had lunch with a friend
    • bought new running shoes (see below)
    • was a featured blogger on Bloggers.com
    • swam 1000 yards

    Come again?
    Yup, it’s early March and I swam 1000yds (sorry to my northern readers!)
    My friend and triathlon trainer Deb has been posting group training Meetups held at a pool out in Brandon called Brandon Sports and Aquatics Center. I’m usually working when they’re scheduled, so I decided that Spring Break would be the perfect opportunity to check out this heated pool and get my first swim of the season in. Knowing that my pal Lindsey is off on Tuesdays, I asked her if she’d like to take a ride over and check the place out. She agreed and so we planned our trip!

    I literally had to search for my tri suit, as I didn’t exactly remember were I had shoved placed it. Luckily, once I found it, it still fit (as a plus sized athlete, you always wonder what’s still going to fit after 5 months of no use!)

    (that’s me)
    By the way, if you’re looking for some great plus sized swimwear or triathlon gear, check out Junonia. They have the most supportive tops (for us big boobied athletes) and the prices aren’t shocking either! I trained and competed my 2nd sprint triathlon in the QuikEnergy line of their tri gear (yes, they actually DO call it triathlon gear, even if it’s plus sized!).

    I must say the pool is a bit far for this Tampa girl, but to find an open, heated pool for $5 on your vacation is not an easy task, so it turned out to be completely worth the trip. After paying our entrance fee, we grabbed some kick boards (love those by the way, had never used them!) and jumped right in. The facilities were really nice- clean, organized, with timers all around the perimeter of the pool (in case you’re into timing yourself). There are life guards on duty, and big, spacious lanes. The pool was a little busy with the sounds of swim students and their coaches filling up most of the lanes. Lindsey and I shared lucky lane 7, and honestly, the workout wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

    Of course I was tired (these were 50yd lanes). Of course my arms felt like Fruit Rollups. Of course I had to stop and rest when Lindsey (the awesome swimmer!) kept up a great pace. But when all was said and done, I completed a total of 1000 yards and felt pretty damn good as I climbed out of the pool. I really hope our local pools open up soon because swimming is my weakest sport and I desperately need to get back into the water on a regular basis.

    So how are you getting ready for the upcoming tri season? Don’t forget- if you’re interested in training for YOUR very first triathlon (yes, you can do it!) please check out our Meetup page and come out for a training session! You’ll find people of all fitness levels, some riding mountain bikes, some that don’t run, just walk, some that are scared of deep water (me, remember my first post?). Believe me, you will find someone to bond with to start your adventure!

    See ya soon,


    Rollin’ Oats Cafe and Market

    Way back in once up a time time, I would ride with my grandmother to a little nutritional shop around the corner called Nature’s Harvest. She loved shopping for fresh produce, vitamins and other hard to find health items here. The strongest memories I have of going here as a kid are the smells. The entire store smelled like the inside of a vitamin C bottle. Now, of course, that’s not always a bad smell if you’re a health nut, but as a kid, it wasn’t always the most inviting of scents!

    Nature’s Harvest has evolved quite a bit since then. Over the years we’ve seen a name change, expansions, and more offerings than ever before. Rollin’ Oats, as we all know it as now, is definitely the hidden Tampa gem in a world of farmer’s markets, chain “organic” stores, and local delis. There’s a great emphasis on providing locally produced groceries, items and baked goods. Customer service is prime with visible, knowledgeable staff in almost every aisle. The produce section has hard to find items and a classroom attached- where a variety of nutrition classes and demos are offered periodically throughout the year. There is a HUGE beer and wine section (with not so huge prices), a bakery with the MOST amazing jam dot cookies, muffins, vegan cakes and pies, and a recently updated cold and hot deli with daily specials (try their cauliflower, mac and cheese, vegan pot pie and weekend pizzas- YUM). You’ll find a very roomy, multi-table sitting area if you’d like to stay for lunch and enjoy anything from the hot foods area, or a wrap and a cup of soup with some juice or a smoothie from their juice bar.

    With all that cooking going on day in and day out, let’s just say the aromas you catch a whiff of upon entering won’t remind you of something out of a bottle.

    In addition to all of this you will find a vast selection of frozen foods, snacks, spices, groceries, dry goods, pet products, cleaning and beauty supplies and just about any type of vitamin or supplement you could possibly need. It really is a one-stop shop.

    So the next time you’re in the area, make sure you check out Rollin’ Oats. It’s close to the corner of MacDill and Cypress, in a shopping center on the right if you’re traveling north. Here’s the information:

    (photo credit: www.rollinoatstampa.com)

    1021 N. MacDill Ave.
    Tampa, FL 33607
    Monday-Friday: 9 AM-8 PM
    Saturday: 9 AM-7 PM
    Sunday: 10 AM-7 PM

    See you there!

    *The opinions expressed in this posting are soley mine. I was not compensated for any of these opinions or thoughts.