04/1/17

Strawberry & Pecan quinoa oats

I’ve never been a fan of oatmeal.

Unlike my brother, who, growing up consumed (and enjoyed) bowl after bowl of oatmeal and cream of wheat hot cereal. 

When I was around the age of 13 or 14, I discovered this:

My mom had purchased a variety box of these Fruit & Cream pouches while we were staying for a week at a beach house we had rented for the week at Indian Rocks. And although I was hesitant, I decided to try it one morning when my mom said we were “on our own” for breakfast. 

It was love at first taste. The creamy oats, the little artificial squares of dried “fruit.” It was all so delicious!

Of course now as an adult I don’t buy this stuff anymore. And while I loved oatmeal back then, I once again lost the desire to whip up batches for breakfast. Truth be told I have more of a savory tooth in the morning and usually run from sweet things for breakfast (which is why I don’t do the whole smoothie/shake for breakfast thing anymore. I tried, really I did!).

A few weeks ago while traveling for work in Virginia, my co-worker and I stopped for breakfast before our training session began. It was cold- bitterly cold (temps in the teens!)-and I just could not get warm. I was craving hot coffee, hot eggs and bacon, hot ANYTHING. I ordered a breakfast sandwich, but then something on the menu caught my eye- quinoa oatmeal. 

I was intrigued. I love quinoa and I *used* to love oatmeal, so would I like this? I decided to give it a try. If I didn’t like it, at least it was hot and hearty! 

Well it was pretty damn delicious. Steel cut oats, creamy quinoa, sliced almonds, cinnamon and honey. Good stuff!

Today, as I was thinking about that trip, an oatmeal craving hit me for the first time in probably 20 years. 

And lucky for me, I had all of the necessary ingredients AND some delicious toppings- hello Florida strawberries!

Chances are you may have the ingredients on hand too! If so, here’s how you can whip up this bowl of strawberry & pecan quinoa oats! If you don’t like strawberries, you can make this with blueberries, apples, bananas or even peaches! (Just like the box) 😉

Strawberry & Pecan quinoa oats
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  2. 1/2 cup quinoa
  3. 1/2 cup half and half cream
  4. 2 tbsp. coconut sugar or honey
  5. 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
  6. 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  7. 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  8. 3-4 sliced strawberries (hulled)
  9. 2 tbsp. chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Follow the directions to prepare the oats and the quinoa on the corresponding packages.
  2. Combine 1/2 cup hot cooked oats with a 1/2 cup hot cooked quinoa in a bowl.
  3. Stir in half and half cream, coconut sugar (or honey), cinnamon, ginger and sea salt. (add extra cream if you like your oatmeal a bit creamier).
  4. Top with chopped pecans, strawberry slices and a drizzle of honey.
http://orangespoken.com/

03/25/17

So much to say!

Hey Friends! 

Boy have I missed blogging on the regular. Life has been jam-packed with awesomeness and once the glitter settles at the end of April, I will reconnect by sharing stories, recipes and more! 

And, of course the 4-1-1 on all things WEDDING! 

As you know, last summer my main guy popped “THE” question and since then we have been in planning mode! We have had so much fun wedding planning and cannot wait to celebrate with our closest family and friends. We are keeping things very small and intimate, but the celebration will be fun and beautiful nonetheless! I will definitely be sharing pictures and stories from the big day with all of you here so stay tuned! (Including details about my dress, which I am head over heels about! Spoiler alert- it’s NOT white!) 🙂

One thing I can divulge are the details of my bridal shower last week! 

My godmother Nina, my future mother-in-law, and my nearest and dearest chicas came together to shower me with wedding LOVE! The theme was orange (naturally) and all things chicken (double naturally!). I mean, do they know me or what? There were also TONS of gifts and surprises! I feel so lucky and thankful to have all of these ladies in my life! 

I’m usually on the giving side of a party, so it was a little awkward for me to let loose of the reigns and focus on being the guest of honor. But I truly had a WONDERFUL time enjoying delicious food and spending time with those whom I care about the most- all here to celebrate the love between two people. I could not have asked for a better day! (PS- see those candles on the table? At one point during the shower there was a small incident involving tissue paper from one of those gifts towards the back of the above picture and the flames. After some deft maneuvers towards the door, and some vigorous stomping, the flaming crisis was adverted! Luckily the place didn’t burn down and no one got seriously hurt, but it was an adventure non-the-less! **No pictures, sorry. We really thought 911 was about to be called! LOL)

I also had my hair and makeup trial courtesy of the very talented Ciah from Salon Ciah in Ybor City! I’m SO happy with how it all turned out and cannot wait to see everything put together! 

Next up, THE BIG DAY! Check back soon for more! <3

02/14/17

What matters most

Have you ever felt invisible?

Like people were looking right through you- eyes piercing past you to the other side as if though something better, more interesting, more important was there beyond you.

And I’m not just referencing people we pass by on the sidewalk, or those we sit by on the bus or see at the grocery store as we’re stocking our carts. I’m also talking about people you come in contact with every single day. Your co-workers, acquaintances, friends, and yes, even family members.

Do you ever feel as though you don’t exist? 

While the fact that the person in the grocery store who stared past you as they headed to the produce aisle may not have a long lasting affect on you, that co-worker, whom you see everyday, who enters the office and walks past you without muttering a “good morning” to you might sting a bit- or might go unnoticed because the behavior has been accepted as the norm.  

Do they know your name?
Do they care to?
Do you matter to them?
Would they notice if you were absent that day?

What I really want to ask you though, is, how often are you on the giving end of this scenario? How often do you walk by your co-worker without muttering a “good morning” as you walk by their desk?

Do you know your co-workers name?
Do you care to?
Do they matter to you?
Would you notice if they were absent that day?

How often do you go through the routines of the morning ignoring the human spirit and instead go straight to life’s hamster wheel? Are the first words that you speak to your child each morning “Get up! And hurry up we’re going to be late!” or the first phrase you say to your spouse as you wake up next to them in bed is “Don’t forget to pay that bill today!” 

Do they feel invisible? Do they matter? Do they know they matter? 

I have early memories of invisibility. I was a shy child, at times hardly able to carry conversations with family members or at school. At four years old I attended a prekindergarten at a small neighborhood day care. I was in a class of around 15 other children my age, yet I didn’t have a single friend. My grandmother would make me a lunch every single day and pack it into my prized metal Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox filled with treats she thought would make me happy. Every single day I’d eat alone, in total silence, on a small bench away from the rest of the group, facing a wall in the lunch area of the school. 

I’m not sure if anyone knew my name. I felt completely invisible during what should have been a time to laugh and play and trade lunchbox treasures. My daycare teachers accepted my shyness and never tried to engage me or try any strategies to include in me the group. I was just shy Stephanie, and that was it. 

Even at the young age of 4 I felt invisible. I felt as though I didn’t matter. And if I were absent, I’m not sure anyone in my class would notice. And the memory of that experience has stuck with me all this time. 

How many people (kids AND adults) feel like this on a daily basis? How many people feel this way because of you? 

We all want to feel as though we are important to someone. That we matter. That someone can SEE us. That we are valued. That we are important. That we would be missed if we were absent. 

I encourage you to think deeply about your daily interactions with people. Whether it’s at the market and the mall, or at school or at home. What can you do to spread encouragement and hope to another person? What can you do to help someone feel as though they are visible? What can you do you to inspire others to do the same?

If we each made a conscious effort to reignite that human connection, to ensure that those that we come in contact on a daily basis feel important and valued, we can make a positive shift in our culture and strengthen our relationships with others around us. You never know when something you notice (and point out!) will change a person’s day for the better. 

Extend a handshake, share a greeting, ask someone how their day was, reach out, offer help, pass along a genuine compliment. 

It’s not about being the perfect parent or spouse, co-worker or teacher, family member or friend.
It’s about being present and noticing the souls around us.  

Here is a great place to start.

And if you are interested in diving deeper into this work, I encourage you to explore Angela Maiers’s website even further!

 

12/1/16

The Wine Shoppe in Blairsville, GA

A few months ago a group of my nearest and dearest got together and planned a week long trip up in the North Georgia mountains. Back in 2004 my mom and I were looking for a place to go camping during our winter school break. I can vividly remember sitting at the kitchen counter at my parent’s house scanning a map of the southeastern United States looking for a place that would be a) A day’s worth of driving distance and b) A change of scenery from our regular beachy Florida views.  Continue reading

11/2/16

Happy Birthday Mom!

When I think about my mother, what I remember most was her love of celebrating.

She would celebrate anything and everything. 
Life itself was a celebration.

Birthdays, promotions, anniversaries, daylight savings time. She’d find ANY reason to cook a meal, bake a cake and have people over. It’s just who she was. 10511352_10152651390667474_3098322061653697010_nWhat I remember most about all of those get togethers was how they made us feel. My mother always made sure everyone was well fed and having a good time. And if it was your birthday, you were sure to feel special.  Continue reading

09/25/16

Review: Yo! Sushi

Disclosure: This is a sponsored blog post as part of a blogger collaboration with YO! Sushi. I have been compensated in the form of product for this post and my honest thoughts on YO! Sushi. All opinions are my own. 

Last Thursday Carlos, from Carlos Eats, invited a handful of bloggers to attend an event with YO! Sushi at the International Plaza and Bay Street called Ramen Mania. Liz, from No Ordinary Liz and I jumped at the opportunity to try a new-to-us place, and boy are we glad we did!  During the event we were invited to try new menu additions including ramen bowls, limited-edition poke bowls, and new sushi rolls and other menu bites. In addition to the tasting opportunities, we were also able to meet the staff and chefs who are behind the tasty and creative offerings at YO! Sushi.  Continue reading

08/16/16

My first Mammogram at 37

Disclaimer: This post covers sensitive medical and wellness related topics involving breast cancer and preventative procedures. If you feel uncomfortable discussing or reading about these topics, please skip this post. I won’t be offended because I know you’ll be back! Additionally, I am NOT a medical professional. I am simply a patient giving my opinion on how to be proactive with women’s health issues. Please consult your own physician before attempting any medical procedure or self-diagnosing. 

Posts like this never get easier. It’s just the nature of the subject. But it’s important for me to continue to write about my experiences in dealing with my own health after losing my mother to stage 4 triple negative carcinoma (the worst case scenario as far as breast cancers go) four years ago. And because some of you may be facing these same high-risk circumstances, my hope is that I can bring you comfort, knowledge and the confidence to take control of your situation with proactive, preventative measures in order to live a calm, happy and healthy life.  Continue reading

07/4/16

Sweet, sour and spicy quick pickles

Happy Fourth of July!

Need a last minute summer snack to whip up for a party or picnic? Try these SUPER simple sweet, sour and spicy quick pickles! 
ddc6df9b-fb92-4edddddddb5-b142-50632b0c4c52These pickles are SO flavorful, with just the right balance of sweet and sour- with a little kick at the end from some spice. They can be ready is as little as 2 hours and will last 2-3 weeks in an air-tight container in the fridge. You can use whatever type of cucumber you like- English, mini-pickling, etc. OR try using onions, sweet peppers or even carrots! The pickling possibilities are endless!
Continue reading

06/24/16

Summer adventures

Hello from Philly!13524396_10154354176277474_4827096404118096982_n

We’ve had an amazing time up here visiting with family in Delaware and enjoying a few days in Philly while the Dave Matthews Band is in town! To top things off, yesterday was our 5th anniversary and today is my 37th birthday! What better way to spend both of those special days than on an epic vacation! Continue reading