healthy food

BRRRMONT

I recently did a little getaway with my sister to Burlington, Vermont, where we were able to escape the hustle and bustle of NYC and take in the fresh air and relaxing lifestyle of Vermonters. It was certainly much needed and long overdue (our last sister trip was Italy!). We were a bit boujee and decided to fly because 5 hours in the car with each other may have turned the trip sour before we even arrived…just kidding! Below are some of our must-sees, must-dos, and must-haves in Burlington. I also should note that going in the Fall would be ideal because you get to see incredible foliage everywhere you turn.

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First things first – highly recommend renting a car for a few days.  There are a ton of super cute towns and things to do outside of Burlington and its a great opp to see the mountains and trees and just how green (or colorful depending on when you go) Vermont really is. A fun little fact – billboards are illegal in Vermont! So just picture completely unobstructed, clear visibility to the beautiful scenery!

We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn – I would certainly recommend since its location was perfect. Just a few minutes walk from Church Street, two minutes from Lake Champlain (the hotel actually overlooks the lake), and about a 10-15 minute walk to the campus. Parking was $15 a night if you do decide to rent a car and keep it there.

Below are my recommendations!


EATS!

  • Farmhouse Tap + Grill – AMAZING food. The biscuits were incredible. We split a cheese plate, a fresh, crisp salad, and a savory burger. Highly recommend.

 

 

  • Penny Cluse – absolutely heavenly breakfast – we actually went back TWICE. Definitely get the bucket of spuds…or two. My sister had the special maple french toast and couldn’t say enough good things about it! I loved that I was able to kind of mix and match my breakfast to make my own platter. Gingerbread pancakes are a must! Below is the bucket of spuds and one of my breakfasts.

 

  • August First – the cutest little bakery/cafe EVER. We actually came here multiple times because everything was just so satisfying and palatable. The maple biscuit was so flaky and light it honestly didn’t even need butter. I also had a skillet which was delicious – you can really taste the freshness. My sister had the huevos ranchero and for lunch one day she also had the turkey and brie sandwich. They also had really great sweets, such as doughnuts, cookies, brownies, etc. I’m salivating just thinking about them.

 

 

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  • Hen of the Wood – great little restaurant and bar. Very eclectic drinks and a pretty unique menu. We were not too hungry so instead of full on meals we split some appetizers and split the pasta special. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it, but I must say I finished it in seconds it was that good! Below we tried a cheese, split a salad, calamari, and this super appetizing mushroom flatbread with an egg and a big thick chunk of bacon.

 

  • We also enjoyed creemees, Ben + Jerry’s (duh), Skinny Pancake for some late night crepes and American flatbread. I would also recommend checking out some of the breweries. We are not big beer drinkers but Foam Brewers was super close to our hotel so we walked over to see it.

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  • El Cortijo – SKIP at all costs. Totally not worth it at all. The food was sub par at best – I mean have you ever had shrimp that tasted like dirty fish water? We both had gotten sick after our meal. The service was also rude and irritable – as if they didn’t want our money. The atmosphere was drab and dingy. I don’t know if I have just been spoiled with great Mexican restaurants around me, but for them to pass this off as Mexican cuisine is just insulting.

ACTIVITIES!

  • Cheese Making/Farm Tour at Bread and Butter Farm
    • This was $75 per person and absolutely worth every single penny. We had a private class where we got to make our very own mozzarella. We also got to tour the farm – and play with the pigs, obviously our favorite part! We were able to pair our cheese with house made bread and farm fresh tomatoes and herbs. A wonderful experience and would recommend to everyone who goes to Vermont!

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  • Ben + Jerry’s Factory
    • AKA home. For only a few bucks it was pretty cool to be able to get a little tour of the factory and see how this *God sent* food is created. They have a cute little gift shop and of course an entire section dedicated to where you can buy ice cream. A little walk up the hill, and you will see a park, the Flavor Graveyard, as well as some cows!

 

  • Horse back riding at Lajoie Stables
    • This was what I was looking forward to the entire trip! I love horses and I love horse back riding. This was about 45 minutes away form Burlington but I am so glad we decided to do it. We received a private hour long tour through the whopping 300 acres of land. We were able to see unbelievable mountain views and see some of the 55 horses they have! The ladies who ran it were so sweet and allowed us to stay longer and pet all of the horses.

 

  • Lake Champlain
    • Lake Champlain is absolutely stunning. We were able to see it from our room so it was a short distance to walk. We did evening “hikes” (we walked a path lol) along the lake. They had great little bench swings we sat on and people watched…I mean watched the sunset. It was also pretty cool along the trail they had a skateboard park and little random exercise platforms with some equipment. There are also a ton of activities you can do on the water – from sports, to sunset booze cruises. Whistling Man Schooner Co. came highly recommended to us.

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  • Church Street Marketplace + Farmer’s Market
    • Church Street is a bustling marketplace that spans a few streets long. It is blocked off so you are free to walk in the middle of it. They have a ton of restaurants, bars, boutique clothing stores, book stores, you name it they got it. It was a neat little spot and we took strolls down it every night. They also had the absolute #goals of Farmer’s Markets – we checked it out Saturday before we left – highly suggest you make a point of going to it and getting some specialty foods and goods! We also loved Bennington Potters – it was like the Anthropologie of Vermont!

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  • Explore Farms
    • There are a ton of farms that are family friendly. A lot of them offer cheese making demonstrations, some even have wine tasting and such. I highly recommend exploring local farms and seeing the animals and if they have any events going on!

 

  • UVM
    • After got settled into the hotel, we went up to UVM and explored campus. We stocked up on shirts, hats, and sweatshirts. Very beautiful campus with beautiful buildings and tons of gorgeous flowers!

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Burlington is a wonderful little city with welcoming and neighborly people. They have absolutely amazing fresh food, and the scenery is unmatched! For a short little inexpensive getaway, I totally suggest Vermont!

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VALENTINE’S DAY WINE GUMMIES

Happy Valentine’s Day sweethearts! ❤  A day full of flowers, chocolates, love…and wine gummies? I think YES. I made these awhile back and actually posted this recipe for another blog, and it was a huge hit so I decided I will share here as well :). Tell the chocolates to stay on the shelves this year, because these are bound to be all the rage – especially if you’re a wine lover.

Seriously the quickest recipe ever – just three ingredients! Since you can use red or white wine, you can cater to whatever you prefer, or if these are for someone else, whatever they prefer. These def can be made for any occasion, whichever cookie cutters you want to use! Easter? Jesus has risen – let’s celebrate with wine gummies! Columbus Day? He was Italian, they make wine, let’s celebrate with wine gummies! Labor Day? What is a little winding down the concept of work without a little wine? Let’s celebrate with wine gummies! You get the gist – and hey if you want to make them just because, I totally get that 😉

 


Ingredients:

1 cup of wine of your choice

4 Tbsp. gelatin

2 Tbsp. maple syrup* (To make sweeter, you can add more maple syrup. I wanted to keep the wine flavor, so I only used 2 Tbsp.)

Directions:

  • Pour wine into a saucepan over low heat. Let heat up for about 3-5 minutes at this low heat, you do not want the wine to boil.
  • Add 1 Tbsp. of gelatin at a time, whisking after each addition to make sure it is combined thoroughly.
  • Add maple syrup to the sweetness you desire. Whisk it all together and remove from heat.
  • Pour into long pan and let chill/set in fridge for 1-2 hours.

You can cut them out in any shape you desire or use cookie cutters, I chose hearts since Valentine’s Day is today 🙂

Note: Once chilled some parts may look bubbly, simply just cut out your shape and flip it over for the smooth side.

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Ricky’s Cult Crushes Review

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Hello beauts! So I know we can all spend our paychecks in Ricky’s or Sephora or Ulta, or anywhere that sells makeup. There always seems to be a new product to try or a new beauty trend. I also feel like there a ton of beauty boxes out there that offer monthly subscriptions. I have tried Birchbox before since it was a gift from my sister, but I just felt like the samples were so tiny. What caught my eye about Ricky’s version of the monthly subscription beauty box is that it typically comes with one full size product. I also love that you get 25% off of all online purchases and free shipping on purchases of $50 or more. YASSSS. For only $11 getting ALL of that (retail value up to $50) seems like a steal in my eyes! For that price, it doesn’t even matter what is in the box, but it seems to always be something awesome 🙂 Check it more here.

This is the review September – I plan on updating this post each month with what I receive!

Opened it up to a little motivation! #CameToCrush everyday!

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HSI Mini Straightener

Umm ok a mini straightener?! This is actually perfection. Tiny yet so powerful! I can throw this right in my purse for days I am running late and can just plug it in at work, and viola my hair is set! The plates are ceramic which helps leave your hair shiny, annnnd even more importantly, they heat up in seconds! Love love love!

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HSI Argan Oil Shampoo, Conditioner + Leave In Treatment

Alright so after summer sun and salty hair, this came in at the perfect time. I felt like my hair was looking so dull and dry and brittle. Not after using these bad boys. I seriously am going to have to get the full size versions. I also love that they are sulfate free and full of vitamins.

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Z-Palette Large

Say what?! This is so unbelievably convenient – I remember my old company did some work with Z Palette and I kept saying I wish they would send us some so we can try, and now my dreams came true lol! This seemed to be a custom one for Ricky’s and I love it. It is so urban and hip. I love that I can customize my own palette with everything that I use – it is so helpful if I am doing my makeup on the go. Instead of lugging around my makeup bag, I can just throw it on my palette and shove it in my purse. Total win with this.

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Wella Root Shoot Mousse

I am a big advocate of Wella products – I used to work in a salon and everyone swore by it and since I got to test out the products first hand, I came to swear by them too! Sometimes my hair can get sooo flat, and since I typically straighten it, it doesn’t make for the best mix. I can’t seem to nail down that middle part with my hair pasted down like the Kardashian’s can haha. Sometimes I throw in a little volumizing powder but it makes my hair feel stiff and weird and doesn’t seem to work. I tried this once and my Jersey girl came out. Total life saver.

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Masque Bar Luminizing Charcoal Mask

I cannot seem to escape masks lol I recently just got a facial so I am trying to leave my skin alone for a bit so I have not yet tried this. But when I do, I will update 🙂

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After just one box, my final verdict is YES – totally worth it! For $11 the value is unbeatable.

Apple of My Eye Apple Pie

So it feels like ages since I went apple picking, and I promised I would share just what I did with all of those apples. A few days after apple picking, I whipped up this recipe for everyone to enjoy – however, I’m just posting about it weeks later. It has been so hectic on my end – starting a new job, helping with my sister’s wedding & bachelorette party, it never ends!

This is a perfect dessert for Thanksgiving, especially if you’re having a more intimate, smaller gathering. A great alternative to apple pie – and you don’t have to worry about how big of a piece you take 😉


Ingredients:

  • 10 apples (this is only because I had sooo many)
  • 4 Tbsp. of butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup

Crumb Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup crushed graham crackers (this is optional)
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp. butter (melted)
  • 1 roll of pre-made pie crust (optional if you don’t want to wrap the apple in dough)
  • Ice cream! Caramel sauce, whatever you’d like!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash apples and set aside.
  3. Prepare the crumble topping by combining flour, graham crackers (if used), oats, brown sugar, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and then melted butter until mixture is combined and crumbly. Set aside.
  4. Peel and chop 4 of the apples.
  5. Add these chopped apples, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup to a large frying pan and cook over medium heat for about ten minutes (until the apples are softened and tender!). Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
  6. With the remaining 6 apples, cut the tops off and use a spoon to scoop out the insides. Be careful to not go all the way down/pierce the skin of the apple! Leave a perimeter within the apple as shown below. It should resemble an “apple bowl”.
  7. Fill your “apple bowl” with the filling from the sauce pan you just made. Fill about 3/4 of the way, or halfway if you’d like to be generous with the topping.
  8. Cut the rolled dough into strips and “mummify” or wrap the apples! It can be a bit tricky to have them stick to the apple so definitely press the dough strips into one another so they don’t unravel.
  9. Place the apples into a pie pan (I had to use two) because just in case of drippings, it doesn’t overflow as it potentially could on a flat baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  11. Serve warm and with your favorite ice cream! I recommend Ben & Jerry’s cinnamon one.

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Double Stuffed, Cookie Dough Fried Oreos w/ Nutella

Yes. You read that title correctly. Luckily summer is over and it’s okay to indulge a bit (thank goodness for sweater season!). If you still want to reminisce on the summer feels, like carnivals and festivals, what other way to do so than fried oreos?! These are incredibly easy to make, and I must admit I make them more often than I should. I like to add cookie dough, because well cookie dough is everything and I personally believe it to be it’s own essential food group. And of course the Nutella drizzle just speaks for itself. Enjoy!


 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Oreo’s (I usually get the mega-stuffed, or whichever new flavor they have at the time)
  • 1 Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie dough roll
  • Aunt Jemima pancake mix (I use this because you just need to add water to the mix)
  • Vegetable oil (enough to fry the Oreo’s in)
  • Confection sugar
  • Nutella

Directions:

First, prepare the pancake mix in a medium sized bowl. If using Aunt Jemima, it is 2 cups dry mix and 1 1/2 cup water.

Begin to heat up the oil in a deep frying skillet, or a fryer if you have one.

Next, take your Oreo’s and twist the top off of each (gently, so the cream stays on one of the cookies). Take a heaping teaspoon of cookie dough and press onto the cream to flatten so it looks like it is just another disc of cream. Put the cookie that you just took off back on.

I recommend doing this to all of the cookies first, and then once that is done, begin dipping them into the pancake batter, as it is more efficient.

Once all the cookies are done and the oil is heated (you can test by flicking a few drops of water in it – you’ll hear it sizzle and see it bubble), begin to dip the cookies into the pancake batter. Using a spoon, gently place them into the oil.

As they begin to cook, line a plate with paper towels to absorb the oil for when you remove them.

You’ll notice the Oreo turning golden brown. If the oil isn’t high enough, simply use the spoon to turn the Oreo to fry the other side as well.

Once a nice, bronzed, golden brown color, remove the Oreo from the oil and let cool on the paper-towel lined plate. Continue doing this until all Oreos are done.

Once cooled, sprinkle confection sugar and drizzle Nutella all over those bad boys! This is where you can really go to town, use as much as your heart desires 🙂

 

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Sorrento

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Oh Sorrento, I absolutely adore you. Sorrento is definitely in my top five favorite cities of all time and I recommend if you ever go to Italy to make it a priority to spend a day/night here. With charming little alleyways lined with shops, incredible restaurants, and views like no other, it is also the limoncello capital of the world (all the more reason to visit!).

When I first arrived in Sorrento, I’ll never forget how breathtaking the views were, especially since it is like a city carved into and atop the cliffs. Overlooking the sea, our hotel room (see the video below) was like a dream.

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My sister and I immediately went to the beach and went swimming – the water was freezing since it was September, but we figured we were in Italy so we just had to do it. Later in the day we were able to rejoin our group and went to a local pizzeria where we were able to have a pizza demonstration and of course eat our body weights in pizza (when in Sorrento, right? 😉 ). Afterwards, my sister and I went strolling around, shopping at the boutiques and emptying our wallets. We strolled around Piazza Tasso, a square lined with little cafes.

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I think my favorite part was when we went to Limonoro, a candy/sweet shop that revolves around everything limoncello. I’m talking limoncello filled cookies, limoncello gummies, the list goes on. They offered us free samples of literally anything we wanted to try! I had these cookies, and honestly my taste buds have never been the same. I am seriously placing an order as soon as I finish writing this post.

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To end our stay in Sorrento, we had a feast with our Contiki group for those who wanted to participate, and the views were just breathtaking from the restaurant, Circolo dei Forestieri. The decor was beautiful, the food was unmatched. When I get married, I’d consider having destination wedding with the reception here – everything about it was above and beyond. After my meal, I was sitting there with my sister and this older gentleman came up and asked me dance! I’m normally very shy, ESPECIALLY dancing in front of other people to Italian songs doing Italian moves I have no idea how to do. I kept saying no, but that doesn’t work too well with Italians – especially the men haha! So he pulled me up and whisked me away for a solid two songs. I let him lead the way…and of course I had him dance with my sister as well. We go down we go down together, sisters are forever haha!

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Before we left for the night we stopped at a limoncello store I Giardini Di Cataldo, and stocked up on bottles on bottles on bottles of limoncello. It also made for the perfect favor. Good thing we didn’t drink too much of it since we had a boat ride to Capri the next morning.

Stay tuned for the lovely Capri!

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Pumpkin Spice Crumb Cake

It is officially the first day of Fall! I seriously could not be happier. Although I’ve been sipping on my pumpkin spice coffee since it’s seasonal debut early September, today makes my order much less embarrassing as it is now officially Fall. I just wish the weather would follow suit and stop being 80 degrees! I can’t wait for hoodies, chilly mornings and nights, football Sunday, leaves, bonfires, ugh I can go on and on. What better way to ring in the most amazing season with some delicious pumpkin spice crumb cake! Crumb cake is my guilty pleasure, and during the fall, everything must be pumpkin flavored, so viola – the pumpkin spice crumb cake was born.


Ingredients:

CAKE:

  • 2 cups floured (always spoon in the flour and level off with a butter knife, otherwise flour gets packed in and you get too much flour!)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick of butter, room temp.
  • 2 heaping cups of sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 can of pumpkin (I’ve only seen 15 oz ones)
  • 1 cup milk (2%, whole, whichever you prefer)

CRUMB:

  • 1 stick COLD butter (will be easier to form crumbs)
  • 1 firmly packed cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.  Then beat the sugar and room temperature butter until combined.  Add eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin until batter is smooth. Add the dry ingredients in the bowl you set aside slowly, alternating with the milk.  Beat again until smooth and batter comes together. Pour the batter into your sprayed pan and even out with a spatula.

For the crumbs, combine all of the ingredients into one bowl.  This is where it gets fun! You can either get down and dirty and use your hands to combines everything, or you can use a fork or pastry cutter.  Since I like big crumbs, I always use my hands. Sprinkle your newly formed crumbs all over the poured cake batter.

Bake 45-50 minutes, until crumbs turn a light golden brown and a knife or toothpick comes out clean from the center.  You can serve it with some vanilla ice cream, or as I did, with a dollop of whipped cream.

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