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Sunday
Jan092011

Fleur de Sel Caramels

fleur de sel caramels

One of my new year's resolutions this year was to exercise more so this week I spent some quality time at the gym taking classes like Zumba and Power Tone. I also learned there is such a thing as overdoing it (note to self: just because you took two months off from the gym does not mean you can jump right back in like nothing happened).

The next morning I was a hurt bag of hurt. Muscles I didn't even know existed called out for help. I can't move without pain and agony. My legs don't bend, my arms have a range of motion of about 3 inches, and my chest feels like its going to fall off (just fall off). I crawl out of chairs with the speed and agility of a 90 year old woman. I even managed to strain my neck muscles. Who strains neck muscles doing sit-ups?

fleur de sel caramels

I almost wish I had a bruise the size of my fist so I could point to it as if to say look how tough I am—my own purple badge of courage. Instead, I get to whine and groan while moving around like a rusted machine. My advice to you this week is to start slow if you are just beginning an exercise regime and then build your way up. There is no sense in working yourself too hard, causing yourself enough pain that you will be wary to return. Trust me, it will be tough enough dragging my sorry butt back to the gym tomorrow (though these caramels have certainly cushioned the blow).

fleur de sel caramels

These fleur de sel caramels are soft, sticky, and divine. The salt adds just the right twist to keep these caramels from becoming too sweet—the perfect sweet and salty combination, if you will. By eating one or two, you can satisfy your sweet tooth without spoiling your diet. This recipe just begs to be shared.

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Thursday
Jan062011

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

cranberry chocolate chip cupcakes

Today I learned the real difference between cupcakes and muffins. I can certainly tell the difference between cupcakes and muffins once I have one in my mouth (if there is any question to begin with), but I never took the time to actually define them individually. This is what I've learned.

Cupcakes are typically frosted and decorated, though this is not necessary. An unfrosted cupcake is still a cupcake. It does not equate to a muffin simply because it is naked. Cupcakes are also stuffed to the gills with butter and sugarsugarsugar (you know, like cake). Cupcakes are simply individual portions of cake and are typically eaten for dessert or a sweet treat and not breakfast (unless you happen to be me). Cupcakes have a high ratio of sugar and fat.

cranberry chocolate chip cupcakes

Muffins, on the other hand, are a form of quick bread, not cake. Muffins generally have a very small amount of butter (if any) and very little sugar. Although muffins can be topped with a glaze or crumble, this does not make them cupcakes, even if it may make them slightly more unhealthy. Muffins are typically eaten at breakfast or tea time. You would rarely find muffins being served at a birthday party or wedding (could you even imagine?). Muffins have a very low ratio of sugar and fat, making them healthier than cupcakes which is why it is okay to eat them for breakfast.

But, if you ask me, I think my local grocery stores could do with a bit of a lesson. Am I honestly supposed to believe a double chocolate chocolate chip muffin is really a muffin? Are rich and cakey banana nut muffins (with half a pound of buttery crumble topping) not cupcakes? Do they really have a low fat/sugar content? I have doubts. So my lesson for you is to be careful and watchful of the differences. Since few people are actually aware of the differences (most people believe that an unfrosted cupcake classifies as a muffin), you might be stuffing yourself with cupcakes for breakfast. Chances are that if you didn't make that muffin yourself, it may not be a muffin after all.

cranberry chocolate chip cupcakes

These cranberry chocolate chip cupcakes are a play on the concept of sweet and tart. The bitter cranberries are contrasted well against the sweetness of the chocolate chips. These have a texture similar to a muffin rather than a cake, but there is enough sugar and chocolate so you can't pretend they are terribly healthy. However, the cupcakes themselves are rather light and will leave you wanting just a little bit more.

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Monday
Jan032011

Vanilla Pear Milk

vanilla pear milk

Pears have always been one of my favorite fruits. Not only do they have an elegant shape, but they are juicy and charmingly sweet. Though, pears have a dark side. They can be temperamental, finicky, and are never perfectly ripe.

I would argue that pears are one of the most elegant and graceful fruits until you bite into them. Whenever I bite into a ripe pear, a small explosion occurs. Juice dribbles down my chin, sprays my clothing with a fine mist, and runs down my hands until I am sticky and dripping puddles on the floor. Maybe you have more grace when eating pears (and I commend you for it), but I certainly don't. Pears are only portable in theory. I can never eat a pear in public with good conscious (well, not unless I'm eating them with a knife and fork and who does that?).

vanilla pear milk

Finding a ripe pear is virtually impossible. I believe Eddie Izzard, one of my favorite comedians, said it best.

Pears are like a rock, so you think, "I'll take them home and they'll ripen up," and you put them in a bowl, and they sit there going, "No! No! Don't ripen yet! Don't ripen yet! Wait till he goes out of the room! Ripen now! Now! Now!" And you come back in, and you go, "I'll just have one of these… Hey, these pears are dead!"
The pears are mush before you even saw it coming.

vanilla pear milk

This vanilla pear milk is light and sweet. The texture falls somewhere between yogurt and a smoothie. The dash of cinnamon melds all of the flavors together in a way I didn't expect. Treat yourself to this healthy, delicious drink. You won't be disappointed.

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