Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I've moved!!

Hey guys, I think most of you have found me either through Bloglovin or through me following you on my new Wordpress account.

That's right I FINALLY got myself set up with a fancy new Wordpress site come visit me at slicesofsarahpie.com

You all have been great and I hope to see you over at my new home. I'll be leaving this site active for a few weeks before I delete it completly.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Grain-Free Mini Cheesecake

I have a love-hate relationship with cheesecake. On one hand you have the filling which is pure, creamy, fluffy, cream cheese heaven. Then there's the crust... it's not even the best part and still it ruins my favorite dessert with all of its gluten-ness. Sometimes it's hard to resist when I'm at a restaurant and it sits there tempting me from the dessert menu. 

So when the Lovely Healthy Maven threw down with a Valentines Day Bake Off, I knew instantly what I had to make. Now I know this is supposed  to be a healthy challenge, but what's the point of a cheesecake if it doesn't have the cheese? 

You'll find none of that fat free cream cheese around here. My healthy twist came from the mini size, which allows the cheesecake to still have all its cheesy decadence. The crust also got a Gluten Free and Grain Free makeover with no added sugar. 

The BF is a big cheesecake fan as well so for us these make the perfect Valentine treat. 

Grain Free Mini Cheesecakes
Makes 6 cheesecakes

Hands on time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 15 minutes

1 cup almond meal
3 TBSP cold butter
1 8oz block of cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar (or comparable amount of your sweetener of choice)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon zested

Fresh or frozen berries for topping

Preheat the oven to 350*. To make the crust add almond meal and butter to a food processor and pulse to combine (mixture should resemble wet sand). Press crust mixture into the bottom of a regular sized muffin tin, there should be enough to evenly divide between six tins. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat on medium speed until fluffy. Evenly divide filling mixture over the 6 crust layers. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake 12-15 minutes until filling is set and starting to brown around the edges. 

Allow to cool completely before  removing from the pan (trust me on this one!) and then top with fruit. 

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go eat some cheesecake... I may have to make another batch before I celebrate with the BF on Sunday ;) 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The perfect cup of tea

It's no secret that I have a bit of a thing for tea.  I've grown to love it in its tangy kombucha form, but a cozy mug of green or ginger tea is still my favorite way to indulge. Not that tea is an indulgence by any means (all you have to do is boil water) but if made right a cup of tea really can make you feel that way. 

You have to start with water of course. A boiling kettle is one of my favorite sounds and it can pull me running from anywhere in the house (I've been known to start the kettle and then walk away to do something else...). But a mug heated in the microwave or even really hot tap water will work in a pinch. Sun tea is great too but it's too cold for that in Chicago in February. 

Then of course there's the tea. Loose leaf is fancy, it requires a bit more work to steep and strain the leaves, but you're worth the extra effort. And if you don't have the time thats why teabags were invented ;) I get tea for Birthdays/Christmas at about the same rate I get candles (which is a lot!) but that doesn't stop me from picking up a new box almost every time I go to the store. Variety is the spice of life after all. 

1. Green and white blend (low caffeine) 2. Raspberry Mint (herbal)
3. Ginger (herbal and addictive) 4. Mango Ceylon (black tea)
5. Peppermint (herbal) 6. Super green tea (with a little kick)

After that all that's left to do is relax and enjoy. I take my tea to go in the mornings, and chug it like it's my job at school, but afternoon tea will always be my favorite. I put on a full kettle as soon as I get home each afternoon. By the time I've had a quick workout the water has boiled. I can then take my mug to the couch as I sit and catch up on blogs (which is like catching up with dear friends) or I can sip on it as my dad and I cook dinner and I catch him up on my life.

This weekend I used my time to catch up on cookbooks

I challenge you to take some time for yourself with a cup of tea this afternoon. Take the 15-20 minutes to relax, chat, or reflect. Trust me you won't regret it. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

WIR #39: The Spill it Sunday Edition

Good morning everyone! Hopefully you all are having a wonderful start to your week. Since I failed to get my act together this weekend I'm hooking up with not one BUT two link ups today. 

I figure since Meghan and Arman both love their lists neither party  will complain :) 

The last 5 places I traveled this weekend included: 
  • Work
  • Home
  • Library
  • Work 
  • ISHA
ISHA is the Illinois convention for SLPeeps and for my first ever professional conference it was a lot of fun! I got to see one of my classmates present her thesis research, sit in on some really cool technology sessions, make contacts for potential jobs (yikes!), and gather up a bunch of free swag. I was also part of our college bowl team, and while we weren't the winners our professors were proud of us for getting up there :) 

Seriously though the number of pens I now have is insane!

The last 5 people I spoke to include:
  • The BF
  • The Bestie
  • My boss at job #2
  • My dad
  • A classmate who was looking for the Starbucks while we were at ISHA
The best part about talking to the bestie (besides the fact that we haven't talked much since Christmas) she asked me to stand up with her in her wedding!! I couldn't be more excited to be a part of her special day next summer (and to now have even more of an excuse to stalk her wedding board on pinterest). 

The last 5 workout I did include:
  • Dance Party
  • The "exercise" portion of an ABA session (which is me rolling my kiddo around on a ball, surprisingly good for the core!) 
  • Yoga
  • Yoga
  • Burpees x150 (yeah not my best idea)
Does shivering count as a workout?! Because I got in even more of that this past week as well. You can call me whiny all you like, but I hate the cold, I hate the snow, and we have way too much of both right now. I mean you can barely see our mailbox at the end of the driveway anymore!

This is my "it's cold and I don't like it" face

The next 5 places I'll be heading include: 
  • School placement
  • Home
  • School placement
  • Tutoring
  • Home
Talk about wash, rinse, and repeat! It's shaping up to be a pretty boring week. No crazy meetings at school, no conference to attend, I don't even get a chance to see the BF until next weekend. It's probably for the best considering the pile of online job applications I have pending in my inbox... but after the excitement of last week it still sounds kinda sad. 

But there are at least 5 things making me happy right now:
  • Consistent internet access (even if I have to sit on the floor plugged into the router to get it)
  • A steaming mug of green tea (you knew this was coming)
  • A clean/organized room and closet for the week ahead
  • Something delicious baking in the oven (there is a bake-off this week after all) 
  • A whole day with the BF next week
The best thing so far about my school practicum (besides my kiddos whom I love)  has been getting to work the school schedule. While I'm bummed I don't get a spring break like some of the girls in my program (1 of them has a whole 3 weeks off!) It has been nice to have these random days off scattered throughout the month. The BF's new schedule is Wednesday-Saturday so when I have a random Monday off (like President's Day) its nice to be able to spend a little extra time with him. 

This week I'm hoping to keep up with the workouts (which are feeling great), get ahead on the job applications (which are piling up), figure out a budget friendly V-day gift for the BF (I've got until next weekend...) and play some fun games with my kiddos at school (I've been pinning like crazy it's time to decide). A quiet week for sure, but it should be a good one!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chopped Kitchen Challenge: February 2014

Hey guys, I've got a quickie for you today as I'm in full on crazy mode getting ready for my first professional conference tomorrow!

But it's the first Thursday of the month which means its the time to reveal the ingredients for February's Chopped Kitchen Challenge.

The ingredients for this month are (drumroll please...)

Chili Flakes (crushed red pepper)


That's it! I'm keeping things simple with the ingredients but your creations should be anything but that. You have three weeks to come up with your craziest (or most delicious) combinations of these two ingredients or feature just one of them in a dish. The rules are up to you (really, you all know how often I break them). 

The party goes live on February 27th, so what are you waiting for? 

Let's get cooking!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WIAW #34: The SLP intern edition

Hey guys, Happy Wednesday! Remember back in January when I was all gung-ho about getting to use my lunchbox again. I was so excited to be able to pack a healthy meal to eat during the day at my school placement, to show off my new lunch skins I'd gotten for Christmas, and just generally get back into eating a regular lunch... well let me tell you that is not how things work in the school system.

My lunch went from 15 minutes between meetings the first week to it's current state of whatever I can stuff in my mouth between students. I knew working in the schools was go go go all the time. I just didn't realize all the time was literally all the time!

So this week I'm sharing a typical day of eats as I go through my day as a SLP intern (student clinician, graduate clinician, SLP student whatever title you want to give me). These are Monday's eats from beginning to end.

This week is lacking the peas, but my kids and I 
have been playing with crayons!

Breakfast has been a smoothie (made in my new Ninja single serve cup!) and a mug of tea. I can drink both on the road while waiting for trains driving to school and finish whatever I don't while pulling materials for the day. 

I usually have something to copy for the day, and while I'm picking up my papers I swing by the coffee pot to refill my mug with hot water for mug of tea number 2! I have one mug of black tea first thing in  the morning and then switch to green or herbal (yes I totally have a tea schedule... don't act surprised).  

If there wasn't one in my smoothie (depends on the day) I usually take a #publicbanana break after my first few students. More often than not it takes an hour to get through the nana as I eat it 1-2 bites at a time (I get maybe a minute walking down the hall searching out kiddos to eat). 

Lunch is the rest of my banana and a couple of energy bites. I load these things up for a reason I seriously need the energy to get through the afternoon! If I have extra time I might munch on a cutie or some carrots but usually those are saved for the afternoon commute. 

Needless to say by the time I get home, have a workout, and help make dinner I am more than ready to eat! 

Trends for the day... lots of tea! Also lots of really small bites (which I already knew) and a lot of my food at the end of the night which I'm not super crazy about, but whatcha gonna do? 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cranberry Almond Biscotti

I have a slight problem obsession passion when it comes to tea. Hot, iced, or fermented, I like tea of all sorts and can easily drink 3-5 mugs in a day. And once in a while a good cup of tea needs a cookie made for dunking.

Biscotti aren't a cookie I had much exposure to growing up, but I know they're made for dipping. When I saw Arman's post a few weeks back I was excited to try it out... except I like my cookies with fruit (makes them healthier, right?). Keeping the inspiration of his nutty cookies, I got to experimenting in the kitchen myself. 

The result is a hearty, crispy, cookie bursting with nutty almond flavor and chewy cranberries. These have a high ratio of fruit to cookie, so feel free to cut back on the fruit or (for shame) leave it out entirely to suit your tastes. 

Cranberry Almond Biscotti 
Makes 15 

Hands on time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 45-50 minutes

1 cup GF flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350*. In a food processor (or stand mixer or a large bowl) cream butter and sugar together. Add in egg, vanilla, and almond extract and mix to combine. Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in thirds making sure to incorporate each third before adding more. Fold in almonds and dried cranberries. 

Remove dough from bowl and form into a single log on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes and then remove from oven. Allow cookies to cool enough to handle and slice into individual pieces. Return cookies to the oven for 5 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for 5 minutes as well until cookies are lightly browned on all sides. 

Serve warm or cooled. You can store extras in an airtight container for about 1 week. 

Although I think these are perfect with a cup of tea on a snowy day (like we're supposed to get here again!) they're are soft enough that you can enjoy them on their own without breaking a tooth. And if you decide to go and dip them in coffee... well it can be our little secret ;)