Cupcakes and Sunshine: August 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

Local Spotlight: Pounds Coffee

Friends, it has been one of those crazy-hectic-spinning-ten-plates-little-sleep-go-go-go kinda weeks. Y'all know what I mean? Anyone there with me? With classes starting back, a busy work week, and trying to stay afloat above the to-do list, these days have been a big change in comparison to the slow, summer, sleep-in-and-make-banana-pancakes-everyday days.

Sometimes I get so caught up in the go-go-go and busyness of life & I'm on autopilot going 26 miles above the speed limit. You know what I mean? I think it was a sign when my laptop alerted me that its memory had reached its full capacity...sometimes our lives and busy schedules reach full capacity too.

and sometimes you really just need to sit back and take some quiet time and realize what's really important....

I had the incredible opportunity to meet with Chris Barr, creator and founder of Pounds Coffee right here in Athens, Georgia. And I think the Pounds coffee message really pertains to life right here and right now.

After many years in the coffee business, Chris began Pounds Coffee because he wanted others to experience the warm hospitality and relational aspects of a cup of joe right at home. Through his years working with coffee, Chris learned that serving others and the delight in conversation surrounding a cup of coffee really brings people together.

Pounds coffee was created to be enjoyed in the comfort of your home... the place where you find rest, family, friends, conversation, and contentment. 

The simplicity of home can create the most meaningful moments. And today, I'm thankful to put my to-do list on hold for a bit to enjoy my own cup right at home.

If you find that you've been a super speeder on autopilot recently, I suggest a quick agenda revision. Invite a few friends over, sip a cup of coffee, and toss that to-do list for an hour or two. Life is about slow mornings and experiences and relationships and simplicity and a cup (or two) of coffee. Happy Friday, friends!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pastry Live 2015!

Last night, we made our way to Atlanta and had such a great time at the Pastry Live Pre-Launch party hosted by DiAmano Chocolate and The Classy Critic. In case you are looking for an incredible sweet-tooth inspired weekend, Pastry Live 2015 (Aug. 23rd-25th) features pastry chefs from across the world in three jam-packed days of competitions, tastings, discussions and ceremonies by the top chefs in the industry.

You really need to check out the extensive schedule because it looks like it is going to be a blast.... 

We were able to speak with some of the chefs and sponsors of the event last night and I was instantly inspired by all things sugary and wonderful.

We tasted some incredible chocolates prepared by Chef Faye Jonah- owner of DiAmano Chocolates...

...& I think Brynn from Breaking Bread and I both decided that we just wanted to take home the entire chocolate case.

Be sure to check out Pastry Live!

You definitely do not want to miss out on this event if you are in the Atlanta area.  Happy Wednesday, friends!

Monday, August 17, 2015

48 Hours in Chicago

I'm currently sitting in the hallway waiting for my next class. on the final first day of classes. ever. and it is a bit mind boggling y'all! SINCE WHEN DID I BECOME A SENIOR IN COLLEGE? and how did the summer just come and go so quickly?!

This summer was short and sweet, but the break definitely went out with a bang. I know I've said it once, but I'll probably say it 100 times more: I LOVE MY JOB. LOVE IT. I work on the Groups and Starting Point team at Athens Church and each day I have to pinch myself because I am surrounded by incredible people, work alongside an awesome team, and have had so many wonderful experiences on staff.

Each year, our intern team is invited on a surprise 48-hour retreat. After work on Sunday, we were given our first clue to where we would be headed that afternoon: and that clue was that we would receive even more clues once we arrived at the airport. We hopped on an airplane and the next thing you know, WE LANDED IN CHICAGO!



It had always been on my bucket list to take a picture in front of the Chicago Bean...

.... and eat a slice of deep-dish pizza, but I had no idea I'd be doing it this summer!

Once we arrived, we unloaded our things at our hotel and then headed to Lou Malnati's pizza in the heart of Chicago.

aaaand I'm pretty sure we just ate our way through Chicago from then on:

^^Do-Rite Donuts. Y'all. I'm still dreaming of these donuts. Can't do wrong at Do-Rite.

Our two coffee conosseiurs on our trip said Intelligentsia Coffee was the best....

I don't know much about coffee, however, I would have to agree.

We couldn't turn down a random impromptu boat trip on Lake Michigan:

& then grabbed more sweet treats at Sugar Bliss:

The Skydeck was one of my favorite things to do in Chicago. Glass Floor. 103 floors above the city.

Not one for the height-phobic.

^^Just make sure you visit on a clear day for the best view.

We got a pretty good view at Wrigley Field as well!

Unpictured was our trip to Second City Theater where we saw a comedy/improv show on our last evening. Y'all. Please put this on your list of to-do's if you are ever headed that way.

Overall, it was an incredible trip with some pretty incredible people and I'm looking forward to spending a whole year with them!

I'm off to class (bleck), but I'll be dreaming about deep-dish pizza and heading back to Chitown all the day long.

Happy Monday, friends!

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Healthy DIY Protein-Packed Greek Strawberry Banana FroYo

I admit it. I gave up on exercising this summer. You see, UGA's gym closes to students during the summer (unless you pay a fee to use the facilities) and as a protest, I pretty much decided to use it as an excuse to not workout. all. oops.

However, a few weeks ago, my good friend Jessie and I decided to start running & I soon remembered during those 100-degree-degustingly-hot-but-totally-worth-it-runs how much I love exercising. Usually I have ahundredmillion ideas running around in my head, but when I run, I am just about ahundredmillion times more focused and those ideas are running all over. I have so much more energy when I workout. I feel better about myself, my days are better, and I am so much more productive. It is overall just great y'all. 

So I grabbed a one-month gym pass at a local gym (until our gym re-opens), pondered/still pondering signing up for a half-marathon (HELP ME. SHOULD I DO IT OR SHOULD I NOT?!), and have been back in the fitness game ever since! And y' is the best ever.

You know what else is the best ever? 


And you know what the best part of this froyo recipe is? It's healthy, pretty much ice-cream, and you can eat it for breakfast. Winner, winner FroYo...BREAKFAST!

First off, you will want to scoop 20 oz. of plain Greek yogurt into a large bowl....

Next, add one cup of milk (I use Blue Diamond Almondmilk Coconutmilk blend because it's all kinds of wonderful)....

Add your 1/4 cup of maple syrup or honey. & set this bowl aside. 

Now chop your fresh strawberries and banana. 

In a pan add your vanilla extract, cornstarch, chopped fruit, another 1/4 cup of maple syrup/honey...

and roast on medium until soft. 

Heating the bananas and strawberries will bring out the natural sweetness of the fresh fruit and will make this froyo absolutely incredible. 

Make sure your fruit mixture gets back to room temperature before placing it in the food processor and then yogurt mixture. Heat added to yogurt will cause the yogurt to curdle and "curdle" just so happens to be the the worst word ever. Wait until everything has cooled &then add your roasted fruit mixture to the food processor and blend, blend, blend until smooth...

& pour into your Greek yogurt and milk bowl. 

 Now is the fun part! In addition to licking the is now time to add it all to your ice-cream maker.

I have this one:

and I have loved it! Pour in your strawberry-banana and Greek yogurt mix and let the mixer do its thang for about 15-20 minutes.

Scoop it out & ENJOY!

 As I mentioned earlier, this froyo is excellent for breakfast because it is protein-packed and has lots of fresh fruit.

It makes for a great pre- or post-run snack, however I would not be opposed to adding some chocolate chips and calling it dessert too! :)

Let me know if you give it a try! Hope your Tuesday is sweet!

Healthy DIY Protein-Packed Greek Strawberry Banana FroYo
20 oz. Plain Greek Yogurt 
1 cup of Blue Diamond Milk (I used the Almond/Coconut blend!) 
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup maple syrup/honey 
1 cup chopped strawberries 
1 banana, chopped 
1/2 tsp. cornstarch 
1/4 cup of water

1. In a large bowl, mix together Greek yogurt, milk, and 1/4 cup of syrup/honey. 
2. In a small pan heat strawberries, banana, 1/4 cup of syrup, vanilla extract, 1/4 cup of water, and 1/2 tsp. cornstarch. 
3. Once cool, add fruit mixture to food processor and blend until smooth. 
4. Pour all ingredients into ice-cream maker until thick froyo consistency is achieved. Enjoy! :) 


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