July 26, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Yesterday I felt like baking. No special occasion, we are just up in New York visiting TJs dad for the week and I wanted to make some sweet treats for the guys (alright, and I may have already eaten three of them) to munch on. I wanted to try something more 'summery' and different than my go-to Funfetti Cupcakes, so I started Googling Strawberry Lemonade Cupcake recipes and ultimately decided to put the computer down and just go create in the kitchen.

These cupcakes are PINK!, perfect for a bridal shower, baby shower, birthday party or any other fun get together you may have coming up. Even though they are not 100% 'homemade', these cupcakes are foolproof, extra yummy and moist, and are definitely a sweet treat to enjoy and share - this recipe made eighteen cupcakes plus a small 6x6 cake!


Cupcake Ingredients:
Box of lemon cake mix
3oz box of strawberry jello
1 1/2 cup diced strawberries
1C oil
1/2C milk
4 eggs

Cupcake Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. In large bowl, stir cake mix and strawberry jello mix together.
3. Make a well in the center of mix and pour in strawberries, oil, milk and eggs. Mix well.
4. Pour batter into cupcake pans.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.


Frosting Ingredients:
1. 1 stick of butter, softened
2. 8oz package of cream cheese, softened*
3. 1TBS vanilla extract
4. 2 cups confectioners sugar
5. Zest from 2 lemons
6. Juice from 1 lemon

*My frosting turned out very 'soup' like. I had to transfer it into a plastic bag and pop it in the freezer for a few minutes to harden it. Next time I make these cupcakes I will be using 12oz of cream cheese :)


Frosting Directions:
1. Cream together butter and cream cheese.
2. Add vanilla, mix.
3. Slowly add in confectioners sugar.
4. Add zest and juice, mix well.






ENJOY!
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July 18, 2011

How I'm saving $1,500 this year.

Last week I decided to cut out caffeine cold turkey. I'm on a mission to have a completely clean inner body come wedding time, and for me that includes nixing out all coffee, soda, and Sugar Free Red Bull.

I surprisingly haven't have one single 'withdrawl' headache, but I have been kind of air-headed and experienced a few days of...how shall I put this...being in super sleek bitch mode. PMS maybe? Okay, we'll blame it on that.

Just for Ha-Ha's I pulled out my calculator to see how much cash I'd be saving if I could make it through a year of not stopping at Dunkin' Donuts every morning for my Medium French Vanilla Iced Coffee with Extra Skim Milk.

$2.36 a coffee x 365 days in a year = $861.40

"No freaking way, I must have miscalculated."

$2.36 x 365 =

..........

$861.40!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is two and a half of my car payments. That is ten months of my car insurance payments.

That is the Louie Vuitton Speedy bag I want ... need ... ok, fine, I want it.
{but I really do NEED it!}

Sugar Free Red Bulls were my best friend during twelve hour work shifts. I would easily drink at least three of them a week at $3.99 a can.

Math time:
$3.99 a can x 3 a week x 52 weeks in a year = $622.44

So by cutting out my daily caffeine fix, I'm saving around $1,500 in a year. You don't really stop to think about it when it's only $2.36 today, and another $2.36 tomorrow, but at the end of the week, month, and year those couple dollar bills and change really add up!

Do you have any money saving tips to share? Are you currently saving your quarters and pennies to treat yourself to something special?
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July 14, 2011

Jose Cuervo Margarita Cajun Chicken Recipe

I had a full 100 Calorie Jose Cuervo Margarita bottle staring me in the face while I was cleaning the kitchen yesterday, so I reached out to my Tweeps to ask if anyone had a Margarita Chicken recipe to share. Since not one person replied with a yummy recipe, I decided to take a walk on the wild side and come up with one all on my own.

Naturally some of you are asking yourselves why the heck I wanted to cook with margarita mix rather than pour myself a drink, but I had a large glass of summery sangria in hand {trust me, cleaning is much more fun when you're sipping on a cocktail!} and my stomach was rumbling, so it was the only logical thing to do :)

Jose Cuervo Margarita Cajun Chicken
Ingredients:

1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
1 cup Jose Cuervo 100 Calorie Margarita
2 limes
1 lemon
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic pepper seasoning
Cajun seasoning, to taste

Directions:

1. Wash and slice chicken breasts to your liking.
2. Pour 1 cup Jose Cuervo Margarita into a bowl.
3. Hand squeeze and add the juice from two limes and one lemon into the bowl.
4. Whisk in the chicken bouillon and garlic pepper seasoning. Mix well.
5. Transfer chicken to a shallow dish and pour 3/4 of the Margarita mix over it.
6. Reserve 1/4 of Margarita mix for later use.
7. Let chicken marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
8. Place chicken in frying pan and cook over medium heat until no longer pink.
9. Add reserved Margarita mix.
10. Lower heat, sprinkle chicken with Cajun seasoning to taste.
11. Allow the chicken to simmer until Margarita mix is gone.


YUM-O!!! It's a perfect summery chicken recipe - let me know if you give it a try.
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July 12, 2011

Taking time to enjoy the little things.

I don't know why I always feel inclined to apologize when I don't pump out a new blog post each day...so today, I'm not going to apologize.

I've been awfully busy around here....living life, shall I say?

I've been applying clay and oatmeal face masks, painting my toes, soaking in bubble baths. I took time to clean the house top to bottom. I finally broke half way through a book that I've been reading since March. I enjoyed cocktails by the pool with some girlfriends. I've had amazing conversations with my Grandmother. I went on a last minute family boating trip yesterday.


I'm refreshed. The depression and pissedoff-ness I felt for weeks through June and into July is gone. I'm happy.

I've spent so much time building my blog for the past year...and as many of you who consider keeping a blog a part or full time job, that means spending a good chunk of your day writing, networking, advertising....and sitting inside on your butt.

And I simply can't do it anymore. 

I need more excitement in my life, and sitting inside on the computer for up-teen hours a day isn't providing me with the spontaneous and unexpected moments that will ultimately become favorite memories when I look back on my life one day.

So, what does this mean for Travel Babbles? I won't be posting every day and I can't give you an approximate number of how many posts I will be publishing each week. If you stop following my blog, I understand. But if you stick around, I can promise you that the posts will be worth reading.

My blog isn't taking a back seat by any means, but I'd like to think of it more as coming along for the ride. The less I'm inside on the computer, the more I feel like I will be able to bring back to my writing...and in turn, I will be publishing much more meaningful and powerful content for both you and me.

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July 3, 2011

A little impromptu vacation

One of TJ's former teammates is getting married today, so we are off to Rhode Island to celebrate with them.

 Goat Island Lighthouse and Newport Bridge

After my post on Friday I realized that TJ and I are in need of some serious bonding time, so we've planned a little impromptu vacation and have decided to stay in Rhode Island until Thursday. I'm really looking forward to unplugging my computer, turning off my cell phone, relaxing and exploring all that Newport has to offer with my fiancĂ©.

Newport, Rhode Island, Cliffwalk mansions and surf

Marina and bridge

One unlucky little boat in the sunset

Newport Streetscape
{all images via Google Images}

I wish a safe and Happy 4th of July to you and yours :)
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July 1, 2011

What would you do if the internet disappeared tomorrow?

A couple of weeks back I bought both TJ and myself our own individual Kindles. I like to think 'long term' {and like to keep my fingers and toes crossed, too} that we will be in Europe for the next few hockey seasons. It only made sense to purchase the Kindle 3G+Wifi, which works globally. 

Tuesday night TJ and I were discussing how he still owed me an iPod for my birthday back in January, and just for S+G's, I decided to log onto Apple to see how much they were selling for. Well hot damn, Apple is now selling the iPhone 4 UNLOCKED!, so that the phone can be taken anywhere in the world and used with any carrier. I-HAD-TO-HAVE-IT!

But...did I?

It took me over an hour to justify my purchase. 

We won't have to buy an international phone plan, I can just pay $2.99 a month for Skype and use it on my phone.

I can finally use the GPS running app that I can't get on my Blackberry.

TJ was going to get me an iPod anyways, I can basically have an iPod PLUS a super cool phone, all in one.

I broke my camera, this phone has a 5 megapixel camera with a flash! woo!

Well, long story short, I made the purchase. I treated myself. And I've felt like kicking my own ass for the past 48 hours. Did I really need an internationally accepted handheld computer megaphone?

The answer is yes.

But do you remember what life was like before the internet and cell phones? I most certainly do...and I can acknowledge that I was far more productive in my personal life before both became an every day necessity.

{via}

I'd like to question why we've allowed ourselves to become so dependent on computers, cell phones and gadgets for information and social activity, but I truly can't imagine what our world would be like without the technology that is available right at our fingertips....


If the internet disappeared tomorrow, I would have far more time to enjoy my favorite crafts and photography, I'd read more books in print, I'd journal more often, I'd hand write more letters and cards, I'd enjoy more lunch dates, I'd become more aware of my surroundings, and I'd have more time for ME.

What would you do if the internet disappeared tomorrow?..
And why are you allowing it hold you back today?
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