Food

Vanilla White Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

vanilla cupcake with Chocolate Mocha Frosting2

I woke up this morning with a sweet tooth. I typically would resolve said sweet tooth with some buttermilk pancakes and maple syrup; however, today my taste buds were screaming for something a bit more decadent. I rummaged through my cupboards and was delighted to find all the ingredients necessary for these delicious treats. Though not the healthiest of snacks in moderation you can indulge in any sweet treat!

Vanilla White Cupcakes

I started with the cupcakes as the frosting does not need to be chilled prior to decorating. I have included both a cake and cupcake option below.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×9 inch pan or line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.
Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
The frosting was easier than I initially thought and the end result was incredible! Creamy, sweet, and everything in between. I could not get the frosting on the cupcakes fast enough for the hubby. He devoured 2 back to back before I could get them off the cooling rack.
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Directions:
  1. Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
…and the end result=sinful…
Yesenia Whipple
Fitness

10 best running app’s for beginners and seasoned runners

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Let’s face it; not everyone is a natural-born runner. For some it takes effort, will, and desire. For me it just takes plain old work. But once I am in a running groove it seems I cannot stop. Does that make me a runner? Sure! Why not! But you won’t see me participating in any marathons any time soon. Point being just because you are not born ‘a natural runner’ doesn’t mean you can’t be a runner! There are some great apps out there for aspiring and existing runners. These apps come in many flavors and will keep you motivated and in check!

RunKeeper Pro:

One of the more familiar and popular apps out there is loaded with features. Not just an app that tracks running, but also caloric output, GPS tracking, speed monitoring, and activity history for any sport or activity. You can download a free more simplistic version of this app or purchase RunKeeper Pro for $9.99

Ghost Race:

Allows you to compete with yourself as your ‘Ghost’. You can track your time, distance, and routes and compare your daily progress. Ghost Race also has an audio function that updates you on your progress in real-time. The cost for this App is $0.99

Livestrong Calorie Tracker:

Is not a running specific app; however it provides you with the ability to track your running among other activities as well as your daily caloric intake via their Livestrong Calorie Tracker. You can set weight loss goals as well and get notified when you need that extra boost should you decide to take a day or two or three off from tracking. This app will run you $2.99

Get Running (C2K or Couch to 5k):

This app is probably the best app for beginners. You are able to set a specific training program over the course of a couple of months. In the end your goal will be to run for 30 minutes straight. You are prompted via audio during your runs on when to walk, run, as well as letting you know when you are half way done or when you have 1 minute left etc… This app will cost you $1.99

iRace:

This cool app provides you with the location of road races in any city you search. It will provide you with the actual race route as well as invite other contacts to run with you. The cost for iRace is $0.99

Fitnio:

Is a GPS-based tracking app used for cycling, walking, and you guessed running! Fitnio provides you with your distance, calories burn, and pace. It also records your workouts and provides you with a daily/weekly log. Fitnio is available for $1.99

Run Coach:

A great app for beginners as well as experienced runners. Runners are able to choose training regimens that range from 5k to a full on marathon. The training plans are personalized and allows you to log your progress as you go. The cost $0.99

iMapMyRun:

Is a free app that provides GPS-based route tracking and activity logging.  You can also save your progress on the app’s website and share publicly. The cost is free!

Interval Run:

This app is a great way to add a little spice to your workouts. It mixes running with interval training.  The app provides for an audio voice telling you what to do for each work out. One day you may be running an 8k and then next a 5k via Couch to 5k. The cost is $1.99.

UltraTimer:

Is a timing app utilized for circuit training, sprints, runs etc… It provides some training plans allows you to input your desired timing schedule. The cost is $1.99

So there you have it! 10 of the best apps out there for novice and seasoned runners. So get those running shoes on and hit the pavement (or treadmill-no excuses!).

Yesenia Whipple

Fitness

My Fitness Pal indeed!

My Fitness Pal

My Fitness Pal : http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

I have tried many calorie and nutritional tracking methods over my fitness lifetime and I always go back to My Fitness Pal. While there are many great programs out there I have found the most success with My Fitness Pal. Here are some reasons why:

I have found it has the biggest database of nutritional information on foods as well as restaurant menus out there which is so convenient. It has the ability to sync automatically between your mobile app and desktop.You can sync up numerous applications:

When people ask me what I do to stay fit and/or if I can help them to get to where they want to be I always ask the following questions:

  • Are you getting enough sleep?
  • Are you taking a multivitamin?
  • Are you exercising?
  • Are you keeping track of what you are eating?
  • Are you exercising AND keeping track of what you are eating?

That last bullet is usually the biggest take away. Combing exercise and tracking what you eat are where people will start to feel and see a difference in their routine. When I say tracking what you are eating I am not just talking about calories. You may be under your daily caloric intake and way over your sugar and carbohydrates for the day. That could mean the difference between getting to your healthiest state. My fitness pal takes a look at each component of your diet and guides you where you are lacking or overindulging.

Are you ready to see a difference in your overall health? If so take a look and start on your journey to a healthier you!

Yesenia Whipple

 

 

Fashion · Uncategorized

Creamy nail colors for Spring/Summer 2013

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With Spring right around the corner it’s time to put those dark nail color hues away and break into your spring/summer stash. The trend for 2013 looks to be creamy tones. A familiar trend from last year. If you need a pop of color hot pinks and corals are always a classic staple. 

Another hot trend right now combines pastels and metalic shades into one. Check out Essie’s new line of colors: http://www.beauty.com/essie-whats-new/qxc302801 

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http://www.beauty.com/essie/qxb77026 

Spring is in the air!

Yesenia Whipple

 

Food

Paleo My Taste Buds!

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Easy Shredded Pork over Caramelized Mashed Plantains

If you have been wondering what all the fuss is about with regards to the Paleo lifestyle you have come to the right place! In looking at many Paleo recipes the biggest thing to note is each recipe uses real food from salad dressings, sauces, to throwing away the can of Pam spray and cooking with bacon grease. While you can lose weight following a Paleo lifestyle the biggest benefit is you will be eating your way towards optimal health.  Below are some core principles of paleo diet.

Dana Carpender, author of “500 Paleo Recipes”  provides some great tips on following a Paleo ‘lifestyle’.

  • No grains, beans, or potatoes. Nothing that must be cooked to be edible. Especially gluten and no soy.
  • No refined or separated sugars.
  • No polyunsaturated vegetable oils.
  • Eat plenty of animal protein and animal fats. There is no such thing as a vegetarian paleo diet.

Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution, lists his dos and don’ts:
DO EAT – Fruits, Vegetables, Lean meats, Seafood, Nuts and seeds, and Healthy fats.

DON’T EAT – Dairy, Grains, Processed food and sugars, Legumes, Starches, Alcohol.

Some refinements:

  • As frequently as possible eat fresh, rather than packaged foods – fresh meats, poultry and fish, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruits.
  • Avoid additives – eating fresh foods will dramatically reduce your intake of additives right there.
  • Choose grass-fed beef and lamb, pasture-raised pork and chicken, pastured eggs, and wild-caught fish as much as you can.Some issues may arrive based on cost or availability do the best you can. Do remember these foods are superior to conventially raised foods. They provide better omega-6/omega 3 ratio than conventionally raised food.
  • Also choose organically raised fruits and vegetables as often as possible.
  • Gauge your carbohydrate intake by your waistline and blood sugar. Paleo is not strictly low carb, which allows you to indulge in starchy root veggies, squashes, and a wide variety of fruit. 
  • Get your self some vitamin D by way of sunshine, enough sleep, and Exercise.

At the beginning of this post you noticed I provided a picture and link to a Paleo recipe. http://paleomg.com/ is a great resource if you are looking from some delicious and versatile Paleo recipes. For details on the referenced recipe follow: http://paleomg.com/easy-shredded-pork-caramelized-mashed-plantains/  

You may or may not feel this lifestyle is right for you. I do encourage you to try a recipe or two and then decide. 

Yesenia Whipple

Fitness

Finding your inner Yogi

Yoga-Pose-standing-sunset

With so many different types of Yoga practices out there today; it may be a little intimidating to figure out where your inner yogi can thrive. Yoga originated over 600 years ago in India. It started out with a series of poses which in yoga terms is called hatha. Now there are hundreds of different styles to choose from. Each style varies based on meditation time, pace, and energy level. Below I have Provided 4 popular styles that can help you decide where to begin.

Bikram- established by a former Olympic weightlifter, Bikram consists of 26 difficult poses each done in 105 degrees of hot air. What the heat accomplishes is getting those muscles more flexible as well as getting that heart rate up. This being said you should consult your doctor if you have any cardiac issues. If you start feeling dizzy stop and take a breather. Make sure to hydrate before, during, and after.

Iyengar- This practice provides for a deep stretch. It is slow-paced and narrows in on breath control proper alignment. During this practice you will often use straps, blankets, and blocks to assist in getting into proper form without straining your muscles. Once you get into position you will stay there for a few minutes. Consistent Iyengar will help decrease depression as well as reduce your common aches and pains.

Ashtanga- This is my personal favorite. This style is filled with power and going with the flow. With each movement you will match your breath. Many athletes are drawn to Ashtanga for its specific series of hatha’s most intense asanas (like chair and Chaturanga). This practice will improve muscle strength and endurance.

Kundalini- A spiritual focused style. While you will still be performing common poses like shoulder stands, bow, and seated spinal twists, you will also spend time practicing “breath of fire” (consisting of rhythmic breathing through the nose while pushing out and pulling your belly inward). This practice will help clear your mind.

As mentioned previously there are many types of yoga varieties to choose from. Getting started in any of the above will help lead the way to finding your most beneficial style.

Yesenia Whipple