Friday, April 29, 2011

Sunny Day Lemon Bars

By the time the weekends roll around, I'm usually ready for a treat or two. With today's gorgeous, sunny weather, I have something specific in mind - lemon bars. This recipe from Fitness Magazine hits the spot, and best of all, I won't even feel guilty reaching for a second lemon bar!

For an added bit of flavor, try sprinkling a bit of rosemary onto the crust before baking.

- ST

Slim Lemon Squares

Makes: 16 servings

Nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
2/3 cup granulated sugar plus 3 tablespoons
1/2 stick cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 egg
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

1. Coat an 8-x-8-x-2-inch baking pan with nonstick spray; set pan aside.
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine 3/4 cup flour and 3 tablespoons sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Pat mixture onto the bottom of prepared pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in the same bowl, combine egg and egg white. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until frothy. Add remaining sugar and flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon water, and baking powder. Beat on medium 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour mixture over baked layer in pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until edges are light brown and center is set. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
4. Sift powdered sugar over top. Cut into 16 bars. Store in refrigerator.

Nutrition facts per serving (1 bar): 100 calories, 1g protein, 17g carbohydrate, 3g fat (2g saturated), 0g fiber

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Uphill Battles Lead to Fitness Gains

There are some days when I can barely think about running three miles, let alone six to eight. Yesterday was one of those days. I got to the gym (I know, it was practically a crime to spend time inside the gym on such a gorgeous day) and warmed up on the track before getting on a treadmill. After only one mile my knee started acting up and I knew I wasn’t going to make it through the workout I’d planned for the evening.

Instead of calling it quits, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to try a new incline workout. Here’s how it works:

  • Set your speed between 4.0 and 5.0
  • Set your incline at 3.0
  • Increase your incline by 0.5 for every tenth of a mile you complete until you’ve completed an interval at incline 8.0
  • Recover for 2 minutes at incline 1.0
  • Repeat routine (and repeat, repeat, repeat!)

I love that this routine works the lower body in a different way than my normal running does. I followed it up with a 45 minute core routine. If you’re looking for new exercises to shake up your routine, check out the Women’s Health Mobile Workouts app. It has a lot of great ideas, all sorted by the muscle group you want to target.

It’s always nice to challenge yourself in new ways. Although I won’t be giving up my usual running routine anytime soon, I’ll definitely rotate the incline workout into the mix every now and then.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

25 Minute Playlists

One of my goals this year is to start running 5ks in less than 25 minutes. Music is one of my main motivators when running, so I've decided to start creating 25 minute playlists. I like the idea of racing against the music and hope this will help me stay on pace throughout each run!

Here's today's 25 minute playlist:

Give Me Everything - Pitbull
Hello - Martin Solveig & Dragonette
Judas - Lady Gaga
Blow - Ke$ha
I Like That - Richard Vission & Static Revenger Starring Luciana
Gettin' Over You - David Guetta & Chris Willis

What's on your exercise playlist?

- ST

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

101 Ideas for Your Next Dinner Party

Hosting a great dinner party starts with mastering the basics. This article from House Beautiful has ideas for creating a memorable event, including perfect playlists, gorgeous table settings and serving with style. Enjoy!

- ST

Friday, April 15, 2011

On Tap: Saturday Swap Soiree

There are few things I love more than getting together with my girlfriends, so this Saturday I’m hosting a clothing swap. I had a ton of fun at one I went to about a year ago and walked out with several “new” clothes I still wear to this day.

Nearly everyone has a few items in their closet that aren’t the right size, were impulse buys that have rarely been worn or gifts that weren’t quite their style. A clothing swap is a great time to exchange these items for something that’s a better fit for your wardrobe. To take it one step further, I’ve also asked guests to bring accessories, lightly used beauty products (perfume, body lotion, etc.) and books.

At the swap I attended, all the guests sat in a circle and took turns holding up items they wished to swap. Anyone could stake a claim on the item and if more than one person was interested, they worked it out between themselves. This seemed to work well so it’s how I’ll run my party, too.

Since no one likes to feel heavy when trying on clothes, I’ve created a healthier menu for this event:

Crudités and Dip

Cheese Plate (Parrano, Saint Andre and Boursin)

Pesto Pasta Salad

Tuna and Chickpea Salad

Melon Caprese Salad

Assorted Cupcakes (A worthy calorie splurge)

The best part about this menu is it's more about assembling and involves very little cooking. I'll admit, I'm even leaving the baking the experts and am picking up the cupcakes at Classy Girl Cupcakes!

I can’t wait to see what people bring to the swap and, more than anything, look forward to catching up with everyone.

- ST

Monday, April 11, 2011

Easy Spring Quiche

My mother came over on Sunday and I needed a quick and easy recipe for a satisfying lunch. This recipe from O, The Oprah Magazine, was just the thing. Delicious and easy to make, it's perfect paired with a light green salad or fresh fruit. I definitely recommend you give this dish a try.

- ST

Yield: 6 Servings


1 1/3 cups cracker or tortilla chip crumbs (about 1 sleeve of crackers)

3 Tbsp. butter, melted

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup cottage cheese

2 Tbsp. Dijon or honey mustard

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

3 eggs*

1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese (about 1/4 pound), divided

1 cup chopped ham (about 5 ounces)

4 scallions, roughly chopped


Active time: 25 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Note: Ritz crackers, saltines, or chip crumbs all work beautifully to make a buttery crust.

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, mix together crumbs and butter. Press mixture into a standard (9") pie pan to form the crust's bottom and sides; bake 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together milk, cottage cheese, mustard, salt, pepper, and eggs. Scatter 1/2 cup cheese over bottom of crust, then pour in egg mixture. Toss remaining 1/2 cup cheese with ham and scallions, then scatter over eggs, pressing down gently. Place a tray on the bottom rack of the oven to catch drips, then bake quiche on middle rack until eggs are set and top is golden, about 50 minutes.

*I substituted 3/4 cup EggBeaters

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rocking a Romper

There's nothing childish about the fear rompers can strike in even experienced fashionistas. But this surprisingly easy-to-wear piece is less intimidating when you think about styling it as you would a minidress.

This weekend, I bought a grey romper at Forever 21. It was an absolute steal at $11.50! Although it's cute summer basic on it's own (try pairing it with flat gladiator sandals and an arm full of chunky bracelets), I also see it as a great start for a going out look.

To dress it up, I plan on pairing the romper with a black blazer (sleeves rolled up for additional style points) and a multi-strand necklace. Small stud earrings and stacked silver rings are also right for this look. As for shoes, in this case, taller is better and stud detailing is the perfect finishing touch.

If you want more coverage, you could also add a pair of tights, but in my opinion, a flawless tan is a better bet!

Are you willing to give rompers a try? If so, how do you plan on styling yours?

- ST