Drop everything and go buy a Sushezi.

After talking about doing it forever, I FINALLY checked something off of my never-ending bucket list: I made homemade sushi.

Honestly, I have no idea what took me so long, but I will tell you this: I have been a sushi making crazy person this entire week!

I think deep down part of me thought that it would be very involved and challenging to make my own sushi. Where I got that from beats me. The truth is…..making your own sushi is really quite simple, especially when you have my sushi secret weapon: the SUSHEZI!

One of my best friends had purchased this for me (I tend to like gadgets), and as I read various Pinterest articles on how to make the sushi without a device like this, I questioned if it would even work. So many of those kitchen gadgets are duds that I thought this might not do what it was supposed to.

The concept behind this kitchen tool is to load each side with the sushi rice (the kind I use is this brand) then push down the middle section where you will then place the ingredients you have chosen for your sushi. Once completed with your ingredients, close the Sushezi, and, using the rod that comes with it, twist several times to pack the rice. After that, you are ready to push the sushi roll out onto your nori sheet.

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The assembly of the Philadelphia roll has begun!

I cannot tell you how easy it was to use this gadget! The sushi roll came out perfect onto the nori sheet, which I then rolled using a damp towel (my bamboo mat was nowhere to be found). I was beyond pleased with the final presentation….they looked legit!

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If you have been holding back from making sushi, do yourself a favor: go buy the Susezi and start creating sushi masterpieces. It really made the process easy and enjoyable, and the sushi tasted delicious after being chilled in the refrigerator for a bit!

Let me know what you think after you get one!

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My sushi handiwork.

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Just a Cookie from Akron…that you need to try.

 

My heart belong to the donut, that’s for certain, but the cookie is a close second! Who am I kidding…..just gimme all the sweets!!!!

Awhile back a friend of mine told me about a local cookie she had tried that was ginormous in size and absolutely delicious. Immediately I knew I had to try one….not just because of the fact they were so large in size, but because if they were as good as she claimed I knew I just HAD to blog about them and share the love on a local small business. My readers are foodies who love trying stuff like this! A few weeks later I got my hands on a few of these cookies and a love affair with Fat T’s was born!

In typical Katie fashion, I did a fair share of creeping on this company before I tried the cookie for the first time. What can I say, I’m curious! Since my friend had picked a cookie up at a local farmer’s market, I needed to see where they were located nearby. I was delighted to see that The Northside Marketplace, a small business hub located in Akron, Ohio (you’ll see a blog on them soon…be on the lookout) carried the cookies and went there the next day to clean house with the flavors in stock.  Clean house, I did…I left with the remaining flavors and left the Fat T’s stand empty.

 

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Fat T’s For the Love of Chocolate Cookie


Guyyyyyyyyysssss……….t
hese cookies are phenomenal. I’m not even joking.  In fact, I loved them so much that I headed up to the Cleveland Flea the following weekend to ensure that I was able to try every flavor that Fat T’s had to offer. Cookie victory was mine! I took home a sampler that included the following cookies: The OG, Fat T’s Favorite Cookie, S’mummer Camp, For the Love of Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinn City, and Moose House. While I loved them all, my favorite was the Fat T’s Favorite Cookie (anything with a cookie in a cookie wins me over). I am also a huge fan of the Cinn City cookie, which you can also purchase in a one pound form. Yes, you heard me right. ONE POUND!

 

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Hanging with Travis Howe, the man behind the fabulous Fat T’s cookie!


I wanted to get to know more about Fat T’s and was able to ask Travis Howe, the creator of these cookies, some questions! Here’s what he had to say!

How did the concept of Fat T’s come to be?


TH: So, long story short. I moved back to Ohio from Grad School (Illinois State University) in pursuit of my dream job of being a high school athletic director. About two months into the search nothing came to fruition, and I needed to find a way to pay for a gym membership. I toyed around with a few ideas (none of which were cookies) that could make me $40 pretty quickly. I went to the store to fill a sweet tooth and didn’t see anything I liked, so I went home and baked for the first time in my life. Sold cookies for two weeks then stopped because I made my money for a gym membership. Started to get phone calls and emails asking me when I’d be back, so I figured what the heck. About two months later, Cleveland Magazine informed me (which I originally thought was a prank by my friends) that I was named the ‘Best of CLE’ for 2017. That’s when I decided to go and make my business official. The rest is kinda history I guess hah!

2. What is your best selling cookie?

TH: My top selling cookie is The OG (chocolate chip). It’s everyone’s safety cookie. Top three sellers would be: The OG, Cinn City, and S’mummer Camp.

 

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S’mummer Camp is right there with my favorites.

3. What makes your cookies different from other cookies out there?

TH: For starters, they are roughly the size of a hockey puck. The thickness is what definitely sets them apart. After you get past the size you get to the taste. I definitely don’t skimp on the add-ins/flavor. I’m also pretty big on not taking shortcuts and putting the labor of love into my cookies. S’mummer Camp for example. There are a few companies across the nation that do a “s’mores cookie.” Their version involves putting toppings on top of a chocolate chip cookie. Mine is a graham cracker base cookie. So, if you take the toppings away mine is not just a chocolate chip cookie like everyone else’s.

All of my products I make are cookie-centric. Edible cookie dough is not a cookie, but has the idea of a cookie. The same goes for my Cookie Puddin’ line that comes out sporadically. There are a few other lines of products I am thinking of that will follow this same philosophy.

4. Where do you presently sell your cookies/ do you have your own store?

TH: A large majority of my sales take place at my weekend markets. I have sold in Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. ***I’m always looking for more markets to tap into so hit ya boi up*** A close second is through my website (www.FatTsCookies.com). I have shipped to over 35 states and 4 countries; basically, wherever there is a hungry stomach. Retail wise, I am in a retail incubator in Akron called the Northside Marketplace. I am presently in two coffee shops: Compass Coffee in the Middlebury district in Akron and Corner Cup Coffee House in Stow. As for having my own store…. I guess the #FatFam will just have to wait and see

5. Do you do custom orders?

TH: Custom orders are a little tricky. I am just a solo operation near max capacity, so custom cookies, no. I’m also pretty strict on not going under a quarter pound since that is kind of my thing. I am always open to hearing new ideas and flavors. I have a giant list of about 60 different types that have struck my curiosity.

6. Do you have a background in baking/culinary?

TH: My background in baking/culinary comes from being a fat child and watching a lot of Food Network….so no, no background.

7. What are some of the seasonal cookies people can look forward to?

TH: Since my company is almost a year old, I’m getting close to releasing some seasonal/monthly cookies from last year again. Punk’n Patch is my Fall seasonal and I’m about a month away from that rerelease. As for NEW cookies, I tend to keep those on the down low until they are available for sale.

8. Describe Fat T’s cookies in 3 words.

TH: Jaw-dropping. Unique. Thicc.

9. Can any cookie be made into a Poundtown size?

TH: I haven’t formally announced it yet so this is BREAKING NEWS. Starting on September 9th (Actual Fat T’s birthday, not the company) any of the Regular Rotation cookies will be able to be made in the #Poundtown size. This will be the Fat T’s Cookies’ version of a cookie cake.

10. Do you partner with any other local businesses?

TH: I have in the past for ingredients. For my Christmas cookies last year, I partnered with Akron Honey Company and HiHo Brewing Co. I used the spent grains from the brewing process to make a whole grain flour, reduced the beer into my own version of a simple syrup, and I used the honey to make a honey butter glaze. There are one or two other companies I can see myself partnering with for ingredients in the future for some ideas I have, but for now they are just ideas.

11. What else does the world need to know about Fat T’s?

TH: I have a partnership with Akron Creamery (a Thai-rolled ice cream shop in the Northside Marketplace) and I supply them with edible cookie dough. I am in the works with a few other ice cream shops in the Cleveland area for ice cream sandwiches. There is one other very well-known Cleveland food company I have talked to about a collaboration, but saying what type of food they make would give it away pretty quick haha.

Half of the net proceeds from the sale of my S’mummer Camp cookie go to the Akron Rotary Camp. The Akron Rotary Camp is a camp for children and adults with special needs on the Portage Lakes down here in Akron.

I am on Facebook and Instagram (@Fat_Ts_Cookies). Once you follow you are an official member of the #FatFam

Make sure you stop everything and follow Fat T’s!
IG: https://www.instagram.com/fat_ts_cookies/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/FatTsCookies/
Website: https://www.fattscookies.com/

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A whole bunch of happiness in a box

 

******************************GIVEAWAY ALERT********************************

You’ve seen me share about them on my Instagram stories….you’ve read about them on my blog…..now it’s time for a GIVEAWAY to hook one of you up with some Fat T’s cookies!

I love these cookies so much…so much that it’s difficult to choose my favorite one. The winner of this giveaway won’t have to worry about choosing one though …..you are winning a SEVEN cookie sampler pack that features one each of the regular rotation cookies AND the seasonal S’mummer Camp cookie!

CONTEST DETAILS:

  1. Go to my Instagram and like the Giveaway post with Fat T’s Cookie. 
  2. Must be following @Fat_Ts_Cookies and @sparklefitnessbabe
  3. Tag one cookie loving friend
  4. Unlimited entries, but each tag must be a separate comment!
  5. US only please!

Winners will be selected on Sunday, 8/26 at 9pm EST! Good luck!

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Crack Chicken Soup

You guys know I love my crack chicken…..I shared a recipe awhile back for my easy Instant Pot Crack Chicken (get that recipe HERE), so when I stumbled across a recipe for it in soup form, I figured it was an absolute must to try. The recipe is incredibly easy and one everyone will be begging for over and over.

Disclaimer: This isn’t a soupy soup…it is more of a creamy pasta soup, if that makes sense. If you are looking for something with a lot of liquid, you may want to change up this recipe a bit.

INGREDIENTS:
-2 carrots, diced
-2 stalks celery, diced
-1/2 yellow onions, diced
-3 cups cooked chicken, chopped (no seasoning)
-8 oz spaghetti noodles (I used whole wheat)
-2 tablespoons EVOO
-1 32oz box of low sodium chicken broth
-1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
-1 cup half and half
-1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
-1 package dry ranch seasoning mix
-salt and pepper top taste

TO MAKE:

Heat olive oil in stockpot with carrots, celery and onion. Mix in seasoning packet, then add broth and condensed chicken soup. Add spaghetti noodles, then slowly add the remaining ingredients (with the exception of the cheese and half/half), cooking for about 15 minutes or until spaghetti is cooked and veggies are tender. Finally, add in the half and half and cheese, cooking for about 3 more minutes. The spaghetti will act as a thickener, hence why it isn’t as liquidy as your typical soup. Top with crumbled bacon (if you prefer) and a sprinkle of cheese before serving.

Wasn’t that easy?

ENJOY!

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All prepped and ready for the week….just need to top with bacon and cheese before serving.

 

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My Gym Musts!

I get a ton of questions about my favorites when it comes to health and fitness, so a blog on my must haves is long overdue!

I will preface this blog by saying this: there are so so so many great products out there that can help you reach your goals. These are the things that I like best because they are best for MY goals and MY needs. Make sure that you think about what works for you, your lifestyle, and your budget when you are trying to determine alternatives and things that will help you. The one thing I love about health and fitness is that it is not a one sized fits all kind of thing and there are options for literally everyone out there. Do your research, ask your friends what is working for them, and make your own opinion based on YOU!

In no particular order, here are the things that I absolutely cannot live without when it comes to my health and fitness lifestyle.

1. Junk Brands headbands. Those who follow me on Instagram know that I cannot work out without a headband. Even before I ditched 14 extra inches of hair I relied on them to keep my hair out of my eyes when working out, but now having shorter hair I am even more obsessed with them. I have tried so many brands of headbands, but these are the best for not moving around, breathability, and overall cuteness. Are they a little pricier than others? Yes, but they last longer and are much better quality. Worth it a million percent.

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My donuts Junk Bands are my favorite….obvi. 

2. Beachbody On Demand Workout Library. This has been a huge game changer for me. As someone who loves working out at home……but also sometimes likes going to a gym….and travels more than most but wants to still stay on track, this is my go to. Every single workout program Beachbody has ever released is in the library, plus all of the workout materials and meal plans. I can stream it from my cell phone or tablet or laptop when on the road or I can use my Apple TV or Roku when at home. From a cost perspective, this is the best value out there. A year of it breaks down to about $8 a month. Don’t tell me you can’t fit that into your budget, because that is less than a Starbucks visit or drive thru McDonalds run. Factor in that anyone in your home can use it and you have a budget friendly option for everyone to get/stay in shape.
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3. Bowflex Select Tech Weights. I told myself for a long time that I didn’t need these weights. Why, I have no idea. I think in my mind I worried they would be clunky or hard to use, but after completing my 80 Day program earlier in the year, I realized I needed heavier weights to take my results to the next level. I went between these and the Power Block weights, and after visiting Dick’s Sporting Goods, opted for these Select Techs. I am beyond happy with how easy they are to use. ***Tip: Use Ebates and shop around to get the best pricing on these.
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4. Spotify. If you need music to rock your workout, Spotify is the way to go. I love creating new playlists using this easy app, and I also love that the Beachbody On Demand app has coordinating Spotify playlists for all of the workouts. There is a free version if you don’t want an added expense!

5. Grrrl Leggings. I always get a lot of questions about my leggings, and this is brand I wear 99% of the time. Yes, they are colorful and fun, but beyond that they are jump-approved, squat approved, and all things cardio approved. That is important when you are an active person. I recommend everything from this line.

 

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6. Comfort Mat. I never in a million years thought I would like this mat. I had yoga mats already, so when I won this as an incentive for a business contest several years ago I assumed it would just collect dust. When I actually pulled the mat out of the box and laid on it, I heard angels start singing from the heavens. It was incredibly cushioned and comfortable, and since that day I have used it nonstop. Even if you are just doing crunches on a harder surface, you need a mat like this!

7. Unicorn Blood. If you follow me on IG, you see me make my beloved unicorn blood every morning. As far as preworkouts go, this is the best on the market. I have tried so many that have made me feel weird, given me strange tingles, or have hooked me up with awful headaches. This is the first workout that I actually love the taste and also don’t have any weird feelings with it. It also gets me the fired up feeling I need when I’m riding the struggle bus (which is basically every day).

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8. Workout Dice. At the end of every workout I roll my workout dice to add a little extra burn, and I love it! The dice are inexpensive and have a great combo of moves. If you are looking for something to up your workout game, grab one of these. I also take mine when I travel if I need a quit workout and have access to literally nothing else.

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9. S’well Water Bottle. I am a huge fan of S’well bottles and use mine every day, but if you aren’t a fan of the price point, they do have a sister brand available at Target called S’ip. Either way, these bottles are great for keeping your water or whatever you drink during your workout cool.

10. CliniqueFit Wipes. Clinique launched a Fit makeup line awhile back, and these wipes are great post workout to make sure your face is properly cleansed. I think the entire Fit line is a great product line for those of you who workout with makeup on (something I don’t encourage because no one likes clogged pores).

Have a product you love? Tell me about it….I’m always on the lookout for amazing products!

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Grief….does it change you?

We all know I love IG…..IG stories to be exact….and lately I have been loving the Questions option where you can have your followers ask you a question. I always find this intriguing because I get to see what things my followers find interesting about me and want to know more about. Recently I had a newer follower ask me how grief has changed me. In a conversation back and forth with her I realized she had recently lost her father and was just starting to resurface when it came to her normal activities, something I could 100% relate to. Since it has been awhile since I have talked about grief on here, I figured it was a great time to not only address her question, but to share that answer with those of you who are reading who are also going through some more challenging times.

Grief is a topic I discuss a lot, and for some I think that makes them uncomfortable. What I cannot stress enough is that why you may be sick of me talking about my grief journey, I am sick of my dad being dead. Seriously. I would give anything to NOT have experience on this topic and NOT have anything to write about regarding it.

November will be three years since we lost my dad unexpectedly, and for me, talking about how grief has impacted my life not only helps me keep him alive in some way, but it also helps me help those of you who feel lost and unsure about the feelings and things that you may be experiencing after a traumatic loss. It is my way of dealing with the grief I feel every day. As I have shared before, grief is something that everyone deals with differently. No two people are the same. All I can hope for is that something I say….even the smallest thing…..can help someone in a small way. I’d love to say that my dad’s death has not changed me, but the truth it, is has.

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Change #1: I now struggle being in large crowds.

For some people, this may be very menial, but as a former social butterfly, this has been a difficult change for me and one some have struggled to understand. I have learned that it isn’t so much the people in the crowded areas that bother me, but rather the fact that I worry about being able to leave quickly if I am overcome with emotion. I’m not someone who likes to make a scene (emotionally), so to cry or get uncomfortable in front of large groups of people gives me a sense of panic. Grief is one of those things where something incredibly small can set you off…..for me, it is often a song, a number, a date…..but it could be honestly anything that reminds me of a memory, and there is no saying when something will hit me in a more emotional way. Because of this I often like to drive separate so I have an escape, and usually I try my best to avoid those kinds of plans if at all possible……after all, I do love staying at home with dogs.

Change #2: I am more focused on being a better daughter and friend. 

I have always valued my loved ones and the time I have spent with them more than anything, but ever since losing my dad so abruptly I have been more focused on spending more time with those I love and making more memories, whether it be taking pictures, going places together, talking on the phone more….whatever I can do to be there for those in my life. I’d give anything to have been able to spend more time with my dad…to have gone home more to visit…to have more family dinners together…to go on more runs together….all the little things I miss so much. I want to make sure those in my life get as much time as humanly possible because we never known when that time will be cut short.

Change #3: I have realized the importance of letting go of the bad apples. 

They always say that the best times and the worst times in life show you who your real friends are. That’s one saying that is 100% spot on. To be honest, the majority of people in my life have shown me that they were even more incredible than I already believed them to be. I’m not just talking about when things happened with my dad that awful November day, but ever since. Grief is a nasty journey, and having someone just let you know they are thinking of you on hard days or be understanding when you can’t do something because you are having a panic attack over it or just listen to you talk means so much. I have had a few people who I believed to be extremely close to me treat me like complete garbage since the loss of my dad. At first, it hurt me, especially when I would look at the length of the friendship.  Then I realized that life is too short to spend time with people who are lackluster. Why give up my precious time that could be spent with those who truly DO care about me? #Byefelicias

Change #4: I have realized that I have to find something positive out of the loss of my dad. 

I will never ever be one of those people who says “Everything happens for a reason,” and if you say that to me, I’d take two steps back if I were you because you may be at the receiving end of a pretty aggressive bitchslap, and trust me when I say I pack some power. Things don’t happen for a reason. They happen to us, and we have to choose how we are going to react. I have always remained firm in the thought process that I have to use this loss to move me forward, not back. Unfortunately, being one of the first in my group of friends to lose a parent as an adult, I was in pretty unchartered waters. One of my high school friends, Crystal, had lost her dad several years prior and helped me a great deal, but other than that I didn’t have much to go by. Was what I feeling normal? Should I do this or that? Where can I go for support? I had so many questions. Unfortunately, two of my closest friends each lost their father in the past few months. Both had been dealing with difficult illnesses, and it was so hard to watch them begin the grieving process. If anything, the loss of my dad gave me some tools and experience to hopefully provide them some comfort and help them with their grieving process. It sucks knowing that at some point in your friendship, all of your friends will go through this. It may sound morbid, but it is true.

Change #5: I take bigger risks. 

I’ve always been one to dream big and set crazy goals for myself. It wasn’t until losing my dad that I realized how important it was to go after the things I always talked about. We only have a limited amount of time on this planet. I’m going to do everything in my power to live the fullest life I possibly can and check things off my bucket list, one by one. I’m more driven than I have ever been. I’m more focused than I have ever been. I think most of this stems from me knowing that my dad is watching my every move, and I want to make him proud.

I truly believe that as people we have to be willing to grow every day. One of my favorite authors, Rachel Hollis, couldn’t have said it better. She said: “Is life happening TO you or is life happening FOR you?” Often bad things happen to us and we wallow in sadness and say we can’t do more/ be more/ try more because we are victims. Why? ALL of us have bad shit that has happened in our lives. We all have our own story, and we all have the CHOICE to move forward and not backward. Sharing about my grief moves me forward.

I’ll be dealing with this loss for the rest of my life. Don’t sit there and try to tell me it get easier. It doesn’t, and if someone tells you it does, they are a liar. You learn over time ways to try to cope…..but that pain and sadness becomes a part of your heart until the day it stops beating. I’m still living my best life. I still have fun and laugh and do all the things I did before this happened to me. I’m just now living with more zest and passion because I know at any moment it could be gone, just like it was for my dad.

For those who have been my rock since November 20, 2015, please know how much I love and appreciate you. Your kindness means the world to me.

For those who have shown me their true colors, thank you for allowing me to see them so I can make more time in my life for those who truly care about me.

For those new to this grief stuff, please know you are not alone, and it is OKAY to share how you feel and how things have changed for you. “Those who matter will not mind, and those who mind, do not matter” -Dr. Seuss

And for all those who have a pulse, never, ever judge. You never know what hardships others may be facing behind closed doors. Smile at strangers more, give more hugs, and spread kindness around like confetti.

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It’s an Impasta!

My fellow Italian friends……

Wouldn’t it be so fab if pasta was good for you? One can wish, right?

Since I started making healthier changes and coming to realization that I have a gluten intolerance, I have been on a mission to find as many healthy versions of Italian inspired recipes that I possibly can. There’s one that has been on my radar for awhile, and I FINALLY made it last night: Zucchini Ravioli!

You guys…..these were so delicious! Here’s the recipe!

ZUCCHINI RAVIOLI
Ingredients:
-4 zucchini
-1/4 cup fresh parmesan
-1 cup low fat ricotta
-1 egg
-2 Tbl fresh oregano
-1 clove garlic
-1 1/2 cup marinara (unless you prefer more sauce)
-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

To make:

-Preheat oven to 375, greasing 9×13 baking dish. Spread some marinara on the bottom of the dish.

-To make the “pasta”, cut zucchini in half (lengthwise), then use a vegetable peeler to slice zucchini into thin “noodles”, peeling until you reach the center. It’s okay if they are thin or uneven.

-For the filling, mix the ricotta, egg, oregano, and parmesan in a bowl. You can use other spices if you prefer (many recipes call for basil in place of the oregano).

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-To assemble the ravioli: layer two pieces of zucchini with another two, placed perpendicular. Your zucchini noodles should look like a plus sign. Spoon about a tablespoon of the ricotta mixture into center of zucchini, then fold toward the center, starting with the the vertical pieces, then the horizontal. Once folded, place the ravioli seam side down in the baking dish.

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Your ravioli should look like this:

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Once ravioli have been placed in dish, top with marinara and shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Top with parmesan if you like and serve!

****A few things to share****

-Don’t go for large zucchini. I made the mistake of trying to use a homegrown one that was ginormous, and because of the size, it was harder to make the noodles. Medium sized work best. Size does matter!

-You can use a mandolin over a vegetable peeler if you want. I personally found the peeler much easier.

-You can change up the filling. Next time I think I will mix in some Italian sausage because I typically do a meat/cheese option in my ravioli. You could also use spinach or veggies.

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This was a fabulous swap, and I highly recommend it. You’ll be seeing this on my meal plan many many times!

Enjoy!

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Go Katie, It’s Your Birthday!

Guys, I’m the big 3-7!!!!

I know most people wouldn’t be happy about getting older, but to be honest, it doesn’t bother me one bit. I actually think I am getting better with age! I shared this on my Instagram yesterday because I wanted to break the stigma that aging is bad! It’s crazy what eating right, exercise, sleep, water, and donuts can do for you, isn’t it?

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Those who know me know that I typically celebrate my birthday all month long….I’m just one of those over the top people. This year I didn’t get quite as crazy by my standards…..but I did have a good time!

There were a few events I planned around my birthday that were musts for me. One of them: visit the largest rubber duck in the world! A few years back the duck made an appearance in Pittsburgh, and I unfortunately was unable to visit during that weekend. When I found out about the duck coming to Sandusky, I put it in my planner right away. That was a picture I had to have! Dreams came true the week before my birthday when I traveled to Sandusky and the Festival of the Sail and got to see the duck!

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That same weekend I also traveled back to my mom’s for my birthday dinner. This has been a tradition for as long as I can remember where she makes us our requested birthday meal and cake. I have requested the same meal for probably a decade: steak, fresh green beans, these special potatoes my mom makes, and rainbow jello. The cake usually changes a bit, and this year I requested a multi tiered pink cake with different shades of pink (a little different from last year’s unicorn cake request). It was fantastic. Of course, these dinners are always hard for me because it’s obvious an important person in my life is no longer able to attend them, but I always believe he is there with me in spirit.


My actual birthday involved more cake…and donuts, of course, but it is ok…..I started with a killer workout! If you follow me on social media you know that I have been training with our super trainer Chris Downing at his gym every morning prepping for the release of his newest workout program. Being a part of this is such a killer opportunity…..I mean, this program hasn’t even been filmed yet! It’s so great being a part of something like this that I wasn’t even mad about getting up at 5:30am on my birthday to get in my birthday workout. My workout buddy even brought me a cute balloon, and we did lots of burpees. That’s my kind of workout! Those of you wanting this workout, it is set to release in November. I’ll have a VIP group going if you want in!

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My friend Alicia aka cake extraordinaire made me a gorgeous donut shaped birthday cake that was absolutely delicious, and my pals at Brewnuts made me a custom order of mini glitter donuts. Could there be a donut more Kate-tastic? Seriously.  Calories don’t count on your birthday.


And because I am basically a child, I opted to spend my birthday at the zoo and eat grilled cheese sandwiches from my fave local grilled cheese spot, Melt Bar and Grilled. It was exactly what I wanted to do. I even managed to sneak in a little Cortado at a local coffee shop before returning home for a chill evening in my pajamas.

My birthday week wrapped up with one of my favorite races of all time: The Warrior Dash. I have done this race several times, and every time I love it even more than the last. For being such a girlie girl, I sure do love getting muddy and doing badass things. This year the obstacles were great (I’m thankful that the obstacle The Goliath was not on the circuit this year), and we had a big team supporting each other, which was a lot of fun. I already can’t wait until next year.

37 is going to be a great year for me for many reasons.

I know to some this is the age I should be calming down a bit, but I’m just getting started making big things happen in my life. Just wait and see.

Thanks to all of you who wished me a happy birthday! You are the best!

When I dip you dip we dip…..

Now you’re singing it, right?

And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a little musical snack for you…..

I get a lot of questions about my nails and decided it was finally time to share a little about them and maybe even get some of you on the dip train with me.

I’m not going to go super in detail with my nail history, but let’s just say it went a little something like this:

-Years of acrylics (because I loved that airbrushed design life, yo)
-Rocked the natural look
-Went to gel nails
-Back to natural
-Threw in some of that Jamberry stuff
-Back to gel
-Back to natural

Gel nails were always marketed as such a great way to do your nails, and I wasn’t one to disagree. I loved the look, but for me, they would tend to chip at the most inopportune times and always during the most random activities. I hated seeing those chips! Still, I stuck with them because they were much better for me than acrylics.

Recently I switched nail salons at the recommendation of a friend (Shout out to Michele) and was eager to get back to my gel lifestyle. I had taken a brief nail hiatus because my old nail tech never had any availability, and I figured I’d just do my natural nail thing for a bit while I determined a new location and tech that was legit. Michele always had killer nail designs, so I set up an appointment with her girl.

As I waited for my nail tech to finish up her appointment and start my nails, I selected my color, which was the Katie usual: White with white glitter for one nail. When I gave Toni, my nail tech, the color ring she asked if I wanted to switch to powder dip since I had selected powder dip colors. I was clueless but was in love with the glitter, so I said sure.

Let me tell you….the powder dip method is the best thing that has ever happened to the nail business. My nails remain in tact with it for nearly four weeks….which includes me working out, flipping tires, and all kinds of typical Katie stuff that used to chip the gel nails. Other than the growth (which is inevitable, especially due to my Shakeology drinking), the nails looked as perfect going into the fourth week as they did on day one. SOLD.

The dip process is pretty simple. Your nails are buffed, a primer coat is applied as well as a base, then each finger is dipped into the selected color. It is sealed with top coat. No UV light is required. Boom. The look is amazing and long-lasting.

Cost wise this method is just about the same as a gel manicure (my salon is about a $2 difference, well worth it since it lasts so much longer). And how about removal…..let’s talk about that. Incredibly easy. All you do is just soak your nails in a bowl of acetone and the powder melts off. Seriously, it melts off.

Guys, this is the best. I can’t really say more about it than that. If you are an acrylic or gel gal, make the switch. You will be so happy you did.

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Drink the beach.

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Usually my daily Wonder Woman shake involves peanut butter because I am always craving peanut butter cups, but some days I think of the beach and want to bring it to me. This recipe was my quick solution today as I was looking at tickets to fly to Hawaii to visit my family.

Ingredients:

-8 oz coconut milk
-1/2 frozen banana
-1/2 cup frozen pineapple
-1/2 cup frozen mango
-1/2 scoop vegan vanilla superfoods mix
-4 ice cubes

BLEND and pour into glass.

Then…..

-6 oz water or coconut milk (I always go for a blend)
-1 cup blueberries
-1/2 scoop vegan vanilla superfoods mix
-3 ice cubes

BLEND and pour into glass. Top with blueberries or shaved coconut….even a little umbrella if you have one!

ENJOY!

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Shrimply the best.

Since sharing about my new found love for my Air Fryer, I’ve been getting so many messages asking for my favorite recipes. I’m going to be honest….this air fryer has untapped potential…you need to get one, and you won’t be sorry. Allegedly you can make donuts, cakes, and all kinds of foods in this thing! Don’t worry….I’ll report back on how that goes once I try them.

Since I’ve literally been air frying errryyytthing I figured I would share my current favorite: Coconut Shrimp! I’ve recently been completing a new nutritional program my company launched that is all about mindset, so I have been focused on protein and veggies like nobody’s business. Shrimp has been my go to protein, and if you have ever been in one of my online fit clubs you know that one tip I always share about meal prep is to pick one or two proteins and change up the recipes. Protein is typically the most expensive part of meal prep, and having one protein allows you to buy in bulk and not spend an excess on groceries. When I first switched to shrimp I had a variety of recipes in mind, one being coconut shrimp, but after making this recipe in my air fryer, I canceled all other shrimp recipes for the week and made this recipe in bulk.

                                            AIR FRYER COCONUT SHRIMP
Ingredients:

-Jumbo Shrimp (I usually grab the frozen shrimp at Aldi)
-1 cup egg whites
-1 cup dried, unsweetened coconut
-1 tablespoon cornstarch
-1 cup panko
-1 cup flour (you can use white or wheat)

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Preheat airfryer and spray with coconut oil spray or cooking spray, depending on what you prefer. Mix the coconut and panko together in a bowl, then set aside. In another bowl, mix flour and cornstarch. Dip one shrimp at a time into the flour mixture, then into a bowl of egg whites, and finally into the coconut mixture. Repeat for all shrimp. Cook for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, turning shrimp after 5 minutes.

How simple is that? I absolutely love how they turned out, and if you are a fan of coconut shrimp at Red Lobster, Outback, or any other chain, trust me when I say these are just as good.

If you like dipping sauce, whip this up:

-1/2 cup oranger marmalade
-1/3 cup sweet Thai chili sauce
-pinch of salt
-pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Mix everything together and adjust if needed based on your desired spicy/sweetness level.

ENJOY!

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