Visit to Kiawah Island Beach

What better way to spend your birthday weekend than at the beach?

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For this year’s celebration, we rented a villa in Kiawah Island, SC with my parents and sister for the weekend. We arrived late Friday after working during the day and road tripping it in the evening, which is when we visited that yummy German restaurant.

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My sister spoiled us Saturday morning by making breakfast for everyone, including scrambled eggs and a giant stack of pancakes.

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Beach fuel!

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The villas were beautiful and tucked into a lot of green space with swooping trees and bushes everywhere. Even the villas seemed to have a natural feel with muted woods that almost disappeared with the plants all around.

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It seems like most of our beach trips are on popular strips with high rise after high rise overtaking the skyline. I liked feeling more embedded in nature at these villas. It was so quiet and peaceful and just what I needed as an escape from the busy week before.

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We took a short walk to the beach after breakfast.

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I didn’t know what to expect. I’d never been to Kiawah Island before. Whenever we visit Charleston, we typically hit up Isle of Palms in search of beach time. And this may sound stupid, but I’m generally not a fan of beaches north of Miami. That crystal clear water and white sand gets me every time.

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And though this beach had neither white sand nor clear water, it was gorgeous anyway.

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Bailey loved it!

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He had a blast jumping over all the (baby) waves and swimming around.

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The weather was nearly perfect – warm but not terribly hot. The water was cool but comfortable. The skies were full of bubbling clouds and the beach seemed to stretch on forever.

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I wanted to stay here for weeks.

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We enjoyed soaking up the sun and relaxing for awhile before heading back to the villa to get ready for lunch.

Next up – my birthday lunch, complete with locally sourced ingredients – my fave!

Healthier Blueberry Streusel Muffins {Recipe}

I’m currently at the lake on a family vacation, sitting on a couch with my niece and nephew. My nephew is playing a video game, and my niece is watching Madagascar 2. I’m sort of watching Madagascar 2 in between drafting this blog post and creating the image below. Who knew you could spend so much time moving text around on a photo to see where it best fit? My niece saw me working on the graphic for this post and asked about it. She seemed skeptical when I told her I took the photo of the muffins. “Youuu took that?” she asked. Damn skippy. Oh wait, you don’t say that to children, right? Just kidding. Of course I didn’t say that! Sheesh!

Anywho, I’ve been meaning to share this recipe for Healthier Blueberry Streusel Muffins with you guys for a few weeks now. Nothing like a vacation to use my R&R time to get this together. Blogging is sometimes work, but oftentimes fun for me. The fun, the challenge, and the encouraging words from you guys keep these blog posts coming. Thank you for the kind words (on Facebook, email, and text) about my last blog post on rejection. Those raw posts are a little harder for me to share sometimes, but I’m hoping to do more.

Now, on to those muffins! Blueberry muffins were probably most made (or would tie for second most made) in my house, growing up. I decided to try out the vinegar trick I use in some cake mini and doughnut recipes to make healthier but still moist sweets, and it worked like a charm. I threw the streusel topping together for a little extra texture and sweetness. Yum!

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Healthier Blueberry Streusel Muffins

I used the vinegar trick from my Chocolate Depression Cake Minis to make these muffins light and moist while reducing the oil and butter used in traditional blueberry muffins. The streusel adds a little butter and sugar back in, so if you’re really trying to be healthy, skip the topping. But, even the streusel is a little lighter than normal. Enjoy these muffins on your next lazy morning with coffee or tea and a dose of relaxation.

Yields: 12 muffins

*Vegetarian, Vegan options listed below*

Ingredients:

  • non-stick spray or muffin liners
  • 2 cups flour (I used unbleached all purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sucanat (or sub sugar for a sweeter taste)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs (or flaxseed eggs for a vegan recipe)
  • 1 cup milk (or sub vegan milk substitute) (I used 2%)
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 small container fresh blueberries (or 1 cup fresh or frozen – go with 1 1/2 cups if you want them extra-EXTRA fruity)

Streusel Ingredients:

  • 1/4 old fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoon butter, melted/softened (or sub vegan substitute, like Earth Balance)
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour of choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 12 cup muffin tin with either muffin cups or non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk till evenly combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together sucanat and canola oil. One at a time, whisk in eggs. Add milk, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Whisk till evenly combined.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients. Stir gently to combine, just till all dry ingredients are mixed in (careful to not over-mix – batter will be a little lumpy and pretty liquidy). Gently stir in blueberries.
  5. Evenly distribute batter into each cup of a 12-cup muffin tin (should fill muffins cups pretty full).
  6. Mix streusel ingredients together and evenly distribute on top of the muffins.
  7. Bake muffins for 18-22 minutes, until muffins are cooked through (a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin or loaf comes out clean).
  8. Let muffins cool till they’re safe to touch. Serve warm or wait longer and serve room temperature. Enjoy!

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You may also like:

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If you liked this post, please consider sharing it with one of the share buttons at the bottom of this post or by using the share link on my Facebook page. Seeing these recipes shared with friends and family makes my day and lets me know what types of recipes and content you like so I know what to focus on in the future.

Happy baking! Thanks for reading!

Eggscellent B&B Breakfast and Amelia River Cruise {Amelia Island, FL}

Welcome to our new blog friends from Vitamix! I’m currently blogging about my recent vacation to Florida, but I have some new recipes coming soon! In the meantime, here we go…just a couple posts left!

If you came here for more smoothie or Green Monster recipes, check out these:

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Though we wanted to spend the majority of our time relaxing, we wanted to do a couple touristy things while we were in Amelia Island. The boar tour was high on our list (in addition to the bus tour and carriage ride).

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{This is one of my favorite photos from the trip, and I snapped it on our boat tour. I love the way the old buildings contrast with the new boats and how with the masts reach into the bright blue sky}

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But first, we started the day with another delicious and filling breakfast at our B&B, Hoyt House. Hellooooo, sticky bun!

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I ordered what became my usual – the fried eggs with potatoes (this time with shredded potatoes and Canadian bacon).

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Hubby opted for the breakfast sandwich.

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We headed through downtown to the pier where the boat tours depart. We thought we were running late, but we just made it on time. We took the 10:30am Cumberland Island tour with Amelia River Cruises.

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See the pink birds? They’re not flamingos. They’re Roseate spoonbills, and apparently they aren’t often here on the island, so it was cool we got to see them.

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Dolphin sighting! We saw a few on our trip.

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{Our historian and presenter – she shared lots of interesting facts and stories on our trip}

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{Our captain – had a lot of info to share, too!}

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90′s kids, do you recognize this house? It’s Pippi Longstocking’s house! I was a big fan of her as a kid. I even dressed up as Pippi for Halloween one year!

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The white line in the water is where different bodies of water meet.

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One of the best parts of the boat tour – pets are allowed!

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{The famous wild horses}

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Bailey loved the boat tour.

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Do you see what I see on this boat? It’s a mini garden. Very smart!

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Bailey made friends with a little girl on the boat and showed off some tricks. What a ham!

I took a lot more photos, but there are only so many that fit well in a blog post. I tried to share the best ones! We had a great time on the boat tour and definitely recommend it if you’re ever visiting in Amelia Island. You’ll learn a lot, see some great scenery, and enjoy the fresh air as you cruise down the water.

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There was a restaurant right where our boat returned, so we went ahead and ate there – Brett’s Waterway Café.

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We wanted to enjoy some views of the water a bit longer.

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Hubby got the soup and salad.

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I ordered the grilled salmon, which came with green beans and a rice pilaf. I wanted something light (but not a salad), and this hit the spot. I ordered the sauce on the side and ended up not really needing it. The fish was flavorful enough on its own.

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And with lunch done, we headed back through downtown on the way to the B&B.

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You can check out some of my other Florida road trip posts here:

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Thanks for stopping by! Two posts left, and then we get to some new summer-themed recipes! Stay tuned!

Breakfast at Hoyt House, Lunch at Kelly’s Courtyard Café, & Dinner at David’s {Amelia Island, FL}

We were really starting to settle into the laid-back atmosphere of Amelia Island by mid-trip. It was a welcome change from the fast-paced world we normally live in. We didn’t have to worry about traffic, or work…no phone conferences or Outlook meeting planners…just what shall we eat next? Want to go to the pool? How about the beach? Oh yeaaa…

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{fresh fruit cup}

We were really enjoying our breakfasts at the Hoyt House.

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Hubby tried the frittata of the day – a play on the classic caprese flavors.

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I went with the fried egg with potatoes and an English muffin. Simple but exactly what I wanted. They have a special machine/tool at the B&B to cook the eggs, and I really like the way they use it to cook fried eggs.

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After breakfast, we headed out to the front porch to relax. I worked on a blog posts while hubby did some reading.

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See the lizard?

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For lunch, we visited Kelly’s Courtyard Café.

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We took a seat near the fountain.

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We shared a couple things – the soup of the day…

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…hummus…

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…and the mahi mahi sandwich. Everything was tasty, but that fish sandwich was especially good. I loved the seasoning they put on the fish and the way they grilled it.

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After seeing most of the tables order it around us, we couldn’t resist trying a dessert that caught our eye – Granny Mutt’s blueberry squares – vanilla ice cream & warm blueberry compote. This dessert was sort of like a blueberry blondie, and it was wonderful. I’d love to try to re-create something like this at home since I can’t easily go out and order it.

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And let’s just jump straight to dinner, shall we? We decided to visit David’s Restaurant & Lounge for a special dinner. I guess we had a couple anniversary dinner celebrations on our trip.

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They had a modern menu for their wine list, all on an iPad.

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A small bite from the chef to start.

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The bread and dipping sauces were really good. We especially liked the green one, which appeared to be a mix of fresh herbs and olive oil.

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I’d heard the Stuffed Heirloom Tomato was great, so we decided to start with that.

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“Fresh Tomato stuffed with Marinated Fresh Mozzarella & Basil served with a Balsamic Drizzle”. It was served cold, making it a great summer appetizer. The outside tomato had a great, firm texture, and the mix of cheese and tomato in the center was very good.

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Crab Bisque – “Classic Creamy Bisque with Crab & Herb Oil.” This was mainly hubby’s, but I had a bite, and it was creamy and delicious.

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{Palate-cleansing sorbet}

The menu is creatively broken up by the four senses – Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water with a special fifth sense of some add-ons (scallops, lobster tails, etc.).

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We ordered the Petite Filet – “3oz Twin Medallions of Filet Mignon with a Red Wine Demi Glaze, Wild Mushroom Risotto and Seasonal Vegetables” and added a fifth sense option of scallops. I loved everything on the plate, from the crisp-tender vegetables to the creamy risotto to the tender filet and sweet scallop.

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We tried the Warm Apple and Cranberry Strudel with Vanilla Gelato for dessert, and it was a great decision. The flaky pastry was a nice wrapping for the thinly sliced apples and chewy bites of cranberries.

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And we got complimentary chocolate-covered strawberries for a second dessert, too!

We had a great and romantic dinner at David’s. The service was exceptional, and the food was fabulous. I’d definitely recommend you checking out this restaurant for a wonderful dinner experience.

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More post fun from our Florida trip here:

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Thanks for reading!

Berebere Spiced Egg Bake {Recipe}

Speaking of lack of breakfast-eating, one thing I’ve been able to sneak in now and again is my tried and true egg bake. These truly are SO much easier than making a fried or scrambled egg. Each of those requires dedicated attention during the cook time. With an egg bake, you just throw some stuff in a bowl, mix it up, and pour it into a prepared mini baking dish. Instead of hanging out by the stove, I get ready for the work day while the egg bake cooks in the oven. I love the multi-tasking!

However, I haven’t been grocery shopping much lately, so I’ve had to get creative on my recent egg bake ingredients and flavors. Since I’ve been so big into spices lately, my latest thought was to add in one of the new spice blends I recently purchased – Berebere Ethiopian Style Seasoning. Would it work? It worked great! The spice blend added a zesty flavor to the egg bake that I’ve really enjoyed.

Another trick? I scored some Van’s frozen whole grain English muffins on sale at Whole Foods recently. They have been lifesavers considering my lack of grocery shopping as of late. Both the egg bake and the English muffins are great pantry dishes, really, since I didn’t need fresh ingredients. The English muffins were in the freezer, the eggs and milk were in the fridge, and the spices were in my cabinet. Busy-bees, rejoice!

Oh, and for my long-time readers, yes, this is basically a slight adjustment to my previous versions of this recipe, but I like to type it all out so you and newer readers don’t have to click back and forth.

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Berebere Spiced Egg Bake

A simple addition of the zesty Berebere Ethiopian style spice blend adds great flavor to this easy breakfast dish! Mix, pour, and multi-task while your egg bake cooks in the oven.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 16-19 minutes
Total Time: 21-24 minutes
Serves: 1 (multiplies easily)

Ingredients (multiply by each serving for multiples):

  • non-stick spray
  • 1 cage free or farm fresh egg
  • 1 tablespoon frozen, chopped spinach
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon Berebere Ethiopian style spice blend (see link at top of the post for details on the one I used)
  • pinch of salt
  • a bit of fresh-ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly spray individual casserole dish(es) with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine egg, milk, Berebere spice blend, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk together. Add spinach and mix in.
  3. Evenly distribute egg mixture to individual casserole dish(es). Bake until edges are golden brown and egg is set in the middle, about 16-18 minutes (depending oven temperature, etc.). Note: I used a toothpick to check doneness, sort of like you would for cake.
  4. Remove from oven and let sit for a couple minutes till it’s safe to eat. Enjoy!

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Happy cooking!

Thanks for reading!

Reader question: What do you eat for breakfast when you haven’t been grocery shopping in awhile?

Hot Blueberry-Honey Breakfast Quinoa {Recipe}

I may be the only one excited for the time change. I know we lose an hour, and that is no bueno, but I’m in it for the extra sunshine every day. I’ve already started enjoying it. Days will seemingly last longer, I’ll have better (more?) light for photos, and maybe I’ll even get a few more people into my Zumba classes. People seem to like to come more when there’s more light outside. Anywho, on to the food…

I made this simple and healthy breakfast for a pre-Zumba meal this past Saturday and posted a photo of it to Instagram. It’s a hot blueberry-honey breakfast quinoa. People immediately started asking for the recipe, so I decided to fast-track it ahead of a couple other posts in the works.

When I’m feeling extra organized, I like to make a batch of quinoa and use it in a couple different dishes. I think most grains taste better cooked in broth, but I like to cook quinoa in water so I can make savory and sweet dishes from it. This particular breakfast was as easy as combining a few ingredients in a pot and gently heating through. Top with almonds. Eat. Enjoy. Rock the day.

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Hot Blueberry-Honey Breakfast Quinoa {Recipe}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Make a big batch of quinoa cooked simply in water, and this breakfast will come together in a jiffy. I like to cook one batch and use it for multiple purposes like this breakfast. Just toss the ingredients below in a small pot and cook until it’s the consistency you like. So easy! As it thickens, the quinoa gets nice and creamy. I’ve given you some portion ideas, but you can tweak this recipe to suit your appetite. I can’t eat a lot before I work out, so I made a very small amount since I like this before Zumba class, but just adjust as you prefer. Try fresh blueberries when they’re in season.
*Vegetarian, Vegan options listed*
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup blueberries (frozen or fresh should work – I used frozen wild blueberries that were a little smaller than most)
  • ¼ cup milk of choice (I used rice milk; use vegan milk for vegan option)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or sub agave/maple syrup/etc. for vegan option) for a lightly sweet flavor, add more if needed
  • dash or two ground cinnamon
  • small pinch salt
  • sliced almonds, optional, for garnish and texture
Instructions
  1. Combine quinoa, blueberries, milk, honey, cinnamon, and salt in a small, non-stick pot. Heat over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until quinoa has reached your desired consistency. Note: Exact time will vary on your consistency preference and stove heat.
  2. Serve in a small bowl and top with sliced almonds (or your other favorite ingredients). Wait until it’s safely cooled to eat and enjoy!
Notes
The cook time will be approximately 10-20 minutes, depending on your stove heat and preferred texture.

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I’m looking forward to eating this more this spring…especially with fresh, local blueberries from the farmers market!

Reader question: Do you like or dislike the spring time change?

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