Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

A few weeks ago  my lovely friends at So Delicious sent me boxes full of their new holiday line! I noticed a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Pancakes on the back side of the Pumpkin Spice flavored Coconut Milk container.

O M G! Pancakes + Pumpkin Spice? HEAVEN! 

I immediately dusted off my KitchenAid Mixer and began recreating this amazing, seasonal recipe. You guys know I hate following recipes but this one is worth following. The pancakes came out fluffy, with crispy edges and they had the perfect amount of pumpkin flavor without being overbearing.

So Delicious Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

The recipe doesn’t require too much.

So Delicious Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Use fresh butter and pure maple syrup to enhance the pumpkin flavors. Seriously guys, this pancake is HEAVENLY! Enjoy this recipe for breakfast or do as the Spaniards and enjoy your pancakes for dessert!

For fluffy pumpkin spice pancakes, click here for the full recipe. The recipe is on pg 23.

Que rico!! (How sweet!)

 What’s your favorite Fall recipe?

On The Run With V: London

 iPhone pictures from my trip to London.

Enjoy!

London

A wedding inside my hotel!

London

 

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London

London

 

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The saddest pizza I ever did see

The saddest pizza I ever did see

London

London

Hotel selfies

London  London London

Words, recipes, and updates coming soon.

Xo

Labor Day Weekend, 10 Things To Do In Miami

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On The Run With V: The Lake

When you receive a Facebook message from your friends at 11:30pm on a Saturday with detailed instructions to pack an overnight bag because they’re picking you up the following day for an adventure, what do you do? You giggle at their nonsense and go back to sleep. Well, that’s what I did. Turns out it wasn’t a joke.

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Lake Winnisquam

The next morning I rolled out of bed, grabbed my black Lululemon Vinyasa to Vino workout bag from under the bed, then sat on the floor in front of my dresser neatly (throwing) clothes in the bag.

Swimsuit. Check! Toiletries. Check! Sweater because it’s New England and temperatures drop faster than Nicki Minaj in her new video Check! Four dresses and one more bathing suit...Check! Check!

Within two hours, I was staring at a pristine lake in Northern New Hampshire. So this was it. Summer in New England is coming to a close.
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The Lake House

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Lake Winnisquam

 Dinner

We went to O Steak’s & Seafood. We started with appetizers and cocktails at the bar. I really enjoyed laughing and chatting with the bartender. He was charismatic and boy does he know how to make a delicious cocktail!

 

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O Steaks & Seafood

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Wine.On.Tap ,,, Amazing!

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O Steaks & Seafood Patio

This appetizer was incredible
Pops- beef, blue cheese, bacon bits

That view….

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Amazing sunset view while dining at O Steaks & Seafood

 The Next Day

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Sunday breakfast- the perfect quiche

I had a slight fear of lakes before this trip. I remember swimming in a dusty brown lake when I attended summer camp as a tot. Weird tickling sensations rubbing against my legs, slippery algae between my toes, and the stillness of the murky lake made my stomach turn. But not this lake. It was so inviting! Clear waters and the perfect temperature for swimming.

 

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My first time kayaking!

This adventure was a lovely intermission. Thanks for coming with me, everyone!

Now I have a question for you…lakes or oceans?

Where will On The Run With V go next? Follow my Instagram for the latest updates!

On The Run With V: Sunsets and Beaches

This past year I took travel to an entirely different level. Every three weeks, from January to May, I traveled outside of Massachusetts  – every 3 weeks! I know, it’s bananas. With everything that happened last summer, I wanted nothing more than to be far away from Boston and closer to friends…lucky for me, most of my friends live in warm beautiful cities. Polar Vortex 2014 vs. Sunny Paradise…

Hmmm, that’s a tough one!

 Over the next few weeks I will be posting some of my favorite photos and videos from destinations around the world..well, not really..I tend to travel to the same locations over and over again but really, does it matter? I am not complaining! 😀 My pictures and videos each hold special memories and a piece of my heart. I hope you enjoy them. If you’re feeling adventerous, follow my Instagram hashtag #OnTheRunWithV. You won’t be disappointed.

Welcome to WAMC’s first travel series!

On The Run With V: Sunsets and Beaches

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Barcelona, Spain

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Coral Gables, FL

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Thisiswhyitravelsunsetsbeaches

Kauai, Hawaii

  Love like travel is a series of moments that we immediately leave behind – Elizabeth Eaves

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Kauai, Hawaii

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What’s your favorite travel destination? Leave your response in the comment section below- I look forward to reading your responses!

xo  V

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La Vie En Rose

This year has been full of highs and lows and just as things were starting to look up, life happened. Minor setbacks are frustrating but I refuse to allow them to cripple me. Uh huh, honey!  I am moving forward with my life and doing so with a positive outlook. I do have my moments, but that’s what yoga and kickboxing are for, right? 😉

Some people ask me how I maintain such a positive energy despite everything I’ve been through. It’s simple. I did my time- I spent several months self-reflecting, trying to make sense of my life. My fight is won-if I can survive last summer, I can get through anything. So pardon me while I live my life through rose colored glasses  (hence the post title, La Vie En Rose) because from where I’m standing, things are looking good and they can only improve.

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La Vie En Rose, Summer Edition

Two days after attending The Good One’s Chef Battle ,I had the 1st of 5 reconstructive hand surgeries. I usually shed a few tears as the nurses wheel me away from my family to the operating room but not this time, guys!  I was all, “yah, I’ve got this! Oh! Look at that room. I had surgery in OR 315 last year!” The nurses smiled and waved as I went by- they remembered me from last summer…I guess I made quite the impression when I asked if I could have prosciutto as my post-op meal. What else would I want after 12 hours of fasting?!

While I waited (impatiently) for the doctors to anesthetize me, my girlfriend Karissa walked over from the cardiology department for a quick chat, isn’t that sweet?  Thanks Karissa!

Next, I was taken into the frigid operating room and chatted with the doctors and staff about my summer until I drifted off to sleep. When I woke up in the recovery room I cried and told the staff how much I loved them! haha A BIG thank you to Dr. Goverman, Dr. Fagan and their staff at the MGH Burn Unit for taking such good care of me.

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My pre-op happy face…do you see the fear in my eyes?

Last week I went back to MGH for my post-op appointment and my doctors’ were extremely impressed with the results. This news is helping to calm my nerves for my 2nd surgery on September 5th. Despite having gone through 5 surgeries in the last few years, just the thought of anesthesia makes my skin crawl! Here’s to surgery #2 being just as successful as the 1st.

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Oh Hay Tom Brady! Fancy seeing you here

Once my hand healed, I was ready to get off the couch and have some fun. My girlfriend Jenna scored last minute tickets to the New England Patriots Training Camp and lucky for me, she asked me to join her! We sat 5 rows from the field. 5 ROWS! It was icredible. We could see Tom Brady’s pearly whites every time he laughed and joked with his teammates. Tom Brady. He’s just like us! I thought Jenna was going to faint at least 5 times throughout the practice but she held it together haha. We really wanted to get an autograph but no such luck. We must have missed the memo about bringing a cute child to dangle over the field. Next time, it’s game on- we will BOTH bring a child!

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She couldn’t even…

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Patriots Nation!

The following weekend I attended an incredible blogger trip to Saratoga, NY for the horse races. I’ll post details about that another day but here is a sneak peak:

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Spending time with Black Jack

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Bloody Mary Bar at the Boston Blogger Brunch

On Sunday, I spent a relaxing evening in Newburyport with a friend. We started off at Brine for cocktails and oysters then headed to Ceia Kitchen for an incredible dinner. I think we ordered everything off the menu! We had an assortment of cheeses, charcuterie (naturally), and an assortment of their small plates.

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Downtown Newburyport, MA

If you visit Ceia, which I highly recommend, you’ll notice beautiful award plaques hanging on the wall. For three consecutive years, Ceia was honored as Newburyport’s first and only ‘Award of Excellence’ by Wine Spectator. Wine lovers, prepare to be impressed by the extensive wines offered by the glass and bottle.

Ceia Cheese Plate

Ceia Cheese Plate (photo taken from Ceia’s website)

I was thrilled to see they had one of my favorite cheeses on their menu-Leonara. It’s a soft goat cheese with a grassy, mild goat flavor from Leon, Spain. I recommended eating it before your meal and if you’re a cheese lover like myself, have some after dinner drizzled with honey. It makes for a  lovely dessert and it also aids in digestion, how fitting!

Of all the small plates we shared, our favorite was The Egg– a coddled egg served in a mini mason jar with truffle, plump mushrooms and foie sauce. We also loved the stuffed squash blossoms and the gambas (shrimp) with Nora Chiles and garlic. The Nora chile is very mild and it has a nice sweet taste that complimented the gambas perfectly.

I apologize for not taking any photos to share with you. I was really into the experience and my iphone went untouched for a few hours. Shocking, I know!

The Best is Yet To Come

— I received a callback from the audition I had back in May! I  had my second audition last Friday and I think it went really well. Fingers crossed! The production process is a slow one but it’s worth the wait. Eek! I’m so excited!

— It happened again. My incurable wanderlust has resurfaced and soon I’ll be packing my bags and heading overseas. Can you guess where I’m headed? Check out my Instagram to find out!

La vie en rose isn’t so bad, is it?

mavienrose

Advice from a great friend

The Good Ones, Top Secret Chef Battle

Hi Friends! I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer! Despite having surgery recently, I am doing better than ever-I have so much to share with you (later this week) but let me start here.

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a Grecian themed rooftop party hosted by The Good Ones. The rooftop party was the third of their Top Secret Chef Battle series. If you haven’t heard of this dynamic group, click here and get familiar because they are taking over Boston.

The Good Ones is focused on raising awareness for great causes and brands. For this event,  Vitamin Angels was highlighted- Vitamin Angels is a group dedicated to helping at-risk populations in need with a main focus on helping pregnant women, new mothers, and children under five.

Whose Who

Carolyn Kim, Julian Sayles from Team Sayles Music and Lighting, and Jennifer Brooke are the co-founders of The Good Ones.

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R&D Jennifer Brooke, Chief Visionary Officer Carolyn Kim, Good One Kimberly Giardino

The guests were intellectual, creative and beautiful people from the Boston area. The event was so top secret…I didn’t receive the location until the night before!

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Jimmy Guzman having a good laugh (photo cred: Vincent Hohn)

Read on for more details and photos from this amazing event

*

Top Secret Chef Battle

Brendan Smith of Uni Sashimi Bar, Brendan Burke of Bastille Kitchen , and Jonathan Moriera of Post 390 created Greek inspired dishes.  I will leave out the winner because honestly, each chef did an incredible job-I was blown away. Click on the links for more information on where you may try food created by the three incredibly talented chefs.

One of my favorite details about the party was their use of local vendors. For example, the fish was purchased from a local non-profit, Cape Ann Fresh Catch of Gloucester, MA-the largest community of supported fishery in the United States. You could taste the freshness in each bite.

(photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

Jonathan Moriera (photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

(photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

(photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

 Tenzin Conecho Samdo, Bartender/Mixologist from Trade-Boston, worked hard all night making delicious cocktails. My favorite cocktail was Olympian’s Collin, a mixture of clean, organic Crop vodka, sparkling matcha tea by Motto, cucumber and lime.

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Tenzin working his magic

(photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

(photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

The Good Ones

photo cred: Anastasia Sierra

Apart from the amazing food and beverages served were Grecian models and Mark Penta– artist and illustrator who worked hard illustrating live portraits of the guests.

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Mark Penta

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Additional Photos

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Taking in the view with Georgina

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The gracious host-Mark O Andrus (photo cred: Vinceny Hohn

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photo cred: Anastasia Sierra

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One of the gorgeous models (photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

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Beautiful Boston

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Caterpillar from Alice and Wonderland (photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

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The models wore custom headpieces by Jimmy Guzman & clothing designed by Candice Wu.  H&M by Kashmir from VS Salon (photo cred: Anastasia Sierra)

 

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photo cred: Vincent Hohn

Are YOU a Good One? Click here for more information!

thegoodones

So…are you?

Happy Monday, Friends!

Xo

My Favorite Pantry Staples for Easy Everyday Cooking

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Are You on A Liquid Diet? Probiotics vs Anti-Biotics

No, I am not on a liquid diet but I cannot help myself when I pass the refrigerated beverage section of Whole Foods. I roll up to the beverage section and place my cart in the next aisle (people get really feisty when they spot a deserted cart!) I grab as many bottles as I can carry of Kombucha, Kevita, Harmless Harvestand SoDelicious Coconut Milk and neatly place them in my cart.

I know this isn’t an episode of SuperMarket Sweep but these drinks fly off the shelves…and well, my body goes into shock if I don’t constantly supply it with fresh coconut water, coconut milk, and billions of live probiotic cultures. (#firstworldproblems)

I love taking a step back to admire the contents in my cart. (How do I insert the emoji with the heart shaped eyes? That’s ME!)

There’s something magical in each of these bottles- I don’t know what it is but I have no intention on ending my “liquid diet” anytime soon.  So, are you wondering what all the fuss is about? Bottled magic details to come right after the jump!

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First we have to discuss probiotics…

If I’m not writing about them here on the blog, then you can probably find me educating (preaching) to my friends and family  about the benefits of probiotics! Recently my primary care doctor suggested I take a daily probiotic…I chuckled. I’m way ahead of you, Dr. X 

Below I have listed some information about probiotics but please remember, I am here not as a teacher but as a student- I am learning about different foods and vitamins and how they interact with our bodies. I can only share my personal  experience with probiotics- just because they work for my gut, does not mean they will be happy in yours- so please…consult your doctor before you start binging on probiotics 😉

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are defined by the World Health Organization as “live micro-organisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.”

Probiotics are happy healthy bacteria that live inside of our guts. 80% of our immunity lives in our stomach! Daily stress and poor diets mess with our happy pretty flora making it difficult for our bodies to fight off colds and other sickness. A recent study in the American Heart Association claims that probiotics may help people with high blood pressure and also improve brain health.

Probiotics & Children

Probiotics can prevent or treat diarrhea in infants and children according to “at least a dozen studies.” Of the 119 children taking antibiotics, the 70 percent of children with reduced diarrhea symptoms were given a probiotic.

 My Probiotic Experience

Kevita

Nourish your body from the inside out!

A few months ago, I had a sinus infection so I took my antibiotics as prescribed and 7 days later my sinus infection was gone but I had another problem…a GI problem. (Guys I’ve dated or wish to date in the future, stop reading!) I called my doctor in a panic, explained my situation and he asked if I had stopped taking my probiotics…well yah, I was not aware that stopping them while taking antibiotics would lead to an embarrassing situation at CVS Pharmacy. Crisis averted, sort of.

“When a person takes antibiotics, especially the broad-spectrum antibiotics most often prescribed, many of these beneficial microbes are destroyed along with the disease-causing bacteria. Patients on antibiotics are often told to consume yogurt with active cultures to replenish the beneficial organisms.” Dr Walker. I was not one of those patients. Mmmhmm! I will never go without my probiotics. Now do you understand why I am so PRO probiotics? hehe

Waiting for the probiotics to work their magic

Waiting for the probiotics to work their magic

 

To supplement my liquid probiotic diet, I take a Whole Foods generic brand probiotic pill, twice a day. If I could visit my gut a la Miss Frizzle & The Magic School Bus, I bet I would find the happiest bacteria I ever did see!

The Magic School Bus

To The Bus!!

The Good Stuff

I encourage you to try one of my favorite probiotics beverages- Kevita  or GT Kombucha but if you prefer to take a probiotic pill, they’re available at your local market and pharmacy. As always, consult your doctor before making any changes to your supplement routine.

Kevita

Kevita- only 10 calories per bottle, barely any sugar

GT Kombucha

12 bottles of GT Kombucha- my FAVORITE

Another favorite probiotic of mine is GoLive- they come in single serving packets which makes them perfect for travel. Stash a few in your desk at work, and keep some in your car! Incorporate probiotics into your daily routine and strengthen your immune system, people! Seriously, throw out those artificially flavored powder packets, toss the Gatorade, and drink your probiotics- your gut will thank you!

GoLive Probiotics

GoLive Probiotics

GoLive Probiotics Spa Flavor

Spa Flavor-My FAVORITE

My favorite milk also contains probiotics- SoDelicious Coconut Milk!

According to their website, “… there are between 1,000,000 (one million) and 100,000,000 (one hundred million) live probiotic organisms per serving in our products up until the “Use By” date printed on each container of cultured product.” SoDelicious.com

SO Awesome!

SoDelicious

Have you tried probiotics? What are your thoughts?

  Stay tuned for an in-depth video about ……well, you’ll have to wait and see!

XoXo

V

 

 

 

Spain: The Land of 100 Cheeses, Part 2

Walking into a room with beautifully assembled rows of cheese is my idea of heaven. I am convinced that I could survive on cheese, cured ham, and wine. Actually, that is exactly what my friends and I survived on during our year abroad in Spain!

Back in April, I told you guys about Alimentaria, the amazing food & beverage conference I was attended in Barcelona, Spain. That night I was so excited for the following days event- Spain the Land of 100 Cheeses. I was ready to relive my college days.

Though a few months have passed since my visit to Barcelona, I find myself constantly streaming through the photos and I realized how lucky I was to experience this cultural event and I really wanted to share my experience with you.

Cheese Sampling

“Hmm I think I’ll try THIS one!”

As if I didn’t love this country enough! Spain-The Land of 100 Cheeses and Unforgettable Memories

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Why didn’t anyone tell me the flag was backwards!?

 

SpaintheLandof100Cheeses

Event attendees had the chance to sample the best cheese in the world, the winner of the World Cheese Award 2012 and hundreds of other award winning cheeses from various regions of Spain. Beside each tray of cheese was a card explaining the brand, type of milk used, its variety and more!

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The cheese buffet also included a wine and cava bar along with an amazing spread of fruit, nuts, and honey.

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Fun Fact

Spaniards eat an average of 17.5lbs of cheese, per person every year according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Environment. That is a lot of queso but I am not surprised seeing how one can visit a local sandwich shop in Spain and feast on a cheese bocadillo-a sandwich consisting of 2 ingredients: fresh cut cheese nestled between two pieces of white crispy bread. Carb-free dieting obviously does not exist in Spain!

 

JasonLicker

Jason Licker having a grand ol time!

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A few days ago, I read an article that suggested American restaurants should have cheese carts. I will not argue with that! Let’s go America, bring on the cheese!