Friday, August 26, 2016

Pumpkin Energy Bites

I'm all about that pumpkin, that pumpkin...or maybe that's not how the song goes? I was grocery shopping and that song came on and it has been stuck in my head since- fun fact I find that song rather annoying. 

Totally off topic I know, but if you know me then you know that happens a lot. So maybe it wasn't totally off topic because I have been all about the pumpkin. Pumpkin breakfast bake, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin EVERYTHING! Literally though. I blame it on the fact that I opened a can of pumpkin and I refuse to throw food away, so I had to use it before it went bad. I knew I wanted to make energy balls, but I wanted a larger batch so I took my peanut butter energy ball recipe and went back to the drawing board. The pumpkin, peanut butter, and honey hold the dry ingredients together and holy cow do they make the bites moist! Literally like a piece of pumpkin pie only better (<- even my mom said that)!

Pumpkin Energy Bites
  • 1.5 cups gluten free oats
  • 2 Tablespoon ground flaxseed 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (peanut butter and almond butter work great)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2.5 Tablespoons chocolate chips (OPTIONAL)
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut flakes (OPTIONAL)

In a medium sized mixing bowl combine oats, flaxseed, coconut flakes (if using), cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

In separate microwave safe bowl place honey and peanut butter. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. The mix should be almost completely liquid.

Pour peanut butter/honey combo into dry ingredients. 

Quickly add in pumpkin puree and vanilla extract.

Use a large spoon or spatula to mix all ingredients together. Make sure to scrap down sides of bowl so no dry ingredients remain unmixed.

Place mixture in fridge and allow to cool for 30 minutes-1 hour. 

If using add chocolate chips in to cooled pumpkin/oat mix.

Being taking clumps of batter and rolling into tablespoon sized balls. Repeat until no mixture remains. I was able to get 23 balls, the amount will vary depending on how large/small you make them.

If you make these delicious energy balls take a picture, tag me on instagram, and use the hashtag #thesimplelife I'd love to see your creations! Don't forget to like my new Facebook page

Thursday, August 25, 2016

What I Wished Someone Would Have Told Me as a College Freshman

College is a unique time in your life. You're away from family, friends, and your comfort zone for perhaps the first time. You're venturing off into the unknown. While it can seem really scary, don't let it frighten you. Embrace it. Welcome it. Staying in one place is not good for anyone. Change is hard, but change is good and change is natural. 

You'll be pushed out of your comfort zone and stretched beyond your limits, but it won't break you. You will find an inner strength you didn't know you had and you'll discover new depths of your soul. You'll find excitement in the adventure, but there will be disappointments and heartbreaks too because life isn't perfect. 

For the first time in your life you'll be surrounded by people 24/7. Yes there were always other students around in high school, but you didn't share a confined space with them, have all your classes with them, eat all meals with them, study with them, go to sleep and wake up with them. It's important to take time away for yourself. Drive to the beach and go for a walk by yourself. Find a room where you can meditate by yourself. You need to make yourself a priority because no one else will. 

School is important, but it's not the be all end all of life. Life goes on whether you got a 2.9 GPA or a 4.0 GPA. No employer is going to ask you why you got an A- instead of an A+ on your freshmen year chemistry final exam. Study hard, do your homework, but also have a life. Ten years from now you're not going to remember all the Saturday nights you spent studying in your dorm room. You're going to remember the spontaneous Saturday night that you went out to a hockey game with your friends, then went dancing, and had iHOP at 2AM. Those are the nights and memories you will hold onto. 

If you need help ask for it. No one can read your mind. Go to your professors office hours, that's what they're there for. They won't yell at you or bite your head off because you don't understand something. Most likely they'll be glad you came for help. While you're there get to know your professor. Maybe they grade really hard, but at the end of the day they're human too and they were once a college student. You never know how a professor will be able to help you in the future because they are chalk full of knowledge and connections. 

Take chances and don't be afraid to fail. Want to join the water polo team? Do it. Want to join the knitting club? Do it. Want to join the debate team? Do it. If you end up sucking at least you tried and you probably made a few friends in the process. No one is going to hate you for trying. 

Don't be afraid to do things alone. If you want to go to the hockey game but your roommates don't, then go alone. You never know who you will end up meeting. Don't be afraid to talk to someone while you're there too. Sometimes by doing things by yourself you end up learning more about yourself than you would of had you gone with a friend.

Put down your phone. I know you think life will end because you don't tweet every 15 minutes or you didn't see your best friends latest instagram post, but it won't. I promise. Some of the best memories are made when no one has their phones around to capture the moment. A picture can capture a moment, but it can't capture the feelings in the moment. Memories can. 

Learn the art of conversation. Everyone is so glued to their phones these days that the art of small talk is dying. Have one meal a week with friends that no phones are allowed. Just talk. Find out how their classes are going, what's been happening in their lives, did they resolve the fight with their roommate? It may seem hard, but you'll find you learn far more about a person by talking to them than you do scrolling through their instagram account.

Make time for your family. I know you're off having fun making friends and doing new things, but make time for your family too. Call your mom/dad/brother/sister/great aunt whoever it may be call them. Don't text them. Call them. They want to hear your voice. They want to hear you talk about your classes, your friends, and your nutty professor. Even though they might not admit it, chances are they miss you. When you can go home for the weekend. It might be more fun to be at school, but surprising your mom for her birthday would mean more to her than any gift.

Maybe most important of all, learn to love yourself. Make peace with your past. Learn from your mistakes. You're not perfect and no is expecting you to be perfect. Do your best and learn to accept the outcome. College is just another brief chapter in your life. Make the most of it because before you know it you will be walking across the stage accepting your diploma. Enjoy it while you can because you can never get moments back.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Just Be Present

Monday we meet again. Maybe I'm just weird, but I really don't mind Monday's, especially this week. Since I've come back from vacation I've spent less time on social media than normal and it's been rather refreshing. I hung out with friends and everyone was present. No one had their phones out to check Facebook or Instagram. We laughed, ate, swam, talked and I never once felt the need to whip out my phone to check for text messages or to see what everyone was posting on Instagram.

Don't get me wrong I am just as guilty as everyone for checking my phone a bazillion times a day, but it's important to remember social media isn't always real. While people may post numerous times a day on instagram it's not an accurate depiction of what their lives are actually like. I don't post everything I eat or share all my vacation photos or photos with friends. Those who know me know that I am a pretty private person, if I had a personal Instagram (which I don't) I doubt I'd use it that often. I love taking pictures with friends, but I've never felt the need to share everything.

I don't know what prompted me to put my phone away for the past week and a half, but I've been happier than I've been in a long time. I didn't stress about needing to post or share the latest blog post or keeping up with everyone's posts. Instead I laughed until my stomach hurt, drank wine, stayed up WAY too late and made some really awesome memories.

You see living life through a lens isn't really living. Not every moment needs to be captured. Some of my favorite memories are moments that there aren't pictures or videos of. To me, the beauty of living and experiences is feeling. It's not just the memory I love, but how I felt in that moment.

Moments and memories are so much more important than posting on social media. At the end of your life no one is going to remember what you posted on instagram, but they will remember all the moments they spent with you. So put away your phone and make those moments count.