The Best Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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This recipe is very easy and fast to make. It calls for

1 Cup of All-Purpose Flour( gluten free can be used if needed)

1/2 cup granulated sugar or 1 cup of confectioners sugar

1/2 cup of brown sugar- Dark Brown Sugar has more molasses and makes the cookies sweeter. I use both depending on my mood.

3 Tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup of butter or coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup of rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips

Pre-Heat the Oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. Stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

In a separate large bowl cream together the butter/coconut oil, brown sugar, and white sugar. If using butter, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to help it mix better with the sugars. I also use a hand mixer to cream these ingredients. After these 3 ingredients have been mixed together, stir in the egg and vanilla extract. Stir in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon. Mix in the chocolate chips and rolled oats. Use a spoon or tablespoon to drop the dough onto the cookie sheet about 1.5 inches apart. Place the cookies in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes.

The end result in delicious energy packed chocolate oatmeal cookies!

Merry Christmas!

Sophia

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Nutritious Smoothies with Hidden Nutrients

Smoothies can be a very nutritious food depending on the ingredients used in recipes. Smoothies made with whole fruits and vegetables are the most nutritious due to the fact that they include several macro and micronutrients as well as a large amount of fiber to distribute the amount of sugar fruits and vegetables naturally contain.  Smoothies are also a method of food preparation that helps veggie haters meat their daily recommended intake (DRI) of vegetables. The taste of vegetable is hidden by the tastes of delicious fruits in these smoothies!  Below are a few of my favorite smoothie ingredients that I have created in the kitchen!

clear glass cup
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Green Coconut Smoothie- A cup of Comfort

This smoothie delivers a dose of healthy fats, and micronutrients that help you stay lean and energized!

Ingredients:

1.5 Cups Unsweetened Coconut Milk

1 Large Avocado

1 banana

1 cup vanilla yogurt, plain or Greek

1 cup baby spinach

1/2 cup of ice

After blending all of these ingredients together, add coconut flakes and mix them in with the interval button on the blender!

 

Strawberry Beet Smoothie- A cup of wellness

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup strawberries

1/2 cup steamed beets, peeled

1/4 cup raspberries

1/4 cup blueberries

Half of a banana

1 cup Coconut Milk

1/2 teaspoon of honey

1 tablespoon Chia Seeds

1/2 cup ice

If you want this smoothie to be creamier, you can add in your desired amount of yogurt! Don’t be afraid to play around with ingredients, everyone has their own favorite flavors.

Tropical Spinach Smoothie- Vacation in a cup

This smoothie has a large dose of vitamin C! It is good pick me up for when your feeling run-down.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of fresh or frozen pineapple

1/2 cup of fresh or frozen mango

1 peeled orange- seeds removed

1/4 cup of strawberries

1 avocado

1 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup or spinach

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1 Banana

1/2 cup of ice

These are a few of my favorite smoothies! If you try them leave a comment of how you like them! I would love to hear your feedback.

– Sophia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camping and Partying at Firefly

crowd in front of people playing musical instrument during nighttime
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This past week, I took a hiatus on blogging while I traveled to Dover Delaware to enjoy Firefly Music Festival.  My best friend from Appalachian State and a group of her friends from Temple University met up with me and my boyfriend at a Wawa to combine our camping gear and head into the early camping lot together on Wednesday Morning.

It was scorching hot while we set up the campsite around 11 am, and did not cool down until 7pm that evening.  Even though we were continuously drinking water, we were constantly parched and in search of more shade. We ran out of water fairly quickly, and my boyfriend and I set out for the water refill station. On the way, we noticed the excessive drinking and other methods of intoxication had already begun.  As I walked with my boyfriend I felt elated by the festival atmosphere. I felt the excitement in the air.  I heard people yelling out of anticipation for their favorite headliners to perform. I heard Arctic Monkies blaring on more than one speaker as I walked down the hot dirt path to the water refill station. I felt giddy.  However, in the back of my mind, I was running through a checklist of supplies and reminders that would keep my campsite healthy and safe such as staying hydrated, using sunscreen, keeping an eye on anyone if they had consumed more intoxicating substances than intended. I knew everything was going to be fine as I was camping with a close-knit group of friends that had each other’s best interest at heart as well as my boyfriend.  However, I wanted to make sure I was well prepared since accidents can happen at any time and anyplace.

Unfortunately, an accident did happen on Sunday morning at my camping lot, but fortunately for my friends and I not at our campsite. Sadly, a 20-year-old women from Philly was found unresponsive in her tent early Sunday morning, and was pronounced dead at the hospital at 6:55 am. Seeing that no foul play was suspected, many people are assuming her death involved dehydration, alcohol poisoning, or abuse of a substance. While I have no idea what caused this young woman’s death and the fact that it may have not involved any sort of intoxicating substance of dehydration I want to offer helpful advice to future festival goers that are planning to camp.

  1. Drink Water! Drinking enough water to fight off dehydration in hot weather is common knowledge. However, many people do not realize that alcohol dehydrates the body.  In repsonse, a person that is consuming alcohols needs to drink way more water than normal, especially in hot weather conditions.
  2.  Bring a canopy! (or two)  Being able to escape from the blistering sun is a saving grace. It helps to prevent heat exhaustion, sunburn and slows down the process of dehydration.   It also makes camping much more enjoyable since the tents feel like saunas once the sun is shining. Canopies are the only source of shade when camping out in an open field, and are worth every penny.
  3. Sunscreen! Suffering from a nasty sunburn or sun poison is enough to ruin anyone’s festival experience. Applying sunscreen often is so super important to prevent sunburn. Day two while camping at Firefly, I saw many people looking like lobsters and saw a man with a horrible case of sun poisoning at the medical tent.
  4. Electrolytes! When sweating a large number of electrolytes can be lost, which makes it more difficult to rehydrate with just water! This can lead to many health complication, odd symptoms, and illness.  Drinking an electrolyte drink can help in keeping hydration levels high, and electrolytes balanced. Overall, it made me feel rejuvenated after waking up in a puddle of sweat in my tent after a long night of jumping and dancing to my favorite songs.
  5. Cool Clothing! (pun intended)  My first morning at firefly I woke up and walked to the bathroom trailers in a cotton t-shirt and shorts. By the time I walked back to the campsite 20 min later my t-shirt was drenched in sweat. I recommend wearing clothing that wick’s moisture or join the bralette trend that is very popular at festivals.
  6. Use a buddy system! I personally am not big into drinking or any other substances, but many people enjoy these activities! I recommend having a buddy that will keep your well-being in mind while drinking and partying. This reduces the likely hood that you will be in any dangerous situations or end up passed out in a pile of vomit. So make a plan with your pal to keep an eye on each other!
  7. Make your health a priority! If you are drinking with your friends and enjoying a concert, but all of the sudden you feel nauseous and dizzy grab a friend and tell them how you are feeling, then ask them to walk with you to the medical tent even if you are underage! The health practitioners in the medical tent are only concerned about your health and well-being and are very used to seeing alcohol poising and dehydration at festivals.  They are not going to interrogate you about your age, and your sources for getting alcohol if you are underage.  They are most concerned about helping you feel better and making sure you aren’t seriously ill.

Festivals are an amazing atmosphere to hang out with friends and enjoy amazing music. They offer so many unique experiences such as getting to play on stage with your favorite bands and riding in a hot air balloon. ( No joke! This year a percussion student from PA was invited up on stage to play the drums with the Killers, and he killed it)  If you party responsibly it will be one of the best memories you have.  I have attended Firefly two years in a row, and every year I leave excited for next years festival. I always feel mentally refreshed and enlightened! I encourage everyone to attend at least one music festival if you have a passion for music! It is truly an amazing experience.

 

Stay safe and healthy friends!

XO

Sophia

Minimalism

The Chaos

Two hours ago I walked into my childhood bedroom at my parent’s house and was immediately overwhelmed with an incredulous amount of stuff everywhere. I mean everywhere, as in on the floor on the bed, on the dresser. I couldn’t find a blank surface in sight. I started to feel the effects of claustrophobia set in when I entered my closet.  Overloading my brain and closet was mountains and racks of shoes, duffel bags, and clothing that I haven’t worn or used since I graduated high school four years ago.

The Struggle

It did not take me long to realize that something needed to be done about this immediately. So I took a deep breath and started sorting through the piles of winter and summer clothes residing in my closet. My goal was to donate or sell anything that I do not wear on a regular basis during its season.  To my surprise, since I  recently started making minimalism a practice a few months ago, I struggled mightily with letting go of my things even though I knew deep down that I wouldn’t use or wear them enough to justify keeping.  To urge myself along I began to use the good old reliable mantras: Think how this shirt could help someone who needs a nice shirt but isn’t in the position to pay a large amount of money for clothing. You can save up for a trip with the money you earn from selling this item!  These two mantras worked a little bit, but it wasn’t until I realized that none of these clothes or items brought any joy through wearing them or using them, while I had several articles of clothing that I truly enjoy to wear.   At this point, I knew I wanted to surround myself with the clothing and objects that brought me a sense of satisfaction, joy, and wellness when using or wearing.

The Remedy: 

In response to my realization, I looked at every piece of clothing and object in the closet and judged whether if the idea of wearing or using that object would bring me joy. If the answer was no it went into the sell/ donate box. If the answer was yes it was neatly hung back on my clothes if out of season, or packed in my back to take back to my apartment an hour away if in season. At the end of my purge-fest, I felt accomplished about doing something that cleared my mind of clutter and would help people in need.

If you are struggling with purging your closet or house I encourage you to not give up, and find a mantra that brings you peace in getting rid of things. For further advice comment below or on the Kitty Kiawah page!

XOXO,

-Sophia

 

 

 

 

Music Festival Packing List

In a week my boyfriend and I will be making the drive up to the Dover International Speedway for Firefly Music Festival.  I am PUMPED. This will be my second year attending this festival, and last year was life-changing. As I pack up for the second time in my life to camp in a huge muddy field for 5 days while I listen to headliners singing out the most popular jams of the year, I think of the things I wish I would have had last year and the things I was glad I packed.

Festivals Essentials:

Solar Phone Charger and Backup battery Pack– A solar phone charger is perfect, and constantly charges until the sun is hidden behind the clouds for a day. This is when it is a great idea to have a battery powered pack.

A sleeping pad, Cot, or Air mattress – So many of my friends thought they would be fine sleeping on the ground for a few days. However, they were miserable. The ground is always moist, and after jumping up and down to music and walking all day your body will be much sorer than you expect. A sleeping pad on a cot feels heavenly. An air mattress will feel like the softest pillow on the earth. However, using any of them alone will feel so much better than the ground and will keep you dry.

Wet Wipes and Baby Powder-  Unless you want to pay 80 bucks to wait in a shorter line for a shower trailer or wait hours in a line to pay 10 dollars to rinse off with a hose I recommended bringing wet wipes and baby powder. Most of the time many people do not shower daily at music festivals, but still get extremely dusty, muddy, and sweaty.  This leads to chaffing, and dirt being tracked in the tent.  To stay feeling fresh wet wipes and baby powder are a must have.

Hydration Backpack–  Security allows each festival goer to bring one sealed plastic water bottle into the festival grounds. Meaning that to stay hydrated all day and night you have to trek to one of the many water stations to fill up a water bottle or if you’re lucky a hydration backpack. Hydration backpacks are so convenient because they can hold a large amount of water, feel light on your back, and require fewer trips to stand in a long line to fill up a small water bottle.

Sun Protection- Sun protection is essential! It is super hot and sunny standing out in a field all day jamming out to the various artist. Sunburn is the last thing anyone would want to worry about and deal with while enjoying a festival.  Plus skin cancer and wrinkles are not kind to the body.

A blanket or old towel-  After the first day at a festival everyone is still pumped, but also tired. An old blanket or towel to lounge around on while listening to fantastic music is relaxing while sitting on the scratchy grass or the muddy ground is not.

A few more items:

  • Bath Towel
  • Toiletries
  • Phone Charger
  • Water bottle to keep in the tent
  • Chairs
  • Festival Outfits!

Healthy and Affordable

A huge issue society faces today is obesity and food insecurity. These two factors might seem to be polar opposite at first glance, but nothing is farther from that thought.

Food insecurity is a major issue across America. A lack of access to affordable and healthy food is the defintion of food insecurity. When people do not have a way to get to a grocery store that sells healthy affordable food, they are left with few options. What becomes available to people that do not have access to grocery stores and markets, is processed food found at the convenient store on the corner.

In addition to food unsecurity, A frustrating issue people face in the grocery store is deciding between less perishable foods and fresh foods. The catch is that fresh foods are not the only healthy foods.

Frozen vegetables carry the same amount of nutrients if not more nutrients than fresh foods due to the fact that frozen foods are not exposed to heat, air, and water, which strip fresh foods of nutrients. While many people may prefer fresh foods for taste or because they are believed to be the healthiest, they are a lot more expensive than frozen vegetables and fruits and not much more nutritious. An additional advantage of frozen foods is that they are much less perishable than fresh foods and can last in the freezer for extremely long periods of time.  Consuming more fruits and vegetables is better for human health overall.

Canned fruits and vegetables are a more nutritious option, than not consuming fruits and vegetable at all.  A factor to consider with consuming canned fruits and vegetables is the amount of added sugar and salt during processing. It is wise and better for health to avoid canned fruits and vegetables with large amounts of added sugar and salt.

A key to being healthy is getting variety in the diet and spending 30 minutes every other say at a minimum walking or partaking in any form of exercise.

When overwhelmed with price remember that fresh fruits and vegetables are not the only options.

Good Luck and Happy Eating!

Favorite Five Gluten Free Resturants in Raliegh, NC.

If you’re like me you eat gluten-free! These restaurants are all different in foods that they serve and are not rated by the number they are listed.

I am a huge foodie, and I am always looking for places to grub down on the good stuff that reminds me of the gluten-filled foods I used to eat without consequence. Below is a list of restaurants full of gluten-free deliciousness.

  1.  MoJoe’s Burger Joint– On the outskirts of downtown Raliegh is this golden gem of a burger joint. This burger place has a classic mom and pops shop feel, and has the most delicious gluten free burgers and wings. After being gluten-free for several years I was losing my mind for foods that reminded me of early childhood. I stumbled upon MoJoe’s with a friend after using an app on my phone to find gluten-free accommodating restaurants. I ordered a classic burger,  BBQ chicken wings, and chips and queso. I felt like I was at a backyard BBQ from my younger years.
  2. Irregardless Cafe and Catering – Located on the quieter side of west morgan street is this amazing cafe full of life, great food and often live music. On the brunch menu at Irregardless is a yummy gluten free waffle served with ice cream or whipped cream, among many more gluten-free and vegan options. Dinner and lunch menus have a variety of weekly specials as well as delicious gluten free burgers and cornbread. Irregardless has food on the menu that everyone can enjoy.
  3. Herons at the Umstead Hotel–  If you are looking for an upscale all natural breakfast or brunch Herons is the place to eat. A variety of raw cold pressed juices, smoothies, freshly squeezed juice as well as coffee and tea are options to start our meal with a “yuummmm”. Followed by natural grown and ethically produced dishes of all breakfast foods you can imagine. A personal favorite is the gluten free french toast.  This restaurant gives you a feeling of wellness while dining that last even as you drive away to continue with the rest of the day.
  4. La Santa-  Located on Glenwood Avenue is a delicious upscale Mexican Resturant. The menu is full of classic Mexican dishes, full of flavor and spice. Almost anything on the menu can be made gluten-free by switching out flour tortillas for corn tortillas.  If I could eat here all the time I would.
  5. Aladdin’s Eatery- One of many restaurants located in North Hills, Aladdin’s Eatery is a home of delicious Lebanese- American food. Almost every option on the fifteen-page menu is gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian. My favorite dishes at this wonderful restaurant  Jasmin’s Favorite with Beef and Grape Leaves dipped in Aladdin’s house dressing. Gluten-free dessert is on the menu and looks delicious even though I have never been able to stuff any down after consuming my delicious entree. The restaurant has an earthy clean feel and always smells delicious.

 

The Journey Begins

Hello! Thanks for joining me!

My name is Sophia, and I am a senior in Nutrition Science.  I started this blog to share nutrition advice, life advice, life experiences, and the journey of growing mentally and spiritually. I am a hard core foodie and exercise enthusiast.

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I visited the west coast and found this sign fascinating.

 

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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