eat tampa bae

review of SPROUTS

Stacey OswaldComment

Sprouts just opened up in South Tampa (on Dale Mabry, ironically right next to the Publix), and it's a game-changer. Think of all the best things about Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, add in a dash of Publix, and then put all of that under one roof: now you have Sprouts. I was shocked to find so many of my favorite items, from Rebbl drinks to Perfect bars, all in one place. Typically, I have to hop around from grocery store to grocery store, hoping to find a majority of the items I like and ALWAYS over-spending. I can already tell that Sprouts is going to be my new go-to grocery store, though TJ's will always have a special place in my heart. Mainly for their wine selection. 

I spent $100 on a cart load of groceries, which included some high-priced items (think Slow Press Chardonnay and 5 different flavors of Rebbl). I was overall very pleased with their prices, and I was happy to see a great many deals being offered around the store- note the major savings on fish in the pic below. I'm not sure how many of these were related to their grand opening, but either way, it made for a pleasant shopping experience. 

I wasmost excited to see some high-quality produce, including CHERRIES (my fave) and peaches! Most grocery stores around Tampa aren't able to offer good produce on the cheap, so I was beyond excited to find cherries at a reasonable price. I'm used to spending $10 for a bag, though, so it might not have been alllllll that great. However, their produce is definitely a huge step up from TJ's, and probably on par quality-wise with Whole Foods. 

They have tons of fun, healthy-ish items around the store, and I plan to sample a ton of them when I have more time (and money). This time around, I sampled the Cookie Dough Enlightened ice cream, and it blew my mind. A huge step up from Halo Top, which I also love dearly. And while I wanted to try to preservative-free versions of my favorite cookies, I decided to refrain. I'm planning on baking my world famous chocolate chip cookies tomorrow, and I didn't need to have two delicious sources of sugar sitting around. 

In addition, their cold meat selection is on point. Bacon Lover's Turkey Breast anyone??? I've tried this brand's Buffalo Chicken as well, and it's fantastic. The flavor is truly off-the-charts, and it's made similarly to Boar's Head, so you can't even feel guilty about it. I was also impressed by their case of prepared food, as well as their salad bar. I plan to utilize both in the near future, because ain't nobody got time for cooking every night. 

Overall, I give Sprouts an A+, and I can't wait to go back soon. Like probably tomorrow. No shame in my game. 

life updates

Stacey OswaldComment

I’ve been waiting to write this post for a while now. At first, I was too sad to write it, then too angry. Now I finally feel like I’ve gained clarity and found peace with the situation, so I think I'm ready to start talking about it. 

Over a month ago, my boyfriend, who I lived with, left. I was in the hospital, for a reason I don’t feel like making public right now. While I was there, my mom called and told me that he had moved out. All I could think, at first, was: “Well, I guess this is why he hasn’t been returning my calls.” I sat in the hospital for two days, unable to eat, unable to move. I couldn’t even cry- I just sat there and tried to sleep. When I got out of the hospital, it was pretty much more of the same. I was completely rocked to my core- how could the person I loved and trusted just up and leave? He didn’t even say goodbye. The last words we spoke to each other were during a fight, and I don't even remember what they were. He hasn’t reached out since, and in a way, I’m glad. 

You see, I realized pretty quickly after he left that he did me a favor. Our relationship looked perfect on the surface, but it wasn’t. We fought way more than a couple ever should, and we were incredibly codependent with each other. My highs were his highs, and my lows were his lows. In a lot of ways, we were too similar, and while I have never been as happy as I was with him, I have also never been as sad. 

When he left, I felt shocked, hurt, and betrayed. But after about a week, I started to feel light again. I was able to regain my happiness in a new and beautiful way, especially when I started putting myself first and dedicating time to my personal growth, which I haven’t done in years. I spent so much time loving Paul that I didn’t spend any time loving myself. When I eventually enter into a relationship again, I know that I’ll need to be more self-aware to ensure that I don’t lose myself. But this whole “single life” thing has been really transformative for me, and I plan on continuing to see where this phase of life leads. 

I’m not sure what direction the blog will go in next. It’s gone through many transformations over the years- it’s catalogued three big cross-country moves, two major breakups, and ton of stuff in between. But I know that I won’t abandon it- not yet. I still have so much to say, and I won’t be silenced by any old unfortunate situation. 

Until next time. 

mary berry's CHERRY cake

Stacey OswaldComment

First of all... am I crazy, or are "glacé" cherries not a thing in America? 

I've heard of maraschino cherries (obviously), but glacé was a new one for me. Apparently they're the same thing as maraschino cherries, except they're candied in sugar syrup. Honestly, they sounded disgusting to me, and Publix didn't have them, so I went with the always classic maraschino. Also disgusting, but hopefully less sugary. 

 
 

I'm glad that this was my first recipe- it was super easy, especially because I didn't receive the abbreviated instructions that the bakers get during the technical challenge. So I kindaaaa cheated, but there's really no way around it when I'm baking my way through the show. Oh well! 

To be honest, I was expecting not to like this cake. As mentioned, I hate maraschino cherries, and the recipe seemed bland and overall pretty boring. But the result was lemony, just sweet enough, light, fluffy, and absolutely delicious. Mary Berry was on point with this one!

I ended up baking the cake for less time than it said in the recipe- more around 30 minutes. I honestly would bake it less if I were to try this recipe again, because mine could be a touch less dry. Also, the recipe doesn't tell you to cream the butter with the sugar first before adding the dry ingredients, but definitely do that if you're making this at home. 

 
 

I got a nice distribution of cherries by coating them in flour, so I was stoked about that. Next time, I would also like to give the cake more time to cool before glazing- my glaze ended up getting mostly absorbed into my semi-warm sponge. But I was rushing to get done before teaching a yoga class, and there's only so much a girl can do. 

Below, you can find my version of the recipe, with those little tidbits above added in. You can find the original copy here, via PBS. Stay tuned- my matcha swiss roll is coming up next! 

 
 

Mary Berry's Cherry Cake

Ingredients: 
a handful of maraschino cherries, pitted and quartered
1 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup blanched almond flour
3 large eggs
for decoration: 
3/4 cup powdered sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Flaked almonds
More cherries (I didn't do this) 

Directions: 
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a bundt tin (any shape is fine) with butter. I used coconut oil spray. No shame in my game.  
2. Prepare your cherries. Rinse cherries in a sieve, then pat dry with paper towels. Toss in flour. 
3. Cream butter with sugar, then add eggs. Slowly add lemon zest and flour, then beat for two minutes until fluffy. Fold in the cherries. 
4. Spoon batter evenly into tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then allow to cool on a wire rack. Seriously guys, let it cool. This was my mistake. 
5. Mix powdered sugar with lemon juice until no clumps remain. Drizzle over cake and decorate! I didn't feel like putting a ton of almonds or cherries on my cake, so I didn't. You do you! 

 
 

PS... don't judge me for my messy kitchen. I can only bake if I'm allowed to leave chaos in my wake ;) Thanks for always cleaning up after me, Paul! 

how i'm REVAMPING my life

Stacey Oswald2 Comments

Eating disorders are tricky things. 

When I was really busy, AKA all winter, I rarely thought about my old habits- which I'll call "unskillful behaviors," because that's how I was trained to talk about them in DBT. 

I felt (mostly) healthy and happy, and while I was never satisfied with my body, I didn't have much time to dwell on it. But when things slowed down, I didn't know how to cope.

 
 

In March, I finished yoga training as well as the online classes I was taking, I finished moving into my new home, and I got admitted to grad school (woot!). I've trained myself this past year to be highly effective in periods of stress, but I had no idea how to deal my this newfound freedom. I was supposed to be enjoying this chill period in life, but instead, all I could do was worry. I found myself depressed and in my pajamas most days, and I started to feel like I was spiraling downwards once again.

Thankfully, I had skills in my back pocket to deal with my negative thoughts, but nonetheless, my unskillful behaviors started to creep their way back into my life. I tried to fight them- I signed up for online classes, threw myself into yoga, and even started writing again. However, I soon found that nothing could distract me from my behaviors. I would need to completely replace them if I wanted to find relief. 

Back in the day, I used Tone It Up to... well... tone things up. It worked really well for me, but it soon became an obsession that I needed to eliminate, especially when I got diagnosed with an eating disorder. However, it's always shown up in my life when I most needed it, and today, it happened again. Their Bikini Series (a summer challenge that they hold online/through Instagram every year) is coming up, and I just knew that I had to do it. More than that, I realized that I had to do something about my life RIGHT now. 

 
 

My mom thought up the idea of a Bikini Series Pregame, and I jumped on the chance to design something that I could start immediately. So without further ado, here are the 10 ways I'm revamping my life, starting likeeeee right now. 

1. Create a go-to morning routine. I've always wanted to have a morning routine that actually makes sense to me. I received one through an ayurvedic consultation that I loved, but it consisted of way too many action items, and I never ended up completing all of them. So instead, I'm going to commit to doing 5 steps every morning, because that seems doable enough! They are: 
*Wake up, drink first glass of water, oil pull (I use an oil from Banyan Botanicals). 
*Take Milo for a walk and listen to music. 
*Light candles in yoga room and journal. 
*Deep breathing/meditation/Sun Sals (depending on my energy needs). 
*Do the five TIU daily moves (found in their weekly schedule). 

2. Create a relaxing 30 minute evening routine. The evening is easily the worst part of my day right now. This is typically when I end up engaging in unskillful behaviors, and when I don't, I just sit in front of the TV. Not killing it, to say the least. Here are five steps that I can start implementing into my nighttime routine: 
*Do daily cleaning, if it hasn’t been done already (we follow a cleaning schedule... or at least we will, once I start following through!). 
*Take Milo for a walk- challenge myself to do it without music! 
*Plan for the next day, using my handy dandy planner. 
*Make tea, and do restorative yoga poses (legs up the wall, supta baddha konasana, etc). 
*Read for fun! 

3. Go on a weekly adventure. We have annual passes to Busch Gardens and we live 30 minutes from the beach... so why do I find myself sitting at home all the time??? I have time right now to enjoy where I live, and I'm not going to let it pass me by. The only rule here is that it has to be around 30 minutes away- for example, I am not counting going to my neighborhood pool as an adventure. Though, honestly, it's better than what I'm doing now!

 
 

4. Set time aside every day for studying. I just enrolled in a digital marketing course from General Assembly, and I bought a couple fun online courses from Great Courses. So every day, I'm committing myself to spend at least an hour studying- hopefully more! I'm also hoping to venture to coffee shops more to do said studying. 

5. Get 10,000 steps per day (at least). My boyfriend bought me the Fitbit Blaze, and I'm obsessed! I used it while I was in Austin this past weekend, and I dominated the step game, but yesterday, I barely passed 5,000. I'm committing to getting 10,000 every day- which means more walks, more runs, and more time outside! 

6. Do yoga every day. This is pretty easy for me, because I already do yoga every day. But here, I want to challenge myself to create more flows just for fun. Now that I've started teaching, I find myself only practicing the sequences that I plan to teach, and only attending classes to get inspiration for teaching. No more! I want to actually use my yoga room and challenge my creativity. Maybe I'll start posting some of the flows I create on the blog!!! 

 
 

7. Drink 8 glasses of water per day- and log in the Fitbit app! I SUCK at drinking water. And I know how important it is, so I'm going to start logging it in the Fitbit app. I figure that if I'm relying on it to count my steps, I can rely on it for my water consumption as well. 

8. Drink a green smoothie every day. I was going to say that I should start every day with a green smoothie, but sometimes, a girl just wants some eggs. That's why I'm allowing myself to drink my green smoothie at any point in the day. For example, today, I'm going to have mine for lunch! Boom. Greens = consumed. 

9. Spend some time every day in the kitchen. I'm so excited about The Great British Baking Project- I'm getting started with it today! But I also want to challenge myself to cook more dinners and make the process of cooking fun again. So whether it's time for baking or time for cooking, I'm forcing myself to spend time in the kitchen every day. And no- blending my smoothie will not count as time in the kitchen ;) 

10. Make time for activities and routines by using a planner. I know this seems like a lot to fit into a day, but as I've said before, I thrive when I'm busy. As long as I spend time each night planning out the next day, I know that I'll be able to fit this all into my life without a problem. At least most days- sometimes life intervenes, and I'm okay with that. I just want to challenge myself and start enjoying life again! 

 
 

That's all folks! I'll make sure to report back every so often and keep you all up to date on my progress. In the meantime, wish me luck, because I'm making Mary Berry's cherry cake today, and I'm hoping it won't completely suck! 

Xo, 
Stace 

the GREAT british baking project

Stacey OswaldComment

I'm obsessed with The Great British Baking Show. And I'm not afraid to admit it. 

I have spent entire evenings sitting on my couch, completely engrossed with this show. It's easily the most pleasant, joy-inducing program on Netflix, and as someone who loves to bake (or used to, at least), I'm not surprised that it's become a favorite for me.

Back in college, I had dreams of going to culinary school. During my senior year, I got blessed with the opportunity to co-found a macaron business. I loved it, and it taught me so much, but it also turned my passion into a job. As the orders came flying in, I became more and more stressed out about making the perfect fillings for these little French cookies, and I stopped wanting to bake in my free time. 

 
 

Before co-founding the business, I baked (and cooked) all the time, completely for fun. It was honestly one of my greatest stress relievers. So when I stopped wanting to bake at all, I lost that outlet, and it made the whole process of making food a lot less enjoyable. I started ordering more takeout, and while I'd have my cooking sprees, it was never the same. 

When my eating disorder got really bad, food became a major source of stress, which led me to stop cooking completely. I knew that even if I tried, I would just end up in an unstoppable binge/purge cycle, and it wasn't worth that pain. All of my cookbooks got dusty on my bookshelf, and the only time my kitchen got use was when my boyfriend cooked for me. 

Now, things are obviously a lot better, but it's taken me a while to get my cooking bug back. Recently, I've found myself in the kitchen a lot more, and I think part of it has to do with The Great British Baking Show. Watching it has helped me remember how much joy I used to find in the process of baking- it was never really about eating the food, at least not at first. It was just about spending time alone in the kitchen, and letting my senses guide my creativity. 

 
 

So why am I writing about all of this? I had an interesting thought last week, amidst one of my Netflix binges. What if I cooked my way through the show, just like that one woman cooked her way through Julia Child's cookbook? I want more than anything to rediscover my love of baking, and I know my boyfriend is dying to eat all the amazing food I used to make. 

Pretty much on the spot, I decided to commit myself to baking my way through the show: I'm calling it The Great British Baking Project. Everyone in my family probably thinks I'm crazy, because they know (and I do, too) that it will be hard and time-consuming in moments. But that's the thing- I want a challenge at this point in my life. Grad school doesn't start until the fall, and while I'm working at CAMP as a yoga teacher and a blogger, I have more free time than I feel comfortable with. So I'm ready to work myself a little harder than I'm used to right now, because I'm craving that sense of purpose I get from being busy. 

I'm going to start from Season 1 and work my way through all of the challenges. I'll do an entire episode per week, so next week is "cake week." It consists of a swiss roll, Mary Berry's cherry cake, and miniature British cakes. Unless it's the technical challenge, I'll only use recipes as starting points- I really want to make the recipes my own, just like I used to back in the day. Because I have some experience as a food blogger, I'll photograph the whole baking process, as well as the end result. Hopefully I don't suck! Fingers crossed. 

 
 

I'm starting the day I come back from Austin (AKA Tuesday). I'm planning on doing the swiss roll on Wednesday, the cherry cake on Thursday, and the mini cakes on Friday. Paul's dad comes in this weekend, so I don't want to spend a ton of time in the kitchen while he's here. I think he might enjoy walking into a house full of baked goods, though! 

I won't be too hard on myself if I end up falling short on any given week- life happens, and I'm prepared for that. But I am excited to get back into baking (and blogging!) and I hope that y'all will follow my journey! You can find me on Instagram at @cupcakesnkaleshakes- I'll be posting there most regularly. 

So with that... talk to you all soon. Like super soon. 

Xo,
Stace