eat tampa bae

mary berry's CHERRY cake

Stacey Oswald1 Comment

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

I've heard of maraschino cherries (obviously), but glacรฉ 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 hasnโ€™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

making SMOO-GURT bowls a thing

Stacey OswaldComment

I know we've all heard of breakfast for dinner... but what about breakfast for lunch? If cozying up to some pancakes in the evening is okay, why can't I have a warming bowl of oatmeal in the afternoon without judgment? Seriously, try it.  

The other day, I decided to make a yogurt parfait for lunch, but I wanted to add in some extra nutrients. I tend to feel a lil guilty if I haven't had any vegetables by dinnertime, so I always squeeze them into breakfast via a smoothie or lunch with a salad. Since I'm so used to making green smoothies, I started to wonder if I might be able to use yogurt in place of almond milk and blend the mixture extra thick to make a smoothie bowl of sorts. I was suddenly so excited by this idea that I had to try it right away, even though it was only 11AM. I eat like an old person, it's fine. 

 
 

The end result is an amazing hybrid between thick coconut milk yogurt and a creamy green smoothie, so I'm deciding to call it a smoo-gurt bowl! I swear guys, I'm going to make this a thing. 

Read on for the recipe, and let me know in the comments if you try it out! 

Avocado Smoo-gurt Bowl

 
 

Ingredients:
1/2 avocado
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk yogurt
1 cup spinach
1/2 frozen banana
1 tsp maple syrup
1 scoop vanilla Perfect Fit protein powder
optional toppings: coconut chips, fruit, granola, whatever you want! 

Directions:
Simply blend all ingredients together and layer with toppings! 
I like to keep things simple :) 

BUSCH GARDENS, vegan style

travelStacey OswaldComment

Paul and I purchased the Tampa CityPASS last weekend at the Florida Aquarium, in the hopes of hitting five major attractions within nine days. The pass is a steal at $99, especially if you can manage to hit all five. But even if you go to only three, like us, you're still getting good bang for your buck. Tickets to Busch Gardens are $79, and the zoo is priced at $27.95, so even if you go to only those two, you're saving money with the CityPASS. Cool, right? 

On the topic of Busch Gardens... DEFINITELY splurge on the Quick Queue passes once you have your admission tickets. They are beyond worth it. Skipping lines is the most gratifying activity in the world, and it allows you to hit all the rides in a shorter period of time. Just don't bother adding on the extra $10 to skip the line for Cobra's Curse (see later section in post regarding this ride). 

The roller coasters at Busch Gardens are INSANE. My favorite is Cheetah Hunt- it accelerates 3 times throughout the course of the ride, and it takes you on a really scenic path through running water and greenery. Plus it's fast, as every roller coaster should be. 

Montu is consistently one of my favorites. Your feet dangle, it does a ton of loops, and it has a long ride time so it's always worth the wait. Can't beat a classic! 

Kumba is consistently rated one of the best roller coasters in the country, for good reason, and it's one of Paul's favorites. It beats you up with lots of quick turns and loops- I always walk off of this one with a slight headache. But worth it if you like big coasters! 

Falcon's Fury is legitimately terrifying. It takes you really really high, flips you sideways so you're looking at the ground (like a falcon- get it???), holds you there for FAR too long, and drops you. I was screaming bloody murder, and I typically don't get scared on roller coasters. So beware, if you're one who gets freaked out easily. 

SheiKra is great, but definitely try to get the front row. It's a ride with an almost 90 degree drop, and you don't get as big of a thrill if your view is blocked by people's heads. Cobra's Curse, BG's newest ride, is cool but not worth the extra $10, as previously stated. It's pretty slow in comparison to the other rides, and it doesn't do all that much. Just speed over there right when the park opens so you can skip the line without the added premium, as it is worth experiencing. 

I loved/hated seeing the animals. Loved because they were super close and extremely beautiful, hated because I despise the idea of putting animals in cages. Are any of y'all torn about zoos? I want to appreciate them for their conservation efforts, but I can never tell if organizations are being honest about their practices. And if I hate Sea World, shouldn't I hate other forms of animal captivity, too? #conflicted

On the topic of food- we happened to go to Busch Gardens the day after embarking on our lil vegan challenge, so it was definitely more difficult to eat there than I anticipated. But we totally made it work! Serengeti Overlook offered a great buffet with several vegan options: potato salad, green salad, quinoa salad, and fruit salad! SALAD FOR DAYSSSS. The chef even came out to walk us through the buffet and point out specifically which items were vegan. I 100% recommend this restaurant- for the food, and its amazing view! 

I already can't wait to go back to Busch Gardens! Howl-O-Scream, anyone? 

PS- If anyone has happened to notice an increased level of photo quality... blame Paul. He's officially the blog photographer, so from here on out, he'll be taking most of the pictures I post. Except food pictures (ie. the ones on my Instagram and even the DSLR ones on the blog), which I will always take. I also do all of my own photo editing.