Healthy Brownies. Say whaaat?

Carley S. wrote, “I would love to see a healthy way to make brownies! If that’s possible. Haha.”

Well, Carley, you’re in luck. I knew the person to ask for this task. A cave girl! Shannon of Cavegirl Bakes had just the recipe, because she’s in the business of healthy baking. In fact, in addition to being a PR maven by day, she trains and inspires others to lead a healthy lifestyle. And she bakes! I taste tested these brownies myself and am thankful to Shannon for allowing me to pass this recipe along to you!

Double-Down Monkey Protein Brownies

Her recipe for Double-Down Monkey Protein Brownies offers a double dose of banana and chocolate thanks to both chocolate and banana-flavored protein powder, plus mashed banana and cocoa powder. These flavor bombs are satisfying while being grain-free, dairy-free and – shockingly – sugar-free. The bananas and small amount of agave nectar make them plenty sweet. Plus, they are packed with protein and healthy fats from the almond butter and eggs.

These and other batches of “Paleo and Primal” baked goods can be ordered for delivery nationwide through Shannon at shannon@badassfitness.net. Learn more about Cavegirl Bakes gourmet muffins and brownies!

Cave Girl Bakes Double-Down Monkey Protein Brownies

Double-Down Monkey Protein Brownies from Cavegirl Bakes
Makes one batch of about 16 brownies

4 bananas (3 mashed, 1 sliced)
3 eggs
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup cocoa flour
1 scoop each of GNC Lean Shake Rich Chocolate and Banana
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoon butter, coconut oil, or ghee
1/2 cup almond butter
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease an 8×8 baking pan.

Mix the three mashed bananas (setting aside the sliced banana for the end) and all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl using a hand mixer.

Stir in the sliced bananas and the chocolate chips (if using chips).

Pour the batter into the greased pan, spreading it evenly.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean (these will be fudgy and moist).

Try not to devour them all at once!

Nutritional info per brownie:
185 calories, 3 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbs, 6 grams of protein and 12 grams of sugar (mostly from the bananas)




Two Years Married to My Best Friend

May 21, 2011 stands as the happiest day of my life. Better than bid day 2001 at the University of Florida. Two years ago, I married my best friend.

I told Josh (between tears) during our rehearsal dinner that he was the most interesting person I knew. That is really the best compliment I could pay someone with whom I will spend the rest of my life. Caring, smart, supportive, handsome, well-dressed, funny, anticipating my moments of hunger…all bonuses. But interesting is something harder to find.

Josh, I am so proud to be your wife. Marrying you is the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m so glad you asked! I love our adventures, whether traveling or bee-bopping locally. And I love the moments when we are just at home on the couch with our little family…our pups.

I wanted so badly to remember every second of our wedding day and still vividly recall so many details and happy moments. Josh once told me, “I think Heaven will be us reliving our wedding day.” I have to agree. The sun was shining along the Indian River in beautiful Stuart, Fla., we were surrounded by the people we love most in the world, the drinks were flowing, the band was playing, and I’d just married my favorite person. It was the best day!

Our amazing photographer Esther Louise captured moments we’ll forever cherish. Here are a few {More details and photos from our wedding day in this Style Me Pretty post from 2011}. Happy anniversary, my JDA!




Hats off! Or…on?

Never mind the sun-shielding practicality of most hats. Hats can make an outfit. They can dress you up or down, or just hide the fact that you haven’t showered in a while. Whatever the topper you choose, mind these Ps and Qs.

Knowing when and where hats are appropriate is a matter of respect, and there is a bit of history to it! According to Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition, the removal of a hat was not just for better eye contact. It states: “When a man of lesser rank entered the dwelling of a person of higher rank, he removed his hat or helmet. Baring his head was a sign of vulnerability and showed that he posed no threat, essentially acknowledging that the person of higher rank had power over him.” Going up the chain of command, the king would leave his crown on, unless attending Church, acknowledging the spiritual authority.

That’s where we get the saying, “Hats off to you!” It means you are saluting someone or showing admiration.

EP’s 18th also has an awesome chart detailing the whens and the wheres of hat etiquette for men and women, which inspired my super-distilled cheat sheet for happy hat wearing:

There are always exceptions, and as Emily Post explains, women’s “fashion hats” do not apply to all of these situations. Thank goodness, because I’d very much dislike taking off a fancy fascinator every time I met someone new at a friend’s wedding.

The type of hat also comes into play. For instance, it’s a good idea to avoid wearing a baseball cap to the office or on formal occasions – out of respect to the workplace or the hosts/occasion. I must admit I’ve worn a baseball cap into many a casual dining establishment, because the alternative would not have been pretty. It’s always good to know what’s polite…but I will not pretend disguising bedhead doesn’t outweigh proper etiquette sometimes.

On a visit to Charleston, South Carolina, my husband and I stopped into the Goorin Bros. hat shop off King Street. I left with the Lady Eileen hat, which I’ve been able to enjoy on a few sunny and cool days in Florida this season. The Goorin Bros. hats make me want to jump back in time (or onto the set of Downton Abbey). Founded in 1985 in Pittsburgh, Goorin Bros. has a friendly and knowledgeable staff which made the experience more like buying a wedding dress than a hat. Check them out the next time you are near one of their locations!

And now for gratuitous hat photos along with some Charleston beauty shots from our trip!




Coming Soon: Pun-day Mondays!

Mondays can always use a little brightening, and I always enjoy an opportunity to be punny…leading to the addition of Pun-day Mondays! Some puns will fall flat, some will bring giggles, and hopefully many will be worth repeating. Sharpen your pun-cils, and start brainstorming. Then, visit the contact page to join the fun and share your pun for a chance to be featured. I am wide o-pun to topics and would love to feature fresh material, like this one submitted by Minda C.: “I tried to catch some fog. I mist.”





Speakeasy Engagement Party

Geoffrey, a dapper father of two amazing kids, and Katherine, a brilliant and beautiful triathlete, found each other at just the right time in their lives, and I’ve loved watching their romance grow. G popped the question in the fall, setting their wedding-planning year into motion.

I was honored when Katherine asked me to be in her bridal party and was eager to start planning the first celebration alongside her local bridesmaids, Brandi, Brittany and Mandy. We enjoyed brainstorming, crafting and creating an engagement party for the adorable couple, and I was excited to host the evening at our place. We decided on a speakeasy theme with mood lighting, gilded boozy-bottle décor and 20s attire.

Our unique version of this Wedding Paper Divas invite helped set the theme into motion for a roaring engagement party. Guests RSVPed to our party-specific gmail address and google phone number (Great idea, Mandy!), where they could receive the speakeasy password, “manatee.” The password was selected for no reason other than the bride-to-be’s irrational fear of the gentle sea cow.

Liquid Leaf-painted jars and clear mason jars were sprinkled around the party and illuminated with a mixture of real and battery-operated tea light candles.

Beer and wine bottles from the hostesses’ homes, plus some collected from a local watering hole, were spray painted in silver and gold and placed in clusters with candles. Getting the labels off the bottles required a long soak in a soapy cooler + a Brillo pad.

Brittany’s pretty damask ribbon added a nice touch around a grouping of bottles and to a gorgeous feather arrangement (which I neglected to capture).

Guests could take their pick of flapper flair. We created complimentary hair do-dads using assorted feathers and hair clips from the craft store. A basket filled with 20s-era props was also nearby for those looking to ham it up. Chalkboard clips made easy labels and complimented the speakeasy theme. We relocated our kitchen chalkboard to the fireplace and added the couple’s names using chalk pens, mimicking the invitation font.

At the bar, a 20s drink was in order, so we did a little research and selected “the Bee’s Knees,” a gin-based drink. I’d say it was definitely more gin-based than juice-based. Lemons and fresh local honey made it a sweet signature beverage in addition to beer and wine options. The Pandora station played Jazz Age tunes until we got a little crazy with the iPods later in the evening.

At the appetizer table, we included a few of the bride’s favorites, such as bruschetta and of course the Junior League Feta Black Bean dip. The delicious strawberry cupcakes were homemade by bridesmaid Brittany – her striped cupcake liners and turquoise dessert stands were a pretty addition to the color palette.

On the patio, an overturned Jack Daniels half barrel (Home Depot) with a glass top (Bed, Bath & Beyond) created a rustic, speakeasy place to rest a beverage. The little chalkboard buckets were a Target dollar-bin find, and they looked super cute with the couple’s initials. Thankfully, the yard was in bloom, so bunches of camellias in buckets helped dress up the patio.

Guests kicked it up celebrating Katherine & Geoffrey. And most importantly, K & G looked like they had a blast. Happy engagement, you two! We look forward to your big day and every celebration along the way! We love you!




The Toastmaster’s Companion: A Proper PA

When hosting, toasting or roasting, it’s not quite the same when no one can hear you. A public address system, or PA system, gives words that extra boost when the guest list goes from a gaggle to a herd. While in a previous career post of mine, our marketing department kept a set of amps and a microphone in supply to help event music and remarks travel the extra mile. I’m now in the market for my own mini PA system for parties, public relations professional needs and the karaoke potential.

Getting on the loud speaker is not necessary at every shindig. Hosts and hostesses should consider the size of the crowd and the appropriateness. Are remarks expected? Will it disrupt more than it will enhance the gathering? Wedding toasts are a different beast altogether and a topic for another day.

When there is an opportunity for a brief-yet-meaningful toast or welcome, a PA system is often a dandy addition, especially for outdoor events. I’m honing in on the options below, and my eyes have been peeled for these user-friendly features: Portable (preferably on wheels), simple / low-tech, sturdy, preferably with an iPod dock, and with both battery-charge and AC options. In the running:

  1. PylePro PWMA100 Rechargeable Portable PA System $71.49
  2. Alesis TransActive Mobile Portable PA System with iPod Dock $199
  3. Ion Audio iPA16 Block Rocker AM/FM PA System with iPod Dock $175.97
  4. DJ Tech iVisa 50 Light Wireless iPod PA Speaker $149.99 (a little too tour-guidey)
  5. Pyle PCMX240I Battery Powered Portable PA System with iPod Dock $182.71




Happy birthday, Mom!

My mother, Pamela Waxler Fogt, is an angel on Earth. It was her plenty-somethingth birthday this week, and while I couldn’t be with her in person to celebrate, I hope she’ll feel my long-distance love through this list of reasons why I admire, adore, love and am thankful for her.

The reasons are endless, but (in no particular order) I’ll stop at around plenty-something:

  • Her voicemail messages
  • How sentimental she is
  • Her green thumb
  • Her civic leadership
  • How proud she is of us kids
  • How she’s managed to look past bratty teen ‘tude moments and remember me as a good kid
  • Her killer gift-basket-making skills
  • Her organization and event-planning skills
  • Her love of Old Florida history and the arts
  • Her desire to protect and support local culture
  • Her volunteer’s heart
  • Her endearing lack of texting skills
  • Her commitment to community
  • Her gift-wrapping skills – while we’d love her thoughtful gifts regardless of their packaging, the love that goes into those details is appreciated
  • Her tuna salad sandwiches
  • How gorgeous she is
  • Her blonde moments – Lord knows I have them too
  • How she pretended to love fishing more than she actually did when she first started dating my dad
  • The hometown newspaper clippings she takes time to mail me
  • How cute it is that she listens to Olivia Newton-John – It’s just so darn cute for some reason
  • How much she loves my dad and the example they’ve set for us kids
  • Her ability to accessorize
  • Her ability to forgive
  • How she used to bring a tray of breakfast, complete with a vitamin, upstairs to wake me up during many a school morning. I know. This is amazing. I didn’t deserve it, but I am not a morning person.
  • Her financial advice
  • How she asks about my friends all the time and truly wants to know details of their lives because she loves them too
  • Her love of God
  • How we cannot go to the grocery store without her running into someone she knows
  • Her adventurous spirit and globe-trotting trips with my Godmom Pam – I want to be like you two when I grow up.
  • Her laugh
  • How she used to stay up late waiting for me to come home and make curfew. Mom, I am sorry for the nights I made you worry. I am sure I will do the same.
  • How good of a sport she was at my bachelorette party, laughing and clapping all the way amid the beer-chugging contest and the drag queens. Yep.
  • Her Delta shine
  • Her kitchen prowess
  • Her deep and long-lasting friendships with her girlfriends
  • The Monkey Milkshakes she used to make
  • I’ll hit a few more foods on this one: Her tuna casserole, No Yolk noodle soups, grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese grits, 5-cup salad…
  • What a softy she is
  • How even the simplest family dinner is sure to include a lit candle somewhere if mom has anything to do with it
  • Her gift closet
  • Her handwritten notes
  • Her voice
  • How she represents the very definition of kindness
  • Her treasure hunting skills / ability to find the look for less
  • How she seems to cry when she sees me cry
  • How I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve heard her curse
  • How she enjoys white wine and keeps my glass full as well
  • How she helped decorate my college dorm and sorority house rooms like we were on “Trading Spaces”
  • The memories she (and dad) have given me of bedtime stories and/or bedtime songs
  • The patience she exhibited during trail-blazing family trips – dad has proven he can take a rented Ford Taurus just about anywhere
  • All the graduations she and dad sat through
  • Her sometimes unruly but beautiful wavy hair
  • How she will do just about anything to help or support members of her family
  • Her Christmas card letters with updates on every member of the family, which I used to groan about but now appreciate and will enjoy looking back on always
  • How far she and dad willingly drive to visit us kids, who moved away from our wonderful hometown of Stuart, Fla.
  • How she’s always asking if we want anything to eat – no one will ever starve in her home
  • How she (and dad) made it to every home game they could for every sport Alex and I played
  • Her health-conscious grocery shopping decisions
  • Her collection of Tri Delta tree ornaments
  • Those days she’d hang out in the car or kill time noodling around at Stein Mart during my middle and high school volleyball practices
  • How as a full-time working mom, she made me feel more loved and supported than any child could hope for

I love you, mom. Happy birthday! Love, Allie




It’s My Prerogative (Netiquette: Part 2)

Guest blogger Sarah Marie Powell shares more helpful netiquette advice that will have you bopping to Bobby Brown while freshening up Facebook:

While researching for last month’s Courteous Contradictions post, I came across some social-network-life-changing information in the 18th Edition of Etiquette. The good people at the Emily Post Institute reminded me of an important fact: It’s MY page.

As long as it’s done in a tactful manner, there is no reason to feel guilty for unfriending or unfollowing someone. Likewise, if someone unfriends or unfollows you, you shouldn’t take that act personally. The world of social media is growing everyday – every minute. It’s your prerogative to mold your experience to be exactly what you want. Remember those you follow affect your online reputation just as much as the words and images you personally post.

Now I’d like to hear from you, OMGG readers. What issues have you encountered in the unfriending zone? How did you handle them? What other netiquette tips do you have? I look forward to your comments!