7 Ways to Use Your Instagram Photos You Might Not Know

1. Make a pillow

One of my personal favorites. Stitchtagram lets you make a collage style photo pillow. Wouldn’t these make a great wedding gift? The site also does clutches and coin purses.

2. Make an iphone case

casestagram

Casetagram allows you to make an iPhone case with either a collage of your instagram photos, or one single image. Possibilities for this are endless… a beautiful sunset, your kids, you and your significant other. Personalizing your phone case is a great way to show off something dear to you.

3. Send them as a post card

postagram post card

This is one I use very often, and am very happy with it! Instead of going through the trouble of printing a photo, buying a stamp and heading to a post office, why not just let an app do it all for you? It’s beyond easy. Import a photo of your choice in postagram, tell it what else to say and who to send it to, and it’s off- postage paid and all for just $1.

4. Wear it as a necklace

instagram necklace

 

Etsy seller CircleAndSpades will create a tile necklace from your instagram photos. Taking the old locket necklace and giving it a twist :)

5. Make a set of coasters

Coastermatic lets you protect your coffee table and show off your vacation pictures all at once. You could even choose photos within a certain color family to keep your decor in mind!

6. Wear them as a friendship bracelet

WearShare creates a water resistant bracelet with your choice of images plus a scannable QR code. These are so fun, I’m sure they’d especially be a blast for a teenager. You could also use these for VIP events, gatherings, company parties- so many different ways you could use these to give a personal touch.

7. Tile a backsplash

 image from http://lynnandtonicblog.com

While it would get a little spendy to tile the ENTIRE kitchen in instagram images, doing a few strategically placed throughout your tile project would look nothing short of amazing. ImageSnap offers them in a number of different projects, even as small as 2″x2″. You could also use 4″ size as coasters!

Any other out-of-the-box ideas on using instagram photos?? Let us know in the comments!

Protein Coffee!

Coffee is easily one of my trickiest vices. If I had my way, I’d start every day with a hot cup of coffee laden with the sweetest, tastiest creamer imaginable. Sugar free? No thanks. Low fat? Heck no! I like it rich and naughty.

However…

This isn’t great for the waistline. A cup like that can run 200 calories plus and full of fat and sugar. Not the healthiest way to begin your morning. I had switched to plain half and half in flavored coffee, which was an okay substitute- higher in fat, but low in carbs and no sugar. Recently though, I had a great idea. Protein coffee!

protein coffee

Simply take about a half scoop of your favorite protein powder (I use Cellucor Whey protein powder in cinnamon swirl- yum!) and mix with a few tablespoons of warm water. I put it in my Magic Bullet to blend until smooth, and to give it a frothy texture.  Add the mixture to a cup of hot coffee and voila! You have delicious, protein rich coffee. If you use the same protein as me, the coffee has 65 calories, 1 carb, no sugar and12.5 grams of protein. Not bad at all!

I also experimented with both unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk. Out of the two, the almond milk was slightly lower in calories and carbs, and actually tasted a little richer. Both were tasty, but you can really get away with just adding warm water. Try it out!

Low fat/Low Calorie Deviled Eggs

Eggs are like little pills of protein- a staple of those looking to lose weight or build muscle (or both!) The problem is, eventually you can get sick of them. Real sick. So I do my best to try and doll them up any way I can. Deviled eggs are a comfort food for me, so I wanted to come up with a way to make them less fattening and dense in calories.

Of course, whenever possible try to get local farmers market eggs! The taste, environmental impact and cruelty factor is worth the extra dollar or two per dozen.

low fat low calorie deviled eggs

Low Calorie/Low Fat Deviled Eggs

3 hard boiled eggs
2 tbsp light Cottage Cheese
1 tsp light Mayonaise
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional- I also add a few generous dashes of Garlic Garni, not super easy to come by but available online and DELICIOUS

Slice eggs in half lengthwise. Discard 3 of the egg yolk halves and put the remaining three in a small cup or mixing dish. Add mayo, mustard and seasonings. Mix well and spoon into egg halves. Optional- sprinkle with Paprika for color!

Macros- Calories: 193 Protein: 25g Carbs: 3.6g Fat: 3g

Top 5 Work Wear Trends, Spring 2013

Sometimes it’s easy to fall into a rut with the clothes we wear to the office. I love that some of the key trends this season can easily be translated into career chic! I picked five of my favorite spring trends and found pieces to match from Spiegel.com and how they can keep you looking current at work without breaking the bank.

1) Black and White- Seen on countless runways, the bold contrast of black and white is hot! Pick graphic prints, and tie in floral to make the look even more fresh for spring. Pair with a pop of color, or go black and white head to toe! Try the Priscila Skirt, $79

spiegel black and white skirt

2) Peplums- An homage to the late 80′s, I was convinced these tops that flare slightly below the waste would just look terrible on me until I actually put one on- they are amazingly flattering for just about ANY body type! They make your waist look slimmer and hide a belly or larger hips. Pair them with straight or skinny pants or a pencil skirt. Try the Hannah Top, $64

spiegel peplums

3) Hankerchief Hemlines- This flowy, asymmetrical hem gives feminine detail to a tunic or dress. To keep it more conservative for work, opt for leggings or opaque tights. Wedge heels and bare legs make this an adorable weekend choice too! Try the Ashley Tunic, $99.

spiegel hankerchief hem

4. Colored pants- Wide leg or skinny- play with colored pants to make a bold statement! Coral is my favorite at the moment, but teal, robin’s egg blue and even yellow are awesome choices. Pair with a nude pump or an equally bold, contrasting colored shoe. Try the Emily Pant, $89

spiegel colored pants

5) The Sheer Button Down- Arguably one of my favorites this year, the sheer button down top super versatile. You can tuck it in, belt it, pair it with leggings- just about anything. The flowy, sheer fabric will stay cool through the summer months- just remember to wear a form fitting cami underneath. I love how the Brooklyn Shirt, $49 plays with a unique shirt tail hemline in the back!

spiegel sheer button down-horz

This is a sponsored post, however all trends and pieces were picked by me! :)

Protein Waffles- Two Recipes

Breakfast can be tricky when you’re trying to watch your carbs, or cooking for someone who needs to be gluten free. I tried two recipes, both were successful (one more tasty than the other) and both are good for different needs.

The first recipe is great for someone who is seriously watching their carbohydrate intake, as they are literally ZERO CARB WAFFLES (!!!). Now I’ll give a disclaimer- these are beautiful to look at, they have a very strange texture. If you compare it directly to a traditional flour waffle, you’ll probably be disappointed.

Zero Carb Waffles

waffles 3

1 Scoop Vanilla Whey Protein Isolate (I use Jay Robb Whey Protein as it is zero carb, sweetened with Stevia and tastes great)
1 Large Egg
1 Large Egg white
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 tbsp water
Few dashes cinnamon (optional)
1 packet Stevia (optional)

Mix all ingredients. Add to waffle iron that has been coated with non-stick spray. Cook 2-3 minutes or until golden. Remove, and add toppings of your choice. If you want to keep with the zero carb theme, try  Walton Farms Zero Calorie Pancake Syrup.

The second recipe was by far the taste and texture winner. These are not carb free, but are definitely lower carb and higher protein. They are gluten free though, so if that is a dietary concern these are a good choice. This recipe yielded some extremely moist, flavorful and delicious waffles. I’ll be making these again for sure- they stand up to even a traditional waffle recipe. You’ll notice they got gobbled up before I could get a good picture!

Low Carb Waffles / Protein Waffles

protein waffles

1 Large Egg
1 Scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 large banana
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (I used vanilla)
1/4 cup oat flour
A few sprinkles of cinnamon
A pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients into a batter, using a fork to mash banana. Add to waffle iron that has been coated with non-stick spray. Cook 2-3 minutes or until golden. Remove, and add toppings of your choice.

Peaches and Cream Protein Shake

I was having a hard time with the idea of choking down another combination of protein, peanut butter and bananas. You can only dress those up so many ways. This combination was light and tasty, and a welcome change of pace.

Peaches and Cream Protein Shake

peaches and cream protein shake

1 Scoop vanilla protein powder (I enthusiastically recommend Jay Robb Whey Protein- hands down the best tasting and only 1 carb to 25 grams of protein with no artificial sweeteners)

1 individual cup of no sugar added peaches

1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (less if you like a thicker shake)

1/4 cup of ice (more or less)

Add all ingredients to blender or Magic Bullet and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Approximate Nutrition Facts: 165 calories, 26g protein, 8g carbs, 2g fat

Fashion find: Must have for spring

I happened across this belt this weekend, and I’m in love! I didn’t give it a second look online, but I saw it in person I had to have it. In fact, I might grab it in a few more colors. This one is Coral, and I have my eye on the neon yellow as well!

Coral Belt

See? The picture online seriously doesn’t do it justice! Skinny Elastic Belt, $12.94 at OldNavy.com. Spring fashion on a budget!

elastic belt

 

 

Perfect Baked Brown Rice

Brown rice, while more healthy and nutritious than it’s white counterpart, is a serious pain to cook. Even when using a rice cooker I’ve had it come out tough and not cooked through. It takes ages on the stove and the hassle had me avoiding it completely for quite some time. When I started baking brown rice all that changed! It comes out perfect every time- fluffy, cooked through and very tender. Plus, it’s about the easiest thing. Put in in the oven and forget about it until it’s finished. The ingredients are basic, and can be adjusted based on your tastes. The recipe makes a big batch, and I keep it in the fridge for easy reheating through the week. Pro tip: This has been SO handy for my healthy meal-prep adventures lately!

Baked brown rice

baked brown rice

-1 cup brown rice (short, medium or long grain)
-2 1/2 cups broth

1. Preheat oven to 375, and boil broth.
2. Pour rice in an 8×8 glass baking dish.
3. Pour broth over rice, stir and quickly cover dish with foil completely.
4. Bake for one hour.
5. Remove foil and fluff rice with a fork. Serve immediately, and store leftovers in an airtight container.

NOTE: You can also just use water in place of broth, but you may want to add about 1/2 tsp of salt and about a tablespoon of butter or oil.

How to make iced green tea that’s NOT bitter

The health benefits of green tea are widely known, and have been for centuries. I’m sure I don’t have to sell you on why it’s good for you. Especially if you’re trying to drop a few LB’s, sipping on green tea is a particularly good idea- it has no calories (if unsweetened!) and gives your metabolism a boost with a low dose of caffeine.

Making a big batch of iced green tea is a great way to make sure you’re sipping it throughout the day- plus it’s way easier on the budget. A 16oz green tea at Starbucks will run you about $2, and when you make it at home the same size serving will only set you back about 20 cents- more or less depending on what grade of tea you decide to use.

One problem I’ve run into in trying to make iced green tea in big batches was it going bitter. This is something that happens easily, even when just brewing one cup. Here’s how I make a big batch of green tea and keep it tasting great.

green tea

1. Open about 15 green tea bags and rope them together by the strings. You’re going to make the tea stronger than normal to make up for the ice watering it down.

2. Measure out about 80oz of water- 10 8oz servings. This isn’t set in stone- you could adjust for taste, but this is the ratio I follow. Put the water in a large pot and put on the stove over medium heat.

3. Allow the water to heat up, but not too hot. You should be able to put your finger in and it not burn you. Don’t let the water boil! It should not even have bubbles forming on the bottom. This is very key to keeping the green tea from getting bitter.

4. Hold the tea bags by the paper tabs and dip them in the water. Swirl around and steep for no longer than two minutes. This is the second important step for maintaining the delicate taste- don’t over steep!

5. Remove pot from heat and remove tea bags. I always press the tea bags out over a strainer to get all the liquid out before discarding.

6. Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate. Allow to cool completely, pour over ice and enjoy!

Easy German Pancakes

This delicious dish is a traditional German breakfast, particularly for special occasions like Christmas! I was delighted making this dish this morning, as I had forgotten how EASY it is. And really, it’s not that bad for you. Since I was lacking a cast iron skillet, I opted to make Mini German Pancakes, and I actually think I might prefer them this way. They bake up into little cups, lending themselves well to filling. Applesauce is a traditional choice, but you could also do maple syrup, various fruits, or just a squeeze of lemon juice and a dusting of powdered sugar. They can also be made savory by omitting the sugar and adding ingredients such as cheese or crumbled sausage.

Easy Mini German Pancakes

Easy German Pancakes

6 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 425. Whisk together eggs, flour, milk, salt and sugar until yolks are incorporated. Don’t over mix- batter will be lumpy. Coat a muffin/cupcake pan with non stick spray. Optional- put a small slice of butter in the bottom of each cup f or a little extra flavor. Pour in mixture. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Be sure to check visually as cooking times can vary- they will puff up huge in the oven! They are done when the edges are a nice golden brown. They will decrease in size as they cool. Serve warm with your choice of toppings.