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Wow! You’ve Got to Try This—Toppings for Roasted Marshmallows

I am in LOVE with marshmallows…and this idea rocks.

Simmer and Boil

How’s this for a fun party idea? Turn toasted marshmallows into something way more delicious by setting out a toppings bar for them. It’s a less caloric approach than s’mores, which (don’t get us wrong, we love them) can be a bit heavy. Set out two sauces—we suggest chocolate and caramel—and lots of fun toppings to “glue” onto the sauce. Go for texture—crunchy toppings like toasted nuts and crushed pretzels, and try out salty toppings to give you that irresistible sweet-salty combo. Check out the video to see how it all comes together.

And for an awesome caramel sauce, try this:
Homemade Caramel Sauce
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk

Combine sugar and water in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring gently as needed to dissolve sugar evenly (about 3 minutes). Continue cooking 10 minutes or…

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Sorority lessons for the workplace: Are you the captain, crew or along for the ride?

Wow- Callie Lately died, but it is time for a revival. With each new adventure I believe there are things to be said. Knots to be tied. Doors to be opened. I think while people are excited to move on and learn, grow and change — every book has a last chapter, every award-winner gets a speech, for centuries people have gotten to say their final words. So while I am here as a new graduate with a Master’s degree and “moving on” yet again, it’s time for some closing remarks. It took me two years to really understand how my sorority experience translates to my role in the workforce, but today I have think I know, and I think this information can help all transitioning sorority/fraternity/involved graduates.

Recently, I attended my sorority’s “graduation ceremony” at my collegiate chapter. I went as a gesture of support for my roommate and the last remaining girls I spent time with (remember I became an alumna two years ago!) While sitting there watching the water works as girls expressed how the past four years were going to be “the best of their lives” and how nothing will come between them and their fellow sisters, I had an epiphany. There are many different kinds of women in this world, and if you can bear with me through the sorority part, I will explain how it is important to decide how your sorority/fraternity/leadership experience will translate into your life.

First of all, I realized that my passion for the chapter I graduated from has remained a constant presence in my life even two years later. However, this is not the case for all alumni, some people put in there time and checkout after graduation. While, every member has a different experience, I’d like to highlight a few characters that can be found throughout life: there are captains, crew members, passengers and an occasional few who fall overboard. Each category has pros and cons, which will now be expressed using this ship/sorority analogy to the workforce.

Ship Captain

This image portrays a captain for a ship. Photo by Bronksi Beat

Captain: Captains are literally the face of who is driving the ship. The president of a sorority generally runs all the meetings, gives speeches at any important event or in emergency situations and of course has the title. Captains are generally leaders who are there to mold crew members and guide them so the ship runs smoothly. However, in addition there is always a “Captain’s dinner” and photo shoots with the captain. Captains get a lot of credit for their service. The passengers don’t really know how the captain is performing his/her duties, but they assume as long as nothing major goes wrong, based on the title, this person should be thanked and praised. Every ship needs a captain, just like every sorority needs a president. These people will go into the workforce focused on making it to the top. This is where the cons come into play. Sometimes, these captain characters are really just taking advantage of the crew and taking all the credit. This is something to watch out for when making friends in the office, these emerging leaders (you’ll know because the ones to watch out for will probably flaunt their credentials) may be so driven to succeed that they are willing to do whatever it takes to reach the top. Thankfully not all captains are like this but be wary. 

Crew Members: While the captain gets the credit, it’s really the crew who are planning the course of the ship. Crew members get passengers ready for any emergency scenarios, they entertain them, feed them, etc. Crew members keep the ship going day in and day out and the ship wouldn’t go anywhere without them. These people exist in a sorority as well, they are usually on the executive board or in director positions. These people are the true movers and shakers, the thinkers, or sometimes as a dear friend put it, the fighters. Crew members have different leadership styles and values but together they make everything flow smoothly (we hope). They may get a brief thank you at the end of the ride, but generally they are faceless individuals. These are the ones that employers should be hiring and putting their creativity to good use. However, instead as a society we always focus on the “captain” while these crew members probably get overlooked when they might be the best candidate for the job. These thankless crew members do what they do each day because they have PASSION! If you do not have passion for what you’re doing, kindly get off the boat and find a new one. The pro of being a crew member is that through thick and thin, you love what you do so much that the praise is unnecessary. The con of course is that while the captain is at his/her fancy dinner and photo shoot, you might be the one who is really driving the ship. No one will thank you for this gesture, and crew members have to maintain a healthy balance of commitment without letting others take advantage of them. Crew members are also charged with the responsibility of being a check-and-balance to the captain. This part of leadership is not only thankless but sometimes can place them as the “black sheep.” As much as it may be difficult to assume the role of someone who is seen as challenging the leader, this is a very necessary and very important role.

Passengers:  The passengers are the majority of people on the ship. They are there for the ride and expect to get out what they paid for (not what they put in, this is strictly a financial transaction). They are either happy because everything is perfect or mad because they aren’t getting what they thought they signed up for. In  the workplace, these people are only there for a paycheck. They come in when they are told to, network with whoever they desire, complain when things are bad, and leave as soon as possible. The passengers expect to be told what to do and if they don’t like it, they expect someone to listen to what they have to say and change things immediately. Just like in school when you get a group project and end up doing all the work, the workplace is often plagued with a bunch of people who are just there to look busy (or look pretty!) Passengers are important because the ship can’t take off without them, each sorority has to have members and I guess the workplace needs people to do the grunt work.

My suggestion in this area is to never find yourself as a passenger (unless you’re seriously going on a cruise/airplane/etc). You definitely don’t have passion if you are just a passenger and there will always be things to complain about in life, if you’re not doing anything to fix/improve the issue…stay home. The pro of being a passenger is the fact that you will still get all the benefits/paycheck without doing much work. The con is probably that you will be overlooked and stay in the passenger role until you wake up one morning and decide to join the crew.

Overboarders: There is not much to say about people who fall overboard. They couldn’t make it. In this arena ships and sororities are generally the same: the passenger tried to party too much, didn’t pay attention to the fact that they were going in a direction the ship wasn’t headed and they fall off. If the overboarder is lucky, someone in the crew will save them and bring them back. In the workplace, sometimes people are struggling for a variety of reasons. It is dangerous to associate with overboarders because they can pull you off the ship with them, however, crew members or passengers should try to help if possible. It may be as simple as offering to help with something. However, some overboarders cannot be saved.

Whether or not you understand the whole ship/sorority workplace analogy, it is important to decide what your role will be in the workplace. Try to be a crew member and remember, when you get that captain role, spend some extra time thanking those who make your job easier. In conclusion a quote by Franklin Roosevelt, “Sail, not drift.”

Till next time,

Callie L.

Underwear blogger’s message to her bullies: It didn’t work, I love my body

While I feel that every single person should strive for a healthy lifestyle, I also feel that the barrage of underweight or unrealistic body images of women we are surrounded by are tiresome. Why can’t we have a variety of women with different shapes, colors and sizes to model our clothing and represent real women? Now, I’m not saying skinny doesn’t exist, and people should always strive to be healthy no matter what their actual weight is, but let’s see a little more variety on TV, billboards, side ads, magazines, newspapers, commercials…the list goes on and on.
I believe this woman has a good message- although I’m not posting any pictures of myself in a bra and underwear online- I think her intentions are genuine and the movement deserves attention!

Underwear blogger’s message to her bullies: It didn’t work, I love my body.

Here’s the image that’s gone viral:

Body Acceptance Movement

Shorten your cook time; use a toaster oven!

sweet potato baked in toaster oven

This sweet potato was baked in my toaster oven and with a little salt, pepper and maple syrup it will taste delicious!

So lately, everyone has been ranting and raving about crockpots and how easy they are to use. Trust me, I have done the same, I especially love this recipe for simple shredded taco chicken that I found on Pinterest and now I constantly have a jar of salsa and a packet of taco seasoning on hand!

 
However, this post is not about all the wonderful recipes and things you can do with a crockpot, but rather its less popular cousin, the toaster oven! I have always been a big advocate of toaster ovens for your typical breakfast foods: bagels, toast, biscuits, etc. But toaster ovens can do so much more, and fast! If you’re like me and need to make small portions (for one or two people) a toaster oven is so much more efficient than using a full size oven. It takes less than 5 minutes to preheat and sometimes can cut cooking times in half as well.

 
Recently I began making baked chicken in the toaster oven, it’s so easy and quick and just like a crockpot, it’s a hands off process. If you’re like me and using a pan to caramelize, mix and cook products doesn’t always end up all that gourmet, just stick to this. I usually take two chicken breasts (or four chicken tenderloins) and marinate them for however long I’m at work for the day (or the marinade I use, Lawry’s, says 30 minutes will do the trick) then just plop them in a baking dish and throw it into a preheated toaster oven at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or so. Take your chicken out and it should be done! Of course for safety purposes always double check and make sure there is no pink in the center.

 
Try this chef’s recipe for something new (below) or for super easy just use this Caribbean Jerk marinade from Lawry’s for full flavor chicken, no other seasoning required. I have also tried the Lemon Pepper flavor and it was pretty much what you’d expect from lemon pepper, a traditional choice.

Another great thing to bake in a toaster oven- potatoes. I baked my first sweet potatoes in the toaster oven the other day and they were amazing. It’s so easy, you preheat the oven to 400 degrees (takes about 3 minutes on mine), wrap a rimmed pan in aluminum foil, stab a couple sweet potatoes and then place them on the sheet. Set a timer for 45 minutes and begin baking!

Baking sweet potatoes in the toaster oven

Go ahead, try to cook whatever you want in the toaster oven: fish, bacon, sausage links, maybe even steaks- I don’t know Youtube it!

Regardless of what you like to eat most, a toaster oven will cut down your cook time and the time you wait for the stupid oven to preheat- not to mention your saving money on energy costs! It’s basically a win/win/win situation, unless you are a family of 10 and cook everything in Sam’s-sized portions. But if you’re like me and just want to eat healthy without eating the same meal five days in a row- go for the good ol’ toaster oven.

Good luck,

-Callie

Trendy Pumpkins 2012 – Not just on the porch anymore!

For the past two years I have posted about what I consider to be “Trendy Pumpkins” (see Trendy Pumpkins 2010 or Trendy Pumpkins 2011) and last year declared it a tradition. Each year around fall I get a huge spike in readers who are once again prowling the Interweb for cute porch-sitting pumpkins. Therefore this year I’m going to stick with my usual pumpkin designs of the year, but I’m also gonna throw in a couple baking recipes because heaven forbid you don’t bake, drink and love all things pumpkin in 2012!

I know you don’t need my expertise as much now with the help of Pinterest, but regardless I still enjoy putting my two cents out there, so here goes:Chalkboard paint pumpkin

Chevron pumpkin Let’s start with a Chevron pumpkin and Chalkboard pumpkin from feeling Lovesome- 

With some masking tape and white spray paint you can easily achieve this look.

Halloween Owl Pumpkin

Or someone might give a hoot about this adorable Owl pumpkin– I found this little guy on HGTV.com.

napkin covered pumpkin finished

I prefer this pumpkin without the pipe-cleaner stem, but that’s just me.

Also, I found this great tutorial to cover a pumpkin (or fake pumpkin for reusable purposes) with a napkin, scrapbook paper or whatever fabric/pattern you want to use! Napkin-covered pumpkin– Super cute.

Use a pumpkin as a drink holder by cutting out the middle and removing the top.

And in case you haven’t seen this Party pumpkin– how neat is that?!

Now for the recipes:

My Favorite Pumpkin RollPumpkin roll

First off I’ll mention my most favorite pumpkin dessert is a pumpkin roll I’ve made two or three times now and I left the recipe here on Callie Lately, so check it out. Callie’s favorite pumpkin roll recipe.

Pumpkin Whoopie

From my best friend Katie, I received a book about making whoopie (not like that!) Inside there’s a recipe for a pumpkin whoopie pie that I have been meaning to try, and I think with fall in the air it’s perfect timing right about now. Here’s the recipe from the book whoopie pies. Whoopie Pies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. brown sugar (doesn’t specify light or dark)
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 1 1/2 c. solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together the first six ingredients (#6 is salt) onto a sheet of waxed paper. Beat together the brown sugar and butter with a paddle attachment in a stand mixer on low speed until combined. Add the pumpkin, then egg, beating well. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Pumpkin whoopie pie

Add the flour mixture and beat on low until just incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Using a small ice cream scoop, drop about 2 tbsp. of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 15 minutes each, or until the cakes begin to crack and are firm to the touch. Let the cakes cook on the sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

For the frosting:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese at room temp.
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter at room temp.
  • 3 1/2 c. powdered sugar (one box)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed. Add the sugar and beat on low speed until combined. Add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium; beat until creamy and smooth (about 4 min).

Low-fat pumpkin cake bars (thanks to Pinterest and She Knows Food & Recipes)

Not only is this cake absolutely delicious, it’s very low in fat and calories because it’s made with no added butter or oil! Serve with low-fat cream cheese frosting for a deliciously deceptive holiday dessert! You might want to double the recipe — this pumpkin cake will go FAST!

Yields: About 16 cake bars

Ingredients:

Low fat pumpkin cake bars

For the cake:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • Cooking spray

For the frosting:

  • 5 ounces light cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds, chopped

Directions:

  1. To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch glass cake plate with cooking spray.
  2. Mix pumpkin, yogurt, vanilla, egg whites and sugar well in a large mixing bowl. Once combined, add in baking soda, baking powder, flour, salt and pumpkin pie spice until fully mixed.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until cake comes out dry when inserted with a toothpick.
  4. To make the frosting: Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla together. Once cake has cooled, frost and garnish with toasted almonds.

Enjoy!

-Callie

I didn’t know I was pregnant- but Target did.

Every time you go shopping, you share intimate details about your consumption patterns with retailers. And many of those retailers are studying those details to figure out what you like, what you need, and which coupons are most likely to make you happy. Target, for example, has figured out how to data-mine its way into your womb, to figure out whether you have a baby on the way long before you need to start buying diapers….

(Excerpt for an article on Forbes.com, read the rest here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/ )

Victoria’s Secret 2012 Bikinis

Last year y’all loved my post about Victoria’s Secret’s newest bathing suits so you could go out and look sexy for spring break, summer and other scantily-clad occasions.

This year I’m bringing back all the strings, strapless and neon to highlight some of my favorites and dish out some more beach body tips.

Victoria's Secret bikini in coral and print

Victoria's Secret bikini in coral and floral print with a boost!

This little number has several assets worth noting– first, the color is so in right now. Coral can be found in all kinds of attire from skirts to jeans but I especially like it on this tropical-themed suit. The cute and sweet floral print top balances the sexy ruched bottoms. Don’t be fooled by the sweetness though, under those tropical flowers is a boost for the girls giving you extra oomph (for those of us that need it)! The pattern is perfect for those of us who enjoy being girly but don’t want to look like a little girl!

One of the reasons its nice to shop Victoria’s Secret is because once you’ve gotten one- you generally know what to order from then on. I can always reference a suit from last year and order a new one online without having to trouble myself with going to a store. The last thing I want to spend my weekend doing is shedding my clothes and agonizing over whether or not the yellow bottoms are better than the lime green on my skin tone or if that top gives me side boob.

So on that note- suppose you order the wrong size or color or you’re just not feelin’ it anymore once your bikini arrives? Well, Victoria’s Secret shipping bags are reusable and you can just slap on the included return handling information and either exchange it or get a refund. Trust me, I know this works because I have even exchanged the same top multiple times with no consequence to me. How convenient!

Neon bikini with animal print bottom

Neon bikini with a muted animal print bottom, perfect for grabbing attention!

So here’s another tip– if there’s anything I’ve learned from my most recent workout habits, neon makes everything look better! After a couple weeks of successful cardio on a schedule, I rewarded myself with some new workout gear. I purchased two VS sports bras, one in neon green and the other neon pink. I walked in front of the mirror and it was like an instant improvement. I can’t explain why but something about neon just makes you look amazing (within reason of course).

This leads me to bathing suit recommendation number two– neon bandeau top with a fun animal print bottom. These bottoms are the same as the first bikini I showed off. There are actually 29 different variations of those exact bottoms and they can be paired with at least 20 different tops so there’s a lesser chance you’ll be wearing the same outfit as the Brazilian babe 20 ft. away on the beach.

Ruffles add volume on to boobs on this bikini

Ruffles add volume to itty-bitties and provide the illusion of bigger cups.

One way you can show off what you’ve got and emphasize your strengths is to consider color and cut that’s best for your body type. If you have small breasts, try a push-up or ruffles. Ruffles can add a lot of volume and don’t have irritation of a bunch of padding. Try this one- (although it has underwire, padding AND ruffles). The same can apply to ruffles on the bottom instead of the top- it adds volume.

Another style that can work wonders is shine. Sequins, metallic and jeweled embellishments are great ways to grab attention in all the right places. However, make sure when you’re rocking the sequin bikini you won’t be snorkeling with barracudas or tanning in the backyard- it might be a little flashy for those occasions.

Color, as I mentioned earlier, is really important to consider when choosing a suit. What looks good on the model might look awful on you (and not always because there a size 0 and you might not be.) I always take my hair color and level of tanness into account before settling on one suit. Sometimes darker colors (like plum or navy) can make a pale person look that much more pale. Go for something more bright and cheery to be safe!

Another important tip is string size! Always remember that if you have any extra fat, the smaller the string, the more it’s going to dig in. If you look better in lacy panties because they don’t create a crease why would you all the sudden spring for the string bottoms?? No. To assure you aren’t emphasizing extra body weight, shoot for a larger band on the side of tops and bottoms (and of course order the RIGHT size, not the size you WISH you were!) For those with bigger breasts and butts, sometimes more coverage is better. All cleavage is not necessarily good cleavage- if you remember one thing in life- let it be that!

More coverage and support bikini

More coverage and support here are better for big breasts, and more flattering too!

Small triangle top and string bottom bikini

Small triangle top and string bottom bikini for smaller butts and boobs works fine.

Here’s an example of basically the same suit with a small set model and a model with larger breasts– notice how smaller goes with smaller and larger goes with larger- this applies to you also!

Finally don’t forget to get a nice glow (in a safe way) before you head out to the beach. Once you’re there use at least 15 SPF to protect (or if you wanna little more UV rays try 8 SPF but anything is better than nothing!) Read some more tips about getting a great– fake– tan on my post about sunless tanners.

So if you can remember to focus on color, cut and body type, you should be golden (literally) this year when showing off your bikini and bod. Enjoy the spring and summer season and don’t forget it’s never too late to be great, in a bikini!

Until next time,

Callie