Fried Chicken & Savory Cheddar Scallion Pancakes

So on Wednesday Georgia saw it’s annual sprinkling of snow.

Actually it was quite a bit of snow, about 5 inches and it stuck where we were in North Atlanta! Pretty impressive! I know a lot of Northerners hate snow (and rightly so, being cooped up in the house is the worst) but for those of us who see it only once a year it’s really a magical sight to see all the trees soddened down with snow and the birds skipping in and out of the snow flurries.

But for whatever reason, whenever it snows I get this INSANE hankering for breakfast food. Pancakes to be exact. I don’t know where it comes from, but it just comes and it doesn’t go away!

Lately I’ve been absolutely craving Fried Chicken and Cheddar waffles from Bantam & Biddy (which are AMAZE-ing by the way, you should go like now) and so with our first snow underfoot, I decided I was going to make just that dish– as conveniently I seemed to have all the ingredients in the cupboard.

There is however one thing that is imperative to chicken and waffles. A waffle iron. BUT I DON’T HAVE A WAFFLE MAKER. You cannot have chicken and waffles without the waffles. 

Or so I thought. BUT YOU CAN have the same flavor explosion with a savory pancake.

Fried Chicken & Savory Pancakes | Sensibly Sharp I affectionately renamed this dish Chicken and Pancake. But it is more than that. MORE.

It’s Fried Chicken & Savory Cheddar Scallion Pancakes. Fried Chicken & Savory Pancakes | Sensibly Sharp

This is the Mecca of all anti-breakfast-hour breakfast foods. I mean, and I say this with all authority, this was hands down THE BEST fried chicken I have ever made in my life! (For those just joining, that is 2 years at it trying to make the perfect fried chicken, I’ve finally nailed it.) And the pancakes?

Can we just say OH MY GAWDD?!

Fried Chicken & Savory Pancakes | Sensibly Sharp

There was so much cheese in the pancakes that it stayed a little soft on the inside and sometimes you would get a little stringy bite of cheese. Then the spicy zing of a scallion comes in, and then you’re questioning to yourself, what else do I taste, is that sweetness? Garlic?

I’m not a wolf down your food type of person. I’m a savor and slow eater.

But this was a whole new ball game.

I stuffed it in my face as fast as my stomach would let it come in! Pretty picture I know.

Fried Chicken & Savory Pancakes | Sensibly Sharp Andrew’s silence while eating the meal was deffeaning also.

This man can’t not talk for 5 minutes, and I think combined we spent a total of 20 minutes in silence with only the sounds of scraping utensils and mild grunting which equated to “pass the syrup, hun.”  Fried Chicken & Savory Pancakes | Sensibly SharpThis may hands down be the meal I request to eat on my death bed.

I’d eat it every day if in 90 days I didn’t have to pick up a wedding dress..

This was the perfect cheat meal to round out a mid-February snowy Wednesday.

This very well may be the “Engagement Chicken” of our generation.

Enjoy!

Fried Chicken & Savory Cheddar Scallion Pancakes

Ingredients

  • For the Pancakes:
  • - 1 and 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • - 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • - 1 teaspoon salt
  • - 1 tablespoon sugar
  • - 1 egg
  • - 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • - 1 and 1/4 cups whole milk
  • - 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar
  • - 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • - 1 scallion stalk, finely chopped
  • For the Chicken {Marinate first then bread}
  • - boneless skinless chicken thighs <- offer the most flavor, but you can use any part of the bird cooking times will vary though
  • For the Marinade:
  • - 1 cup of milk
  • - 1 teaspoon salt
  • - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • - 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • - 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • For the Breading:
  • - 1 and 1/2 cups of flour
  • - 1 teaspoon salt
  • - 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • - 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • - 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • - 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • - 3 tablespoons of milk
  • - Refined coconut oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. For the Chicken:
  2. Combine the chicken tenders with all of the marinade ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Seal the bag tightly and smush it around to ensure chicken tenders are evenly coated with milk and seasoning. Let sit for 30 minutes while you prep for your pancakes.
  3. Make the breading by combining the flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk until well combined, then add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until mixture is evenly clumpy. Note you do NOT want the breading to get wet, it just needs to look flaky.
  4. Add coconut oil to high sided pot (so as to avoid splashing while the chicken fries) and let it heat on medium high while you press the chicken into the breading and set aside. Once the oil is hot enough (water test it) gently place the chicken in the pot and be sure to not over crowd! You don't want chicken to get crowded while it fries. This part is crucial, as you add colder chicken to a hot pan of oil, it will try to reach equilibrium so your oil will lose temperature. So BRIEFLY turn the heat up to high until equilibrium has been met. If you have semi hot oil cooking chicken, you'll end up with soggy bottom chicken, which is not good. Cook each piece of chicken for about 4-7 minutes on each side depending on thickness. If you're not sure if a piece is done, pull it out, cut it and make sure the juices run CLEAR. If clear, the rest should be fine and take them out and place it on a paper towel.
  5. For the Pancakes:
  6. Mix your dry ingredients together and then add in the wet ingredients, leaving the cheese for last. Fold the cheese in. The batter will be THICK. DO NOT try to thin it. It should be like brownie consistency. Set your griddle (I used a cast iron) to medium. I found that cooking pancakes at the level "6" on each side, creates picture perfect, non burnt pancakes. Spray your griddle/ cast iron with cooking spray or use a pat of butter. Use your 1/4 cup to ladle batter into the pan. Wait until you start seeing bubbles on the top side to flip. Cook until golden brown.
  7. Combine chicken and pancakes on a plate, douse in syrup and Enjoy!
http://sensiblysharp.com/fried-chicken-savory-cheddar-scallion-pancakes/

I know this recipe seems lengthy, but if you couldn’t tell, I’m a wordy person so I’m trying to cover all the bases of questions you may have! Hope you get a chance to make it, you will NOT be disappointed.

xoxo- Cynthia

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Wine and Workouts

Earlier, we tucked, pulsed and toned our way through a 45 minute workout with FlyBarre at our Bloggers at the Barre event.

Then, we tucked our tails out of the studio in search of a good meal, but instead found these handsome chaps hanging out in a 1930’s motorcycle adorned with goggles and goofy smiles.
Workout and Wine | Sensibly Sharp

After snapping my camera’s fill of cute faces and waggly tails, we snatched a table at Cru Wine Bar for lunch located in the Avalon. Workout and Wine | Sensibly Sharp Workout and Wine | Sensibly Sharp Workout and Wine | Sensibly Sharp A waiter came around to take our orders and pour us some bubbles.

I’m dying to go to a restaurant with one of those ‘press for champagne’ bells, which I know doubt with our group would have been buzzing all afternoon. PS anyone know of anywhere in Atlanta/ Georgia with a button like this? Just for novelty sake I must go! Workout and Wine | Sensibly Sharp

A fragrant bottle of Gerard Bertrand was passed around the table.

For an inexpensive brut, this is truly one of the best. 
Workout and Wine | Sensibly Sharp Workout and Wine | Sensibly Sharp

Vintage LL Bean Pullover (highly recommend for warmth to stylish to price point ratio) color coral.Workout and Wine | Sensibly Sharp

Soon our food made its way out on beautiful platters, unique cutting boards, steaming cast irons and shapely dishes. Workout and Wine | Sensibly Sharp

I ordered the Fig Bruschetta. Which if you needed any further close up of how amazingly spectacular it was.. Workout and Wine | Sensibly Sharp

Here is it. Grilled bread piled high with fresh gorgonzola and dried figs with a rich balsamic drizzle.

Commence drooling. Workout and Wine | Sensibly SharpWorkout and Wine | Sensibly SharpWhile some people went with salads and one very juicy looking burger, I was happy with my grilled bread bruschetta. 

If you haven’t made a trip to Cru for tapas and a very hefty wine selection, you need to come out at least for this grilled bread treat.

Maybe make a trip with your friends to workout and then go re-hydrate with Mimosas and wine.

xoxo- Cynthia

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Bloggers at the Barre

Have you ever signed up for something and then immediately regretted it? Bloggers at the Barre | Sensibly Sharp Me either.

I have fallen in love with going to the barre.

Not the drinking kind– the prima ballerina kind.

The I’m not a ballerina but I wouldn’t mind looking like one.

Well there are always a few girls in the classes who were actual dancers and they make you feel bad are perfect at every move. Bloggers at the Barre | Sensibly Sharp

But last week, Luisa, Monique and I had the opportunity to work out sans prima ballerina types and we had a class filled with other bloggers working it out with us at our #BloggersattheBarre event! Fly Barre at Avalon was kind enough to host us and a huge thanks to Cassie for helping us put this all together! 
Bloggers at the Barre | Sensibly Sharp

We tucked, pulsed, held, squeezed, cringed, died (literally dying) and planked for about 45 minutes.
Bloggers at the Barre | Sensibly Sharp Amy (our instructor) was always there to fix our position and give us a little more encouragement when we thought we couldn’t do it anymore. Bloggers at the Barre | Sensibly SharpBloggers at the Barre | Sensibly Sharp Bloggers at the Barre | Sensibly Sharp

Last month I had ClassPass, which was amazing because I got to take a lot of different Barre Classes, but this was the first barre I had ever taken with a portion called “Dynamic Arms”.

It was basically 15 minutes of constant arm work with weights, bands and plyometric moves to exhaust and tone your arms. My triceps haven’t worked harder at any class before.

Bloggers at the Barre | Sensibly SharpAfter the workout was over we had a little stretching time. My favorite position in these classes is child’s pose!

If that’s not your favorite pose than you aren’t a true yogi. Only kidding, but it sure does feel good as a nice little break inbetween sets. 
Bloggers at the Barre | Sensibly Sharp

Afterwards we celebrated our hard workout with mimosas and a little giveaway for our girls. We had Valentines day cards from Christen Strang (she’s so talented, I’m using her for my Save the Dates!), a gift card from one of my favorite boutiques South Harmony and the most delicious looking lip balms from Parallel Face and Body. Bloggers at the Barre | Sensibly Sharp

 

Meg (brushing off her fabulousness) and Kelly from Peachtree Roadies || Luisa || Monique || Myself || Mirelle from City Peach 

Luisa’s Guest of Honor Laura || Nicole from Probably Polka Dots || Rachel from Just Peachy

And you may or may not realize that Tucker is sitting front row.

The event was a lot of fun so we scurried around the corner for a little bite to eat.. But I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

xoxo- Cynthia

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Blood Orange Gin Gimlet

I’ve got something fancy pants for you. Blood Orange Gin Gimlet | Sensibly Sharp

It’s the sweet-tangy nectar that is blood orange mixed with the best go-to cocktail at the bar: a classic gimlet.

Utterly refreshing but yet totally winter appropriate. And diet appropriate as it is less than 200 calories.

Which is perfect for the I-have-90-days-until-my-wedding-dress-comes-in anti-diet that I’m on.
Blood Orange Gin Gimlet | Sensibly SharpThis recipe originally started out as what was going to be a blood orange margarita, which HELLO that would be amazing but I had no triple sec so THAT was out!

So, scouring through our barely used dust covered liquor cabinet (we’re horrible drunks) I see a tint of blue hiding in the back.

As I blew off the dust I saw that it was Bombay Sapphire Gin and immediately started racking my brain for the cocktail-du-jour that I was going to serve my guests for our grown up dinner party. 
Blood Orange Gin Gimlet | Sensibly Sharp

And then it hit my like a fat textbook in college: a Gimlet! Delightfully simple and I happened to have all four ingredients in my pantry, so we were set. Blood Orange Gin Gimlet | Sensibly Sharp

For these perfectly pink cocktails, you need Simple Syrup, lime, gin and some blood oranges. Blood Orange Gin Gimlet | Sensibly Sharp

Smash the juice out of one half of a blood orange, boil one part sugar and one part water to make a simple syrup, splash in some lime juice and finish with a generous (because you’ve had a rough week) gurgle of gin!

Exact recipe for those of you who like measurements.

1/2 ounce of simple syrup

1/2 ounce of lime juice

half of a blood orange juiced

2.5 ounces of Gin.

Sugar rim for bonus points. Blood Orange Gin Gimlet | Sensibly SharpShaken not stirred. Then poor your lovely concoction in a sugar rimmed glass, add a wedge of blood orange…Blood Orange Gin Gimlet | Sensibly SharpServe over ice, and voila!

Perfect weekend ice breaker. Or just a perfect pick me up from all those emails you got this week.

You deserve it. Enjoy!

xoxo- Cynthia

Be sure to follow along on instagram and facebook for more behind the scenes looks of Sensibly Sharp!

 

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Frogtown Cellars

It was a wonderful day for wine. We hopped in the car and a cool breeze whisked us up through the North Ga Mountains, down winding roads and plopped us up in front of a quaint little house named Frogtown Cellars. 

Luckily after a few minutes of strategically pushing ourselves through to the bar (who knew, Saturday at 11 would be the most popular time to go to a winery?) we were poured our first drink. DSC_0003

Our friends Drew and Brittany joined us on our tasting adventure. DSC_0005 DSC_0009

Ring (c/o) DSC_0013The whites were brisk and robust. Lovely earthy tones come through much like you would expect from a French wine. You can thank Georgia’s clay for that.
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After our first flight (of two), we went outside to take a look at the view and get a breath of fresh air! DSC_0038

The views weren’t too bad, but it was definitely cold, so in we went for more wine because we hadn’t quite drunk enough yet to keep our bodies warm and buzzed. DSC_0051

Finally it was onto the reds. DSC_0056 DSC_0063

They were more mild in flavor than a red I typically like. I really enjoyed their mixed reds, the Tennat being my favorite. Rich and peppery with hints of sweetness like berry.

I wish I were a wine sommelier so I could convey to you how delicious this wine was. Just know, it needs to be on your “to drink” list.

Preferably with pork with a dried fig spread or sweet cuts of filet with herbed butter.

Mouth is watering, brb. DSC_0069

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and so I decided to take my little glass of wine for a stroll around the property before we had to go back and resume our normal lives outside of the winery. DSC_0089

Jakcet || Shirt (runs small, get one size up) || Jeans || Flats || Ring (c/o) || Necklace || Bracelet || Purse

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The sight of ceiling to floor wood almost undermines the smell of such a rich aroma. DSC_0105 DSC_0115 DSC_0166

This jacket from Anthropologie is probably one of my new favorites. I’ve been looking for a good military green jacket for a while now and none of them were ever flattering enough or too structured.

This one has all the right girly elements with the lace and all the fun pull tabs help transform this jacket into something more night time appropriate. But if you don’t like all the asymmetrical tabs and the lace is too much, this one is absolutely darling.  DSC_0174

 Frogtown used to be dog friendly, until you know, someone had to ruin it for everyone and got into a fight with the Frogtown dog. But they still have plenty of pooches roaming in and out of the facility while you drink your wine.

This little chap was showing off his good side. Draw me like one of your french girls.
DSC_0175Since the party doesn’t end at the bar, we grabbed a bottle and headed out to the patio.

We missed the end of the lunch hour, so what better to do than to drink more wine? *We did have a DD by the way, my fiance who unfortunately gets headaches from certain wines #winesnob drove us home.
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When the bottle was drained, the last thing to do was prove we were at the vineyard by taking loads of pictures in front of the acres of dormant grape vines. DSC_0454 DSC_0484

There was this adorable little gazebo atop a hill on the road that Frogtown was located, and while we tried to take a normal cutesy #RelationshipGoals picture… DSC_0543

We ended up with giggles and windstrewn hair and this is about as good as it gets for us. DSC_0561 DSC_0593Luckily Brittany and I take better pictures!

xoxo- Cynthia

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Chuice

In a quaint warehouse-turned-food-kitchen sat a buffet of treats hiding a secret behind the red wine and champagne punch..

Chuice

A plant based, raw food chewy juice called Chuice. And on that agenda included meeting a CEO and getting beauty tips from a beauty insider for the stars that frequent Atlanta about how health affects our beauty regimen.

I know you’re probably curious, how can juice be chewy?

This juice contains whole pieces of nuts and leafy greens (and beets if you’re drinking the red one) that is mixed together in fruit juices and water for a vitamin packed super food.

I can’t stand beets, so unfortunately I can’t really drink the red one to give you an unbiased opinion on how it tastes, but the green juice is definitely delicious and has many layers of flavors.

Once you get paste the texture, which if you’ve ever drank the mother from Kombucha you can totally get through this drink, you’ll find that layers of flavors emerge: mixed greens, ginger, cilantro, fruits and on and on.

It’s interesting because no two sips are the same. And it’s incredibly good for you too.
Chuice

At the event one of my favorite grab-n-go bars was there as well: Kind. They were so kind to give us a little goodie bag filled with granola, a jalapeno protein bar (delicious!) and some of their classic bars like almond and chocolate! Yum! I spent a good couple of minutes with my champagne mimosa in hand talking to their rep about how she liked working for Kind and how she resisted the temptation to eat all of the kind bars! Ha!

Only kidding.. But not really. I should never work in the food industry. #eatallthethingsChuice Chuice Chuice

^ The peanut butter meal bar that I have in my hand was possibly one of my favorites outside of the delicious Jalapeno Protein Bar.

Soon we were asked to take our seats so we could listen to Lenny Kravitz, I mean Cinna, I mean the CEO of Chuice Ladell Hill talk to us about all the health benefits his juice has lurking inside. Chuice

He explained to us why he didn’t puree his juice to make it one consistency because the act of chewing releases the enzyme amylase which aids in breaking down carbohydrates in the body making your digestion run more smooth.

Then he explained how eating raw is one of the best ways to absorb as many nutrients as possible. We all know this, it’s just really difficult to buy a bunch of celery and eat it in one sitting. Hence why he wanted to create Chuice: an accessible way for modern humans (like you and me, the 8-5 desk dwellers) to get raw nutrients from the things we eat to have a more balanced digestion and life.

Chuice

Next the Charming Ariane who does makeup for the stars came up to speak about how what we put into our bodies truly effects how our skin works. I am so glad that she talked about this because it’s what I’ve been thinking all along: that what and how we eat affects everything from our hair to our skin.

She was truly a wealth of knowledge and I loved listening to her speech. Chuice

Finally the beautiful Luisa from Peaches To Pearls who co-hosted this event informed us about the benefits of maintaining a nutritious lifestyle and how it can greatly affect every facet of our life. Chuice

After one more fill up of the deadly delicious champagne punch, we took notes of the face mask Ariane made out of avacados, brown sugar, olive oil and honey to clear up winter dryness and aid in exfoliation. Chuice Chuice

Necklace || Polka Dot Top (sold out) similar || Sweater (sold out) similar || Trousers || Heels
Chuice

Chuice is truly a revolutionary brand that really focuses on the consumers health and they employ all sorts of helpful tidbits on their website here. Lenny Kravits Ladell Hill is a wellness consultant so he has a lot of helpful information on eating correctly and maintaining a nutrition filled lifestyle on the Chuice Website or the informative website Taste of Earth.

xoxo- Cynthia

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ClassPass Sky Gym

I’ve officially swung into my New Years workout routine thanks to ClassPass!

What I thought was going to be some sort of aerial Tarzan-esque workout actually ended up being a lot of exercises to get you in shape to do your favorite Cirque Du Soleil moves later down the road.

But we still were allowed to swing on the ropes!
DSC_0006 DSC_0008Surprisingly pulling yourself back and forth with your arms while your butt is in a sling is surprisingly difficult (especially after 100 pushups, 5 minute plank and sprints!) But we eventually got the hang of it and were swinging with the best of ‘em! 
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Our trainer, who was cruel and if you said the word “can’t” everyone had to do burpees until he said stop, had us do lying down pull ups and we then moved onto weighted crunches. DSC_0024

Neon Workout Shirt (old) similar || Leggings (old) similarDSC_0030After constant giggles and struggle-busing through the entire workout (#NoUpperBodyStrength) we were finally given free reign to play on the drapes!

I tried my best to be elegant and show off my mighty strength with ease.. 
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But alas, I could barely hold on for more than a couple of minutes without sliding out of the sling or getting some gnarly carpet burns on my hands! You wouldn’t think that satin-y/ silky material would hurt so much, but it leaves your hands cramping and warm. DSC_0046 DSC_0047 DSC_0048

Finally the day was over and Monique, Luisa and I swung off to refuel with coffee at Cafe Intermezzo.

ClassPass is a great concept for those like myself who want to do spin/yoga/strength train/ barre and all sorts of different styles of workouts without paying top dollar for all these classes at different studios. I have really been enjoying things that I don’t normally get to do like this Sky Fit class from Sky Gym in Sandy Springs. It was definitely challenging and my lats were ON FIRE the whole week after! I couldn’t even laugh without a twinge of soreness popping through. But if it hurts that just means it’s working right?

There are 20 ClassPass locations through the United States in most major cities! You can view their locations here. The best part also is that the classes are unlimited. You are limited to three classes at one studio per month, but with a whole host of studios to choose from, it’s well worth the cost (which I believe Atlanta is $79 a month! )

On an affordability versus variety scale this workout program receives a 10! Since all I want to do lately is barre workouts (because I even had a dream about it last night) this is a great value for those who are minding their budget but still want rock hard abs for spring break!

If you don’t want to sign up but think that you might be a prodigy for Cirque du Soleil and want to try your skills you can find Sky Gym here! You’ll definitely want to book a class especially if you like sore muscles for a week after a one hour workout..

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How to Be a Dime without Nickel

Today’s post is getting real, y’all.

I originally began this blog journey in hopes to teach and inspire (much like my favorite blog babe TSC) for healthy, sensible, sharp living! But The Health Conscience Senibly Sharp Dresser didn’t quite roll off the tongue..

So today I’m going to tell you about an allergy I only just recently started suffering from and why you need to keep informed about Nickel (and other heavy metals).

How To Tell If You Have a Nickel Allergy | Sensibly SharpHow To Tell If You Have a Nickel Allergy | Sensibly Sharp

Left: Ear affected by Nickel. Right: Ear not affected by Nickel >> total difference. If you could feel the difference, one ear was on fire as if it had a fever and the other, cool as cucumber.

I haven’t always been affected by Nickel in my earrings until recently. And it was so weird. One day I just had a searing hot pain in my left ear and when I took my earring out my ear started to bleed.

Did I forget to mention if you’re squeamish to ignore this post? But if you want to learn something unrelated to ears, keep reading. 

So I started looking into ways to combat these symptoms and basically there was one synopsis: stop wearing nickel earrings, OR coat your earrings in clear nail polish but unless you use formaldehyde free nail polish, you’re only putting more toxins in your body and I’m on a lifelong journey to detoxify myself so that I can look like I’m 40 when I’m 99 and still kickin’!

Well THAT wasn’t going to be possible because buying nickel free earrings meant doling out the big $$ for not as cute earrings, or subbing for pearls every day, which is what I do almost all the time anyway. Baublebar doesn’t make nickel free earrings and even when you find nickel free earrings (IE most of the time surgical steel posts) the manufacturer uses nickel on the earring itself so my ear breaks out into this HIGHLY attractive rash.

this is a whole-lotta-realness going on, but the POINT is coming.. 

So my point is, if Nickel is affecting our bodies on an appearance level, what is it doing internally?

Have you ever stopped to think about what metals your cookware is made up of? Don’t get me started on the dangers of teflon, if the surface of your teflon cookware is scratched throw it out NOW. If it isn’t, you probably should still get rid of it because it’s slowly toxificating (like this word I just made up?) your body.

Since my mom recently underwent treatment for Small Intestine Cancer, we really started doing a lot of research about what we are putting into our bodies and the methods by which we cook it. Which leads me to say that constant internal inflammation is a link to developing cancer (source). Most of our lives are spent eating food that causes internal inflammation: from carbonated drinks (if you drink diet coke, stop!), sugary-starchy sweets <<bye bye twinkies>>, FAKE sugars (please stop eating these!) and to a LOT of “harmless” preservatives that the American Food Producers like to “throw in” our food for fun. What we found is that nickel is a huge causation of internal inflammation. 

So if you cook with, eat on and surround yourself with this toxic metal, chances are your risk of cancer is going to increase slightly than your friend who cooks on nickel-free cookware and attempts to eliminate it from his/her life.

If you think about how my ear (in above picture) looks after just 6 hours of wearing nickel earrings, think about how my intestines feel after days/weeks/months/years of me cooking with nickel pots and pans? The inflammation and irritation might not be so much noticed because you’ve been around it all your life but if you have any of the warning signs, you might want to join me in a nickel cleanse!

Symptoms of nickel related inflammation in the body are: a constant dull headache (no it’s not just from those 100 emails you got today), dryness and dullness of skin, indigestion and can even lead to ulcers!

So how do you know if your cookware has nickel in it? The magnet test! If you take a magnet and it sticks to the pan, it most likely contains Nickel.

From Dr. Edell, “People who know they’re allergic to nickel should avoid preparing food in stainless steel, and opt instead for enameled steel for stovetop cooking and Pyrex glassware for baking.”

So for cooking y’all know I love cooking on Cast Iron (great for women since we tend to be iron deficient most of our lives), Ikea has great nickel free products for really affordable (college budget!!) prices, and of course Le Creuset is an investment but it is lead and cadmium free and safe to use.

A) I’m not a doctor and I’m not a certified nutritionist and B) I am not you nor do I know how your body reacts to nickel. All I know is that by eliminating nickel from my cookware for the past 4 months, I am less bloated, the dull headache I constantly experienced is gone and my skin isn’t as dry as it was since I’ve gotten rid of the teflon and nickel pots and pans. There is very small evidence that the two are linked (and most doctors don’t think the metals can leech through the pan into your food), but I think that it works for me so I’m going to keep the nickel out of my life as much as possible. However Nickel is a highly toxic metal and I don’t want to add that element willingly to my body.

I still wear Nickel earrings and I don’t ask waiters at restaurants what type of cookware they cook on (because I’m not neurotic), but at home I try to be conscience and I limit my nickel-infused earrings to only a couple of times a week.

My fiance thinks I’m turning into a hippie, but I want to live a long and healthy life and so by association, he can thank me when we’re 120! Ha!

Have a good week! If you have any other health changes you’ve made to your diet, let me know!

xoxo- Cynthia

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How To Ask Your Bridesmaids!

Congratulations, you said YES! You’re on your way to getting married to the man of your dreams and now you need your girls!

So what’s a girl to do to ask her ladies to stand by her side while she says those vows? How To Ask Your Bridesmaids | Sensibly Sharp

Box|| Mini Champagnes || Paper Straws || Washi tap || Gold Letters || Champagne Glass

Make her a kick ass Bridesmaids Box filled with her favorite goodies and novelties to get her amped for the party-of-the-year that IS your wedding of course!

Below are all my tips and tricks on how to ask your bridesmaids to be your main right-hand-ladies that is cost effective and creative! My girls were thrilled and confused  (more on that down the post) but you can check out their reactions here: Caty, Luisa, Monique, Erin and MeghanHow To Ask Your Bridesmaids | Sensibly SharpI started with calligraphy-ing my girls names on the mini bottle of Freixenet (you can find these for about $3 a bottle at your local World Market!) with this gold calligraphy pen. I use it for all sorts of art projects, so it was definitely worth the investment. I actually didn’t even buy this pen for this project, it just worked out that way. 
How To Ask Your Bridesmaids | Sensibly Sharp

Added a little gold monogram to a personal champagne flute! These stickers are not dishwasher safe and if you want a more permanent monogram make sure to check out some of these vinyl creators from etsy! This girl is exactly who I wanted to order from, I just ran out of time/ capital #brokegirlproblems.How To Ask Your Bridesmaids | Sensibly Sharp

Wrapped their favorite treat (my friend Erin just happens to LOVE macarons!) in washi tape for a little Kate Spade-esque feel. How To Ask Your Bridesmaids | Sensibly Sharp

Added some cute paper straws and some pretty sparkly crinkle shred stuffing, and presented them with the box! You can get the crinkle shred in a multitude of colors. Hobby Lobby has a whole aisle dedicated to this stuff and don’t forget your 40% off coupon too!

How To Ask Your Bridesmaids | Sensibly Sharp How To Ask Your Bridesmaids | Sensibly Sharp

I got this pink rose paper from Paper Source on sale last year. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it but I loved it and had to have it. I really love those Kate Spade inspired bridal showers and such so I wanted to set the tone for my bridesmaids with their boxes! How To Ask Your Bridesmaids | Sensibly Sharp

How To Ask Your Bridesmaids | Sensibly Sharp

The funniest thing is that every one of my girls immediately looked inside and said “ooh candy” or “awe little champagne!”, I had to instruct them to look at the lid in which resulted a lot of gasps and screaming, and “OMYGOSH-ARE-YOU-SERIOUS?!”

And hugs. Lots of hugs!

So I would maybe suggest a little straight-to-the-point card that says “will you be my..” in pretty calligraphy if you are going to make them a box!

These were super simple and very fun to put together!

Also extremely reasonable! Together each one of these boxes cost about anywhere from $10-$15 depending on the type of sugary-sweet they got. It was fun gathering all these different elements and putting together something each of my girls will love!

If you are new to Sensibly Sharp you might recall my series I had last year called Wedding Tip Wednesday. Well I am happy to say that after much procrastination (and one wedding date change) I will be reinstating this series for all those love birds out there who find themselves recently engaged or are hoping for a Ring this Valentine’s day in their Champagne! If you want to view old posts from this series you can find them here: one.two.three.four.

If you’re already married, how did you ask your bridesmaids?

xoxo- Cynthia

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Nocciola e Pelle

Somewhere, tucked down a busy street on Avalon Boulevard is a creamery screamering for your attention.

If you haven’t already been to Antico’s new gelateria Cafe Gio in Alpharetta then you need to pop in.

If you have, then you need to go back!

Winter is no excuse not to eat delicious creamy gelato.

Look on the plus side, there will be NO lines!

Hazelnut and Leather | Sensibly Sharp

Jacket (old) similar and similar || Shirt on sale!|| Jeans || Boots (c/o) || Clutch (old) similar and similar || Sunglasses (unique find) similar Hazelnut and Leather | Sensibly Sharp

Half of the establishment is dedicated to the cheesy goodness that is Antico pizza.

The other half, hits you like a refrigerator door opening with it’s icy chill and sweet undertones of home made gelato.

Hazelnut and Leather | Sensibly Sharp

The flavors are simple, but ever changing aside from the classics like oreo and hazelnut, which is what Andrew and I loaded up on. Hazelnut and Leather | Sensibly Sharp

He went for a boring one scooper in a cup, while I went for one huge scoop of Nocciola in a cone! Hazelnut and Leather | Sensibly Sharp

I could hardly wait to pounce on this little scoop of Frozen heaven. I almost couldn’t let it go. Hazelnut and Leather | Sensibly Sharp

Oh man was it good. The best thing about Winter Gelato runs? You don’t have to scarf down your sweets in fear of it melting! And did I mention I didn’t have to wait in line? That was pretty monumental seeing that Antico’s pizza line was wrapped around the building. Hazelnut and Leather | Sensibly Sharp

There’s only one thing left to do once you’re seated with delicious gelato in your hands.. Hazelnut and Leather | Sensibly Sharp

Tuck in!

The Hazelnut hit’s you like the first bite of a Ferrero Rocher candy: it slowly introduces you to the flavor, and then leaves you craving more until you’ve eaten an entire box and have to go get more from the store to satiate the craving.. Unless of course you have self control..

The gelato is deliciously smooth and fresh. I’m always disapointed when the gelato is grainy and has little chunks of ice in it as if it were incorrectly creamed. But Antico really knows their gelato, the only thing it’s missing is the servers shaping the gelato into roses on the cone. Hazelnut and Leather | Sensibly Sharp

We sat lazily at a table lingering the tastes of delicious hazelnut and oreo gelato, but soon the cold got the best of us and we decided since this wasn’t the French Riveria, we weren’t going to attempt people watching anymore. Hazelnut and Leather | Sensibly Sharp

Interested in running over to Cafe Gio for a quick fix? They’re now open at lunch and you can find the directions and menu here.

I love Gelato in the winter because the cold never bothered me anyways.. 

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