Zucchini Bread

What do you do with a garden full of home grown zucchini's? Make delicious zucchini bread!

For the past 3 weeks I have been making 2 loaves of zucchini bread a week. Yes, this may seem like a lot but I don't want good vegetables to go to waste so I channeled my inner Betty Crocker and put them to use! I have zucchini bread in my house, my friends homes and in my freezer for a nice winter treat in 2018! 

Below is my "secret" recipe for YOU to try. The applesauce, cinnamon and brown sugar make this bread a moist and flavorful treat. And the best part ... you only need one big bowl for the entire recipe! 

Let me know what you think and if you make any changes be sure to share so I can try. Enjoy!


Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of himalayan pink salt (namaste!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) *I tend to add more because I like nuts and texture

Steps

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottoms of 2 (8x4 inch) loaf pans with cooking spray and/or butter
  • In large bowl, mix zucchini, applesauce, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla and sugar until well blended
  • Stir in all remaining ingredients except walnuts until well blended
  • Add walnuts last if you wish to have a "nutty" bread
  • Spoon batter into pans (and lick the spoon!)
  • Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes
  • Cut a piece and enjoy
  • If you want to freeze, I remove loaf from pan. Once fully cooled wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place in freezer bag

 

Why I Ride...

In just 18 days I will be participating in the Pan Mass Challenge (PMC). For those of you that are not familiar with the PMC, it is a bike-a-thon that raises money for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. 100% of every dollar raised is donated to Dana Farber. Since the PMC started in 1980 the organization has raised over half-billion dollars for cancer research!

I look forward to this event every summer. For over 5 years, I have been volunteering for the PMC with my Mom. There are multiple sites where you can volunteer to support the over 6,000 riders that participate in the event, but our favorite spot is in Provincetown where we have the privilege of watching the riders cross the finish line (including my brother who has finished the race 9 times!). The energy at the Provincetown Inn finish line is hard to put into words. There are smiles, laughs, tears of sorrow and tears of joy. Unfortunately most people know someone or they themselves have been affected by cancer. The finish line is a celebration of life (past, present and future) where everyone comes together in hopes to find a cure. As I type this I get goosebumps thinking of the emotions that surround that day. It's SO special to be apart of it.

This year is an extra special PMC for me. It will be my FIRST year participating as a rider. My mom has a family wedding to attend during PMC weekend so I thought "if I don't have my volunteer buddy, I should ride". So just like that, I registered to ride the 2 day race from Sturbridge to Provincetown. Over the course of those two days I will bike 192 miles (yes you read that correctly ... one hundred and ninety-two miles!).

In addition to this year being my first as a rider, I have the privilege to ride with my brother and as the captain of Team Hologic (where I work!) This is the companies first year participating in the event and it was a natural fit since Hologic develops cancer prevention products for women's health. My hope is that this is the first of many year's Hologic participates in the event. 

I am dedicating my first year as a rider in the PMC to my Uncle Ken. My Uncle Ken passed away over 3 years ago to cancer. He was an AMAZING man whose life was unfortunately cut short by this awful disease. I will never forget his positive energy, polka moves and whoopie pie kisses. He truly was a one-of-a-kind individual who made an ever lasting impact on everyone's life he touched. 

Please help support me as I ride in this year's event. My goal is to raise at least $4,800. You can make a donation by clicking the link below. I appreciate your love and support. "Just keep pedaling!" 

How I hold myself accountable for exercise!

For me, exercise positively increases my physical and emotional state of being. It is my 30 to 60 to some days 90 minutes a day of "Abby time" where I focus on the workout at hand and let go of all the distractions that surround us each day. Like most of you reading this, there are days when I can get up at 5:30am without a problem and workout BUT then there are days when I have zero motivation and just want comfort food and my bed! To try and avoid the latter I have begun to journal my exercise patterns and it has been life changing.

I am one of those people that needs to write things down (hence the blog!) to get my thoughts in order and feel accomplished/focused. It was only natural that I took this approach with my workouts. I have a monthly calendar that sits open on my desk and each day, I write my workout on it (some days I don't write anything because a rest day is needed!). Not only does this allow me to track my workouts but it forces me to be accountable and GET MY BUTT OUTSIDE or TO THE GYM! There is a sense of accomplishment after a workout - I go to my home office, grab my felt pen (my favorite type) and write down what I did that day. It's an amazing feeling to put pen to paper because I know I just took time for myself to do something that makes me happy.  My favorite part is to look back at the previous day, week or month and see what I accomplished. This part is particularly important as I don't think we take enough time to acknowledge where we come from and what we accomplished. We should all take time to be proud of what we have done over the previous time period. Life is not easy so take time (even if it's only 2 minutes) to celebrate and acknowledge what YOU chose to do for yourself!

Whether you have a journal, a friend to text each day (I do this with my sister!) or write a quick note in your phone, write down your workouts so you can track progress and hold yourself accountable. 

Hope this tip helps and let me know what you think! 

P.S. - check out my inspirational quotes that surround my calendar. They are daily reminders I try to incorporate into each day. 

 

Here is my April exercise journal. I have one of these for each month since August of 2016. 

Here is my April exercise journal. I have one of these for each month since August of 2016. 

What are your values?

Hello 2017! I can't believe its been 3 months since my last blog post. Time sure does fly by and I am ready to give you my first blog of the new year. I have to say, I prefer even numbers but I am so happy 2016 is behind me. Although 2017 is an odd number I am looking forward to what it has to bring and so far it has not disappointed! In less than two months I have traveled to 2 new cities (Dallas TX, Alexandria VA), celebrated my oldest niecest 14th birthday, skied Loon mountain and began dating. If this is any indication of what's to come I am looking forward to the rest of the year! 

So that is a VERY quick update on me - now onto the blog...

For a year and a half I have been a Jess Lively groupie! I found her podcast through a magazine article and after listening to just one episode I was hooked! Her positive outlook on life and relationships was contagious and exactly what I needed to get through 2016. 

Jess Lively is dedicated to helping people live from their intuition and values based intentions. At first, I had no idea what she meant by "intuition" and "values based intentions" but I am now incorporating both into each and everyday. After listening to countless episodes (currently 198 to be exact!) I began to get a sense for what these phrases meant and could resonate with her stories/topics. I decided to take it a step further and enrolled in her Fall 2016 Life With Intention Online (LWIO) class. This was a 4 week, online class with Jess and women from all of the world that had one thing in common ... "looking to transform our approach to life". I realize that most of you reading this right now are probably thinking "Abby is crazy" or "has she gone off the deep end" but this coarse taught me SO much about myself that I want to share it with you in hopes that it can give you a new perspective as you start 2017.

Each week during class, Jess gave us new content to review and homework to complete. Now I am not going to giveaway all her secrets but the most important takeaway was to focus my energy on living every aspect of my life with values based intentions. Although you may think this seems easy, it takes ALOT of work to identify what these values are and then deliberately act on them to ensure they are incorporated into each day. During the four week coarse I learned how to "peacefully accept reality and live in the present moment" (aka intuition) and identified the "things that are most important to me which bring fulfillment, joy, peace and are enduring (aka values). We started first by writing down our values for 4 aspects of our life; 1) possession 2) personal habit 3) relationship 4) career. These values were select words or phrases that captured what was most important to me. To give you an example, my values were:

  • Possession: Calm. Beautiful. Joy. Serenity.
  • Personal Habit: Healthy. Simple. 
  • Relationship: Positive. Loyal. Compassionate. Love.
  • Career: Flexibility. Creative. Balance. Financial Independence. 

Although it has been a few months since LWIO these values still hold true for me today. As my life continues to evolve they may change but for now they resonate with me. Once my values were selected, I created a simple sentence that included them to produce my "values based intentions". And here they are:

  • Possession: Create a calm and beautiful environment that exudes joy and serenity.
  • Personal Habit: Explore a healthy and simple life each day.
  • Relationship: Surround myself with positive, loyal and compassionate individuals who appreciate love
  • Career: Pursue a career that gives me the flexibility to be creative, financially independent and live a life of balance.

These values based intentions are my current mantras for 2017 and I can tell you that they are making a positive impact in my life. It is easy to get distracted in today's world but these intentions have forced me to take a step back and focus on what matters to me most. And when you do this for yourself, you become happier and as a result everything around you (work, relationships, etc.) does as well. This result is a by product of the "Law of a Attraction" which is a topic for another day! 

Now it's your turn. What are your values for each of the four aspects of your life? 

It's only appropriate to end this blog post like Jess Lively ends each podcast ...  "May something wonderful happen to you today"!

Source: http://abigailmscott.com/blog/values

How do the Outdoors make YOU feel?

The past month and a half has been full of travel which is both exciting and exhausting. I have been to Chicago, Atlanta and Orlando for work and although I had limited free time to explore I met some amazing people in the Gynecological industry across all three cities.

After busy work trips I always find myself coming home and wanting to connect with the outdoors. Being outside surrounded by nature revitalizes me. It forces me to slow down and be present which can be challenging in the fast past world we live in. Whether hiking, running, biking or going for a walk I crave the fresh air and beauty that surrounds us. It has a calming factor and puts life into perspective. 

I always wondered if others felt this way so I took to the internet in search of other like minded, outdoor females. In addition to following family and friends on Instagram, I follow a number of outdoor photographers and companies including REI, National Geographic, Yosemite National Park and Idle Theory Bus. It was through a post on Idle Theory Bus that I found She Explores. Rachel Goldberg from Idle Theory Bus was featured on the She Explores podcast. Rachel shared her journey about living with her husband James in their 1976 VW Kombi called Sunshine. Rachel and James travel North America and work out of Sunshine. I have always been fascinated by people that "live on the road" as it forces them to live a simple life and enjoy the small things. After listening to the episode and learning about the mission of She Explores I was hooked!  

She Explores is an online community for "Inquisitive Women in the Outdoors, on the Road, and Besides." The founder, Gail Straub (Boston native!) started the website for creative outdoor women to connect, inspire and empower one another. Her site features stories, photographs and artistry by females all over the world. In addition to the website, Gail started a podcast. I LOVE podcasts and find this type of content very easy to consume. I will play them in the car, at the gym or even in the background while cooking or doing chores around the house. 

In Gail's second episode she asked listeners to submit their answer to the question "How do the outdoors make you feel?". Because I have a passion for the outdoors, I wanted to participate. I submitted my answer via a voicemail and didn't think much of it. A few weeks later Gail sent me an email and said she would like to feature my submission on the upcoming podcast! I never imagined this would happen but couldn't be more excited to share my experiences with other outdoor females. You can listen to Gail, myself and other women on Micro Epsiode 3A

Enjoy the podcast and comment below on how the outdoors makes you feel!

Four Eyes!

Anyone that knows me, knows my love for a good pair of glasses. I feel that this necessary accessory (say those 2 words 10 times fast!) is an extension of my personality, so I am always looking for a fun, different frame to accompany me everyday. 

The one problem to fun, different frames is that they are typically expensive. Although I don't mind paying the extra money for something that brings me joy and I wear every day, I have been searching for a quality frame at an affordable price. That's when I found Warby Parker.

Warby Parker's objective is to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses. Not only did the company vision speak to me but I liked their "buy a pair, give a pair" concept. Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses, so the least I could do was try to help this population in my quest for my next frame! 

I took to WarbyParker.com and selected their "Home Try-On" program. I chose 5 frames from their website and had them delivered to my home. The process was convenient, easy and quick. 

 

Here is where I need your help ... 

 

Below are 5 selfies, each with a different Warby Parker frame. Comment below and let me know which selfie you like the best.

Four eyes for life!  

 

Source: www.abigailmscott.com/foureyes

A Farm to Table Dinner Experience

Because I am in denial summer is coming to an end, I wanted to re-live one of my favorite dinners from Summer 2016 with you. 

As a health conscious individual and advocate for "buying local", a farm to table dinner was right up my alley! After running by Peppers Fine Catering on my way to the gym one evening, I noticed they had a sign out front their building promoting a Farm to Table Dinner at Indian Head Farm in Berlin Massachusetts. I was adamant that I would not let this years experience go by without attending, so I went to the farm the next day and bought a ticket. At first, I was hesitant to spend $80/person but I can rest assure you that you get every penny worth and much more.

For those of you that have never been to Indian Head Farm it is an adorable New England farm that has been owned and operated by the same family for over 175 years (yes you read that right ... 175 years). The farm focuses on growing and selling small fruit and vegetables including pick your own berries and flowers. Prior to attending the dinner, I have been to the farm on a few occasions to pick my own flowers. The farm has few rows of various, gorgeous flowers that you can make your own bouquet from. You are given a bucket and scissors. From there, you stand amongst the flowers and make your own creation. If your a gardener like me, its heaven! 

On August 24th from 5-8pm I attended the farm to table dinner. The weather was perfect that evening which set the tone for a great night ahead. After parking at the main farmhouse, I walked down a gravel access road past the fields of flowers and vegetables. As I turned the corner around the greenhouse there was a large open field where the event was to take place. In the field were two long tables for guests attending dinner and two white tents; 1 for live music and 1 for the food. The setting was absolutely beautiful and looked as if it came out of a wedding magazine.

Not only was the setting perfect, but the food that evening was delicious. Indian Head Farm partnered with at least 3 local companies to provide all the food and beverages. Peppers Fine Catering used the fruit and vegetables from Indian Head Farm and the meat from Lilac Hedge Farm to serve an amazing dinner. Wormtown Brewery provided a few beer options that complimented the menu. The menu consisted of the following:

  • Passed appetizers included Zucchini, Lemon & Mint Bruschetta and Eggplant Caviar
  • After that, we sat at the tables in the field and started with our first course which included Chilled Local Corn Soup and Field Green and Herb Salad, Shaved Radish & Herb Vinaigrette
  • Next was the main course which was buffet style and included Nicoise Potato Salad, Braised Cabbage with Apple, Lilac Hedge Ham and Spit Roasted Beef with horseradish sauce and pickled red onion jam  

Everything I listed above was just as good as it sounds. The food was fresh, local and had amazing taste. If your wondering ... I did try everything and yes I was extremely full but it was worth every bite.  

Just when I thought I could not eat any more, everyone was asked to walk back up to the greenhouse where they served coffee and dessert. The greenhouse was transformed into a beautiful rustic coffeehouse where people sat on hay bails and enjoyed the live music that continued. 

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, this event was worth every penny spent. In addition to having a great meal, you were surrounded by like-minded locals and an amazing setting. This night was truly one of my favorite memories of this summer and I highly recommend you try to go if they host one next year. 

Bon appetit!

 

 

Never enough Avocado!

As we enter Labor Day weekend I wanted to share one of my favorite appetizer recipes that you can "make and take" to your holiday parties. 

There are a number of things I love about this recipe including how easy it is to make, how delicious it is to eat and how versatile it can be once complete. You get all of this in just 5 (sometimes I use 6) ingredients! 

AVOCADO SALAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ripe Avocado
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 1 small to medium clove of garlic (minced)
  • Pinch of salt & pepper
  • Pinch of red hot pepper flakes (this is optional but a great addition for a little kick)

DIRECTIONS

  • Peel and cut avocado into chunks
  • Add dressing and mix lightly
  • Let sit in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to an hour before serving cold

The above recipe serves approximately 2-3 people. I typically double the recipe because not only is it a family favorite but I like to have leftovers so I can use it as a spread on my sandwiches and on top of quesadillas. You can serve the recipe with chips (Stacy's pita chips or tortilla chips) or crackers - either are a good complement! 

I hope you enjoy and leave a comment to let me know what you think. 

Happy Labor Day Weekend.

 

Source: avocadosalad

#BlogHer16 and Origin of abigailmscott.com

On August 3rd I left for Los Angeles California to attend #BlogHer16. I had never heard of the conference before my career at Hologic started in February. Hologic has been exhibiting at the event for a few years to raise awareness of their women's health products. Although I was attending the conference as an exhibitor I was extremely excited about the opportunity to connect and listen to other digitally savvy female entrepreneurs. 

So you may be asking, what is BlogHer? BlogHer is the premier conference for women online. According to their website, it is the worlds largest event for women who create content, build communities and wield influence online. Every year, approximately 3,000 individuals attend the conference to listen, learn and network. This years conference featured keynotes from BIG name celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West, Sheryl Crow, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Mayim Bialik. 

The conference was an AMAZING experience on so many levels:

  • As an exhibitor I had the opportunity to meet women and educate them about Hologic's treatment options. I work in Hologic's gynecologic surgery division and it is my responsibility to raise awareness of our products through digital marketing (websites, email, social media, public relations, etc). I had no idea until I joined Hologic that 1 in 5 women live with heavy periods. Put another way ... approximately 10 million women suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding*. Thats A LOT of women! Periods are one of those things that every woman has or had, but we never talk about. At Hologic we are creating a movement by openly discussing the P word (period)! Periods are apart of every woman's (and males - they often get the brunt of it!) life and they should be discussed. Heavy periods in particular are our passion and although there are many different causes everyone should know that there are treatment options to help elevate them. This is exactly what Hologic set out to do and achieved at #BlogHer16. 
  • One of the ways I have been coping with my relationship with Adam is by consuming GOOD content. Whether reading or listening it has been comforting knowing that other individuals have experienced similar situations and survived. During hardships it is easy to get down on yourself but knowing you are not alone is consoling. The content I have been consuming over the past few months has positively impacted my life and I was excited to be surrounded by 3,000 other females in LA that loved content as much as myself. 

#BlogHer16 was EXTREMELY inspiring and empowering. I met so many amazing women (shout out to Whitney Bond and Alex Moroch) with different backgrounds and passions. Although diverse, everyone had one common goal - create GOOD content and share it with the world to help others. Needless to say, I left the conference energized and confident. As a result, I came back to Boston ready to share my story with all of YOU. And that is exactly what I did. Last week, I publicly shared my website on Facebook. I can't thank you all enough for the kind words and support. It is difficult to be vulnerable and open yourself up to the world but I knew I had to take that leap of faith. So many people have created and shared content that helped get me to where I am today. It was only fitting that I do the same in hopes I can help educate and empower all of YOU.

*Cooper J, et al. A randomized, multicenter trial of safety and efficacy of the NovaSure system in the treatment of menorrhagia. J Am Assoc Gynecol Laparosc. 2002; 9:418-428.

July 2016 Favorites

I know I'm a few days late writing/posting my July recap but I figured" better late than never" so here it goes...

July was an EXTREMELY emotional month for me full of ups and downs. I was anxiously awaiting this month to come and go since early 2016.

In February I made one of the hardest decisions in my life. I cancelled my wedding which was to take place on July 16th. As you can imagine, this weekend was full of tears, frustration and luckily some smiles as I was able to face what was to be one of the happiest days of my life and put it behind me. I am not going to indulge on the details around my relationship with Adam but I can tell you that I am a believer of "everything happens for a reason". Adam and I had an amazing relationship for 9 years that included moments I will never forget (living in Salt Lake City, buying our first home, securing dream jobs, etc) and shaped who we are both today. Luckily, we have been able to maintain a relationship through the hardship. A lot of people wonder how this is possible but it works for us and at the end of the day that is all that matters. If there is one thing I learned through the past few months you HAVE to do what makes you happy and focus on those things. For me, Adam is one of those things and I'm grateful for that. 

After going through something this difficult, I have learned that only YOU have the opportunity to control your destiny. I had two paths I could take after going through this: 1) feel bad for myself, continue to cry and be sad OR 2) put the past behind me and continue to live the life I was given to its fullest. I choose #2 and as a result I am sharing my favorite July moments with you.

Rather than sit at home and sulk on the weekend of July 16th I traveled to Washington DC and New York City by myself. As Jess Lively says, I let "flow and adventure" take over and it was liberating. It was important for me to prove to myself that I could successfully travel on my own. I had to build up my confidence and get back in tune with my independence. I did just this!

While in Washington DC I was a complete tourist. This was my first time in the city and I only had 2 days so I walked and explored as much as possible. I toured all of the monuments, White House, Spy Museum, Air and Space Museum and Ford Theater (where Lincoln was assassinated). I averaged ~14 miles of walking each day! On Sunday morning I took the Acela from Union Station to Penn Station in New York City. I highly recommend this form of transportation between the cities - it was easy, reasonably priced, convenient and comfortable (free wifi and much more room than on an airplane). I only had 1/2 a day in New York to sight see and I had my heart set on touring the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. I was at the 9/11 Museum for almost 2 hours. It was an emotional and moving afternoon for me - I'm just happy I got to honor all of those who lost their life on that tragic day. 

July ended with a week long vacation at Cape Cod with my family. My Aunt and Uncle have a house in Brewster which overlooks the Cape Cod Bay. Our days were full of exercise (check out this new trail I found in Wellfleet: Great Island Trail), sun, beach, food, drinks and Cape Cod Baseball (Go Whitecaps!). It was nice to end the month surrounded by my family full of support and love. 

As you can see, July was a busy month for me (emotionally and physically). I explored new cities and learned a lot about myself during one of the hardest months thus far in 2016. The most important thing is ... I SURVIVED! I focused on what makes me happy and executed on it. I proved to myself I can do anything I put my mind to and so can YOU! It starts with a change in your mindset - focus on the positive and anything can happen.