Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Heyyo bloggie-boos!

I have exciting news! I'M BACK. But I'm not staying on blogger. I'm moving to Wordpress. Miles better.

Check me out :)

Sweetly Fresh

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

short stress

oof. I lost my SD card. On my way to my photo class. 

Soooo, no bloggy posts for a while. Finding it hard to get into a blogging routine anyways.


For a while, at least.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Photo Block

So far this Friday has been super weird. Every have those days that you want to last and last but fly by? And then you can't remember what you did to fill up all the hours that slipped through your hands? Yeah, it's one of those days. 

Ever since I started nannying at a consistent weekly schedule my weekends have become so precious. I find myself wishing "I wish I could just relax without anything to do today" before I step out the door to head to my nanny fam's house. But every weekend, without fail, I find myself bored out of my wits without any constructive things to do. Thankfully, the weekends coming up are filled scattered with projects so hopefully I won't pull out too many strands of my hair. 

Today began with a bowl of almond butter protein Mesa Sunrise with flax, strawbs and sliced banana. Can't get enough of this cereal bowl.

recycled pic, #toobad
I waited a full two hours after eating before heading out on my run for a few important reasons:

1) last time I went on a post-breakfast run I was DEFINITELY not done digesting. Kapeesh?
2) I really wasn't feeling a run that early in the morning but I knew I needed to get my butt back out there and get training again if I want to actually complete this 5k in July.
3) it was cool and quiet and my patio was the perfect spot to read the local newspaper #likeagrandma

After my run I ran (ha) to my backyard with my camera and tripod to try to shoot a few photos for my class's assignment. We have to shoot a self portrait without a face. For some reason, this is so difficult for me. I'm pretty much on my own because both my parents are out of the house all day, and don't exactly have the time motivation to go scope out some interesting location with perfect lighting, so everything I took seemed rather uninspired. I feel like an author with writer's block. Photo block? I don't know, but everything I take seems cliche and all my ideas seem to impossible to accomplish. AYE.

By the time I tip toed into the kitchen for lunch, I was hungrayyy. My eyes were a bit bigger than my stomach, though, because I definitely felt too full 20 minutes after my meal. Woops.

Knocked out a cottage cheese craving with a half cup of the curds, a nectarine (that really didn't want to be pitted), some cranberry granola and a bunch of cinnamon. For some reason, the cinnamon flavor tasted a little off with the cottage cheese, but it didn't bother me enough to throw everything out. 

Then I heated up a small slice of leftover spinach and mushroom fritata and crumbled it on top of a bed of spinach, tossed with a little cucumber ranch, and ate. 

I should have stopped there, but I couldn't resist a slice of cornbread from Chili night on Wednesday. Ate one alongside a refreshing mix of Zico coconut water and Crystal Light margarita.

Big lunch. Big food baby.

Since then I've been a total slob kabob. I went to Target to pick up a prescription and deposited some checks at the bank but other than that productivity has eluded me. Andy Murray, Ina Garten and Bloglovin' have been my bffs today.


Tonight, finally, I'm getting a taste of a social life again! My girlfriends and I are hitting up Old Chicago (yes, that will make it twice in one week. too bad) and then probs going to see Bad Teacher. Back later :)

Oh yeah, and finally the weather gods heard my cries. It was sunny today!

What do you guys do when you're feeling uninspired?

How do you keep from overstuffing yourself when there are so many good things around to eat (lol)?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Muffin Madness

I am a muffin girl. Given the choice between a brownie, cookie or muffin, I'd go with the muffin. Something about their warm, crumbly goodness is so much more delicious to me than a gooey cookie or chocolatey brownie. One of my goals for the summer was to find and perfect an amazing muffin recipe. 

The first muffins my boyfriend and I made together when he visited a few weeks ago. Lemon Poppyseed muffins have probably always been my go-to muffin and I was excited to finally make them from scratch. The recipe as we made it is definitely traditional -- I'm going to experiment with healthier options soon!

The coconut cranberry lime muffins, on the other hand, are so bursting with wholesome goodness it's hard to call them an indulgence! Definitely a step in the right direction as far as my muffin journey goes, these mini muffs are sweet (but not too sweet), and flavorful despite minimal added sugar and zero butter. Woo! I made them for my book club meeting last night and I'm so happy I was able to come home with leftovers. You guys NEED to make these. The flavors are perfect for summer -- can anyone say BEACH? (The beach sounds so good right now, hopefully this darn weather will start cooperating.)

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins 
adapted from Annie's Eats recipe

- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 T. poppy seeds
- 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
-1/4 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. sea salt
- One stick unsalted butter at Room Temp
- 1 Cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 6 oz. greek (or normal) yogurt

(makes about 12 large muffins)

1) preheat oven to 350 F, line a muffin tin with liners or spray with cooking spray

2) combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. To the dry ingredients at 1 tsp. of vanilla extract and stir to combine.
3) In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together for about 2 minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time, blending well. Mix in lemon zest and 1 tsp. of the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, mix in the dry ingredients in two additions, alternating each with the yogurt, beating after each addition until combined.

4) Fill tins 3/4 full with batter. Bake in oven for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to let them cool completely.

Coconut Cranberry Lime Muffins (Vegan)
adapted from Healthy Exposures

- 1 Cup + 2 T. rolled oats
- 1 T. poppy seeds
- 1 1/2 T. sugar
- 1/4 Cup shredded coconut
- Zest from one lime
- 1/8 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 Cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- Juice from one lime
- 1 T. ground flaxseed
- 1 tsp. chia seeds
- 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
- 3 T. almond milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 T. canola oil (optional: sub coconut oil)
-1/4 Cup dried cranberries (I used craisins because we had them on-hand)

(makes about 30 mini muffins)

1) Preheat oven to 375 F

2) in a small bowl, combine the lime juice, flaxseed and chia seeds. Stir and let sit.

3) in a large bowl, combine the oats, poppy seeds, sugar, coconut, lime zest, salt, nutmeg, flour, baking powder and baking soda.

4) to the lime juice and flax mixture, add remaining wet ingredients, stirring to combine. Stir in the oil, combine everything and stir until well combined. Fold in the dried cranberries.

5) spoon the batter into sprayed/nonstick mini muffin tins until 3/4 full. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until crisp on outside.

WIAW, Better Late Than Never..?

guys guys guys
I've taken so many photos of my food lately but then have run out of time to blog about it. I feel like a blogging fool right now, but I don't want to spend too much time wallowing in my self-centered sorrow so I'll just get on with my eats from WEDNESDAY (woo Hump Day!).

Breakfast eaten leisurely at 6:15am -- keeps me full for an amazing four hours. Yep, this one is a nannying keeper. Vanilla protein and peanut butter mixed into Mesa Sunrise and buried in strawberries and a sliced banana. Doused in milk and eaten with a mini spoon (to slow down my plowing-like eating process)

Snack at 11:30 was half of a Banana Bread Larabar that I wasn't all too crazy about. I really wasn't that hungry for it either, I just wanted something to chew on as the girls ate their lunches. Ate the other half as a sweet end to my lunch, later.

Ate lunch after a quick 30 minute elliptical work out at 1:15. I was feeling eggs today for some reason and decided to fry one up. I topped they egg with a heap of sauteed onion, orange bell pepper, corn, mushrooms and spinach, sprinkled some feta and mixed in some salsa. Really hit the spot!

Cantaloupe Summer Smoothie provided thirst-quenching energy after my work out  

Didn't snack at all during the day -- surprising! Dinner, made by the dad, was vegetarian chile and a cornbread muffin. I topped my small bowl of chile with avocado and a dollop of greek yogurt. I wanted to keep dinner small because I knew I would snackaroo at my book club meeting later that night!

Guess what I did yesterday -- I BAKED! I baked vegan muffins. Yep, and they turned out pretty darn snazzy. Recipe will be soon-coming, as will more posts in general, I promise.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day Recap

So yesterday was a pretty special fathers day because I got to spend the day with JUST my dad! My mom had to take a surprise trip up to her hometown and my brother left for 3 weeks to be a CIT at a camp in Northern Minnesota. Normally, we celebrate mom's and dad's day with breakfast in bed and an activity of their choice, but since my dad had to get up early to drive my brother to the camp bus, breakfast in bed wasn't really an option.

Daddy Daughter Date Night, 1997 :)
After a relaxing morning of reading the newspaper and sipping coffee, we decided to bike to lunch! Taking the lakeside trail it took us about 35 minutes to travel 7 and a half miles to the restaurant. We both ordered salads -- mine, a greek salad with grilled shrimp and his a cobb salad with blue cheese dressing -- and gobbled them up. So yummy! We were lucky enough to have a coupon for BOGO meals if we each ordered drinks, so I had a 1/2 OJ with mineral water and he had an Arnie Palmer (1/2 lemonade, 1/2 tea). Super refreshing. After we got back from the restaurant on our bikes we decided salads were a good idea. We didn't feel sluggish, actually felt energized after our meal -- super rare after visiting a restaurant.

We just lounged after lunch and watched a bit of the U.S. Open (Rory McElroy anyone? ;) ) before church. After we got back from church dinner was up to ourselves! I was feeling an open-faced sandwich and a green monster, so that's what I made!

Berrylicious Green Monster!
- big handful of spinach
- sliced banana
- 1/2 cup frozen berries
- 2 T. ground flax
- 1 C. almond milk
- ice to thicken

Open-faced Spinach, Hummus, Mashed Avocado and Grape Tomato sandwich on Sprouted Wheat bread with a sprinkle of feta on top.

First fruit-ice cream bowl of the summer! Vanilla ice cream with a sliced peach, cinnamon and whipped cream.

Dad got creative with his dinner, too (and a little wild with portion sizes... what else is new?) Avocado, tomato, spinach and bell pepper with swiss melted on top. He had the other half of my smoothie, too. :)

How did you celebrate Fathers' Day with your dad?


Badger Pride Last Season
Heyya! This morning I'm up bright and early to get me some Badger football tickets. They go on sale at 7:30, but knowing how I hate being in a rush, I woke up at 6 to get my morning routine straightened out before I settled into my competitive seat infront of my laptop. Basically, there are only enough tickets for a puny amount of the students, so competition is FIERCE. I'm feeling especially competitive because last year, I was late by about 30 seconds and didn't get any -- I ended up buying them for double the price from a grad student off craigslist. Yeah, rather not have to do that again!


So this morning I had some deeelicious oats. I saw the one last peach remaining on the fruit stand and instantly knew the flavors I wanted to combine for the perfect summer oat recipe. Excellent! 

Summer Peach and Vanilla Oats

In the oats
- just under 1/4 C. rolled oats
- just under 1/4 C. oat bran
- 1 T. chia seeds
- 1/2 C. almond milk + 1/2 C. water
- about a 1/4 C. natural applesauce (added once oats begin to thicken)
- a generous sprinkle of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

On top
- 1 ripe sliced peach
- 1 T. coconut butter
- 1/3 C. vanilla granola
- More cinnamon!

Enjoyed with a bowl of fresh strawbs and a cup of coffee. Perfection.

I'll be back later with a post recapping Dad's Day yesterday. Have a wonderful morning!

Did/do you participate in your school's school athletics and spirit?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tutorial: How To Roast Your Own Peppers!

I love the deep flavor of roasted bell peppers, and previously got that flavor from a jar. A few summers ago, when experimenting with a mediterranean (of course) salad recipe that called for roasted red bell peppers, I decided to roast some myself since I didn't have any jarred peppers on-hand. It turned out to be super easy and super satisfying to roast them myself. When you roast them yourself, you can control the sodium and oil content -- both of which tend to be really high in jarred roasted red peps. You can't achieve the deep, almost smokey flavor of a roasted pepper if you eat them from the jar, either. Here's how I roast mine!

First, choose your peppers. You can use full-size bell peppers of any color as well as baby bell peppers (of any color). My favorites are orange and red.

Next, chop off the top of the pepper. Remove the stem and save the pepper flesh surrounding it. You can roast that!

Slice each pepper down the middle and remove the seeds. Once the seeds are removed, flatten the pepper against the cutting board. The flesh might tear a bit -- that's ok! If you're using large bell peppers, you can slice them smaller if you'd prefer -- it might make removing the skin later a bit easier.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lay the flattened peppers on top.

In the oven, move the top-most rack up to the highest notch and set the oven to broil (This is what I do because I don't have a broiler specifically, but if you have a broiler, use it!)

Place cookie sheet in oven and let peppers roast for 10-15 minutes. Keep checking peppers and take them out once the skins have blackened and look bubbly.

Immediately after removing peppers from oven, CAREFULLY transfer them to a bowl and cover with a lid or with saran wrap. This traps any steam and helps loosen the skin so it's easier to remove. Keep them covered for about 15 minutes.

Remove the peppers from the bowl and remove the skin. It should be pretty easy to peel off with just your fingers, but the tougher parts can be removed by gently nudging a sharp knife between the flesh and the skin.

Your peppers are now ready to be used! You can drizzle some olive oil on top, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, and eat them plain or on a salad. Add some deep roasted pepper flavor to pesto or hummus. Top a pasta dish with roasted peppers and feta cheese. Get creative and experiment!


Each serving of roasted peppers (1 and a half large peppers) contains 55 Calories, practically 0g fat, 4g fiber, and 377mg of Potassium.

One red pepper contains 103% DV Vitamin A, 349% DV Vitamin C, 24% DV Vitamin B6 and 19% DV Folate (as well as many other minerals).

Vitamins A and C are very important antioxidants that work together in the body to prevent cell damage. Antioxidants in general help prevent naturally occuring free radical damage by neutralizing the radicals. 

The high antioxidant content in red peppers improve cardiovascular health (free radicals have been shown to aggregate the buildup of bad cholesterol in arteries). Vitamin B6 found in peppers is important in reducing Homocysteine levels in the blood, a chemical shown in research to be related to heart disease. 

Vitamin A has been researched recently to be preventative in Lung Cancer development. Peppers high in Vitamin A may help prevent Lung Cancer!

Bell Peppers also improve eyesight and prevent the development of Cataracts. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Awkward and Awesome Thursday!

Inspired by the beautiful Sydney of The Daybook (whose blog makes me so fired-up for living. you need to check it out if you haven't. her personality is amazing and zest for life infectious. Love!) I'm doing an Awkward/Awesome thursday post, because, well, I live for awkward (and sometimes awesome) moments.

}} Going through with an imaginary wedding with the 5 year old I nanny because I couldn't bring myself to say we couldn't get married, both being girls. We even had a first dance.
}} Coming up with what I thought was a stellar idea for a fashion show with the 3 and 5 year old girls I nanny that ended with them both in tears.
}} Being too lazy to go inside and pee while reading cookbooks on the patio. Lesson learned after I basically had to crouch-run to the bathroom. (TMI? hah)
}} Going to the grocery store with a $4.00 off $40.00 coupon and only spending $31.00, also being in too much of a rush to go back and add in an item to get the discount.

}} Getting paid! WHOOP. Definitely needed after shelling out for a lens -- a relatively inexpensive one at that.
}} Watching a blah morning turn into a gorgeous afternoon
}} Making a delicious dinner for my wonderful family
}} Getting ready to spend a relaxing night by myself: Yoga, Reading, Making popcorn and watching a movie. Mmm :)

Tomato, Cucumber and Avocado Salad

Freshly baked Italian Loaf

Velvety Roasted Asparagus Soup

Yesterday, a rainy morning and stormy evening were interrupted by an afternoon of passing clouds and shining sunlight. I seized the moment to practice shooting with my new lens. Here are some shots of my front and back yard that I liked a little :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Salad, A 'Za and A Smile

I don't know about you, but I feel like the addition of grains to a salad make it so much more interesting and appealing, not to mention satisfying. Last night I was in charge of coming up with dinner for my family  and knew that I wanted to make some sort of quinoa-spinach salad to use up the huge bag of spinach in our fridge that expires soon. I'm a fan of anything with a Mediterranean influence, and found a recipe for a Middle-Eastern inspired dressing that I wanted to build off of. The recipe for the dressing originally called for yogurt, but all we had was greek yogurt and I thought that would be too thick to dress the salad. I decided to omit the creaminess of the dressing and left it oil-based.

Moroccan Honey Lemon Dressing
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1.5 teaspoons natural honey
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil, whisked in to the above ingredients slowly to create a smooth emulsion
- salt and pepper to season

Into the salad I tossed a tonnnn of fresh spinach, 1 cup of cooked quinoa, 1 can of tuna, roasted baby bell peppers, 1/2 of an avocado, kalamata olives and feta cheese

I was in such a rush to chow that I forgot to snap a pic of the finished salad! Here is my already-nibbled-on plate.
Would you guys like a tutorial on how to roast peppers yourself?

Tonight we made pizzas! I topped a loaded veggie pizza. The more toppings the merrier!

Pre-Oven: Olive oil, garlic salt and oregano-seasoned crust topped with fresh basil, spinach, cherry tomatoes, button mushrooms, bell peppers, black olives, and 2% shredded mozz

Random pic of an already-eaten, post-run orange

Operation Beautiful Award
I am so humbly honored to be a recipient of the Operation Beautiful Award by the gorgeous, wonderful Allison! The Operation Beautiful seeks to replace the seemingly-ever present negative self-talk with positivity and a love for unique and individual beauty. As a recipient, I have to answer a few questions and nominate others who I find worthy of the award.


3 Things You Like About Your Looks
- My eyes
- My legs (calves!)
- My toes -- so random

3 Things You Appreciate About Your Personality
- I am kind. I am naturally empathetic and it's very hard for me to willingly hurt someone else's feelings, even if it benefits me or someone else.
- I'm laid back. I don't stress out about small things (for the most part) and can (usually) keep a grounded perspective during stressful times.
- I'm a dreamer. I have a big imagination that stretches into the plans I want my life to include.

Something You Find Beautiful In Other People
One thing I find absolutely captivating in others is humility. Willingness to serve others for the sole purpose of helping (read: no selfish gains like resume building, character building, or research). True humility is so rare that when I see a person who possesses the quality I can't help but be awed.

Award As Many People As You Like and Let Them Know!