Catching Up Over Cookies

by Sara on July 15, 2013

Well, hello there!

Holy moly I’ve missed you all!

In fact, I’ve missed you sooooo much, I turned on my oven for the first time this summer (seriously – the sweltering 100+ degree temps in Boise have made me want to drink smoothies aaaall day long), and baked you a batch of cookies.

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Come and share one with me? Pretty please?

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Or, if chocolate chip cookies aren’t your thing (but seriously, how could that be possible?), might I be able to tempt you with a stack of banana bread pancakes?

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(Recipe below!)

It’s been over a month since I announced my blogging break, and even though the time has flown by (umm, summer, can you pleeease slow down?), to say there’s been a slight void in my life without you guys in it would be a MAJOR understatement. Thank goodness for kitchen therapy to fill the void! In all seriousness though, the outpouring of supportive comments, tweets, and texts I received when I decided to step away for a few months only made my heart swell. Ya’all are the BEST. I’m so grateful for every single one of you! <3

I wish I could report that my break thus far has been filled to the brim with epic adventures and fancy schmancy meals, but the reality is my eats and activities have remained pretty darn normal.

I’m still flipping banana bread pancakes for breakfast, studying for my NASM exam, and working on mastering my fiercest game face at the gym.

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Rawwwr?

What’s different is that life’s speed dial has been cranked up a bit. I’m wrapping up my Boise visit (more like a temporary move) this week, flying back to DC, packing up my room, and moving…all the way across the river!  Needless to say, I’ve been scrambling around like a mad woman trying to get organized this week! More details to come when I make my blogging return, but I promised you all I’d pop in to say hello in July, so here I am!

Since I have a tendency to ramble on and on and on in recap posts, I’m going to save your sanity (and my own ;) ), and do this update by the numbers-style. However instead of summarizing a weekend, this one will cover the things I’ve been doing, the products I’ve been loving, and the recipes (just one, actually), I’ve been cooking over the past month.

Ready or not, here we goooo!

Onepeanut butter explosion last week. I promise I have more exciting topics to discuss with you today than messy nut butter jars, but I’m curious, does this happen to any of you on a regular basis?

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I know situations like this could be avoided if I’d just give in and buy the “regular” peanut butter that I grew up with—you know, the kind that’s ready for spreading the second you open it? But I’m sticking to my guns on this whole natural-oils-that-separate thing, gosh darnit.

Peanut butter stirring explosions could also be avoided if I wasn’t such an overzealous mixer. Or, if I bought one of these nifty peanut butter stirrers. But then again, if I had a stirrer, I wouldn’t get to do this:

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Cleaning up exploding peanut butter jars is so much fun!

Fifty-eightInstagram photos taken. I couldn’t cut social media out of my life completely, so instead of sharing my eats, recipes and workouts on the blog, I’ve been IGing them.

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What I love about Instagram is that it’s SO easy. Just take a pic, post a message, and bam – done! I’ve discovered an extremely inspiring community there, too – very similar to the blog world, but without the time commitment. Win-win! However Instagram will never replace blogging for me; I’m way too chatty to be limited to small word limits. ;)

Twenty two – hours spent road-tripping to Montana to celebrate a wedding. Fact: I have a hard time sitting still for more than an hour, so long car rides require very frequent stops along the way. And on this particular trip “stops” meant run-down gas stations and porta-potties. ;)

The scenery sure was beautiful, though!

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Threekaraoke songs sung at a cowboy bar. I don’t hold back when there’s a karaoke opportunity! The bridesmaids took Katie out for a wild bachelorette night (not really) on the town three nights before the big day, and a few of us tore up the stage.

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The action shots are too incriminating to share, but this one was taken before we made our debut.

Songs sung: Sweet Home Alabama (in honor of the bride’s origins), Love Shack, and my absolute favorite karaoke song EVER – Red Neck Woman. 

One pair of  cowboy boots worn on June 22nd – the actual day Katie tied to knot!

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I wasn’t sure how I’d like the boot-and-bridesmaid-dress look, but it ended up being pretty cute!

IMG_0623Zero - pictures of food (besides the cake) taken during the wedding. I was too busy dancing and toasting, but I did snap a photo of the Pinterest-worthy wedding cake!

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Seriously. I want my cake to look just like that one.

One – minute it took for me to devour my (photographed!) piece of mud pie ice cream cake at the wedding reception dinner the night before.

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Oh c’mon! You know I’m more ladylike than that! BUT, seeing as it was ice cream cake (read: it was melting a mile-a-minute), I had to eat FAST.

Twenty-two - seconds spent regretting the above shovel-in-the-face action.

Twenty-two  million—seconds spent feeling grateful that, “cheat meal” regrets aside, I truly enjoyed that ice cream cake.

Countlessminutes spent listening to this crooner over the past month.

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Mmmm. Loooove me some Phillip squared (get it? Philip Phillips? Heh.)

A few weeks ago, my mom and I swung by Target for a little Friday night fun. Translation: we needed to get life’s necessities – you know,  toilet paper and Lindt chocolate. However, as all well-informed shoppers know, she who enters Target for two items, leaves with 20. One of those items was that CD. I honestly can’t remember the last time I purchased a CD. Maybe 1999? Kidding. It was 2003. Nevertheless, this album is totally worth the $13.99 price tag because I now get to stare at Phillip’s gorgeous face every single day.

One - workout program written. I designed my very first strength-training program…for myself! Even though I’m not yet officially NASM certified, I’ve learned quite a bit about designing fitness programs through my studying thus far, and figured I might as well be my own guinea pig. ;) If you’re interested, you can click on the image below to see what my current regime looks like.

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Nine - years since The Notebook was released in theaters. Ooof. This makes me feel ridiculously old! I found the DVD sitting at the back of my mom’s desk drawer the other day, and took a stroll down memory lane…

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I’m admittedly the epitome of a hopeless romantic, so maybe I’m not the best person to judge what makes a good romance really good (because they all are!). However, I stand by my belief that The Notebook is one of the most romantic movies ever made, not to mention a perfectly juicy summertime story. :)

Onerecipe I have to share. I think you guys already know that I adore pancakes. Any type. However I definitely do play favorites. A few months ago I posted a recipe for banana bread protein pancakes, and while they were good, this updated version is even better.

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The additional teaspoon of baking powder  and 1/4 cup of cottage cheese makes them extra…fluffy!!

Banana Bread Protein Pancakes
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Serves: 1

Ingredients
  • ½ cup cottage cheese
  • ½ banana, mashed
  • ½ cup oats (or quick oats)
  • 2 large egg whites*
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1-2 T. almond milk
  • 1 packet stevia**
  • Caramelized bananas: ½ banana, sliced (optional)

Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or Magic Bullet, and whiz away until smooth. The batter should be relatively thick.
  2. Eat a non-stick skillet with cooking spray (I like coconut oil cooking spray) or butter. Once the pan is hot, pour batter into pan to create four pancakes. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to make the pancakes in two batches. Once small bubbles have formed on the surface, flip pancakes. Cook another minute, or until done.
  3. If making the caramelized bananas, coat a pan with hot pan cooking spray, and cook bananas until slightly browned.
  4. Stack pancakes, adding caramelized bananas between the layers. Top with crushed walnuts and syrup, if desired.

Notes
*You can substitute one egg for the egg whites, however the two beaten egg whites create fluffier pancakes.
**I used stevia, however for some, the banana alone may provide enough sweetness. I suggest tasting the batter before you cook your pancakes, and adjusting accordingly. Honey is a delicious substitution for the stevia, too.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 333 Fat: 7 grams Fiber: 6 grams Protein: 29 grams

Eighty-four -  dollars spent each month on Lemon Cayenne Kevita waters. What was once an occasional treat, has become a must-have morning obsession. I love this drink’s slightly fizzy, spicy kick, and its tummy-soothing probiotic benefits.

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What I don’t love? The price tag!

Fourteen – days before I hit the streets of Charleston, South Carolina with this lady!

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Boston, 2012

If you have any must-do, must-eat, must-see recommendations, please let me know! I’ll do a recap of my adventures there once I’m back!

Two – new Pinterest-found mantras:

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Countless – number of things I’m grateful for today, in this crazy marvelous adventure called LIFE. :D

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Make sure to stop by Healthy Diva Life today for a good dose of happy inspiration!

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I’ll pop back in soon with a Charleston and moving recap. Until then, I wish you a relaxing and joy-filled week!

HUGE hugs and lots of love!

p.s. I apologize for being MIA in the blog world over the past month! I’ll do my best to catch up on each of your blogs this week!

<3

I want to know…

1. How the heck are you?! Fill me in on what you’ve been up to this summer! Do you have any trips on the horizon? Where’s the last place you traveled?

2. Pick your favorite: 

           *Cookies: chocolate chip, sugar, or peanut butter?

Definitely chocolate chip, but if I can snag a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie, all the better!

           *Cake: ice cream cake, “regular” frosting-covered cake,  or cheesecake.

I can’t choose between ice cream cake and cheesecake! Sooo, I’m going to say ice cream cake made with cheesecake ice cream. ;)

3. What’s the last album you bought? Who are you listening to/loving right now?

4. How many days/week do you strength-train or workout?

 

 

{ 69 comments }

All Good Things {+ Some News}

by Sara on June 10, 2013

Aaaaaand just like that, the weekend is over. Happy Monday!

Did you know that Friday was National Donut Day? I didn’t celebrate because 1) I’m not a huge donut person (I still need to get my hand on a cronut, though!) 2) I don’t own a donut pan, and 3) I’m 110% certain I couldn’t make a gluten free version myself.

I did celebrate National Cinnamon Bun Pancake Day on Saturday, though!

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Okay, I totally made that up. According to this list, no day is dedicated to the buttery, soft, sweet, syrupy amazingness that is cinnamon bun pancakes. Talk about tragic. They totally deserve their own day! I did, however, dig into a stack of cinnamon bun pancakes Saturday morning. And I’m not making that up.

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Cinnamon Bun Protein Pancakes
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1

Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup oats
  • ½ scoop cinnamon swirl whey (or vanilla)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 T. coconut flour
  • ½ t. baking powder
  • 1 T. Greek yogurt
  • 2 T. applesauce
  • 1 T. almond milk
  • ¼ t. cinnamon
  • 10 drops vanilla or cinnamon stevia

Instructions
  1. Mix ingredients for the pancakes in a blender.
  2. Use your MASTER pancake-cooking skillzzzz!

 

Those pancakes may have been my favorite meal all weekend, however they had some serious competition.

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Oh, hello, ooey gooey grilled cheese!

I ’m probably the only 27-year-old nutrition student and wannabe foodie who eats grilled cheese sandwiches with carrots and ranch dressing dip. This is embarrassing.

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But in my defense, the bread was whole grain; the cheese was organicand the dressing was made with Greek yogurt.  Does that redeem me as a healthy living blogger?

Actually, don’t answer that. ;)

The very very best meal I ate over the weekend, however, happened Friday night, when I met my high school bestie (and bride-t0-be) at Barbacoa for a two hour gab, gossip and wedding planning sesh (the big day is just two weeks away!).

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Barbacoa is my favorite restaurant in Boise for multiple reasons.

1) An absolutely GOOOORGEOUS location.

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2). Servers accommodate strange drink orders.

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I asked for a mojito made without sugar, extra lime, and light alcohol. Because one drink is more than enough to do this lightweight in for the night. ;)

3). Guacamole carts (and guapo guacamole-makers) are wheeled to your table.

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Ohmygaw, so good.

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4). The serve up the largest, most succulent shrimp ever.

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You may remember me ordering it a few months ago when I visited Barbacoa with my dad. I may be mistaken, but I think they were even bigger this time around. ;)

5). Fresh seasonal salads!

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6). Crazy creative desserts.

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Okay, so we didn’t order dessert this time, but I tried Barbacoa’s fried ice cream pops last summer, and they were absolutely incredible.

Katie and I had some major catching up to do because we hadn’t seen each other since December. I’m the maid of honor in her wedding, so I’ve been busy planning bachelorette festivities the past few weeks. I love this girl so so much. Even though we’re not able to see each other very often, when we get together, it feels like we never spent a minute apart; we’re able to pick up right where we left off!

I feel so blessed to have her in my life, and can’t wait to celebrate this huge milestone with her. Montana barn wedding, here we come!

*****

Saturday morning kicked off with an early easy four mile interval run.

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But the running didn’t stop there; I ended up running errands all day. ;) The highlight was hitting the farmer’s market for fresh produce, where I also managed to snag a few samples…

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and a pretty awesome lunch.

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Tilapia tacos! These were made with fresh-caught tilapia, salsa verde, queso fresco, and cilantro. The only thing that could have possibly made them better would have been a healthy helping (aka: huge blob) of guacamole. ;)

Later that evening, I enjoyed my weekly ice cream fix. However instead of going out, I opted for a more intimate experience with Haagen Dazs.

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So indulgent. So worth it.

I bought this new-to-me flavor a few weeks ago, and now it’s all gone. Sigh. I guess all good things must come to an end. But only for the time being. I will definitely be buying another pint soon!

Another good thing that must come to an end, but only for the time being, is….this blog.

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Okay, not really an end…more like a vacation.

Over the past three years this space has become my creative outlet, my baby…my love.  Sharing my life —eats, workouts, pins, crazy rambles and all—-with you brings me insurmountable JOY. More importantly, though, are the connections and friendships I’ve made in the blogging community.

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HLS 2011

These friendships are true blessings.

However I’ve realized that this summer, I need to focus on the things and people who need me most right now, where I am right now; I need to spend more time making long-held dreams become reality; I need to refocus, re-prioritize, rest, grow, pray, and simply LIVE more life away from the computer screen.

But only for a few months. I can’t imagine life without you guys! The blogging community makes me complete. Your comments, tweets, and emails bring huge smiles to my face every single day. Writing, sharing, and cultivating friendships here is my passion!

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HLS 2012

Sidenote: are any of you going to The Healthy Living Summit this year? I am! :)

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HLS 2012

Which is why this will merely be a break. I promise I’ll be back. With 110% certainty.

Unless, that is, Prince Charming comes galloping to my door, swoops me off my feet, and we elope in Fiji. If that happens, I might not return. ;)

Initially I considered taking acomplete break, but the thought of disconnecting completely made me want to cry a river! So instead, I’m merely going to scale back.

Deep breath. I can do this.

So here’s the plan: instead of posting three times/week, I’ll pop in once or twice during the months of July and August, and then return to regular blogging in September.

When I come back full time, I’ll likely be living in a new apartment (in a new city!), and embarking upon a new journey.

Even though I won’t be blogging regularly this summer, I will be popping into Twitter and Instagram, and sharing recipes and workouts on a regular basis. If you have an IG account, please please please stay in touch with me there? And if you don’t have an IG account, please please please get one right this second, so that I can keep telling you you how much I love you.

Pretty please with a cherry on top?

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No words can describe how difficult this decision has been. Blogging brings me infinite happiness, and sharing in your happiness is something I value so so much. For those of you who blog, don’t worry; I’ll still be stopping by your blogs from time to time to gawk over the amazing food you create and the inspiring lives you lead. :)

I PROMISE I’ll be back to say hi in July…and back back for GOOD in September. Just promise me you’ll still be here?

I love you all!!!

HUGS!

MiMM

This post was part of Marvelous in My Monday, hosted by the beautiful Katie at Healthy Diva Life. Make sure to swing by and say hi to the marvelous (about to have a baby) mama!

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I want to know…

What’s your favorite “this could totally discredit me as a healthy eater” meal?

Grilled cheese (with lots of butter on the bread) or macaroni and cheese. I can’t decide!

Bloggers: have you ever taken a break from writing? If not, have you ever been *tempted* to take a break? Do you find it’s hard to keep a good balance between “real life” and blogging life?

What’s the best thing you ate over the weekend?

Will you be attending HLS this summer? Tell me YOUR summer plans!

{ 67 comments }

What I Ate Wednesday: Wordless*

June 5, 2013

 *Almost. furry alarm clock. morning stroll. cocktail. coffee. critters. “baby” spinach? I <3 breakfast. (2 eggs + 2 whites, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, parmesan; banana drizzled with peanut butter and coconut chips) bridesmaid duties. (source) spring (summer?) cleaning tie! wicked delicious. (2 slices Udi’s Chia Millet bread, roast turkey, avocado, cheddar cheese) yes, please! mastering the [...]

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Things I Might Tell You…

June 3, 2013

if we went on a frozen yogurt date today. 1. It seriously amazes me how rainbow sprinkles (and colorful spoons) completely transform a simple bowl of cake batter froyo into something extraordinary. Is it all in my head? A mental thing? No, it’s for real. On Saturday I swung by Aspen Leaf for what has [...]

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A Cake and a Countdown

May 31, 2013

Howdy, hello, and how are ya? The weekend is finally here, and I’m feeling pretty pumped… about pumpkin! Muahaha. Sorry, I couldn’t help it! I think it’s safe to say that I just penned the #1 contender for corniest post introduction ever. Since it’s Friday–and only because it’s Friday—please forgive me? Please? What I’m trying to [...]

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WIAW: Eating As an (Almost) Everythingtarian

May 29, 2013

Happiest Wednesday to you! Wow. You guys blew me away Monday! The comments about your experiences living with or without “skinny rules” were so insightful and inspiring! Conversations like that are the reason I love blogging; discussing everything from controversial topics to delicious food to fitness fads—and everything in between—truly brightens my day. <3 Speaking [...]

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Without the Skinny Rules

May 27, 2013

 Drink a large glass of water BEFORE Every meal-No Excuses! Don’t Drink Your Calories Eat Protien at EVERY Meal —or stay hungry & grouchy! Slash Your Intake of Refined Flours & Grains NO Carbs after Lunch ( eat ‘lean & green’ at night) Go to bed hungry! These are just a few of celebrity trainer [...]

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Friday Five and the Food List Challenge

May 24, 2013

Happy Friday! This week zipped by crazy fast—however it was one of those weeks where it felt like I worked for hours, but had little to show for it (I’m blaming you, Instagram). Ooof. Aww well, it happens. I’m chalking my lack of productivity up to the fact that I didn’t really start the week till [...]

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Banana Bread Protein Pancakes and Park City Eats

May 22, 2013

Hello, hello and happy Wednesday! I hope your week has been fantastic so far! I came to an important realization during my six hour drive home Monday. Road trip ice cream pit stop take 2: chocolate dipped cone at Dairy Queen—my first in YEARS! The more ice cream I eat, the more I crave it. [...]

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Marvelously Half-Blended

May 20, 2013

Greetings from the middle of nowhere! The dairy cows are mighty friendly ’round these parts. I spent last night in Twin Falls, Idaho—which happens to be the home of Chobani’s largest yogurt plant! (source) Naturally I had to celebrate with a cup of yogurt when I arrived at my hotel. Fresh from the farm! Have [...]

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