Birthday Frosting, Fitness Favorites and Free’s

by Sara on July 30, 2012

Hi! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and that your Monday is kicking off to a marvelous start!

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday, so lots of celebrating was in order. :)

I made one of her favorite desserts, Heath Bar Crunch Cake, which we enjoyed outside early in the afternoon. We wanted to make sure that we’d have plenty of room for dinner at Barbacoa later in the evening!

Let’s take a moment and get up close and personal with that cake.

Unfortunately not gluten free, but I sure enjoyed the whipped cream and Heath bar-coated frosting!

My brother flew in from Washington, DC in time to help liven up the festivities. 😉

I think he was more excited about the cake than Cali, who had her sights set on the happy birthday tiara. 😉

Okay, I lie. The happy birthday tiara stayed on Cali’s head for approximately 1.5 seconds, before she judiciously swiped it off with her paw. :) Oh, dogs.

Earlier in the day, my mom and I enjoyed a batch of  3-ingredient Banana-Almond Pancakes for  breakfast. I can’t get enough of these!

Dinner was definitely the highlight of the day; I enjoyed the most AMAZING  meal overlooking a lake and the Boise foothills. And while the food was incredible—seriously wow-worthy—the “show” was even more so. 😉

Yep, that’s a washboard ab-bearing, chiseled jaw-donning model, moonlighting as a unicorn.

Posing with me.

I’ll be back Wednesday with a full recap! 😉


Ashley posted a fun fitness survey last Saturday, which she originally read on Paige’s blog. Seeing as it’s been months since I posted my last survey, I thought I’d join in on the fun today!


1. Run/workout in the heat and humidity or freezing cold temps and snow?

I have freezing-phobia. And I actually love to sweat. So this one’s easy, bring on the heat and humidity! 😉 No, I don’t really love running outside in swamp weather, but I much prefer it to snow and ice.

2. Washboard abs or flat abs?

Hmm, both? However, washboard takes serious dedication. I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to a 10,000 crunch-a-day gym routine. 😉

3. Dr. Oz or The Doctors?

I don’t watch either, unless I’m at the gym and there’s nothing else on to keep me company. Travis Stork sure is a cutie though! Did you know he was a former Bachelor? (Now married, sadly).


4. Cardio or strength?

I love the “high” I get from cardio—especially running—however, right now it’s all about STRENGTH. Over the past 5 months I’ve packed on 7 pounds of muscle, and I’m not stopping till I get to at least 10! I love lifting heavy.

5. Cravings: Protein or carbs?

crazy large piece of grilled salmon I devoured the other night

Protein! On days I strength train, I have monster cravings for chicken, fish, beef, eggs and protein powder! I love carbs too, but I don’t “crave” them.

6. Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper?

They’re both great, but I like Jillian’s tough love approach.

7. Frozen Yogurt or Ice Cream?

Do I really have to pick? Nope, I don’t; I pick BOTH! I adore ice cream and frozen yogurt, and life without them would be a little less spunky.  But if I had to pick one, I’d go with ice cream because it’s so satisfying. When I eat fro-yo, I’m a bottomless pit. I want more, more, more. 😉

8. To train: Upper body or Lower body?

Upper! Until I started lifting heavy, I had THE scrawniest arms! I’m loving my new muscles!

9. Protein powder or food with protein?

Most of my protein comes from natural sources, but I do love my protein powder. On days I train, I always have a post-workout serving of whey and pre-bed serving of casein. My favorite brands are MRM and Nectar Desserts (whey) and Optimum Nutrition (casein).

10. Lunges or squats?


11. Sweet or salty?

Ideally both at the same time. All of my meals usually include a sweet and salty components. I’m also a huge fan of chocolate with sea salt.

Salty beef jerky with chocolate? Not so much. 😉

Found this at World Market a few days ago!

12. Workout attire: cute or comfy?

Who says you have to choose? Comfy can be cute!

13. Body Pump or Heavy lifting?

Heavy lifting! I’ve actually never done body pump, so I’m biased.

14. Yoga or Pilates?

For strength: pilates. For relaxation: yoga. I’ve been slacking big time on both of these though. One of my August goals is going bring back both into my life.

15. Nike or Adidas?

I was a soccer-loving Adidas girl until I was 15 (did anyone else used to wear Sambas?), but now I’m all about Nike. Right now I’m going ga-ga over these Nike Free’s.



Sidenote: I’m currently wearing Asics, and love them for running. If you run in Free’s, what do you think? Yay or nay? I may buy the above pair this week!

16. Running on the treadmill or outdoors?

If I’m doing a short, high intensity workout, I prefer the treadmill because I can easily control my pace. If I’m going for a long steady run, outdoors all the way.

17. Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s?

I’m not sure I could live without either. I live at Whole Foods (it’s only two blocks from my house, which is  fantastic for my stomach, but not so much for my wallet!). You can’t beat the bargains at TJ’s though! BUT the fresh produce at Whole Foods always wins.

Conclusion: TIE.

18. Summer or Winter Olympics?

Summer Olympics!  Gymnastics and soccer are my favorite events.

19. Exercise classes or Exercise videos?

I actually rarely do either!

20. Steamed veggies or roasted veggies?

Roasted—love the flavor!

Scallops with Roasted Brussels Sprouts--my favorite!

And that concludes the fitness survey! If you haven’t filled this out, I sure hope you do!

Have a marvelous Monday!

As always, huge hugs! <3

Questions for you:

What’s your favorite birthday cake? Has it changed since you were young?

I always requested ice cream cakes when I was little; now I’m happy with just ice cream (candles and WHIPPED CREAM required though 😉 )

What type of running/exercise shoes do you wear? If you’ve tried Nike Free’s, what do you think? Should I order a pair?

Answer any of the questions above!

  • Danielle @Clean Food…

    I’m loving these this or that posts! That cake for your mom looks absolutely amazing!!!

  • Gothextramileblog

    Sweet AND salty – best answer!!!

  • Ashley

    Yay! Happy Birthday to your mama! That is so neat you and your brother were able to be with her on her special day. That cake looks incredible! Good job! I love Nike Frees, but I noticed the support in them didn’t last long for me. I have pretty high arches and I need some extra cushioning.

    • Sara Stewart

      Thanks, girl! Yeah, I’ve heard Nike Free’s aren’t the best for support. I actually have the opposite problem–no arch! My feet cave in, so I need lots of support too! I think I’m going to get a pair and just use them for cross-training. :)

  • Katie

    Oh my gosh you MADE that cake? Your mama’s a lucky lady! Looks like a great birthday… and you guys look SO much alike it’s crazy!

    I like sweet AND salty… PB&J for me, please!

    • Sara Stewart

      Yeah, I made it, but it’s SO much easier than it looks. It’s amazing what whipped cream, chopped Heath bars, and a chocolate drizzle do for cake presentation! 😉

  • Jillian @ Sprinkle Massacre

    The cake you made for your Mom is absolutely gorgeous!!

  • Min

    You have a gorgeous looking family! Happy birthday, mom!! And Cali looks so innocent and happy with that tiara even though she mutilated it shortly after ;). Umm…come visit my blog. You might see something that looks awfully familiar!! Haha! I’ve been trying to incorporate more protein into my diet also..but I’m mostly doing powders for convenience sake. I need to eat real food. Glad you’re doing marvelous in Boise!!

    • Sara Stewart

      Thanks, Min! I still can’t get over our mutual chocolate beef jerky discovery last weekend. So funny!

      I know what you mean about protein powders–they make things *too* easy! I try to prep chicken, salmon, eggs etc. for the week, so they’re easy to grab. That helps alleviate the temptation to mix up a shake! :)

  • Caroline

    Oh my gosh that cake looks amazing! I used to love oreo ice cream cake as a kid – still do! I love carrot cake a lot too now though – I just love cream cheese frosting!

    • Sara Stewart

      I agree with you about cream cheese frosting–it’s THE BEST! It’s actually the only frosting I really like (besides whipped cream). I’ve heard some cupcake shops are now serving shots of frosting. I’d take a cream cheese frosting shot any time, any day!

  • julie!

    holy lord i NEED that chocolate beef jerky NOW!!! haha i’m officially going on a hunt for that asap!

    that cake looks amazing! i actually despise cake! it would be the last dessert on earth i would ever choose – i’m more of an italian pastry or cookie kinda gal 😉

    your biceps look AMAZING girl! keep up the fantastic work xox

    • Sara Stewart

      Thanks, lovie! I’m the same way with cake–I think it’s why I always used to request an ice cream cake on my birthday (I didn’t know I could pick a different dessert, haha). Now it’s ice cream all the way, or bananas foster or creme brulee!

  • Julie

    Love this post, Sara! You have a gorgeous family (and dog! haha). Can you come make that cake for me…like, today? Aaaand, can you please share the recipe? It looks amazing!

    That pic with the model is too funny! Looking forward to the restaurant recap. :)

    I own a pair of Nike Free’s and love them! If you need lots of support, they’re not great, but I love having a little less structure. I say, get them–at least for cross training!

    Favorite cake: Funfetti! Always has been. :)

    • Sara Stewart

      Oh, Funfetti! It brings back so many memories of childhood birthday parties! The cake is super easy! It’s just an angel food cake topped with chocolate whipped cream, heath bar pieces and chocolate drizzle!

      Thanks for the Free’s advice; I think I’m going to get a pair for cross-training, and continue to use my Asics for running.

  • Sally

    As you know, my traditional favorite b’day cake is Graham Cracker Cake, but this one hit the spot this year! Many thanks! Favorites: summer Olympics, salty jerky, comfy workout clothes, and a tie between Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s!

    • Sara Stewart

      Graham Cracker Cake IS amazing, but not quite as pretty as Heath Bar Crunch Cake! Glad you enjoyed it so much. Yesterday really was a fantastic day! <3

  • anne@lovemintchip

    That cake… Oh my GOSH!! I have been dying over those exact same tennis shoes… LOVE THEM!! My favorite birthday cake is hands down mint chocolate chip ice cream cake… shocker :) looks like you had an amazing weekend! Happy happy Monday!!

    • Sara Stewart

      I never would have guessed that mint chocolate chip ice cream cake is your favorite…EVER! 😉 Happy Monday! <3

  • Allyson W Bunker

    Always love your posts! You are adorable!

    • Sara Stewart

      Thanks, Allyson! I hope you’re doing well!

  • Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola

    Aww love the family photo (and your brother is a cutie!) I’m sure your mom loved having her kids around for her birthday! That cake looks absolutely incredible– please, please post a recipe soon! And dying to know how mr. washboard abs fits into the equation! And I agree with you on so many of these answers– who could seriously pick steamed veggies over the gloriousness of roasted?? And when I was a kid, my brothers and I all requested the same birthday cake from my Grandma- she made the absolute BEST cakes!Our favorite was her German chocolate which was a family recipe… I still crave it but haven’t had it in years!

    • Sara Stewart

      Homemade German chocolate cake sounds amazing! I love the coconut icing! The Heath Bar Crunch Cake is super easy! It’s just angel food topped with chocolate whipped cream, heath bar pieces and a chocolate drizzle!

      My brother is moving back to the Bay Area…just sayin’ 😉 Hehe. xoxo!

  • Paige

    Thanks for the link love, Sara!
    I had no idea Travis was a former Bachelor! LOL – kinda figures though, right?

    • Sara Stewart

      Haha, I know! It seems like all the TV hunks and hotties are tied to that show these days! 😉

  • Just_Jac

    Girl your arms look FAB you are seriously rockaaaan those muscles!!!!

    i’m in the market for a new set of kicks so let me know if you DO order them!!

    • Sara Stewart

      Thanks, lady! <3 I'll definitely let you know what I think about the Free's!

  • Sloane

    Those scallops and brussels sprouts look divine! Seared scallops is one of my favorite dishes. And I totally agree with you on the cute/comfy question: I’m just as comfy in lululemon as I am in oversized team-issued adidas shorts, but there’s no doubt lulus are far more adorable! Have a great monday!

  • Jessie

    OMG that cake.. I’m speechless! I used to love oreo ice cream cake, but now I’m completely content with either funfetti or carrot instead. I wear Asics Gel-Neo33, and love them. I used to have Nike Free’s and they actually hurt my knees while running.

    • Sara Stewart

      That’s good to know about the Free’s! I most definitely won’t use them as running shoes, especially since I’ve had knee problems in the past. Thanks so much for the advice! <3

  • Julie Luong

    I love my Nike Free XTs for cross training.

    I used to always get a Baskin Robbins birthday cake. Now I get a fruit tart.

  • Lisa

    You look gorgeous at your mama’s bday celebration!! Love your dress!
    Wow that cake looks extreme! Love it.
    Haha what a sexy unicorn model;)
    I also have been loving those Nike’s, I so want a pair of them solely for the colour. I don’t even care if they are comfy or functional;) haha.
    I actually never ever have liked cake. I also loved the frosting though and toppings.
    Looove you!xo

    • Sara Stewart

      I want a pair of Free’s solely for the color too! That’s a legitimate reason to buy them, right?! 😉

  • Kristen RD

    Loved this!! Love the Nikes..just adorable! I have never tried them though so unfortunately I can’t offer up any advice.
    Happy Birthday to your mom. I was cracking up over that guy dressed as a unicorn! haha.

  • Meg

    HAHA I always wanted ice cream cakes, too love! And now??? JUST ICE CREAM. I have never everrrr been a “cake” girl. I am allllllll about the ice cream, sis. You know that though 😉

    Currently, I am wearing New Balance and LOVE them :) Definitely my favourites EVER.

    I love learning about my sister (and seeing pictures of her sporting her new and hard earned muscles!!!!!!!!)

    I seriously loved this survey SO much :)

    I love roasted veggies too, I much prefer ice cream over fro yo, I rather run on a treadmill, I am definitely more of a protein girl (I never seem to want carbs :(!?), andddddd I alwayyyyys opt for REAL protein over powder. I love rest days because I only have protein powder once before bed! HA

    Love you sis

    • Sara Stewart

      Oh sis, I KNOW what you mean about less protein powder on rest days! That might be my favorite part about them–more opportunities for REAL food. 😉

      I know you’re an ice cream girl (just like me!), and I can’t wait to find an amazing shop in Boston! Eee…so excited, sis! xoxo <3

  • Alexandra

    What a wonderful birthday celebration! :) AND what an awesome survey!! Favorite cake for me is definitely strawberry and I wear Vibrams or Nike Frees for working out– LOVE both so much!! I highly recommend Free’s, they’re SO comfy and really give great arch support! :)
    Hope you have a great rest of your week girlfran <3

  • Mary Legare Whaley

    I know we share a love of surveys! This is a good one. I might borrow it…That cake looks delicious! My favorite birthday cake isn’t a cake, I always ask my mom for either a blueberry cobbler or key lime pie. Those are my favorite desserts. If someone told me I had to have a cake, it would be carrot cake. I wear Asics, my last 2 pairs have been the GEL-Nimbus line (series 13 and 14). Nike’s give me stress fractures. But I love their Tempo Shorts (28 pairs strong). Question 16: OUTDOORS. You couldn’t pay me to run on a treadmill. I can’t run more than a mile on a treadmill. I don’t like to think when I run, and keeping up with the floor moving underneath me is less than desirable.

Previous post:

Next post: