things i’m loving lately

Hello loves!

I hope everyone has a wonderful fourth of July weekend and got some time off to relax and enjoy time with friends and family! We only had a half day on Friday and are closed for Saturday for the 4th, so I am taking advantage of my extra time off. Wish I could say I am doing a lot of productive chores, but that never seems to be the case with me.

So I thought since I had some extra time I would do a What I Am Loving Lately post.

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1. Holiday Fun

With it being the holiday’s and grilling season (however not really for us in our 115 degree weather) I love seeing all summer time recipes floating around.

It’s no secret I enjoy a nice adult beverage from time to time and this Red, White & Blue Sangria looks delicious!

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I am also loving everything and all things watermelon! It is one of my favorite fruits of the summer.

I thought this Watermelon Feta & Balsamic “Pizza” was such a unique way of using the fruit.

Watermelon Feta and Balsamic "Pizzas" – a fun summer appetizer or the perfect side dish for anything you put on the grill.

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More unique ways to use watermelon this summer:

Ginger Watermelon Italian Ice – Oh My Veggies

Coconut Lime Mahi Mahi Tacos with Tequila Soaked Watermelon Salsa – Half Baked Harvest

Grilled Watermelon and Feta Salad Stacks – Cooking For Keeps

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 2. US Women’s Soccer

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I blame Matt for this one. He is the soccer lover and I managed to make it though the men’s world cup with some interest, but for some reason I am really loving watching the women’s world cup.

Maybe because I’m a woman and I can relate more to their stories? I’m not sure, but I am totally digging it and so excited we made it to the finals.  GO USA!

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 3. Ellen DeGeneres Spoofs Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln Commercial

I may be late to the game on this one, but my co-worker just showed me this today and I was rolling. I love Ellen DeGeneres and think she is hilarious, so I may be biased, but it’s definitely worth a watch if you want a good laugh.

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4. Fun Product Finds.

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– Oolong Shot – grabbed this randomly while walking around in Whole Foods.

Simply Protein – Protein Chips – these seriously taste like Chili Cheese Fritos!

Epic Bites – I love the bison Epic bar and was just as impressed with the Bison Meat with Uncured Bacon, Chia and Raisins bites.

Mamma Chia – Chia Vitality Granola – Vanilla Almond Clusters – this was a random Target find. Target never disappoints.

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5. From Around The Web:

41 Insanely Awesome Organization Hacks

Is Your Poop Emotionally Disturbed? – sorry, but I like talking about poop

12 Foods That Sabotage Sleep

6 Mistakes You’ve Been Making With Your Flat Iron – #3 really surprised me!

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Well loves I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Stay safe!

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Do you have any big Fourth of July plans?

What are some of your favorite summer foods?

banana ice cream adventures

We all know I have a sweet tooth. If you follow me on Instagram you are no stranger to my frequent frozen yogurt night caps. I can’t help it. I love the stuff.

Fully loaded.

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But recently I have been having some stomach issues that I have been trying to figure out. I’ve done multiple elimination tests not being able to find the cause of my bloat and discomfort. Clearly dairy was last on my list of things I wanted to attempt to cut out of my diet.

I mean really. How could I say goodbye to this delicious-ness.

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But after multiple failed attempts I decided it was time to take the plunge.

I was going to have to cut out dairy for some time to see if it was the root of my problems.

So I said goodbye to my beloved fro-yo, not for forever, just for a little while.

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So of course I had to find a non-dairy substitution for my fro-yo addiction. I know they offer some dairy free options, but non that really struck my fancy. So it was time to get creative.

So what did I do?
Made banana ice cream of course.

Now I know this is not a new idea. Not in the slightest, but the thing I love about making banana ice cream is you can customize it so many ways. Just like fro-yo!

My first round I kept it simple.

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I added just a touch of vanilla to give it a little something extra and topped it with Enjoy Life mini chips, because yay, they are dairy free!

My second round I got a little more creative.

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I made a chocolate version adding some unsweetened cocoa and a little stevia.

I had just gotten my Graze box for the month and just in time.

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In my box was a chai latte mix that included coconut strips, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and granola.

Perfect topping.

I think it goes without saying that I still miss my frozen yogurt, but until I figure out this whole gut thing, banana ice cream is where it’s at.

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Base Banana Ice Cream

Ingredients:

– 1 ripe frozen banana cut into 1/2″ chunks (I let mine thaw a little bit first)

Directions:

– Place banana chunks in food processor and process in 30-40 second intervals, scraping down sides as needed.

– After banana’s become a smooth mixture you can eat immediately or place back in the freezer.

If you process the banana’s too much the ice cream will begin to melt, which is what happened to me. I just stuck it back in the freezer for about 10 minute and it was more solid.

And as I am doing, feel free to experiment with flavors. You can add some frozen strawberries to make strawberry ice cream, a scoop of peanut butter, a few drops of mint and chocolate chips, or since cherries are in season a cherry flavor would be amazing as well. The possibilities are endless!

The great thing about this ice cream is it is so much more healthy than all the frozen yogurt I was eating.

But I’m not going to lie, if I find out it’s not dairy that causing my upset stomach be prepared to see more of this in my future!

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Have you made banana ice cream?

Need flavor ideas? I found this blog post that has great ones!

getting creative with dessert

Hello loves.

I come to you today with a purpose!

I know you all just loooovvveee my random posts of what I’ve been doing or maybe lack of what I’ve been doing. Seriously I would not blame you guys if you thought all I did was go out to eat and drink beer.

Wait.

That happened too.

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But back to my tasty creations.

Remember when I did my Valentine’s Day re-cap and mentioned that Matt absolutely loved his coconut banana chia seed pudding dessert?

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Well when we were thinking of what to have for dessert one night I realized I had all the ingredients to make my own. So I thought why not give it a whirl?  I had made chia seed puddings in the past, so I knew the general techniques, but have not used banana’s before. Seemed pretty simple though.

 I think my version looks pretty comparable.

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But would it taste comparable?

Well regardless of if it tasted exactly like the dessert we had that night, it was delicious.

Coconut Banana Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients:

– 1 ripe banana

– 1/4 cup coconut milk (or milk of choice)

– 2 tablespoons chia seeds

– 1/2 tablespoon honey (or sweetener of choice)

– 1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional)

– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

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Directions:

– Place banana, coconut milk, honey and vanilla and coconut oil if using in a magic bullet or blender

– Blend until smooth

– Fold in chia seeds

– Pour into container and let chill in refrigerator for at least 4-6 hours.

When ready to eat top with more banana slices and coconut chips.

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I love making chia seed puddings because they are so simple to make, don’t require a lot of ingredients and can easily be tweaked to so many different flavor profiles.  These might be making more appearances in my dessert or breakfast rotation. Chia seeds give this such a great overall nutritional punch being a good source of protein, fat, carbohydrates and fiber.

Speaking of desserts, I made another pretty epic one recently.

I had finally jumped on the protein cheesecake train and have been having so much fun playing with the flavors. I typically make mine into bars since I have a mini loaf pan and it makes them the perfect size for portable snacks and for single serving desserts.  The other night I wanted to jazz it up and bit and really, what goes better with cheesecake than chocolate….or peanut butter. Or both?

And thanks to this wonderful gem from Chike Nutrition I could have both.

Have my cake and eat it too?

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I’ve used Chike Nutrition Coffee Protein drink in the past (obsessed) so when I saw they came out with a new protein powdered peanut butter, I pretty much knew I would love it.

And I did. And I love that they had a chocolate flavor as well. Because I’m pretty sure chocolate and peanut butter are two of my favorite things.

So I made a nice little chocolate peanut butter drizzle to go over my protein cheesecake and basically had the most amazing dessert ever.

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 So basically I’ve had some pretty delicious desserts lately and with these you don’t have to feel incredibly guilty about eating them because they are packed with nutrition.

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Have you made chia seed pudding before?

What’s your favorite dessert?

out with the old, in with the new

Hi loves! I’m back with more life updates for you! Because as promised there have been a lot in such a short amount of time!

So last I left you with my birthday update, a few short days later it was time for the new years! Yes, I know I am a little late as we are almost a week into the new year, but life has been go go go for me lately.

First exciting news?

I got a new car!

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The car shopping process is not fun, I don’t care what anyone tells you, but when I finally found the car I wanted I was lucky to enough to have a smooth buying experience.

I ended up getting a 2014 Honda Accord  SE. And I love it.

I had such an emotional connection with my old car since it was my grandma’s, but the car never felt like it was mine.  After driving my new car for just a day, it already felt so much more like my car then my old car ever did.  So as sad as it was to lose that car for the emotional connection (and the fact that I didn’t have  a car payment) I am very excited for my car. And she is beautiful.

We kind of celebrated my new car in combination with New Years Eve. We typically don’t go out, but since we seemed to have a little more to celebrate we decided to get a little fancy for dinner.

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 Please excuse the non smiling face, but I just had to document the fact that I wasn’t going out in just a hoodie. I actually put real clothes on and felt a little pretty. Matt and I enjoyed a nice dinner and went downtown to celebrate the new year. Well, I didn’t quite make it to midnight. Guess my age is showing, I couldn’t keep up with the young kids and got a little too intoxicated a little too quick. We ended up going home around 10:30, but did manage to stay awake to watch the ball drop. And then immediately went to bed.

First change of the new year?

My hair!

This will probably be my last chance to go a little crazy with the color before the wedding so I took advantage of it.

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I wanted a lavender color, but since purple fades pretty quickly, she made it a bit brighter and told me it would quickly fade to the color I wanted. But I am loving it!

Loving it so much I can’t help but take a lot of selfies.

But not just any selfies – selfies with amazing new foodie finds.

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Have you guys heard of Eat Me Guilt Free? If not you need to go check them out. I discovered them when I was doing my gluten free elimination diet and fell in love. Their brownies and blondies are delicious – a perfect late night snack. I quickly became obsessed and ate them probably every night… until I ran out. That was a sad day.

But not before I took sassy selfies.

And the brownie warmed up and then topped with ice cream and coconut butter?

Don’t get me started.

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I really wish I had more of these.

Other then that, things have started to settle down here. Now that all the holiday’s have passed I can start nailing down the rest of this wedding planning.  I think the holiday’s kind of took my mind off the stress of the wedding, but I am hoping that I will get everything done on time and not have a wedding melt down.

Here’s hoping.

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Have you made any new years changes?
Any new years resolutions?

wedding wins and happenings

Hi loves. I’m still alive. I promise.

My weekend just started and I feel like it’s almost over. Oh the joys of working every Saturday.

But that won’t be changing anytime soon, so I guess I should just stop complaining about it.

I’ve been keeping busy with the whole wedding stuff and actually getting a lot done!

We got some of our engagement photo’s back and I am just in love with them! Our photographer is seriously amazing and the main thing I loved about our session was we didn’t do the cheesy posed pictures. She actually told us we weren’t allowed to do any (I did request a few specific poses) but she wanted us to basically just hang out, be ourselves and she would capture the true emotion.

And she did!

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We did some inside the bar and our photographer actually found this really awesome hallway to do some shots in. I think they all turned out great and I can’t wait to get more back.

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Other things checked off the wedding to-do list, I finally chose my bridesmaids dresses and I bought my wedding shoes! It seems like all my purchases have kind of been not planned, just felt right, but I think that’s the way it should happen.

As for the bridesmaids dresses, my sister went to try on dresses I liked and randomly tried on another one she liked and I ended up loving it best! I went to a local store to look at color swatches and they offered to let me try on the dress. What girl doesn’t like trying on dresses?

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I will have it in more of a light cappuccino color that I think will go really well with our theme.

As for my shoes I went just going to get a feel for what heel height I wanted. I found two pairs that I liked…

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One pair I really thought was a classic shoe and the other had a little glam to it. I of course wanted a little more glam and it turned out they were on sale so I figured why not.  Well turns out they were on extra sale and I got an extra 50% off the already reduced price. So let me just tell you, I paid $15 for my shoes.

#weddingwin

Now if I could just get Matt to choose and decide what he is going to wear… that would be nice.

Boys gotta love them. At least he does cute things randomly for me though.

Like when he went to our local coffee spot to get us some coffees, I stayed home to start breakfast.

My iced Americano had a very special message.

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His and hers coffee. That coffee tasted extra good.

And if that didn’t make breakfast all the better, Matt was actually a sweetheart and had dinner ready for me after an extra long day at work.

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Baked chicken with quinoa, steamed broccoli and I toasted up a bread stick from Great Low Carb Bread Company in the oven when I got home .  They sent me a few new products and this was one of them.  I will admit that they aren’t as buttery as I would like and were a little dry, but I loved the texture of them. I did discover that they are a great dipping vessel. And you guys know how I love to dip!

I made a little marinara dip and solved that problem.

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In sending me their new products I begged them to send a few more of their squares. I love these things!

The brownie is by far one of my favorites to use as my dessert.

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And let’s be real, anything topped with reddi-whip is extra amazing.  Matt and I randomly picked up a bottle at Target the other day and I seriously forgot how simply good it was. And yes we do reddi-whip shots each time we use it. You just have to, I think it’s a rule.

Well loves it’s Sunday, so I’m off to do what I do best.
Drink beer and watch football.

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chocolate chip pumpkin bread

This post has been long in the making.

A couple weeks ago I teased you with multiple pictures of my first ever pumpkin bread! I will admit I am not the best baker. I am that person that doesn’t measure, throws in random ingredients, mixes it all together and just hopes for the best. Now when you’re cooking, not a big deal, but baking? One miss measurement of a flour, too many eggs, not enough liquid:flour ratio can instantly ruin a baked good. Which is why most of my baking results may not look pretty due to not rising, rising then falling flat, or straight out remaining mush, they usually taste decent. And I am not one to waste, so I typically just cover whatever it is in peanut butter and call it good. Because really, peanut butter makes everything better.

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Case in point, my failed attempt at a green plantain waffle. It’s ok, the drippy peanut butter made it allll better.

But I am happy to say that when attempting my first true pumpkin bread I decided to take a very safe route and actually follow a recipe. Well ok, I won’t lie, I did kind of combine two, but it was because I wanted to use certain ingredients over others and we all have our personal preferences.  But other then that, this non measuring girl actually measured her ingredients and restrained as much as she could to not just add in random things.

It paid off.

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My house smelled amazing as the pumpkin bread aroma filled the air. It took all of my will power to not immediately try a chunk when this came out of the oven, but I let it cool before breaking off a small slice for Matt and I to sample. We  both instantly had expressions of “oh my gosh this is so good” on our faces.  I then quickly cut off another small slice.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

(Based on this recipe)

Ingredients

– 2 cups whole wheat flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/4 cup coconut oil*
– 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
– 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
– 3 large eggs
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 cup canned pure (unsweetened) pumpkin
– 1 cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini chips)

* could use 1/2 cup butter – softened

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Directions

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

– Mix together flour, baking soda, baking power, spices and salt in a medium bowl until well sifted.

– In a large bowl beat together with an electric mixer sugar and oil, adding in eggs one at a time. Add in pumpkin and vanilla and continue to beat together scraping down sides as needed.

– Add in dry ingredients, mixing until well blended, but do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips – saving some to sprinkle on top.

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– Pour batter into a greased 9×5 loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove bread from oven, place on rack to cool for 15 minutes (the hardest part). After 15 minutes remove loaf from pan and allow to cool for a few more minutes before slicing.

Sometimes I think it’s a little self torturous to bake, I mean the heavenly smells that baking creates and the inability to immediately devour your delicious creation is just plain mean.

But alas, after proper cooling time you are free to dig in.

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This bread was so moist (i hate that word, but this bread deserves it) and with the melty chocolate chips inside was pure heaven in my mouth. This bread was so good that Matt almost got mad at me when I said I was going to take half the loaf to work with me.  He never gets that way with my baking. It’s not that my baking is bad, but usually he will offer to take leftovers to his work as well. Maybe that was just a subtle hint that was my baking was bad.

I was nice and left him a few slices which that same night he had for dessert.

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Cool Whip on pumpkin bread is pretty amazing by the way.

I did manage to take some of the loaf to work with me and it must have been meant to be because a client had brought me a present that day.  I had been raving about the pumpkin butter from Trader Joes and even though unknowingly to her, I already had my stash at home, she had brought me some!

And if you even had to guess, yes the pumpkin butter was epic with the pumpkin bread.

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And maybe my previous baking was bad, because this loaf lasted probably a whole 15 minutes in the clinic. (i had to wait longer for it to cool!)

So I guess my main point is you need to make this bread. You will thank me. Your significant others will thank me. And if you’re nice enough to share or have any left overs, your co-workers will thank me.

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What was the last thing you baked?

sweet treats

Two posts, two days in a row?

Who am I?

This week I actually got two days off, (in a row none the less!!) so I had some extra time to actually sit and write some posts.

Don’t get use to it though 😉

But since I did have the time and it’s been awhile since I have done a What I Ate Wednesday, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity!

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Matt and I have been making a habit of having morning coffee together. Usually we just run down to a coffee shop right around the corner, hang out for a few minutes before I have to rush off to work.

Since I was off from work, I actually had more time to hang with him and we decided to go to a local coffee shop that allows dogs inside. Delilah was very excited to come with and even got a home made treat!

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Coffee with two of my favorites is a great start to my day!

I then got a little fancy with breakfast.

Ok that is a total lie. It may look a little more fancy, but there was absolutely nothing home made about it.

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I guess I wanted dessert for breakfast, but to me that is never a bad thing.

I took a Van’s gluten free waffle and topped it with a scoop of the new Arctic Zero Coconut ice cream and then drizzled NuStevia Cocoa Syrup on top.  It was pretty amazing.

Dinner’s have been fun too thanks to my new spiralizer. I am loving this thing!

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I am basically spiralizing every and any vegetable I have in the fridge!

I  saute them with a little Braggs Liquid Aminos and top it with nutritional yeast and it is such an easy, delicious side.

And don’t think I got sick of ice cream by having it for breakfast.

Pssh. Do you know who I am.

Matt and I have been wanting to go to a ice cream parlor called Slickables that is known for their ice cream sandwiches. Basically you can choose any of their freshly made cookies (flavors including red velvet, mint chocolate chip, peanut butter, snickerdoodle, white chocolate macadamia nut…) and then you choose your ice cream flavor (butter pecan, rocky road, strawberry cheesecake, mint chocolate chip, cookie dough…) Seriously too many choices for this indecisive girl. I of course tried almost every ice cream flavor before settling on a all time favorite.

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For my creation I chose one regular chocolate chip cookie and one mint chocolate chip cookie filled with mint chocolate chip ice cream. This thing was ah-mazing.
I wish it wasn’t so far away from us, or maybe that’s a good thing, because with the endless amounts of flavor combinations you can make I would be totally fine with eating one of these every night. Oh and the best part? They’re only $2.00!! Seriously unheard of these days considering my fro-yo cups cost me about $6.00.

Well loves I hope you all are enjoying your week.

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What kind of ice cream sandwich would you create?

oodles of zoodles

Oh hello my loves!

Just popping in to let you know I am still alive!

As much as I love blogging, gone are the days where I have the extra time, or really the motivation to spend creating and experimenting in the kitchen. Trust me, I still love creating healthy new dishes and it does still happen, but I just don’t have the time to actually spend a whole day experimenting in the kitchen. Trust me, I miss it.

But I do still have the time to share fun and exciting new products I have been using and updates on my daily happenings.

Let’s start with a new toy that I recently got!

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I have seen oodles of zoodles all over Instagram and finally decided to cave and get a spiralizer! Now, I will disclose I have nothing against real pasta or carbs and did not get this to replace all my noodles with zoodles. Let’s be real nothing replaces good ole pasta. But I also love my veggies and thought this would be a fun way to get more creative. And I love kitchen gadgets.

I know you can spiralize endless veggies, but I started with the standard zucchini.

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I wasn’t aware I had multiple blades so I used the one that was already assembled. So my first zoodles were ribbons, which was fine with me because I had a little bit too much fun making them!! Matt and I even made a silly video. Yes. I’m that lame. #noshame

I made the mistake of going to Pinterest to look for recipe ideas. Gah, there were so many I wanted to make. But I ended up just making one of my favorite spicy peanut sauces and used that as my first dish.

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Mmmm spicy peanut zoodle goodness.

The only down side to these were they are literally one continuous string. Next time I think I will cut it up into smaller pieces. That’s probably what most people do anyways right? I’m new to this, bear with me…

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But I will say I am already having a blast with my new toy and I know more delicious spiralized dishes are in my future.

But I must admit that’s the majority of the home made goodness that’s been going on.

And don’t worry, my sweet tooth is still going strong.

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Along with my indecisiveness. Let me take this opportunity to express my appreciation for good service.

Matt and I went to TCBY and I could not decide what I wanted. I tried I think every flavor, and the girl was so awesome and patient with me. Then she made the amazing suggestion to get both soft serve and ice cream in a waffle cone since I couldn’t decide between the two.

I proclaimed I can do that?? And she responded you can do whatever you want.

So this cone was not only delicious, but the experience was great as well.

Seriously, good customer service is hard to find, so when I find it I really appreciate it.

How sweet.

Well loves I hope you are all having a great week and stay posted for more spiralized deliciousness.

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What would you spiralize if you had a spiralizer?

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