Friday, May 24, 2013

high five for friday!

happy happy friday, ladies!

another week down! and a 3 day weekend...woohoo! normally weeks go by fast to me, but this one dragged on for some reason...it was a great week, though! see for yourself:
1. fro yo last friday night! i was soooo excited because unlike the rest of the population {who seem to eat it at least weekly!}, i've only ever had it once & it was a year ago. true story. needless to say, it was the bomb. cake batter fro yo {i talked about the cake batter obsession last week} + oreos & strawberries.

2. after fro yo, i also stopped in at earth fare {think whole foods, but quite a bit smaller}. i was on cloud 9 and kinda sorta having a health-food-lover-girl freak out. i browsed for a ridiculous amount of time, and it was heaven. of course, i picked up a few things, including edamame, which i can't believe i hadn't tried before! i love it, and it's a fab protein source that made it's way onto all 3 salads i ate this week.

3. baby birds! there is a nest under our deck and the birds came out of their nest on sunday! they were so cute and since they were babies, they could only fly about 2 feet high, which is how we were able to get so close to them and take pictures!

4. my last jillian michaels dvd purchase came with a free subscription for fitness magazine. heck yes! my first issues came yesterday, & i can't wait to read it. {p.s. being the jillian fanatic i am, i bought another dvd of hers yesterday, and it came with another free subscription. i obviously don't need 2, so if any of you would like it, let me know & it's yours! first to leave a comment about it gets it. and it is actually free- no gimmicks. they don't ever ask you for a credit card or anything!}

5. i've tried many a protein bar. these are the ultimate.they are absolutely delicious, protein packed {20g!!}, and the best part: NO sugar! how awesome is that? they seriously taste great & aren't filled with craziness either. :)

i have a pretty busy weekend ahead of me...what are your plans? wishing you all the best tres dia fin de semama!

Friday, May 17, 2013

a dose of random.

hi loves!

happy friday! so excited for this weekend, as always... also, i somehow just could not think of 5 things from my week to tell you about for my usual high 5 for friday, so i'm just going to tell you random things in bullet point style like so:
oh. my. gosh. you guys. i've been a cake batter ice cream lover for my entire life-- i've been ordering cake batter ice cream from cold stone since the ripe old age of 6. i just have a mild {read: EXTREME} obsession with it! so back to business: the ice cream tastes like cake. and then there are sprinkles. and then there are CAKE PIECES. it is my new ultimate favorite ice cream. it's heaven. i proclaimed all of this the entire time i was eating it. {can you tell how unnaturally excited it makes me?}

it's all over instagram, so i started doing the squat challenge. i'm half way through it so far and loving it! and i'm doing them with just body weight, so i'm already planning to do a squat challenge 2.0  using weights after i finish this one!

speaking of squatting ..i sat at an extremely overcrowded table at lunch yesterday. i had less than an inch of space on the end of a bench. so i was literally squatting with my right leg (and half my left leg...) for 20 minutes straight. not the most comfy, but at least it was good exercise. :)

random selfie from this weekend...but i love it because i feel like it makes me look a little more adult-like. it's ridiculous being perpetually a preteen. everyone thinks i'm 12! because 12 year olds drive cars.... i have so many examples, but here is one from last weekend:

at costco, i grab a sample of chocolate covered pretzels off a tray. the lady looks up at me and says, "where are your parents?"
i'm shocked. i fumble around with my words and say, "ummm...umm..." a lot.
she proceeds to ask me how old i am. i tell her. she apparently doesn't hear me, so she asks again, "how old?" i tell her, and she give me the most incredulous i-absolutely-do-not-believe-you look i've ever seen in my life.
finally, she hesitantly say, "okay..." and let's me go.
and the pretzels weren't even good.

the official "you can grab a sample without your mommy and daddy" age is supposedly 13 {which is think is entirely to high in the first place...but that's for another post}, so obviously the lady thought i was 12. i know looking young when you are 40 is great, but when everyone mistakes you for 12 it's just frustrating and upsetting.


i've decided i want to get into running. outdoor running {which is kind of a big deal for me because i'll pound out an 8 minute mile on the treadmill any day, but i h.a.t.e running outside. sidenote: i'm so surprised that it's the opposite for most people! how?}. anyway, i need shoe recommendations! what are your favorite running shoes? i'm headed out shopping this afternoon to get some!

and...i think that's enough pointless rambling for today. also, i'm really hoping to get back to posting more regularly + more substantial posts in the next week or two! the beauty of summer. wishing you all fabulous weekends! xo!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

roasted cauliflower soup.


i actually made this soup way back in february, on a day i was home alone {yes, this is the kind of stuff i eat when i'm alone!}, but somehow it never made it's way on here.

it delicious! it's crazy simple & also crazy healthy {& low-cal!}. it reminds me a lot of potato soup...so even  if you aren't a huge cauliflower fan, you may still like it! cauliflower has a mild taste, but roasting it makes it 10 times better. back in the day, my mom used to make the frozen potatoes + broth + country gravy mix potato soup. but...country gravy mix is definitely not vegetarian, so i don't eat that anymore. {also, i'm not sure why i haven't made a vegetarian potato soup yet...i should!} anyway, this is a thick, amazing-tasting way to get your soup fix + your veggies all at the same time. and it happens to be vegan. try it!

 roasted cauliflower soup

1 medium head cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
3-4 cups vegetable broth

  • preheat oven to 400˚.
  • cut cauliflower head in to small pieces. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and roast until tender, 20-25 minutes. 
  • in a large pot, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Stir in roasted cauliflower, thyme, salt, pepper, and 3 cups veggie broth. bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook for 8-10 minutes.
  • remove from heat and using a blender or an immersion blender {what i used}, puree soup. return to a medium heat and let cook for 3-4 more minutes, tasting and adding more salt/pepper as needed. enjoy!
linking up for taste of tuesday!

Friday, May 10, 2013

high five for friday!

happy friday, ladies!

another week down! i may have mentioned it once or twice {or 17...ahem} but i'm getting so excited for summer! but i'm also excited for this weekend...{baby steps}! this weeks top 5 looks a little something like this:
1. my aunt's wedding was last friday! it was super small {maybe 40 people all together?} and the ceremony was in this cute little chapel while the reception was at her house. it was a lot of fun, and she looks so happy!

2. i've mentioned this before, but i have a little bit of a guacamole/avocado obsession {it's right behind peanut butter}. for the last 5 days in a row i've eaten something mexican for dinner basically just so i could eat guac with it. this quesadilla was delicious, though!

3. when you want chocolate but are trying to have self-control and not just pig out on chocolate chips, you make this: 1 container of greek yogurt {vanilla or plain}, 1 tbsp. cocoa powder, 2 tsp. PB2, and a drizzle of honey {+ a little granola if you'd like}. no joke, it is ah-may-zing. i'll be eating it regularly from now on. and the best part? it's actually super healthy, protein filled, low sugar, & low cal {aka. it's perfect}.

4. a giant rainbow on wednesday. each picture is only 1/2 of the rainbow {yes, it was so big it wouldn't fit into one shot!}.

5. i found this is in a study book and it kind of made my day. {if you can't read it, it says, "Commodore Matthew Perry (not the one from Friends)"}. i died. a friends reference!

wishing you all fabulous. sunny weekends {& mother's days}!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

lemon layer cake.

not the greatest photos today...bleh. and also, i really, really, really, really want need a cake stand! a portable cake caddy is handy, but definitely not pretty for pictures. ;)

i come from a family of major lemon lovers. my grandpa, my dad, everyone is pretty much obsessed with it to an extreme level. i'm the main baker in my family, and i usually get to bake dessert for any family gathering. my uncle's birthday was on sunday, and he requested something *surprise, surprise* lemony.

so, this cake happened. i was pretty proud because i created the cake recipe on my own, with adaptions from my go-to perfect yellow cake recipe. the filling is a delicious lemon mousse {like, i may have ate spoonfuls in between filling the cake good}, and a buttery vanilla frosting. it's pretty much the bomb.

it isn't an in your face, extreme lemon cake. it's lemony, but it has a good balance, especially with the vanilla frosting. it all works together & it tastes so amazing! i *like* lemon, but i'm not a die-hard lover like some people in my family...however, i could seriously eat this entire cake myself! it's that good.


lemon layer cake.
cake:
3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups vanilla/plain greek yogurt
3/4 cup milk {i used almond}
1/2 cup canola oil
4 tsp lemon extract
zest of 1/2 lemon
preheat oven to 350 F. line 3 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and/or spray with cooking spray. combine all wet ingredients (including lemon zest) and mix thoroughly. in a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients, and mix well. add dry ingredients to wet in 3 stages, mixing until just combined. bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 


filling:
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp lemon extract
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 cup heavy cream

in a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter with a mixer until smooth. add in powdered sugar and beat until combined. add in lemon extract and lemon zest and beat for 2 minutes. in a separate bowl, use a mixer to whip all of the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. beat 1/3 of the whipped cream into the lemon cream cheese mixture to lighten, then lightly fold the other 2/3 of the whipped cream in until well combined!

frosting:
1/2 cups {3 sticks} butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt 

in a large bowl, use a mixer to whip the butter for about 1 minute or until smooth. add in powdered sugar and mix until just combined. add in vanilla, heavy cream, and sea salt. turn your mixer on high and whip until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

to assemble: place one cake layer on a platter. evenly spread half of filling onto layer. add second cake layer on top, and spread other half of the filling onto it. top with remaining cake layer. frost the outside of the filled cake with the frosting, adding whatever decorative touches you like. enjoy!

linking up for taste of tuesday!

Friday, May 3, 2013

high five for friday!

happy happy friday, lovelies!

i  am so excited for this weekend! it's going to be incredibly fun & busy, oh and not to mention one other thing {see #1 below}...



1. it's a 3 day weekend for me! yay!  yep, i'm off today! {the selfie is totally random & unrelated, in case you were wondering.} and why am i off? well, because it's the day before the derby {aka oaks day}. when you live in louisville, the entire city basically goes insane shuts down for the derby. i'll admit, i do not get it whatsoever {i'm from cali!}. but, any excuse for a day off!
2. i've been eating lots of salads lately. yum! salad is the best {and btw, roasted chickpeas for protein is where it's at!}
3. and then...when i didn't eat salad, i ate pancakes for dinner. what can i say, sometimes you just want breakfast at 6pm. my favorite banana oat pancakes, topped with peanut butter & the other half of the banana {pancakes only use 1/2}.
4. i spent a ton of time over the weekend with this little cutie {my cousin, lily}! i mean, seriously. check her out with her little diaper bag & baby! the rest of the family worked on putting together her new pink minnie mouse bedroom, while i hung out with her and colored, played kitchen, and ran laps around the house. :)
5. dinner at my grandparents house last night! they made steak but my grandma was nice enough to buy me boca burgers {she said she had to search all the aisles in the store to find them! even the employee apparently didn't know what/where they were? but now her granddaughter has a supply of vegan burgers in her freezer.}. oh, and mashed potatoes also happened. :)

wishing you all the best of weekends, ladies! my aunt's wedding {derby themed, of course...}, which you've probably seen me mention, is tonight! and then my uncles cinco de mayo birthday party is sunday. i'm making lemon cupcakes and i'm really excited about it. xo!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

april foodie pen pals!

hi ladies!

i'm pretty sure it's no secret how much of a "foodie" i am--food is basically my life {dramatic, but quite true}. so, it seemed like a no-brainer to sign up for foodie pen pals, hosted by the lovely lindsay at the lean green bean! it was my first time participating, it was so much fun!

i was sent a package by a lovely {non-blogging!} lady named nicole. she sent me an email to get all of my food likes/dislikes, restrictions, and anything i wanted to try {how thoughtful is that last one?}. here is what she sent me:

 snapea crisps & {everything} pretzel crisps
 dates  & sugared kiwi slices
über bars

it was seriously the most perfect package ever for me! full of healthy snack foods, which is kind of what i told nicole i would love. the kiwi slices are so addictive...i'm kind of obsessed with them, and i only wish they weren't from her local farmers market so i could buy some more! i've seen snapea crisps around a lot lately, and i can see what all the hype is about. yummy!

i told nicole i would love to try them, so she was nice enough to send me all of those über bars...they were delicious! and on the larabar note, i plan on using those dates to make some homemade larabars!

i've already signed up for next months foodie pen pals...it's seriously so much fun and a great way to try new foods. you can find all of the information about signing up on lindsay's blog! if you'd like to see what other people were sent in their boxes, the april reveal link-up is here. :)

wishing you all a great day!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

minestrone soup.

olive garden is one of my favorite restaurants. {italian is my favorite type of food, by far!}. i always get their minestrone as my soup, and it is incredibly delicious. so, this weekend i decided to try making it homemade.

this soup is amazing! i absolutely love it, and it tastes so similar to olive garden's! plus, it's easy, & it makes an extremely healthy meal...just veggies, beans, and some noodles {it's even vegan!}.

ingredients.
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 medium-sized chopped zucchini
1 can {or 1 1/2 cups frozen} cut green beans
4 cups vegetable broth
1 {15 oz} can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 {15 oz} can cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
1 {15 oz} can diced tomatoes {don't drain!}
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups hot water
2 cups frozen {or fresh} spinach
1 cup small shell pasta

  • in a large pot, saute carrots, celery, and zucchini for approximately 10 minutes or until vegetables are beginning to soften.
  • add vegetable broth to pot, plus drained tomatoes, green beans, beans, hot water, and spices.
  • bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  • add spinach and pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until noodles are done. enjoy!

Friday, April 26, 2013

high five for friday!

happy friday ladies!

i seriously could not be more excited for the weekend {even though i have a paper to right about a topic i don't understand at.all...ugh. please wish me luck!}. this week has been insanely busy, and it's really only going to get worse...but, on the bright side, summer begins next month! you better believe i'm just hanging in there & counting down the days. anyway, my 5 favorite things from the week:


1. blueberry pancakes for dinner on saturday. my favorite {& the one perk of eating at the most un-vegetarian friendly restaurant e.v.e.r...yes, i'm looking at you, cracker barrel.}

2. i finally found something appropriately pink to wear to my aunt's wedding, which is a week from today! i love the polka dots. :)

3. i finished my 4 weeks of ripped in 30 yesterday! woohoo! and...instead of a picture of the dvd case or something, you get awkward pictures of my body! they are probably not impressive to you whatsoever, but i am SO impressed with my arm muscles {there's actual muscle there! it freaked me out originally, being so used to my weak arms.}

4. finally tried larabars this week...i'm obsessed. i'm already plotting how i'm going to eventually try every single flavor. they're going to be regulars in my pantry. plus, you can't beat the all natural 2-9 ingredients! 

5. i officially found a new show to watch...make it or break it! i'm loving it so far. :)

wishing you all the most fabulous of weekends! xo!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

sweet potato quinoa "mac" & cheese.

in browsing through recipes one day, i came across one for “sweet potato and spinach mac and cheese”. it sounded really delicious. then, i found one for “quinoa spinach mac and cheese”, which, especially considering the quinoa kick i’m on, also sounded great. so, I did what any sensible cook would do: i combined the recipes & created something of my own.

holy amazingness.
i concocted the recipe, baked it, and it definitely lived up to my expectations. it’s fantastic! flavorful, good texture, and not too shabby to look at either. :) plus, it is a "mac" and cheese, but with (superfood!) quinoa in place of macaroni noodles, and the addition of spinach & sweet potato, i think it's definitely a "healthier" way to get your mac & cheese fix, despite the amount of cheese!

try it--i guarantee you will be as obsessed with it as i am {& i made it for myself when i was home alone for the weekend...so i kinda sorta ate it for lunch & dinner 2 days in a row!}

ingredients:
1 cup dry quinoa (+ 2 cups of water for cooking)
1 medium sweet potato
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cup extra sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cups fresh (or frozen--thawed/cooked) spinach

combine dry quinoa with water and cook according to package directions. set aside.

cube sweet potato (peeling is optional--I left skin on). bring a pot of water to a boil, add sweet potato, and cook until tender, 8-12 minutes. drain. place cooked sweet potato in a food processor/blender with ¼ cup of milk. pulse until smooth and set aside.

mix together mozzarella + 1 cup of white cheddar and set aside.

preheat oven to 400 F.

in a sauce pan, melt butter. once melted, whisk in flour and let cook for 1-2 minutes. whisk in remaining 1¼
cup of milk and cook until mixture begins to thicken. whisk in sweet potato puree and continue to cook for 1-2 more minutes. remove from heat and add cheese mixture.

in a large casserole dish, add quinoa, spinach, and cheese sauce. stir until everything is thoroughly mixed together. combine remaining 1/2 cup of white cheddar + breadcrumbs & sprinkle over top of casserole.

bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheeses on top are browning. enjoy!

linking up with ashley & jessica for taste of tuesday!

Friday, April 19, 2013

high five for friday!

hi ladies!

happy friday! i am soooo excited it's finally the end of the week! i can't wait for this weekend, just to have some time to relax, catch up on things {particularly blogging...i majorly slacked on posts this week, but i'm strangely okay with it. next week i'll be back 110%!}, go shopping, and do some cooking/baking! my week felt kind of long, but it was really a great week:


1. avocados were 10 for $10...so we {3 people} kinda sorta bought 10 and made a gigantic bowl of guacamole! i beyond adore guacamole, though, so it's totally fine with me! i've been enjoying it all week {strangely enough, more so with carrots than with chips! healthy snacking, kids. it's a yummy combo!}

2. i finally made it to target and got this adorable notebook! half the blogging population owns it, so i'm being a total follower, but i don't care. :)

3. i watched life of pi on saturday! i never had any desire whatsoever to see it, but my parents rented it and i ended up just watching it. to my surprise, i really liked it! it was definitely a great movie.

4. my grandparents invited me over for dinner on tuesday, and let me just say: my grandma knows how to do dessert right: strawberry shortcake! we totally did it up with big slices of cake, lots of ice cream, and some whipped cream. not the healthiest, but such a delicious treat!

5. this ice cream = the bomb. i have no clue what the "technical" definition is, but it's like coffee ice cream + cookies & cream combined. it's amazing!

p.s. although it would appear all i ate this week was tons of sugar & junk, that's not the case! aside from the dessert, i've actually been really healthy this week & consistently sticking to my calories limit. plus, you all know by now that i get my exercise on with jillian every single day, religiously!

wishing all of you the best & longest-feeling weekends {because we all know they go by lightning quick}!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

banana cupcakes & chocolate peanut butter frosting.

we had 3 ripe bananas in our house this weekend, but i didn't want to just make plain old banana bread. i was in the mood for something different! so, these happened:
banana bread cupcakes, with, get this...chocolate peanut butter frosting. now, i don't know about you, but to me that sounds like one of the most winning combinations out there. i mean, my love for peanut butter is no secret, and i love it with banana! these are so delicious! you'll love them. :)
bonus: if you're looking for a nice & relatively healthy treat, these cupcakes are completely delicious on their own! just skip the frosting and have some awesome banana muffins. :) not that i necessarily recommend skipping this amazing frosting...

cupcakes:
3 large ripe bananas
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 vanilla greek yogurt
3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
 1/4 cup melted butter or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour {all-purpose will also work perfectly!}
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

preheat oven to 350 degrees. line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

in a bowl, mash bananas and add apple sauce, yogurt, and brown sugar, mixing until smooth. stir in vanilla and melted butter. combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and slowly incorporate into wet ingredients.

fill cupcake liners 3/4 full {i've found that the easiest way to do this, by far, is to use an ice cream scoop!}. bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown on the top and a toothpick comes out clean. let cool completely.

frosting:
4 tablespoons {1/2 stick} butter, at room temperature 
3/4 cup peanut butter 
2 cups powdered sugar 
2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2-3 tablespoons milk, if needed 

using a mixer, beat butter and peanut butter until creamy. add in vanilla extract then gradually add in sugar and cocoa until entirely combined and smooth. as needed throughout the process, add in milk 1 tablespoon at a time until frosting is perfectly creamy. frost cupcakes & enjoy!

linking up with ashley & jessica for taste for tuesday, as always!

Friday, April 12, 2013

high five for friday!

feliz viernes, ladies!

it's friday! woohoo! i survived my first week back from spring break--but really, it wasn't a bad week at all! it was great...take a look:


1. i went to the gym on saturday! you might be confused--while i do workout everyday, i do it at home & i haven't been to the gym since mid-january! but i finally got back {i'll be honest...i had a little "gym fever"..yes, it's a thing!} & got a great workout in!

2. it has been 70-something degrees all week. i'm in heaven! the flip-flops are in full force, so obviously this flip-flop fanatic couldn't be happier.

3.{disclaimer: i know i seem to watch a tv show a week...but i keep watching shows with only 1 season, so what can you expect?} i watched the first {& only} season of ringer over the week! i hadn't heard of it, but it has the same basic plot line as the lying game, so i watched it. it's so good! i can't understand why it got cancelled last year!

4. i eat pretzels on the regular. however, i mixed it up this week with some butter pretzels...aka pretzels 2.0! they are even more delicious, because, well...they taste buttery! and all the nutrition info is still the same as with regular pretzels, so why not?

5. last week, i won a giveaway for a brittany fuson print! i looked at all of her gorgeous prints for so long {girlfriend has talent!} before finally narrowing it down to this one! i totally love it and can't wait to frame it & get it up on my wall!

ciao belle! wishing you all the best of weekends!

*p.s. spanish hello & italian goodbye...look at me in all of my trilingual-ness! ...not. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

you HAVE time!

happy thursday, my dears!

today, i have a little bit of cold hard truth + motivation for you in regards to the "e" word. you know, exercise? i'm about to squash your #1 excuse! but don't be intimidated...keep reading!

i’m going to go out on a limb and say that every single one of you watches at least a ½ hour of tv each day. for most of us, it’s way more. after dinner, we generally plop on the couch and watch shows from the night before, or from netflix, etc. and 99% of the time, we're on our iphones & laptops simultaneously  pinning or tweeting or blogging. i’m guilty too. but….let me ask you this: how many of you have ever used the excuse “i don’t have time to workout!”?

here's the truth: you do. you always do! anytime you find yourself watching tv, or playing on your phone, or even blogging, that's time that could be spent working out! it's only a minimum of about 30 minutes...you still have the other 23.5 hours of the day to do whatever your heart desires!
going back to the tv or time on the computer--those are givens in your day, correct? things you always do? well, add working out to that list! working out is something i do every single day...it's built into my schedule. on weekdays, as soon as i get home, i throw on my workout clothes & get to it!

i have never let other plans stop me from working out. working out is one of my biggest priorities in life, and i make the time, no matter what! if you're going out to dinner, you may have to rearrange your schedule and workout in the morning {or, if you're making the plans, don't schedule things until after you've had enough time to workout!}.when i went on a 12 hour road trip last summer, we were leaving at 7:00am, so i woke up at 5:30 in order to have time for a couple miles on the treadmill! i've worked out as early as 4:30am, & as late as 10:30pm.
even if you somehow don't have 30 minutes {because it get it, some days are crazy!}...go for a walk or run around your neighborhood or on your treadmill {if you have one}! go on pinterest and look up a 10 or 15 minute workout! do just a part of a workout video! regardless of how jam packed your day is, i'm sure you almost always have at least some downtime! that lunch break? go take a walk! make the most of what time you do have.

i believe in each and everyone of you-- you have time to workout! don't use that as your excuse...there are really no valid excuses for not working out, outside of being sick or hurt! i get that if you are just getting into it, you may dread it...but i promise that once you get into a regular exercise rhythm, you will start to love it and even crave, yes crave, exercise! if i don't know when i'll be able to workout on a certain day, i get antsy..i need to do it!
don't be that cop out girl. there are a million and one excuses out there, but they are just that--excuses! you possess the time to workout...you just have to get up and go do it!
i encourage you to get up and workout today! pretty little liars will still be on your dvr or hulu tomorrow. the only spare time you have is your blogging time? ...skip your blog post for tomorrow! we will all understand. :) you and your health are the most important thing! be proactive, take charge of your time & your schedule, and go kick some serious butt!

get it, girl!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

loving lately.

hi loves!

happy wednesday! today, i'm sharing just a few things i'm currently loving:

1 // 2 // 3 // 4.

1. this one is self explanatory  unless this is your first time around these parts, you know how absolutely made for me this tank top is! i have to have it. :)

2. we studied robert rauschenberg in my class on monday, and i loved every bit of it! the man's artwork is definitely my style. i loved all of the combines {art term} and i especially loved this "collage" of his! it's so pretty.

3. i bought a $10 hard shell case for my ipad back in august. it's been amazing, so strong & protective! however, i may have dropped my ipad on the hardwood kitchen floor not once, but twice this weekend, and unfortunately my little case is so broken up it won't even stay on my ipad anymore. so, time for a new case! this one from pencil shavings studio is absolutely adorable!

4. i officially stuffed my trusty toms in the closet yesterday...hopefully until fall! i absolutely live in flip-flops during the summer, but i'm also thinking a nice cute pair of sandals would be good to have. i've seen a few friends wearing these sandals, and well...i'm being a copycat because they're just too cute not to!

it's the half-way point! hope all of you are having fantastic weeks so far! xo!

{linking up with the fabulous ashlyn & kristin for four favorites!}

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

quinoa zucchini lasagna.

sometimes i wonder if you guys think i just eat desserts for all 3 meals of the day, since that's all i ever talk about. while that definitely would not be a bad thing, i do eat real food! i love cooking just as much as i love baking. :) especially when i'm cooking super delicious things like this:

a yummy lasagna...made with quinoa instead of noodles! i tried quinoa for the first time just 2 months ago, and i can't believe i hadn't tried it before! i absolutely love it, and i'm always on the look-out for more quinoa recipes.

i saw a quinoa lasagna recipe on eating well last week, and i knew right away i had to have it! it sounded amazing, and it definitely was...plus, it's fairly simple. i changed it up a ton to make it my own, and it came out just perfect. one of my favorite things i've eaten in a while!

{also, did you know that besides peanut butter, i am also equally obsessed with tomato sauce? oh. my. gosh. it smells  & tastes incredible and everytime we eat italian food, i find myself saying i could just drink it! obsessed. i swear i was italian in a past life.}

anyway, i guarantee you will love this lasagna is you try it! despite being super cheesy and delicious, it's actually a pretty healthy meal!


ingredients:
2 cups water 
1 cup quinoa 
 3 cups tomato sauce {homemade or jarred!} 
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese 
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
1 teaspoon dried basil 
1 tablespoon dried oregano 
1 1/2 large zucchinis, sliced 
2 cups spinach, fresh or frozen {i used frozen} 
1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees. coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. fluff with a fork. set aside.
  • combine ricotta, parmesan, basil and oregano.
  • evenly spread out all of the quinoa in a prepared dish. spread one-third of the sauce over the quinoa. make a layer of all the zucchini, then all the ricotta mixture, then half the remaining sauce, then all the spinach. finish with the remaining sauce and spread mozzarella on top.
  • bake the lasagna until it's hot and the cheese is melted, bubbling and slightly browned around the edges, 35 to 40 minutes. let stand for about 10 minutes before serving. enjoy!
{linking up with the lovely ashley & jessica for taste of tuesday!}

Monday, April 8, 2013

back in the saddle again!

happy monday lovelies!

it's that sad "i-really-don't-want-to-go-back-but-i-have-to" monday after spring break for me. i guess now it's just time to begin the countdown to summer, right? it begins next month...that thought will keep me going!

my weekend was pretty laid back. i spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen, and i have 3 yummy recipes to share with you soon {one coming tomorrow}! other than that, i worked out, watched more ringer on netflix, and that's about as exciting as things got. i'm just a party animal, i tell ya.

me, circa friday night. with my  lovely falling out half pontail/half bun.
anyway...since my 2 sentence weekend recap doesn't exactly constitute a whole post, i'm going to leave you with some randomness i've been wanting to share with you. i have a whole list of random little things i want to tell you about..i might just make it a weekly monday thing. ;)

  • you know the song breathe by anna nalick, right? my sister and i love that song. we both know all of the lyrics by heart. i don't even know what we love about it so much...but you better believe anytime it's on the radio, i sing out loud {& i may or may not be belting it out right now!}. somehow, my mom doesn't know a single lyric or even really like it {crazy!}. 
  • this was my email of the day from the vegucated "be vegan within a month" newsletter on friday {don't mind that awkward "daily nugget"!}. can i get a hallelujah? you kids know my crazy love for peanut butter...if this wasn't true, no way i could ever be vegan!

  • i talk in hashtags with my sister sometimes. we'll literally say the word "hashtag" and then whatever the hashtag is. it's like verbal tweeting! also, i always have this urge to use hashtags in blog posts. i mean, i know they're really just for twitter/instagram, but they're addicting!
  • i made cookies on saturday. i burned 500 calories at the gym, so of course i need cookies afterwards! they were delicious. and it's possible i told myself i would just eat 2, and then...ahem...i ate all my gym calories back {& them some!}. oops!
that's it for today. have a wonderful start to the week!

Friday, April 5, 2013

high five for friday!

happy friday, crazy kids!

i call my sister crazy kid all the time. and...travis said it on a cougar town episode i watched yesterday. so it's officially mainstream. anyway, {how did i just get so off topic so fast?} this week was the best because it was my spring break! of course, it flew by way too fast, & i'm definitely not ready for it to be almost over, but it was a lot of fun! now to start looking forward to summer. :) here's a little spring break recap:

1. i had a goal of doing a ton of baking this week, and that definitely happened! for easter breakfast, i made cinnamon roll scones {recipe coming!} & for dessert, i made a bunny shaped carrot cake. throughout the week, i also made this amazing chocolate cake with peanut butter glaze & these {healthy!} chocolate chip banana bread cookies. it was a winning week in the kitchen. :)

2. my favorite part of spring break has been my perfect mornings! i wish every day could be like this. waking up at 6:30 or 7:00, getting in my early workout {there is just nothing better!}, & then eating breakfast in my sunshine filled kitchen. perfection.

3. i hadn't really even heard of this show, but i saw it on netflix and thought, "what the heck?". guys. i watched the entire first season in less than 48 hours. i am obsessed. it's the best show! go watch it!

4. things got all crafty up in here on tuesday...i made a lightbox! i promise it looks a whole lot better in person. :) i can't wait to use it and hopefully take some great photos...i adore natural light, but it {sadly} isn't always available!

5. my grandma mailed us a box of these insanely good chocolates she makes! they are filled with caramel and a pecan {these also look better in person!}. the chocolate is some special chocolate from peru, which is where my grandma's best friend is from. i don't really know specifics, i just know they're the bomb!

now go off and have a fabulous weekend! xo!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

chocolate chip banana bread cookies!

lately, i'm really trying to cut out the junk/sugar and eat pretty healthy. however, i still love to bake, and i don't want to give that up! i had 1 old banana sitting on my counter yesterday {don't you just hate that? only 1 banana! you need at least 2 to make a recipe! i ended up just combining it with a newer banana, in case you were wondering.}, so i wanted to whip up something banana-y. 

and sometimes a girl is just bored with the same ol' same ol' banana bread. and also not digging the 1 1/4 cups of sugar banana bread calls for {aren't bananas supposed to sweet things naturally? hellllllo...}. so, i came up with these little things.
banana bread cookies. they are really not "cookies" at all. it's just banana bread, in a cookie form. {i know, i'm blowing your mind here!}. they're delicious! not too drastically different from basic banana bread, but these are also quite healthy. whole wheat flour, oats, bananas, and the only sweetener is 2 tbsp of honey. i can handle that. 

{bonus: they are vegan so long as you use agave {or any similar liquid sweetener you like} as opposed to honey!}

oh, and did i mention i dressed them up a bit with some chocolate chips? they're still a nice healthy treat {especially if you use dark chocolate!}, but it just makes them even yummier! they only require one bowl to make, so go do it. :) 
ingredients.
2 ripe medium bananas 
1 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
2 tbsp peanut butter 
2 tbsp honey {or agave, for vegan!}
1 tbsp olive oil 
1 cup white whole wheat flour/whole wheat pastry flour {all-purpose works, but it's just not as nutritious!} 
3/4 cup rolled oats  
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips 


  • preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • in a large bowl, mash the banana & add baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract, peanut butter, honey, & oil and stir together. 
  • add in the flour + rolled oats and stir.
  •  add the chocolate chips and stir until just combined. 
  • scoop slightly rounded 1 tbsp measurements of the batter and drop onto a baking sheet greased/lined with parchment. space about 1 inch apart, & lightly press each cookie down with the bake of a spoon. 
  • bake for 10-11 minutes or until they appear set. 
  • let cool slightly on cooling rack and serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

on getting fit & looking cute.

it's no secret that i'm really into fitness. i workout everyday, but since i mostly do jillian michaels videos, no one sees me! so, i tend to workout in old, un-cute clothes. case in point: i just finished my workout this morning {spring break= 7 am workouts. heck yes!}, which was level 1 of ripped in 30 & level 1 of 6 week 6  pack back-to-back. and do you know what i did in in? umm...an old st. patrick's day t-shirt & some little black shorts i've had for about a decade.

when i go to the gym, i still wear old t-shirts , but i do have some actual workout pants i wear. :) it's safe to say my workout wardrobe needs some serious updating! i'm {obviously} not the girl who can't workout if she isn't looking cute, but that definitely helps.plus, since i;m trying to get into running outdoors, i'd like to look a little more presentable! here are some of my workout essentials for looking cute + kicking some butt!

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8.

i'm planning on doings some abs yoga & a 1 mile run later to finish off today's working out, and a cute jacket like 1. would definitely come in  handy for that run {although it's sunny out, the wind makes it freezing!}. i have to have a  nice headband anytime i workout...a ponytail alone isn't enough! i love the double band on that one. :)

i'll admit, i'd be one to take the pants and short sleeve tee options vs. the shorts and/or tank. i like to be a little more covered, i guess! my tennis shoes aer in pretty bad shape, so i definitely need some new ones--and i definitely want some brightly colored ones! white....blah. that coral is right up my alley.

lastly, i conclude my essentials with a polar ft4 watch! i am sooooo envious of all of you girls who have one of these {or anything similar!}. as i mentioned, i do a ton of home workouts, so i literally have no idea how many calories i burn! i end up just guessing/making it up {& i'm positive i'm lowballing myself!}. these watches are just so awesome--they not only tell you how many calories you burn, based on heart rate, but they also have other cool features like telling you when you're improving!

do you have any other essentials to add to the list? what is your typical workout wear?

have a happy wednesday, loves!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

chocolate cake with peanut butter glaze.


i made a bunny shaped carrot cake for easter on sunday, but it turns out that everyone in my family was really in the mood for something chocolate. so, yesterday, i decided to whip up this little gem.

you guys.

a fluffy chocolate cake with an awesome peanut butter glaze. and, i kind of "trashed it up" a bit more by covering the top with chocolate chips! it's definitely not health food, but we all deserve to treat ourselves sometimes, right? and this is perfect for that.

it's insanely delicious, super simple/easy, and bonus: it's actually 100% vegan {as long as you use a vegan milk, i.e. almond milk--but it's still a great cake no matter what milk you use}! 

try it! i guarantee you'll love it.
chocolate cake:
dry:
1 cup flour
 1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

wet:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk of choice
1/3 cup canola oil
1.5 tsp vanilla extract

peanut butter glaze:
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
a splash of vanilla extract
3-5 tbsp milk of your choice

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. grease {and/or line with parchment paper} a loaf pan. set aside.
in a large bowl, stir together all dry ingredients, making sure to break up any lumps of cocoa powder.
in a separate bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients until smooth.
add the wet ingredients to the dry. gently mix everything together with a spatula until smooth & just combined. pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. remove from the oven and cool completely.
to make the glaze: combine the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. whisk together until there are small "crumbs" of powder sugar/peanut butter {there will likely be some loose powder sugar in the bowl--that's fine!}. add the milk of your choice, and whisk a bit to get things going. i found it helpful to microwave the glaze for about 30 seconds at this point, just to warm it up and make it easier to get the lumps out. whisk until a smooth glaze is achieved. it should make ribbons that last in the bowl when you lift the whisk.
spread/pour the icing over the cake. top with chocolate chips, or any other topping of your choice, or leave plain {nothing wrong with pure chocolate and peanut butter!}.

{linking up with ashley & jessica for taste of tuesday!}

Friday, March 29, 2013

high five for friday!

happy, happy friday!

hmm...why the extra happy? well, my spring break officially starts this afternoon! i know, it's really late...but regardless, i'm looking forward to a whole week off! i have lots of fun plans in the works. :) but before i get ahead of myself, let's talk about this week:

one. last friday was a girls night out with my sister, mom, and aunt! we went to olive garden for dinner {my portobello ravioli pictured...it's the bomb.} and then we went dress shopping for my sister for an event she's going to! we were successful, and her dress is super cute {but i don't have a picture}.

two. not 100% sure why i'm sharing this...but whatever. so, after we bought my sisters dress, we started browsing, and i kinda sorta tried on a prom dress, just for fun {obviously}. it's the most ridiculous thing ever, but i loved it! it was so cute {looked better in person!} and i also got the added confidence boost of being able to fit into the size i did!

three. i painted my nails over the weekend...it's probably my fave mani to date! adoring it...it's a metallic silver polish with the most gorgeous glitter ever {from julep}!

four. i started watching cougar town! it's funny...i'm into it! it's always been on my to-watch list, because, well, i watch shows based on the actors a lot of times, and...courteney cox! i mean, i owe it to my friends loving self {especially since i watch matthew perry's {awesome} new show, go on}.

five. yup...extreme ab close-up. don't be too weirded out, this photo is just to represent that i finished jillian michael's killer abs! absolutely loved it...did it for 5 weeks! she's the bomb dot com...don't ever let anyone tell you she's not effective. girlfriend has whipped me into shape! that kinda sorta 6 pack is all courtesy of her. and i show the picture not to be braggy, but because i've worked hard & i'm really proud of my abs {how weird is that statement??}. anyway, today i start ripped in 30!

wish you all super fantastic easter weekends!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

march cara box reveal!

happy thursday!

this month, i signed up for cara box for the first time. if you don't know what cara box is, it is kaitlyn @ wifessionals awesome brainchild. :) click here to learn more about it! i was really excited to get to know 2 other girls and send/get a box!

this months theme was based on the first letter of your name. it just so happens that i was paired with 2 fellow ashley's so it was all about "a" for me! i got to know 2 fantastic ladies:

Ashley @ let's get bananas-- it was so much fun getting to know ashley, and her blog is one of my favorites now! she's awesome. :) go check out her blog to see what i sent her in her cara box.

Ashley @ raising our little devilpups-- i enjoyed getting to know her just as much. she has 2 adorable kids, and she's basically the coolest. :) ashley sent me my cara box, and i couldn't have been more thrilled with everything in it! check it out:





first up: i love all things cooking and baking, so she made me these super cute recipe cards with 3 awesome vegetarian-friendly recipes! i can't wait to try the apple brownies.

lots of yummy snacks! the almond joy was devoured almost immediately, and i was really excited about the almonds, because i've been wanting to try them for a while!

nail polish! i told her about my obsession with polish, and she sent me this pretty "atomic pink"!

a fun new book to read! i love reading, and spring break is next week, so it'll be the perfect time to read it!

ashley asked me what my 3 favorite colors were, and what did she do with that information? made this cute little piece of art! i love it. so thoughtful & creative!

it was such a fun experience, and i can't wait to sign up again! highly recommend it. :) and ashley, thanks again for my awesome package!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

veganism/vegetarianism: part 3!

hi loves!

over the past 2 weeks, i've shared parts 1 & 2 of this series. now, it's time for the final installment! today will be all about recipes and resources for vegans and vegetarians.

eating as a vegetarian is really very easy! you can  still eat almost all classic, everyday foods everyone else eats, simply by omitting the meat. for example, i love to make spaghetti with marinara sauce, cheese lasagna/ravioli/manicotti, eggplant parmesan, bean burritos, tacos, cheese enchiladas, chili with beans, mac & cheese, veggie pot pie, cheese/veggie pizza, etc. if the meat is a vital part of the dish, you can also replace the meat with a  vegetable, like mushrooms,zucchini, squash, or sweet potato, a bean, or even something like tofu/tempeh/seitan {however, don't be alarmed--while those "meat substitutes" are an option, you definitely don't have to eat them. i never use them, and i get by more than fine!}. for example, love meatballs? make them out of lentils {it's good, i promise}!

there are billions of great food blogs out there with vegetarian/vegan recipes. here are some of my favorites:

vegetarian.
you don't even have to look on specifically vegetarian blogs--almost all food blogs have at least some vegetarian recipes! my personal favorite food blog is annie's eats, and she has some insanely delicious ones. so do how sweet eats & eat yourself skinny!

top vegetarian favorites: 
black bean burgers.  {a staple...i  make them at least once a week!}

{via}

vegan.
oh she glows.
also, be sure to check out finding vegan {it's foodgawker, but everything is vegan! they have the best of the best vegan-wise on their site.}

top vegan favorites:

{via}

dessert.
any of the blogs i've mentioned above offer dessert recipes, naturally. however, there are some blogs that focus mainly on desserts, and it's only fair of me to link you to them as well! my two favorites are:

&

both of them are completely vegan! 

top {vegan} dessert favorites:

{via}
i mentioned this in my high five for friday post last week, but if you’re interested in learning more about the why & how of going vegan {or even just vegetarian}, i can’t recommend vegucated enough! the documentary is fantastic & oh-so-informative {you can watch it on netflix streaming!}, and the website is full of information and delicious recipes as well. they also have 2 newsletters, which i’ve found very interesting and also highly recommend! here is a list of links to books, apps, brands, etc. to help you learn more!

veg news magazine is also a fantastic resource for not only recipes, info, etc. but also news about what is going on all around the world pertaining to veganism! 
i doubt any of you are going to jump on the vegetarian/vegan train just because you read my posts, but i hope you’ll at least be inspired to learn more about it all. and even if you’re perfectly happy being a meat lover, i hope you’ll maybe try to at least incorporate 1 awesome meatless dish a week into your diet {or even just try something meatless as a one time thing--you have to start somewhere!}. it’s healthy for you! :)

wishing you all a very happy tuesday!

Monday, March 25, 2013

a whole lot of random.

a whole lot of random comin' at ya this morning, darlings. stick with me, okay?

first order of business, a short weekend recap. it went a little something like this: friday night, girls night out! dinner & {successful} dress shopping! saturday and sunday, zero zip nada. it was just one of those hang around the house weekends {the weather doesn't help; hello, sun, are you out there anywhere? because i haven't seen you around much.}.

you may have seen me mention my aunt's wedding a few weeks ago. her wedding kind of has a derby theme {because it's the day before the derby...i'll never get the derby craze, being a cali girl at heart. horse race? who cares? anyway...}, so she wants everyone to wear something pink and khaki/tan. i did what i do best {online shopping!} & came up with 2 outfits that i love:
opinions, please! which one is your favorite?  i absolutely love the cream top, so i'm leaning towards outfit #1, but i love the skirt on outfit #2...


i swear spanish songs are so much more catchy than english ones. anytime i hear one, the lyrics play in my head non-stop for the next few days! if you were in my head right now, you would be hearing, "pin pon es un muñeco, muy grande y jugeton, se lava la carita, con agua y con jabon." over. and. over. and. over. again. {it's from a song about hygiene for toddlers, featuring a creepy doll...check it out.}

i've still yet to do an outfit post! i want to, but usually i wear the same basic outit everday, so it's not really that exciting. however, when i am looking particularly photo-worthy, i don't have time to take pictures. why? because i literally pick out my clothes 5 minutes before leaving. i pry myself from my bed + computer at 7:30, browse through my closet, and have to be out the front door by 7:40. procrastination at it's best!

i kind of obsess over greetings to use in my posts. i know you don't have to have a greeting in every post, but it's something i like to do. in real life, i  wouldn't just walk up to you & start talking without at least a hello, so why do it on my blog? but i don't want to just say, "hey everyone!!" before every post, because it's so generic & just, well...lame. so, i try to think of creative things to say!

last thing...if i had a genie in a bottle, my first wish would be that sleep didn't exist! i hate sleeping--it takes up so much of your time, and then you're inevitably always tired, etc. i mean, how much more advanced would the world be if we didn't have to spend waste 1/3 of each day sleeping? you all think i'm crazy, i know!

that's it for today, loves! you've now had a peak at some of the random thoughts {& songs!} that go through my head throughout the week. aren't you so glad?

happy monday!

 
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