Keeping (Seasonal) Tabs on Baking

Hi everyone! I just finished baking up a storm in the kitchen!

I was looking for pumpkin cookie recipes, and came across this pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe on the Food Network, and knew it was the one 🙂

I followed the instructions exactly – no adaptations here!

From the wet ingredients:




To the dry ingredients:




To the sweet, sweet lovechild they produced:








And Niko got the leftover pumpkin (loves it!)IMG_9625






After!    IMG_9634  IMG_9641  

The cookies taste amazing, but the dough was some of the best I tried…or so I’ve heard. I didn’t lick the bowl when I was finished or anything 😉

Seasonal Tab



But I didn’t just post to tell you about the amazing cookies that I’m going to take to the winery tonight. I posted to tell you about my new tab! If you look at the top of the page, you’ll notice a new tab, labeled “Seasonal.”

While one batch of cookies was baking and the next was waiting to be cooked, I was searching YOUR blogs. Searching them for fall-inspired recipes! This morning, when I asked if anyone saw any good pumpkin recipes this week, it occurred to me how useful it’d be to have a repository for seasonal recipes from everyone’s blogs.

So, each week as I read and look for fall-inspired recipes, I’ll book mark each one, and at the end of the week, I’ll put it in the “Seasonal” tab. This way, we’ll all have a repository for all things pumpkin. and apple. and squash!

However, I need your help! If you either create your own or you see a recipe that should be in the Seasonal tab, email me the link, and I’ll include it with the rest:)

Then, as the seasons change, I’ll archive recipes from last season, and create new ones!

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a kitchen to clean. Have a fantastic Friday night, everyone!!

Plans for this weekend?


A Quarter of a Century Old

Hi guys! Welp, I’ve officially joined the quarter of a century club. The big 2-5 was yesterday.
Sorry I skipped on posting yesterday, but I was busy celebratin-g!

Speaking of celebrating, I have LOTS of shenanigans to tell ya’ll about. Grab a snack and your kombucha of choice, because I got a lot of writing ahead.

It started on Friday when I was done with work (which was a looong afternoon!) I grabbed the hubski and we headed out to meet some friends at Gill St. Bar:



It was one of my friend’s birthday, too. So we celebrated with a beer with her. But we didn’t stay long, because we had some plans…

Like going to the (only!) vegan restaurant in town!

The Coffeehouse!
This is in the Uptown section of town, very close to the university.

I used to walk down this street ALL the time to go to different shops (and perhaps a few pubs ;)) when at ISU. Memories…

However, for some crazy reason, I’d never been the Coffeehouse – this was my first time!
It’s very eclectic, and had such a variety of patrons. I felt I could be very much myself here.
We found a quaint little table in the back and looked at the menu.

It was SO hard for me to choose, but I ended up going with the…

Falafel pita:

and a hummus plate…

and oven fries…

ok well we shared those two 😉
The hubski got some vegan chili:

And EVERYTHING was delicious. They also had vegan baked goods:



But that’s for another trip 😉 I wanted to go back for lunch yesterday LOL. Oh but I will be back, for sure. The prices are amazing and so is the food!


Perfect birthday Eve dinner 😀

Came home and it was relaxation time. I almost decided to had a glass of wine, but I had my 10 (!!) mile run planned the next day, so I went with some tea instead. Yes, I ran 10 miles on my birthday. It sounded good up until the night before. Then, I thought, why? why would I plan a 10 mile run on my birthday?!

The Looming 10 Mile Run

I woke up feeling the same way, but there was no way out of it. It was mid forties and sunny, but windy, and damnit I was gonna do it.
Cooked up some breakfast for a little fuelage:



Banana oats w/ raw almond butter and organic jam!

And a few hours later, I was getting ready to head out to the trail.
This little guy helped me get some motivation:

One of Shane’s birthday presents to me:D
And while we’re on the subject, he also got me a BOSU trainer:


and a (pink!!) golf bag!


However, I think the golf bag and set is partly a present to him. He’s been asking me to play golf with him forever. I guess this is the summer! haha We’re not an active couple or anything… 😉

I was so excited to use my CamelBak on my run. I filled it with about a liter of water, and also stowed some Clif shot bloks and my car key in it:



Ready, Set, GO!

I ran on the trail because I knew the trees would help block out the wind. And boy I’m glad I did, because the wind was a-howwwling! The first couple miles I was kind of a downer and the number 10 just kept intimidating me. But by mile 3, I had gotten past my 2-mile-hump and had a good groove going. And around mile 5, I saw a sign for the David Davis Mansion (the house Abe Lincoln lived in when he lived in Bloomington) so I ran around the circle drive of the mansion. It was super cool – I had never been there before either. I wish I would have brought my camera. Next time I’ll remember to do so 🙂 Around mile 6, I remembered why I saved my 10 miler for my birthday (or it just so happened to be on my birthday, but I digress..) I was elated! Breaking a record and enjoying nature. Love, love, love it.
Around mile 7, I got a really bad cramp in my right calf, and stopped to stretch, ate three shot bloks, and then kept on going. Though the cramp didn’t go away, it faded a little. However it’s definitely painin’ today. I had a 4.5 mile recovery run planned for today, but I think I’m going to take it easy. Plus, I may or may not have a slight hangover, as well. What? You can’t judge a girl for having a few brewski’s on her birthday! More on that below… 😉

Ended up finishing in 1:37:03 with an average pace on 9:42

My Splits:

Mile 1: 9:44
Mile 2: 9:44
Mile 3: 9:53
Mile 4: 10:00
Mile 5: 9:57
Mile 6: 9:14
Mile 7: 9:47
Mile 8: 9:41
Mile 9: 9:41
Mile 10: 9:23


10 miles, baby!!!

Phew! I was glad I kept my average pace under 10 minutes, but I wasn’t as speedy as last week’s long run. Next week is 10 again, so we’ll see if the pace changes then.

Directly after showering, dressing, and green monstering:


1/2 banana, ice, almond milk, Amazing Grass, frozen cherries, hemp protein powder
I headed out with the hubski to get some THAI food!!! Can you believe I’ve never had Thai food either? We were first going to go to Flavors of India, our fave Indian restaurant, but apparently they’re closed for renovations :-/

Not to fear, we decided to hit up a Thai place:


Shane got a sampler, but it was all meat-based, so I sat there while my stomach ate my back bone for an appetizer.

And THEN came the grub:

I got the tofu pad thai and it was out of this world delicious. I love Thai food!!!

Somehow the afternoon FLEW by, and it was already time to head into Peoria to meet some friends for dinner and drinks.

note: shortly before I wrote this post, ALL of my pictures from last night got deleted somehow. I started freaking OUT, and then remembered my husbands a technology genius. He was able to recover MOST from last night. The rest I’ll steal from the other people who had cameras 😉

A big group of friends got together for mine, and my girl Mel’s birthday for dinner at Granite City.

These are seriously some of my favorite people in the world, and it means so much to me that they all came out to help me celebrate 😀

Before dinner, I had some sort of fruity drink. It had chambord in it, so I was sold 😀 I had one, and then switched to some water with dinner…which was:

A portabella melt with some grilled asparagus. It was aight. Not stellar, but I definitely ate it all :D   

My girl Kim, who you’ve met during my cruise posts, and who now has her own blog, Sunny State of Mind (check it out! She’s just started a new Gluten Free diet/lifestyle and she’s writing about it, her fitness, eats, and fun 🙂 ) got me THREE Alternative Baking Co. cookies:


And a shirt from Destin that says "Peace, Love, and Sandy Feet" which is SO me. I have awesome friends. Just sayin’.

After dinner we all headed out to a bar for some more shenanigans!

Gah. Love these girls!

I probably only had three beers (only?) but I also had some birthday shots. I’m typically not a shot girl, so I’m not feeling the hottest as I write this post 😉



For some reason, we say “prune” instead of “cheese” after a few drinks 😀 hahah

The mens..including the hubski who was my wonderful DD for the night:D         

CONVAR29We headed out around midnight and Shane and I made the drive back to Normal.

I couldn’t resist eating half err a third of one of my birthday cookies on the way home 😉


I have a couple new clients tomorrow, so I’m off to Borders to get some paper work and plans done! Later on, my mom, dad, brother, and SIL are coming to visit and go out to dinner 😀 The celebration continues!!

Hope you’re having an absolutely fabo weekend!!

Berries and Cherries

Hi friends!

Three cheers for Friday night! Are you all whoopin’ it up?? I’m afraid there’s no whoopin’ being done over here. I have a 5k to run in the morning, and want to do my bestest. It’s the first one of the year! I did go out tonight, but it was G rated. More on that in a few:)

Since today was a day-before-race rest day, I slept in a little, and woke up with ample time to make a stove-cooked breakfast:


Stovetop oats containing:

  • 1/2 c. oats
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. almond milk
  • 1 T. chia
  • 1 packet of Purevia
  • 1 banana
  • 1 T flaxmeal



Plus a little almond butter swirly to bring everything together. So good I was tempted to lick the bowl!

It also put me in a fabulous mood! Off to work I go…until…I see the berries and cherries. And not the yummy kind 😦 Yep, got pulled over. Yep, I was speeding. And yep, I got a ticket. URGH! The cop didn’t even give me a chance – he’d made up his mind that he was giving me a ticket when he saw me going 40 in a 30. Although I had it coming, the same policeman pulled over TWO of my friends within the past two weeks. Ruthless, I tell ya! After shedding a few tears and muttering some obscenities, I was back en route to work – obeying the speed limit 😉

To cheer up my not so great morning, I met my friend, Debbie, at Panera for lunch!


Had the vegetable and pesto soup w/ the Mediterranean sandwich on whole grain bread. Aaand perhaps a big ass chocolate chipper cookie…



Side note: I used to work at Panera during college, and I became OBSESSED with this cookie. I also gained 5 pounds 😉

Before I left work I had an unpictured PBJ Lara Bar. It’d been a while since I have had a Lara Bar, and this completely rekindled our love 🙂

I came home after work, and had about an hour before I had to leave the house, so I baked up a batch of spelt flour and oatmeal cookies from Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan:



My parents are coming up to watch my race tomorrow with the hubski and I always try and have some kind of healthy baked goods for them when they take the time to come visit me. Plus my mom might take me shopping for my birthday (this month!)  😉


The hubski tried one, and I may have had a half of one (omg, cookie overload today) and we both give it 5 raisins 😉

After the baking quickie, I said goodbye to the husband and Niko…



and met my friend, Carmody at a charity dinner called Empty Bowls. It was a charity event at the local high school, and the students made and painted ceramic bowls to sell for $10. Everyone who went paid $10 for a ticket, and then chose a bowl to take home with them. Then when everyone had their bowls, soup was served!

My bowl:


And since the only vegetarian option was broccoli cheese, I opted for that, but only ate a couple bites. Did eat all the carrots though!



Just got home from the dinner, and made a second (kinda) dinner…


Air popped popcorn + nutritional yeast + sea salt. I prepared it LVAY style by spraying the popped popcorn with olive oil spray before adding the seasonings. Worked perfectly! The spray helps the yeast and salt stick to the popcorn instead of just sinking to the bottom.


Awesome combo! Have you tried this yet? Try it! Try it!

Now it’s kinda late and I’m watching 24 with Shane and will probably hit the hay soon. Got an early morning for the race!! It’s supposed to be mid thirties and sunny for the actual race, so that’s pretty good. Early March is iffy weather-wise in Illinois. Still not sure what to wear, though. Perhaps running tights and a long sleeved tech shirt? Maybe a headband or hat? We’ll see (and you’ll see, because you know I’ll write about it!) So excited!!       


When is the last time you got a speeding ticket, if ever? Before today, it had been nearly 7 years!! I was going so strong, and then BAM, it happened. But like I said, I had it coming. I’m a speeder, and I need to slow my booty down. I wasn’t even late for work! So there was no reason I should have been going ten over the limit.      

Food, Friends, & Football

Goood morning! Happy Super Bowl Monday 😉

CONGRATS to the Saints for the BIG win last night! Go Saints!! 😀

Yesterday after my morning post, I accidentally lied about my work out! I had planned on doing a full body weights sesh, but forgot it was day 2 of my half marathon training plan! So instead, I did (as planned) a three mile run + back and biceps. Was in and out in an hour and it felt great! I’m feeling very confident in my running thus far into my training 😀

After picking up a few last minute essentials for our Super Bowl party, I came home, cleaned, and finished preparing all the food. But first, a quick refuel:




Brown Rice Flour toast + cottage cheese + best jam ever.IMG_5309 

Best jam ever = Fresh Market’s Organic Strawberry Jam. Love Plus some random odds and ends while finishing up cooking.

And then, I cooked.

Quinoa Confetti Casserole from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan:





After…oh, so gooood.


Meat meat balls (in homemade BBQ sauce)


MeatLESS balls


Hot wings and Tequila lime wings


Got a request for Averie’s raw chocolate vegan balls (and they did NOT last long, lemme tell ya ;))

And the rest of the spread:



Which included cookies, biscotti, two types of hummus, veggies, crackers, chips, guacamole, and store-bought salsa.


Best salsa I’ve ever had.

After the food was taken care of, it was Super Bowl time!! But this Super Bowl didn’t involve any Colts or Saints, just puppies, half time kitties, and bunny cheerleaders!



Flag for being too Rrrrruff!

Then we had a few couples over and ate tons of food, drank lots of beer, and cheered on the (real) Saints!

Luckily, Clarabelle took charge and took care of every one in the beer department.


No kitteh, that’s my Bud Light!

Since I do have to work this morning, I kept the beer to a minimum, but still had an awesome time with awesome friends!


A little before 10:00, everyone headed home, and it was time to wrap the party up!





Haha, as I was cleaning up the kitchen, I heard a noise over in the corner, and couldn’t figure out what it was, until finally I saw…A kitty in a bag!

Hope you all enjoy your Monday. Start this week off with a great attitude, and hopefully the attitude will follow you into the week 😀


Did you “do” Super Bowl last night? I paid attention to part of it, and mingled with friends for part of it, and LOVED the commercials. I think both the game and the commercials were great this year!

Blame it on the Theraflu

What up home slices? 😀

Happy Friday! Woo hoo! I feel like I’ve been waiting for this day for-ev-er! Or maybe just since Monday 😉

I woke up today feeling not much better than I did yesterday, but I made it to work since today was only a halfie. And actually, when I got to work, I downed some Theraflu, which made my mind a big haze, but also made me feel a lot better.

A nice, hot, bowl of oats wasn’t too shabby either.




Lip-smacking bowl of 1/2 c. oats, 1 c. water, 1 T flax, 1 T hemp powder, 1 T brown rice syrup, smashed ripe banana, handful of blueberries, peanut butter. Phew! That was a mouthful (pun intended ;)) And it was microwaved since I was in a pinch. Actually..I microwave my oats most of the time when their eaten on a work day. I think I’m the only one who can’t really tell much of a difference between stove-top and microwave oats.

Feeling better and better as the day went on, I decided to give the gym a go after leaving work. I hadn’t worked out since Monday, and was really craving a good sweat-inducing cardio sesh.

Hopped on the treadmill, and to my pleasant surprise, I felt pretty good! So good that I was able to run (with walk breaks here and there) four miles. Any time I felt like it was too much for the bod, I took a quick walkie break. Next was the stair master for a bit to round out the workout, and I was sweaty and feeling much better 😀


After gymin’ it, I ran some errands and popped over to a couple grocery stores. To help that be more pleasant, I gabbed away with several girlfriends while a-shoppin’. Then I was back at the casa and ready to chow down!

While grocery shopping, I had bought my all time favorite goat cheese at the Fresh Market, and knew just what I wanted to do with it. Can ya guess? 😉




Slather it on an Ezekiel Pizza!! This had goat cheese, tomato sauce, sauteed spinach, garlic, and onion. So good I wished I’da made two!



Mmmmelty melty gruyere.

On the side I had some Kale chips I made with kale, sea salt, and nutritional yeast, but my appetite was way too quick for the cam. You’ve seen it before.

Oh, and funny story – I also made the husband’s lunch, which was a grilled cheese. Yummy, melty, toasty, cheddar goodnesss…with a side of paper. This space cadet forgot to take the paper out between the cheese slices! bahah I blame it on the theraflu 😉 It clogs my mind.

Since the oven was already on full blast from the pizza and kale chips, and I still had a decent amount of energy, all the sudden lunch turned into a bake-fest!



I made Carob-Coconut-Pecan cookies, aka the best cookies evvvvah (recipe from Vive le Vegan.)




Not only do these cookies almost knock your head off, but they smell absolutely heavenly! I’ve never smelled a cookie so good.

I’m driving into my hometown tomorrow because I’m (finally) getting together with Jess to try on my bridesmaid dress (eep!!) and then getting together with some of my BFF’s for dinner and drinks 😀 So I thought I’d be kind and bake them up some yummy vegan treats.

The rest of the day included Niko walks, Jersey Shore Reunion drama, gabbin’ on the phone, and juices:



beet, celery, carrot, grapefruit, deliciousness….tie dyed style.

As far as the rest of the night goes, it looks like I’ll be staying in and relaxing. The husband just put in Valkyrie, and it looks like one of those movies where ya have to pay attention, so I’m going to have to bid you all farewell 😉

Busy day planned for tomorrow!

  • Full body weights at gym
  • Coffee w/ Heidi friend
  • Ring store for a check up
  • Head into town!

Have a fabulous Friday night, all!


Do you typically workout when sick? I usually give myself a day or two to rest (more if I’m feeling horrid) but I’ll give it a go after couple days, so long as I’m not hacking and sneezing all over the equipment. Then I just listen to the bod!

A Baking Bonanza, + Hers Lasagna Rollups Recipe

Good morning bloggies!! Happy New Years’ Eve!! Got any big plans tonight?

We’re just doing the ushe. For the past four or so years, we’ve hung out with the same couple, Destiny and Steve, and this year our friends, Kim and Jason will be joining us! We usually stick around our house, because in this college town, going out to the bars means fighting the college crowds, and this year, baring the single digit degrees. Yiiiikes!

I got up bright and early yesterday and busted out el juicerino again to make a delightful carrot and grapefruit juice:


OK, those of you who said juicers were a PITA (pain in the as*) to clean up, were right on the money. Shane did the dishes on the first morning I made one, but I did yesterday, and man o’ man is it a pain! I’m thinking juicing is going to be strictly prohibited on work mornings.


Since I knew I wanted to hit up the gym after work today, I got to baking last night as soon as I got home. I made two different batches of cookies – each by the ever so clever, Dreena Burton.

First up were her Someone got Their Peanut Butter in my Chocolate Cookies:




They turned out magnificently! I know, because I tried one 😉

The second were Carob Coconut Pecan Cookies:


Yeah..these were a flop. A flattened, pancake, cookie flop. Woops. I mean they tasted delicious!! In fact, the husband kept going into what I salvaged and breaking off a “piece” of a couple cookies that had welded together, haha. I knew it was over when I put the maple syrup in the “dry ingredients” bowl. Doh! I would have started over, but I was plum out of spelt flour. Anyone have any ideas on how I can possibly salvage these babies?

At least the first ones turned out, aaaand I got to use a new, fun Pampered Chef toy! 😀


Next, I made a sweet appetizer of sweet pumpkin dip!


I’ll be setting out these lovelies for dippers:



Sweet Pumpkin Dip:



  • -1 cup of pure pumpkin
  • -1/2 block of extra firm tofu
  • -1/2 block of neufatenel cheese or cream cheese
  • -1/2 T pumpkin pie spice
  • -3 T maple syrup
  • -3 T pumpkin butter (optional)

In a food processor, puree the pumpkin, tofu, and cream cheese until well combined. Toss in the rest of the ingredients, and pulse until smooth. Sprinkle a little of the pumpkin pie spice on top. Devour! Easy peasy 😀


A few of you asked about the His and Hers Lasagna Rollups I made for our Christmas party on Sunday. Man are they good!

His and Hers Lasagna Rollups

Recipe adapted Ellie Kreiger, Food You Crave

Hers – Ingredients:

  • 5 w.w. or regular lasagna noodles
  • ½ T of olive oil
  • ½ of an eggplant, chopped into small pieces (Note: this wasn’t included in Sunday’s meal, as I was out of eggplant, and there was a blizzard out sideJ)
  • 5 oz. of portabella mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 c. of tomato sauce of your choice (I think I just used Progresso)
  • 8 oz. of ricotta cheese – whole or skim (I used whole)
  • 2-3 c. fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ t. oregano
  • A handful of Romano cheese (make sure you have exactly one handful ;))
  • ½ c. mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook 10-12 whole wheat or regular lasagna noodles according to the package; lay each flat on a paper towel or tinfoil when done.

While noodles are cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant, and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms, and cook for 3-4 additional minutes, or until mushrooms are slightly browned. Add in chopped spinach and cook until wilted. Pour in half of your tomato sauce, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

In a medium sized bowl, mix the ricotta, egg, oregano, and spinach until well combined.

Spread a spoonful of the ricotta mixture on each noodle – cover each noodle, but leave 1-2 inches uncovered on each end. Then, spread 1-2 spoonfuls of the veggie and tomato sauce mixture on top of the ricotta spread.

Lightly grease an 8×8 (or whatever you have on hand) baking dish. Roll each noodle from the bottom up, and stand it up in the dish.


Take remaining tomato sauce, and evenly pour on top of the rollups. Top the sauce and noodles evenly with the mozzarella cheese. Cover with tinfoil, and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the tinfoil, sprinkle on the romano cheese, and bake for another 10 minutes.

Then devour!


For the “His” version of the rollups, instead of sautéing the eggplant and mushrooms in oil, simply brown the meat, then add the tomato sauce. Then continue per the directions above. I did still include the steamed spinach in the His version, just because I think spinach goes excellently with lasagna!


Anyway, after all this baking for today, I wasn’t really hungry come dinner time (who, me? Eat the leftover dough? Well, I nevahh!!) but I did make a little somthin’ somethin’ cause I didn’t want to be hungry later. Enter, house salad:


Romaine, spinach, kale, broccoli, yellow bell pepper, TJ’s meatless balls, goddess dressing. Now that salad is the size of a house!


I hope you all have a fun and safe New Year! Don’t get too crazy, now 😉

IMG_4524                    (better watch out for this one, she’s already got the crazy look in her eye goin on!)

Have a great day!

Creamy Quinoa Surprise!

Good morning! So I decided to give Quinoa another chance. Sure, it was mediocre the first time I made it, but I was a quinoa virgin back then!

Tonight’s recipe was from a Betty Crocker cookbook I have (of course, with my own tweaks!) The dish is called Creamy Quinoa Primavera:

  • 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 carrot, 5 asparagus stalks, one tomato
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 3 oz of cream cheese and goat cheese (or any other soft cheese)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • shredded parmesan cheese

  • Boil 2 cups of chicken broth with 1 cup of quinoa

  • Once boiling, cover, and turn down the heat. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes (or until broth has evaporated)
  • While simmering, chop up veggies

  • Eat a carrot with some hummus (totally optional ;-))

  • At about 5-7 minutes until simmering time is almost done, melt butter in a nonstick pan at medium heat; brown garlic
  • Put chopped up veggies in the pan, and cook for 2-4 minutes

  • While veggies are cooking, stir in the cheese and basil into the quinoa mix

  • Pour the quinoa mix into the nonstick pan with the veggies and garlic; dump on sprinkle with paresan cheese:

  • Serve alone

  • or with crackers!

Voila! Creamy Quinoa Primavera.

Now…drumroll pleeeease….THE VERDICT!

I’m very saddened to tell you it was, yet again, mediocre. I don’t know if I’m just not making it right, or if you have to have a certain taste to like quinoa, but I just thought it was kind of meh. Needless to say, there won’t be an attempt #3 – at least not with me as the chef.

It’s OK though, because I had two On the Glo bars for dessert 😀

What do you think? Was there a step I was missing? Or is quinoa just not for everyone??

On a better note, I’m so excited to go up to Chicago this weekend with my girl, Kim to see our girl, Destiny! We’re pretty much a trio, and haven’t all played together in a long time 😀 I wonder what shananigans we can get into this weekend 😉