California Cheeseburger Salad

April Fitness Challenge Recap

Today is the last day of April which means that today is the last day of my April Fitness Challenge. If you will recall, at the beginning of April I challenged myself to work towards the goal of being able to do at least one solid chin-up by April 30th.

chin up pull up bar

 

We bought a pull-up bar, I hit the weights but not nearly as much as I should have, and I began Insanity workouts about two weeks ago.

I have to report today that unless a miracle happens in the next 24 hours, I am still not able to do an unassisted chin-up. However, I refuse to claim this challenge as a fail because I have seen major progress in my attempts and I know it won’t be much longer before I am able to do one.

And yes I use my legs to help shimmy myself up–I don’t care if that’s considered cheating.

chin up

Am I disappointed? Actually I’m not, not at all. I am very happy with my progress and excited to keep reaching toward my goal. It has been very helpful having a pull-up bar in our house so I can give it a go at my leisure.

You WILL be hearing from me as soon as I reach that goal! I think I will be rolling this goal over into May. Yea, I like that idea.

Anyway….changing tracks. I have a super tasty meal to share with you all from last night.

This dinner was extremely easy, it came together in about 15 minutes or less, and it was SO delicious!

I made what I like to call California Cheeseburger Salad!

What usually comes on a California burger? Tomato, lettuce, avocado, and mayo right? Well I excluded the mayo but used the other ingredients. In addition to the California burger, I also incorporated an all-American classic: the cheeseburger. Instead of a bun, I turned this concoction into a salad.

california cheeseburger salad

 

Let’s break it down…

I began by sauteing about 1/4 cup of diced onions on the stove top. I then added 1/4 pound of lean ground turkey, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and let it brown.

Meanwhile, I chopped up the lettuce, tomato, avocado and arranged them on my two plates.

Next, I made a mustard dressing which was simply deli style mustard (about 2 tablespoons), apple cider vinegar (about 1 tablespoon), garlic powder, onion powder, and a little water. I gave it all a good stir and then drizzled it over the salads.

After the turkey was finished browning and fully cooked through, I shredded 1/4 cup of natural cheddar cheese over the hot meat in the pan. I let it melt and then used a spatula to scoop it onto our salads.

california cheeseburger salad

 

You put it all together and what do you get? California Cheeseburger Salad! So very simple and it was the perfect dish for a warm spring evening.

California Cheeseburger Salad
Print
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup onion, diced
  • ¼ lb lean ground turkey
  • salt and pepper
  • As much mixed spring lettuce as you wish, chopped
  • ½ small avocado, diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 2 Tbsp deli mustard
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • a sprinkle of garlic powder
  • a sprinkle of onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. In a small pan sprayed with olive oil, sauté onions for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add ground turkey, season with salt and pepper, and let brown.
  3. Meanwhile, arrange lettuce, avocado, and tomatoes onto two separate plates.
  4. Prepare mustard by mixing together mustard, vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, and water in a small bowl. Drizzle over plated lettuce.
  5. Once meat is finished cooking and lightly browned, sprinkle cheese over the top and let melt. Once melted, use a spatula to transfer the meat on top of the salads.
  6. Enjoy!

 

You could easily make this vegetarian by substituting pinto beans or black beans instead of the ground turkey! Give it a go tonight! You won’t regret it.

Have a fabulous Tuesday my lovely readers!

What are your go-to summer dinners?

I notice that once the warmer weather rolls around, my meat consumption goes way up because we are grilling so much more. In the summer our go-to dinners are probably grilled chicken or turkey burgers and grilled veggies or a huge veggie and bean salad.

Finally a Warm Run

What an enjoyable weekend. The weather was incredible, I was able to relax, hang out with family, friends, and run a 10k with Dana!

I can’t believe I neglected to take one photo of the actual race site at Minnehaha Park because it is a very beautiful area, but I didn’t. We raced up the streets parallel to the river, crossed the river, came back down the other side, and then crossed the river again. I am always happy when the route is an actual large loop versus multiple laps.

If you are local and are interested in a really nice 10K loop, check out the race course here: Minnehaha Get in Gear 10k Race Course

On Friday we headed over to Minnehaha to pick up our race bibs and scope out the giveaway goodies. We were about to head out and then our eyes caught sight of this:

salted nut roll

That is 25 lbs of pure salted nut roll heaven right there. They were cutting up sample bars and I just had to sample one myself and OMG. This was the best Salted Nut Roll I have ever eaten, and I’ve eaten my fair share. It was so soft and there was so much NOUGAT :smile:. I savored every last bite of that magical bar.

salted nut roll

 

Moving on to race day.

Dana and I gave ourselves plenty of time to get over to the race site but unfortunately the shuttle buses to get runners from the parking area to the race site were not super efficient and by the time we got to the race site, checked our bags (this took a while too) and got into the bathroom lines, we had about 15 minutes until start time.

The bathroom lines were reeeeaaaallly long. I started to get my little anxiety spurts that I get just prior to races and was nervous that we wouldn’t be at the start line when the race began. I knew it didn’t really matter if I was or wasn’t there when it actually began because we had time chips in our race bibs, but I just like to be where I’m supposed to be at any given time.

They made the five-minute until go time announcement and we were still in line, with about eight people still in front of us. Then the two-minute announcement was made and we were still four people back. The National Anthem was sung and there was 26 seconds of silence to honor Boston and everyone involved in the tragedy. The race began and we were still in line.

get in gear 10k

We finally got our turn for the glamorous porto-potty’s and then made a mad dash to the starting line while “washing” our hands with antibacterial goop. By the time we got to the start, there were still TONS of people who hadn’t yet crossed the start line. So basically all of that anxiety and rushing to get to the start line really wasn’t necessary.

 

That was how our race began.

The course was really great and spectators were lined all along the streets almost the entire way. At about one mile in I was struck with side aches on both sides. I used the breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth technique to try to get rid of those bad boys but I wasn’t having much luck. It wasn’t until about mile 5 that they started to go away. Needless to say this wasn’t my best or most enjoyable run, however I am always proud to say that I finished it and I didn’t stop to walk even once.

I finished in 1:01:26 which was about one minute slower than my January 1st 10K race. I was a little disappointed because I had wanted to break the one hour mark, but I didn’t get too hung up on it. I just ran 6.2 miles and I was going to be proud of it!

get in gear 10k

It was SO nice to run in warm weather and not have to be bundled up from head to toe. The sun felt heavenly.

By the time we got home I was exhausted and hungry. I made myself some food and then joined Moose out on the deck to get some rays and relax.

moose deck moose deck

Goodness he’s a big boy.

I gave my camera a rest for the remainder of the weekend but will tell you I had such an incredible weekend. The highlight was spending time with family and friends and enjoying the sunny warm weather.

What was the highlight of your weekend?

 

Spring Has Finally Sprung

 

It’s finally happening people…spring is arriving in Minnesota! Yesterday the temperature got up to 50°F which being that we had these sights just days ago, gets us Minnesotans super amped up. Today is supposed to reach 69, Saturday: 72, and Sunday:  76. If every Minnesotan who is capable of being outside this weekend isn’t outside I would be truly surprised. We have been caged up for far too long. There will be people in shorts and flip-flops left and right, and possibly even bathing suits. Spring is finally ARRIVING! My heart flutters at the thought.

Tomorrow we run are running in a 10K race. Because of the nasty weather, and since the beginning of Insanity, we haven’t been running…at.all. I am hoping since we are keeping up on our cardio and endurance and building up our strength, that 6.2 miles will be a breeze (*fingers crossed*). The other thing that should help is the gorgeous weather. The adrenaline of warm weather and cheering spectators should be all that we need to make this race a great one. We shall see!

Last night there was no doubt in my mind that we were going to grill. At lunch time I started marinading two skinless chicken breasts in coconut aminos, honey, pineapple, ginger, and garlic powder.

When it was time for dinner we threw those bad boys on the grill and hung outside with the pooch while they cooked away.

outside

outside dana grill

“Look ma, no snow!”

outside moose

To go along with the chicken, I put together a simple romaine salad with red peppers and lima beans. For the dressing I made a simple mix of rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and a touch of honey. We plated the chicken over the salad, and dressed it with the Asian-inspired mixture. That’s what you call a springy-looking plate! So light and refreshing!

chicken salad

I’m officially welcoming salads back in as a dinner option now that the warm weather is rolling around.

chicken salad

 

After dinner we took Mooser for a 2 mile walk around the neighborhood. I underestimated my clothing and lack of layers and wound up being pretty chilly through the walk. It was still so nice to get out and not have to trudge through any snow. LOVE.

I am really hoping to make this a ritual in the evenings. So often I find myself wanting to snuggle into the couch after dinner and then I don’t end up moving from my spot until bedtime. I’m working on breaking that habit and the warmer weather will absolutely help that.

After our walk we came in and enjoyed Glee and I whipped up a batch of banana soft serve. I made it in the NutriBullet for the first time and it came out even smoother than when I make it in the blender. We went the simple au natural route and just used bananas and a little coconut milk.

 

banana softserve

 

Between the grilling, the salad, the evening walk, the banana soft serve, it looks like spring has finally sprung over here! Can I get a whoop whoop?!

What do you enjoy most about spring?

Happy Friday my friends!

Some of My Favorites

Happy Thursday to you all! I hope everyone is having a fabulous week full of happiness.

A quick rewind to Tuesday evening

I had tacos on my mind. I had some pre-cooked pinto beans in the freezer so I grabbed those, defrosted them, and threw them in a pan with sautéed onions, garlic, red pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. I then added a splash of chicken bone broth to the pan and let it cook out; this helps make the beans more saucy (just don’t let them cook too long after the liquid has cooked out or they will start to get too starchy).

I love cooking a huge batch of beans and freezing them so that they are ready for me whenever I need them. I use canned beans on occasion and am sure to rinse them really well to remove some of the sodium, but I prefer dried beans that I cook myself. That way I know exactly what goes into them.

bean tacos

I used lettuce cups as the taco shells then assembled the bean mixture, shredded cheddar cheese, tomatoes, avocado, and lastly the salsa.

bean tacos

This dinner seriously came together in about 10 minutes and it was SO good as always! Taco night is one of my all-time favorites!

Wednesday

After my Insanity workouts, I often crave a huge fruit and veggie-packed smoothie. Yesterday, I threw together one of my favorites:

  • a large handful of kale
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 3/4 scoop of chocolate egg-white protein powder
  • ~1/2-3/4 cup almond milk
  • splash of aloe vera juice

Again, I give full credit to my friend Shannon for this one. I think of her every time I make it. It tastes like a chocolate shake and who doesn’t enjoy a chocolate shake in the morning?! I am totally into it.

IMG_2436

I have some exciting news. When it comes to my coffee I am a coffee with cream kind of gal. I enjoy a smooth creamy mug of coffee and as much as I tried to “wean” myself off of the creamer, I just couldn’t get into it. I tried for a good 5-6 months to go au natural, which I would say was a fair shot, but still no dice.

The main reason I wanted to stop with the creamers is because I was not liking the ingredient labels on some of my favorite creamers, namely hydrogenated oils aka trans fat. Not only that, the ingredient labels were way too long and full of unrecognizable words.

I have been on the prowl for a creamer replacement. I tried coconut milk, almond milk, soy creamer, but nothing was giving my coffee that creaminess that I loved and missed so much.

I made a trip to Whole Foods to browse their milk and cream section and I found something that has made me so extremely happy and makes my coffee blend into creamy just the way I like it…

coffee

SO Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer in hazelnut flavor. That’s the stuff!

creamer

There are a few ingredients that I’m not particularly fond of, but for the most part, I can accept it considering I do a very good job everywhere else in my diet with keeping things clean. What’s great about this creamer is that it’s dairy free and trans fat free!

creamer

Until I find my next creamer replacement, I am very happy with this one. Can you count how many times I said cream or creamer or creamy in that last little coffee bit?! Haha.

Dinner

While I prepared dinner there was some major snackage happening. We have a ginormous bag of carrots because I am a huge carrot eater and lover, so I cracked into that along with some hummus to tide myself over. This has to be up there on the list of my favorite snacks: veggies and hummus. NUM.

snack carrots hummus

Thanks to some food prep earlier in the week, dinner came together in a snap.

In a saucepan I browned up about 1/4 lb of lean ground beef. I then sautéed mushrooms in the same pan as the beef and lastly added no sugar added spaghetti sauce. I let this all blend together, added a few sprinkles of garlic powder and onion powder and let it simmer until everything was cooked and heated through.

In a separate pan I sautéed two minced garlic cloves and then added pre-cooked spaghetti squash. I like to cook the squash in a pan for a little while to help cook out some of the extra liquid and moisture, which helps prevent a super watery plate of spaghetti squash.

Once the squash was heated through I plated it up, ladled on a big scoop of meat sauce, and then sprinkled fresh grated parmesan cheese over the top.

spaghetti squash

Such a comforting and healthy dish, and a very healthy italian dish. Italian food is another one of my favorites!

I’ve had a couple of days of my favorite types of foods. Of course I snacked on some bananas and peanut butter here and there too, so don’t worry, I got those in. That snack is high up there on my favorite foods list. And chocolate. I had to have some dark chocolate. My list of favorite foods is probably a mile long. What can I say? I’m a foodie!

I’m off to take on the day! Go tackle yours too!

What are some of your favorite meal cuisines? Italian? Mexican? American? Etc.

 

Keeping it Uplifting

How did you celebrate Earth Day yesterday? I started mine out with a trip to Caribou (I drove—the bike’s not tuned up yet) for my free coffee. All you had to do was bring in a reusable mug!

coffee

A day that starts with Caribou is a good day in my book. I continued to try to keep the “green” momentum throughout the day. I did a load of laundry and used this environmentally friendly laundry detergent sample I got from Costco last weekend. I also used cold water for the wash.

laundry detergent

 

In timely fashion, our mini garden started sprouting little thyme sprouts. That only took a week! I can’t wait for fresh herbs this summer.

thyme garden

 

Lunch was leftovers from Sunday. Dana and I went to a casual sandwich shop called Which ‘Wich and I ordered a turkey wrapped in lettuce “sandwich.” I just had to replace the lettuce yesterday with fresh stuff because it had gotten a little soggy from the mustard and mayo. I actually think it tasted better on day two.

turkey wrap

Moose enjoyed the yard while it was temporarily snow free…

moose

I went to dinner at mom and dad’s and we had burgers with sautéed onions, a big salad, and roasted zucchini. I had deli mustard with my burger and oh my goodness that stuff is good! I need to go get myself some of that!

hamburger hamburger

The weather turned for worst last night and all I’m going to say about it is this:

funny winter spring

 

I refuse to turn into negative Nancy about it because I am extremely tired of hearing people complain about it considering there is NOTHING we can do about it, except for move to another state. I want to keep today’s post happy and uplifting, so I am calling upon my Pinterest finds to do just that.

Here is an eclectic mix of photos and quotes that made me happy today…

dogs

 

batman

 

ralph waldo emerson

 

girl

 

spiderman

 

oreos

 

puppy

 

If that doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will! I hope you all have a very HAPPY day!

Insanity: Week One Completed

Happy Earth Day my friends! If you ask me, we should be celebrating this everyday…

earth day

Some things we can do to help preserve our earth:

  1. Use reusable bags when shopping
  2. Walk or bike instead of driving when we can—I’m so guilty of this one
  3. Take shorter showers and really watch our water usage—guilty
  4. Use cold water more often when washing clothes
  5. Recycle–DUH! I am huge on this one. Someday I hope MN is as posh as Colorado is in terms of their recycling habits.
  6. Use refillable water bottles more often versus throwaway plastic bottles
  7. Use energy-saving light bulbs
  8. Turn off lights in the house when you aren’t using them
  9. Unplug appliances when they are not in use

That’s just a short list! Even if we all start making a few changes it can make a HUGE difference! Don’t forget about our future generations and their well-being.

How are you helping to preserve our planet?!

******************

This is definitely going to be an odds and ends kind of post. As you may have noticed, I took the weekend off from the blog and had a couple of lovely guest posts for your enjoyment. In case you missed them you can check them out:

I pretty much gave the camera a break the whole weekend–it needs time off too. 😉 I did manage to snap a couple from last night so here are a couple of photos for those of you who enjoy food photos as much as I do…

For dinner last night we had the salmon dish that made me start liking salmon. Simply grill the salmon with pepper and then top it with an almond caper drizzle that is made on the stove top using:

  • about 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/4 cup or less of sliced almonds
  • 1-2 tablespoons of capers
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil

You want the almonds to turn slightly toasty but this whole process only takes about four minutes.

salmon salmon

It’s definitely my favorite way to eat salmon.

Check out our super healthy stocked fridge. It is filled to the brim with fruits and veggies and I love it!

fridge

******************

Insanity: Week One Completed

I told you this was an all-over-the-place post. Next up, I have finished week one of Insanity! I thought it might be interesting if I shared my progress week by week for anyone who might be interested in dabbling into the Insanity workouts, and also to do it for my own accountability and to really take the time to notice any progress I might be feeling or seeing.

Body and Strength Changes

Although it has only been a week and some may say you can’t see changes in a week, I am definitely feeling more toned already. I’m still working towards being able to keep up with the push-ups in the videos, but I do notice my strength is improving. After week two we will be completing another Fit Test which tests your stamina and strength, and helps you to note your progress. I will be anxious to see how that goes.

I am very excited to build my core and back strength. I feel this will really help alleviate some of my back problems.

Weight Fluctuations

No changes in weight.

Soreness, Fatigue, or Aches

After the first couple of workouts, I thought I was going to vomit (TMI?) but now I feel really good after a workout–no more nausea. My calves were tight during the first few days as well, but that has since subsided.

Right after a workout I feel pretty exhausted, but after I shower and get ready for the day I am finding I am highly energized.

Overall Thoughts and Feelings

I want to mention that although Insanity suggests you workout 6 days in a row and then take the 7th day for rest, if you feel like you need a break on any day in between, by all means TAKE A BREAK. Continue to listen to your body. Let your body recover to avoid injury, and get back at it the next day. Life happens, and there are days when you may be unable to get a workout in. That is okay but again, just start on up the next day.

I am doing my best to follow the program and follow it’s recommended schedule, but I am going to be throwing in days of rest and there will be days where I may be running instead and taking the day off from Insanity, but mostly I a sticking to the plan.

I love the trainer, Sean T. He is an excellent motivator and super easy on the eyes too. 😉 He really pushes you but not to the point where it’s annoying. He reminds you that it is okay to take quick rests during the workouts and that water breaks are super important!

I am so loving the fact that my hubby is doing this workout too. It always helps to have someone else going through the journey with you and we help to keep each other accountable and motivated.

I continue to eat a clean diet full of protein, fruits, and veggies which helps me fight through the workouts and recover from them quickly.

So far I am feeling GREAT!

Bring it on Week Two!!

Tips for Starting a Vegetable Garden

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, we have officially begun our summer veggie garden. We planted tomatoes, bell peppers, mint, basil, thyme, and green beans. We plan to plant zucchini as well but since that grows relatively easy we will plant the seeds directly into the soil outside versus starting them inside first. Once the warm weather finally rolls around and there is no chance of freezing temperatures, we will transplant the plants into our outdoor garden. I’m already excited to start seeing sprouts!

indoor garden

Over the past couple of years we have had so much fun growing our own veggies in our backyard and enjoying the fresh taste of homegrown produce. Dana and I plan out what vegetables we want to plant and we draw out a plan for where will plant the seeds. This is our first year starting the plants indoors, and we are hoping that this will increase the chances of growing certain veggies that have failed us over the past years, namely bell peppers. We will see how it goes this year!

The following of this post is written by a guest blogger who offered to write about tips for starting up a vegetable garden. I happily obliged. I am super excited about this informative post topic! So without further ado, I present to you,

Tips for Starting a Vegetable Garden

Growing your own vegetable garden is a great way to save money and to eat a healthy diet all year round. You can control what goes into your food so that you only get pure, fresh produce, and you can save money while you’re doing it. Plus, you’ll feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment at having grown your own food.

Growing a vegetable garden need not be overly difficult or complicated. You simply need to know how to get started and you can learn the rest as you go along. Here are a few tips for getting started with a vegetable garden:

Supplies

Whether you decide to clear a stretch of land in your yard or you want to build a raised bed somewhere on your land, you’re going to need to buy a few supplies. Some supplies you may need include:

  • Pots for growing your vegetables or starting seedlings
  • Garden soil or potting soil
  • Top soil to enrich the native soil
  • Fertilizer (store-bought) or compost
  • Garden utensils such as spades and hoes
  • Seeds or seedlings

If you decide to build a bed, you may also need a raised-bed kit that you can buy from a nursery or the lumber to build it yourself. If you plan to grow climbing plants, you will also need to add stakes or trellises.

Type of Garden

There are many types of garden you can create, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Square-foot garden. You build a box that is marked off into manageable square-foot spaces. This makes it easier to manage your garden space, but it also requires more work to set up.
  • Raised-bed garden. With this type of garden, you build a raised bed of pieces of lumber or by using a kit. The bed provides more nourished soil and helps to cut out weeds. However, again, this type of garden requires a lot of work to set up.
  • Container garden. Possibly the easiest type of garden to set up is a container garden. Just fill your pots with soil and plant your seeds. The garden is easy to establish and can be grown anywhere — even an apartment. The drawback is that you are limited in the type of vegetables you can grow by the size of containers you can source.
  • In-ground garden. Simply planting your seeds in a section of your yard that you have cleared of grass is an easy way to get started. The downside is that you will spend a lot of time fighting weeds and keeping the soil nourished.

The type of garden you choose to create should depend on your long-term plans, what you intend to grow, and how much work you are willing to put into creating it.

garden

(Garden photo from Melanie’s yard–they made this garden bed themselves)

Where to Plant

All plants need plenty of sunshine to thrive, but some need more than others. You will need to determine what you want to grow so you know where you need to plant your garden so that the plants get the amount of sun that they need.

Almost all vegetables require full sun to thrive and will need 6 to 8 hours of sun. Some vegetables that can do well in partial shade include almost all varieties of lettuce, spinach, and peas (if you live in a hot climate). For everything else, plan for full sun.

What to Plant

When you’re just getting started, it’s best to choose crops that are easy to plant and don’t require a lot of fuss. There’s a great learning curve to garden, and you don’t want to make it too difficult on yourself. Plus, you’ll feel discouraged if everything you plant starts to die.

Some plants that are known to be easy to grow include:

  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Peas
  • Green beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Radishes

tomatoes

On the flip side, some of the hardest plants to grow include:

  • Corn
  • Celery
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Asparagus

Be sure to read about what’s required of each of the types of vegetables you would like to grow before you get started to be sure you are up for the challenge.

Starting a vegetable garden doesn’t have to be hard, but it does require that you do a little research before you get started. Before you know it, you’ll be off and growing a bounty of vegetables that will provide healthy foods for your dinner table all year long.

What are your tricks for growing a healthy and vibrant vegetable garden? Share your tips in the comments!

About the Author:

Bridget Sandorford is a freelance food and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching cooking schools in Canada. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.

 

How to Make Beautiful Cupcakes

I received an email from a reader named Ivy who asked to write a guest post for Beautifully Nutty. Ivy works for a bakery called Little Bertha in Melbourne, Australia. I only wish these treats were a little bit closer to home because they look so nummy. They even have gluten-free treats! Anyway, I happily accepted her offer after she mentioned the topic she wanted to write about…

How to make beautiful, tempting, nostalgia-inspiring, flavour-inducing cupcakes!

Hazelnut & Cranberry Meringue Cake

Cupcakes are the greatest pleasure food. They are a beautiful, sweet treat which will give a celebratory and fun feeling to any occasion. They are probably the original party food. Making or choosing cupcakes is not the time to count calories or pinch pennies, because they are a pure escapist indulgence.

Part of the pleasure in a cupcake is that they are pretty and decorative, so you have to take aesthetics into account with your baking. Cakes and baked goods have such great potential to look pretty and rustic. Look for beautiful cake and baking inspiration on Little Bertha.

Get creative with your decoration and presentation. I love using unusual garnishes on the top of my cupcake icing like floral decorations, creamed sugar, marzipan, biscuit crumb, cream cheese, fairy floss, and desiccated coconut. You can use the presentation to your advantage as well, by using pretty cake display plates, cloths, and crockery.

Lamingtons

Themed cupcakes are great for celebrating special occasions, and make lovely little party favours. Using a sweet little filling, like jam or caramel, is a delicious surprise to get when biting into cupcake. Cupcakes, unlike curry, are not better the day after, so try and make them as close as possible to the time they will be consumed so they are fresh and soft and moist. Icing tends to harden when left out in the air.

Pistachio & Raspberry Teacake

Some of my favourite types of cupcakes right now are chocolate buttermilk, salted caramel, iced tea cupcakes, pistachio and rapsberry, and lamington cupcakes. But really, you should just have fun inventing your own!

Who wants to go bake some cupcakes?!

Cabbage: An Underrated Vegetable?

(*Sigh*) Hmmm….

turks and caicos stand up paddle board

Oh sorry I was dreaming of paradise. Back to reality…

snow april

That’s all I will say about that.

After completing my Insanity workout yesterday I replenished myself with a big cold smoothie.

smoothie

In the mix:

Whew! That’s a lot of nutrients jam-packed into one smoothie.

I literally couldn’t keep my hands out of the fridge yesterday; my appetite was insane! I couldn’t even tell you everything I snacked on in between breakfast and lunch. By the time “lunch” actually rolled around I made myself a piece of toasted almond bread with peanut butter and a drizzle of honey.

pb almond bread pb almond bread

And more snacks happened after that.

Dinner

The crock pot came out last night. I wanted to use up a head of red cabbage I had in the fridge so I decided to make a crock pot version of my cabbage roll casserole. I used most of the same ingredients this time as I did before, but I also added zucchini and mushrooms this time around.

I added everything into the crock pot except for the mushrooms, gave it a stir, set it on low and let it go. I added the mushrooms in at the last 45 minutes of cook time.

crockpot casserole cabbage

It cooked for about 6-7 hours. I ladled a serving into my bowl and topped it with olives (do I seriously add olives to everything? It’s becoming apparent that I do). Sorry Kal–you can omit the olives. 🙂

cabbage casserole crockpot

This was a very nice way to spend my Thursday evening; eating a warm bowl of veggies and relaxing in my warm home.

Does anyone else think cabbage is a bit underrated? I understand the effects it can have on the digestive process but other than that, it’s some good stuff!

I am taking the day off from exercise today and letting my body rest. I am hoping to get a run in tomorrow, but based on the amount of snow we have, it may have to be a treadmill run. Booo…

Have a great day my friends!

I feel like cabbage is fairly underrated. Do you have any good cabbage recipes?

I really love Oriental Cabbage Salad with Ramen Noodles. Whenever it is at a get-together, I have to snag a bite!

**My thoughts and prayers continue to be with everyone impacted by the Boston tragedies and continuing trauma. My heart breaks. Stay safe and stay strong.**

Days of Leftovers

Well HELLO there my friends! I feel like I have been sort of out of touch in the food photo department. I’ve been eating great meals all week but almost all of them have involved leftovers from the Chicken Marbella from Sunday night, so snapping photos of all of the repeat meals would have gotten extremely boring.

For a couple of meals I ate the leftovers cold and they were just as delicious that way! One day I put the chicken into a salad and use the sauce as a dressing…

chicken marbella salad

Num!  I honestly couldn’t believe how long these leftovers lasted and I never got tired of them! They are now officially gone which means I should really make something creative again.

Last night I didn’t get home until 7 and was STARVING, and all I wanted to do was dip into the peanut butter jar and have a snacky night, but I knew that I would feel SO much better if I took a few minutes and actually made myself an actual meal.

We still have a lot of veggies around, so I decided to throw together a veggie and bean hash. I sautéed onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, chili beans, and zucchini and then topped it with cheese, chopped tomato, salsa, and an over-easy egg!

hash

So easy and always so satisfying.

That’s about all I’ve got for today. I’m hoping to get my creative juices flowing for tonight’s dinner. I have some cabbage that I want to use up so it may involve cabbage. We will see!

By the way I am one more day into Insanity and STILL loving it! Keep me accountable my friends! xoxo

What are YOU having for dinner tonight?