4th of July Photo Recap

Happy day my friends! I’m still unwinding from what was one incredible 4th of July weekend. Dana, Moose, and I went camping in beautiful Northern Minnesota. We ate great food thanks to loads of food prep, did quite a bit of hiking, saw some spectacular views, relaxed at the campfire, watched local fireworks, and savored the fresh air. Here’s a photo recap of our weekend!

Hiking & Sights

Silver Bay

silver bay

Gooseberry Falls

camping food

Eagle Mountain–the highest natural point in Minnesota at 2,301 feet! The hike was 7.2 miles. I was struggling towards the end of this one but the view was completely worth it.

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eagle mountain DSCN6741

Judge C.R. Magney State Park and Devil’s Kettle

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devil's kettle

Moose camping

DSCN6781

The Campsite on Lake Superior

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DSCN6753 DSCN6754 DSCN6756

Waiting for Fireworks

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Food

camping

 

Homemade clean food

camping food

Fresh whitefish dinner at Angry Trout in Grand Marais

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grand marais

It was one seriously amazing weekend.

Clean Eating Food Menu For Camping

Happy 4th of July to all of my fellow Americans! I hope your day is full of celebrating with loved ones and BBQ! In case you missed it, yesterday I compiled a list of 10 patriotic recipes that would be perfect for a picnic or BBQ today.

Kitchen Mayhem

Over the past few days I have spent many hours preparing food for our camping weekend. Typical camping food for us is usually kabobs, burgers, chex mix, and s’mores, or something close to that, but this time around we will be eating a little differently. With my hopes to keep up with the clean eating while I am away, I planned out a whole clean menu for us. I don’t even want to know how many total hours I truly spent in the kitchen. All I know is it is a lot more time than what I usually spend when preparing food for a camping trip. I knew it would be a lot of work to plan a “clean” menu, but also knew it would be so worth it! I enlisted the help of some clean eating recipes that I found online to help ease the process. In case you are interested, I thought I would share with you my clean eating food menu for camping.

On the menu for the weekend:

Breakfasts:

  • Cooked buckwheat with cinnamon, a touch of stevia, almond butter and dried fruit. I am incredibly excited for this. I taste tested it after I made it and it’s awesome! To prepare it, I cooked it per directions after letting it soak for 24 hours to aid in digestion. I then added coconut milk, cinnamon, and stevia. I let it cool and then packaged it in a canning jar to bring along with us. We can either eat it cold, or warm it up at the campsite for breakfasts.

buckwheat buckwheat

Lunches:

  • Baked Falafel with salad and homemade (dairy-free) ranch dressing. I used my falafel recipe and also added carrots, red onion, and flaxseed. I baked them at home so that they would be all ready to go when needed. I’m excited to see how they turned out! I used Healthy Blender Recipe’s recipe for the ranch dressing. It’s pretty tangy and should be really good on a salad with the falafel.
  • Lunch out somewhere
  • Leftovers

falafel

falafel

ranch dressing homemade vegan

Dinners: 

  • Asian turkey meatballs over sesame spaghetti squash. I mixed and formed the meatballs and then froze them raw. We will cook them once we get to our campsite most likely on the first night so that we can have them for leftovers for lunch the next day. I got the meatball recipe from Queen of Quinoa but also added garlic and coconut aminos. I used a recipe from Family Fresh Cooking as my inspiration for the spaghetti squash but made a couple of tweaks to it as well. I used coconut aminos instead of wheat-free tamari paste and red wine vinegar instead of rice vinegar.
  • Black bean quinoa burgers with roasted veggies. I also formed these patties and froze them uncooked. I used a recipe I found online but am not super happy with them. I taste tested one and they tasted okay but they are pretty crumbly. I like my version better but couldn’t make them this time around because they have tomatoes and eggs in the recipe which are not allowed on the clean program. *Remember this is VERY short term!* For the roasted veggies, I roasted them halfway to start the process and will finish toasting them up at the campsite.
  • Leftovers or out

Spaghetti squash…

spaghetti squash

Raw turkey meatballs…

turkey meatballs

Uncooked black bean quinoa burgers…

black bean quinoa burgers

black bean quinoa burgers

Halfway roasted veggies (zucchini, onions, garlic, kohlrabi, and turnips)…

roasted veggies

Snacks:

  • Raw veggies: snap peas, carrots
  • Raw fruit: watermelon, cherries, apples
  • Dried fruit: no-sugar added dried cranberries, mango, and pineapple
  • Mixed Nuts
  • Brown Rice Cakes
  • Rice Crackers
  • Homemade sugar-free dark chocolate (lightly sweetened with stevia)

I made insane amounts of the burgers, meatballs, and falafel which is why I am planning on having leftovers for 1-2 meals. As you can see, I was a busy, busy bee. I even have callouses on my hands to show for it. I can’t wait to go relax and enjoy all of this wonderful food now!

I hope you all have a fabulous holiday weekend! Catch up with you later gators!

10 Independence Day Recipes

Tomorrow is Independence Day. How are you celebrating?!

The majority of Americans will be celebrating with family, friends, fireworks, and a barbecue. Still running around trying to decide what to bring to the festivities? Look no further.

I took the liberty (ha!) of cruising through Pinterest looking for patriotic food finds. I compiled a list of ten fun recipes that you can make to help you and yours celebrate the day. The recipes range from nutritious to not-so-nutritious, some gluten-free and some not. It’s okay to enjoy a treat! Remember all in moderation!

People are so gosh darn creative it’s amazing. It puts me to shame. 😉 I wish I could take credit for these recipes but I most certainly cannot, so if you want to view the recipe, click on the image and it will bring you to the creator’s website and recipe.

ENJOY!

 1. Red White and Blueberry Popsicles

RWB

2. Red White and Blue Sangria

RWB 2

3. Celebration Pretzel Sticks

RWB 3

4. Chocolate Covered Strawberries

RWB 4

5. S’mores On a Stick

RWB 5

6. Blueberry Strawberry Jicama Salsa 

rwb 6

7. Patriotic Rose Cake (If you want to get fancy and really impress your friends!)

rwb 7

8. Hot Off the Grill Cupcakes (this one’s obviously not going with the red, white, and blue theme but it’s so adorable I just had to throw it in!)

rwb 8

9. Patriotic Salad

rwb 9

10. Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad

rwb 10

Kudos to all of these recipe creators! They definitely got my mouth watering! Happy celebrating!

How are you planning to celebrate?! 

Memorial Weekend: Productive Yet Relaxing

 

Long time no see! How was everyone’s Memorial Weekend? Mine was very productive but also relaxing. That seems to be a common theme around our house on the weekends. We got so much done around the house and spent the majority of our weekend working outside in the yard.

I want to give HUGE shout-out thank you to the guys who came over on Sunday to help Dana dig the egress window well. THANK YOU times a million! They plowed through that job so fast I couldn’t believe it.

After the window was dug, I helped Dana lay the bricks in for the walls of the well. I felt pretty tough as I carried those bricks around the yard, and my arms are definitely feeling it today! One more trip to Menards for our last batch of brick and the egress window well will be nearly complete. The next step will be putting the windows in, but we’re going to have that done professionally. Then we can start finishing our basement! I’m just waiting for that money tree to start growing in the yard. It all adds up real fast.

Besides getting muddy in the yard this weekend, I also hung out with family, friends, and ate some delicious food. I was hoping to get a bike ride in with Dana but the weather wasn’t really cooperating. The sun hasn’t shown us its beautiful face around here since Thursday if I’m not mistaken. Our poor plants haven’t seen sun since we planted them in the ground on Thursday! We could all use a little Vitamin D around here. Soon enough though. Think positive thoughts, right? Maybe I’ll do a little sun dance later.

Alright, I’m planning on keeping it short today. I don’t have a ton of photos to share to recap the weekend, but I do have a few. So, I’m going to finish off today’s post with the collection of my photos from the weekend. And here we go…

Chipotle loaded with veggies! Proof that you can chose healthy fast food decisions; just go light on the cheese, sour cream, and guac, ditch the tortilla, and go heavy on the veggies and you have yourself an extremely delicious and healthy veggie-packed Chipotle bowl.

 

chipotle

Almond banana muffin with almond butter and sliced bananas…

almond bread

The Egress window well…

dana

Salad: mixed greens, tomato, carrots, peas, avocado, olives, sunflower seeds, and Newman’s Own honey mustard dressing.

salad

 

One of many trips to Menards…11% off everything right now really adds up when you’re there everyday. Spend money to save money, right?

menards

 

Cherry Berry…with no skimping on frozen yogurt OR toppings. I meant business.

cherry berry

Homemade MAH bites, fauxtmeal raisin cookie style.

mah bites

 

And the Bachelorette…

 

 

 

bachelorette

 

I had to throw that last one in there because I am super excited that the Bachelorette is back on again. I spent a good 5-miles on the treadmill watching the season premiere last night. It should be a good one! No favorites yet, though.

I have a nummy vegetarian meal planned for tonight that I am anxious to share with you all (inspiration from Denise). This is actually the only meal I planned for the week because I’m thinking there will be leftovers. Do you have any meals planned for the week?

I hope you all had a FANTASTIC weekend.

Did you do anything fun this weekend? Were you productive around the house? Did you relax with family and friends?

Fresh Vegetarian Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

 

 

Happy Saturday! So, yesterday when I was driving to work, it dawned on me what day it was. It was May 17th which means it was Moose’s 5th birthday!  Our little guy is now 5 years old which is just pure craziness! We celebrated by giving him a couple of pieces of cheese with his pain meds and antibiotics last night and he got to lick the end of the peanut butter jar. 🙂 Lucky guy, huh?

mooser birthday

Another thing I was remembering while driving was that last year at this time we were in the Boundary Waters with my brother Scotty and his girlfriend Nicole. The weather was a whole lot different last year and we were actually bathing in the water! It was cold, but it was tolerable. It was definitely an adventure I will never forget. If you want to reminisce with me you can check out this boundary water post!

I’m slowly pulling myself out of my food rut and I got creative in the kitchen again last night! It was a Vegetarian Spring Roll night in our casa!

I began by prepping my veggies: cutting cucumber, red bell pepper and carrots into strips, chopping up fresh cilantro, and opening up a bag of broccoli slaw.

vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce

Next, I prepared the peanut sauce. Into the bowl went 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of hot water, the juice of half a lime, 3/4 tablespoon coconut aminos (you could use soy sauce instead), and 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil. After I made all of the rolls up I decided I should have added some heat to the sauce, so I recommend adding either red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to the peanut sauce!

 

vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce

 

Next, we submerged the rice paper into a hot water bath one by one, rotating it until it becomes slightly floppy and pliable. Don’t be intimidated by rice paper, it is really SO easy to use! I placed the paper onto the counter and smeared on the peanut sauce and piled on the veggies (broccoli slaw, red bell pepper, cucumber, carrots, and cilantro).

vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce

 

I rolled the long side over first, then tucked each side over, and continued the rest of the roll.

vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce

 

vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce

 

And the end result is these gorgeous spring rolls!

 

vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce

You could also use the peanut sauce as a dipping sauce on the side instead of inside the wrapper, but I was in the mood to tuck it inside.

vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce

 

Aren’t they gorgeous?! They tasted so fresh and delicious and they were actually very satisfying as well. The best part about these rolls is you can use up whatever you have on hand as the filling. The last time I used these rice papers to make rolls I made a warm baked Santa Fe version and they were super good too! The kids would love these rolls especially if you served them with a dipping sauce.

Have a fabulous day! I have to go get Insane

Scenes from My Fun Weekend

I had such an insanely amazing weekend full of so much fun. Here’s a quick little recap for all ya’ll!

On Friday I got to see two of my fav girlies, Kate and Jules, who were both in town for a little while!

(Photo Circa Summer 2012)

kate and melanie

Friday night was date night at Piccolo with my honey. In case you missed it, you can read all about our fancy experience here!

Piccolo

 

Saturday I had lunch with my mom and dad, grandpa, and my great aunt and uncle who were in town!

Saturday afternoon we went to the Twins game. The Twins won and we got neat hats!

 

 

 

dana and melanie twins game

 

On Sunday, my mom and I completed our 6th Race for the Cure at Mall of America!

Mom and Melanie

mom and melanie race for the cure

 

Afterwards I had the family over to celebrate Mother’s Day and my grandpa’s birthday. I made pulled taco chicken and set out all of the fixin’s for Nacho Bar: chips, salsa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, lettuce, black olives, jalepenos, guacamole, sour cream. So delicious!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you wonderful mamas out there by the way!

nacho bar Nacho bar nacho salad

 

By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, I was spent. We ran one errand but besides that I spent the majority of the evening on the couch and then called it an early night.

It was one of those weekends where you look back and can’t believe how much fun you packed into such a short amount of time. I loved every second of it.

I’m going to leave it short and sweet for you all today. I have taken a four-day hiatus from Insanity and it’s time to get back in gear!

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?! Were you able to relax?

No Bake Key Lime Pie

In the mood for a light and refreshing dessert? Then you’ve come to the right place! I jump on the opportunity to bring desserts to holiday functions and get togethers, so of course I volunteered to bring something sweet to our Easter celebration on Sunday. It was actually my mom’s idea to go the key lime route, and then I took off with it. Great idea as always madre!

I found a recipe for Key Lime Pie from thetastyalternative.com and used her recipe for my inspiration. Here it goes!

Lightly coat one pie dish with butter; set aside. In a food processor, mix together dates, raisins, and almonds to make the crust. Use hands to press the crust mixture into the pan. It will cover the bottom of the pan completely. Place the crust in fridge. Clean out the food processor.

Easter 2013

In a small saucepan, heat coconut milk over low-medium heat until hot; do not let it boil. Meanwhile combine lime juice, honey, and avocado in a clean food processor and mix well. Then pour juice mixture into glass bowl. Add gelatin to bowl and whisk until incorporated. Whisk heated coconut milk in with the gelatin mixture until mixed thoroughly. Pour into pie crust and place in fridge for at least 8 hours.

Easter 2013

For the cream cheese frosting: use a hand or stand mixer to whip together cream cheese (I used homemade but you can use your favorite), honey, vanilla, and a little coconut milk. After the pie has completely set, carefully spread the cream cheese frosting over the pie.

Place in freezer for 45 minutes before serving to help with slicing.

Easter 2013 Easter 2013

Slice carefully and enjoy!

Easter 2013

Note: I didn’t freeze the pie before cutting into it hence the reason it looks like a messy piece of pie, but placing it in the freezer for a short while should help it to set a little further and will hopefully cut easier!

No Bake Key Lime Pie (Gluten-Free, No Refined White Sugar)
Print
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • ⅞ cup dates
  • ⅛ cup raisins
  • ½ cup almonds
  • Lime Filling:
  • 1 can coconut milk --- ***reserve 2 Tbsp for topping
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¾ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1½ small avocado or 1 large
  • 1 envelope of plain gelatin
  • Cream Cheese Topping:
  • ¾ cup cream cheese
  • 1-2 Tbsp honey (to taste preference)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Lightly coat one pie dish with butter; set aside.
  2. In food processor, mix together crust ingredient until it resembles coarse sand. Use hands to press the crust mixture into the pan. It will cover the bottom of the pan completely. Place in fridge. Clean food processor.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat coconut milk over low-medium heat until hot, but do not let it boil.
  4. Meanwhile combine lime juice, honey, and avocado in food processor and mix well. Then pour juice mixture into glass bowl.
  5. Add gelatin to bowl and whisk until incorporated.
  6. Whisk heated coconut milk in with the gelatin mixture until mixed thoroughly. Pour into pie crust and place in fridge for at least 8 hours.
  7. For cream cheese frosting: use hand or stand mixer to whip together all ingredients. After pie has set, carefully spread cream cheese frosting over pie.
  8. Place in freezer for 45 minutes before serving.

 

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April Fitness Challenge

At the gym yesterday, I tested my strength to see just how far away I am from doing one unassisted chin-up, which is my April goal. I was able to do one chin-up with 75 lbs of assistance from the machine. I have a LONG ways to go, but I truly think I will be able to reach my goal! You have to start somewhere, right?!

Happy Tuesday my friends!

Question: Have you made any nummy desserts lately?! Please share!

A Lovely Easter & April Fitness Challenge

Is anyone else recovering from a slight sugar shock from yesterday? Yes, I had some sugar yesterday. I don’t regret it and I absolutely enjoyed it, for ONE day. Now that Monday is here, the candy will hide out until next weekend. At least that’s the plan.

I do not believe in depriving yourself of the foods you love, it is all about MODERATION, but since I am in the last stages of my gut healing, I’m trying to stay clear for now.

Our Easter celebration yesterday was absolutely lovely. My parents, my brother Kevin,  Dana and I all went to 11:00 church service and I loved everything about the service; the music, the atmosphere of all of the happy people, being there with my family, the message, everything.

Easter 2013

After church we headed home. The Easter bunny did a great job of filling Dana and my basket with mostly healthy things since she knows we are watching our sugar intake. 😉

Easter 2013

It was 12:30 at this point and we were all pretty ravished, but mom had plantain chips and salsa, sweet potato chips and hummus, and shrimp all ready for us to munch on. I really enjoyed the plantain chips.

Once 2:30 pm rolled around, dinner was served. I brought a fruit salad which I found on Pinterest. I wish I could take credit because this bowl was beautiful. It was simply fresh strawberries, blueberries, and green grapes which I drizzled with a honey and lime homemade mixture. I had two bowls of this sweet goodness!

Easter 2013

The rest of the delicious fare….deviled eggs, which I have officially decided I need to eat more than once a year because they are so tasty and I love them so much.

Easter 2013

Cheesy potatoes….I actually resisted these this year except for one bite to taste! I could have had some but I’m trying to let my body continue to heal and didn’t want to push it with the richness of this dish.

Easter 2013

I loaded up on the asparagus! The ham tasted awfully good too and I’m not always the biggest ham fan. NUM.

 

Easter 2013

 

After dinner, both mom and I were a little antsy, so we went for a quick walk around the neighborhood. It was windy and a little cold but it sure felt good to get the legs moving.

When we returned, I plated the dessert. I made a gluten-free, no refined sugar, Key Lime Pie. It may not be picture perfect, but it definitely tasted GREAT! I will be posting the recipe this week so stay tuned!

 

Easter 2013

Both Easter #1 and Easter #2 were huge successes. I have so much love for my family and I so enjoy spending time with them! I love the holidays!

So, back to that sugar real quick. Up until this point in the day I hadn’t had any processed refined sugar, but when we got home last night, I really wanted some Easter candy from my basket. I had a few piece of licorice and some dark chocolate M & M’s. They tasted very good. I was very excited to have this special treat, but like I said, now that Easter is over, the candy will go away for the week and I will be back to limiting my sugars throughout the week. Next weekend, I might dabble into a piece or two, but we’ll see. I really savored those sweets last night, though. Mmm mmm. I can’t lie and say I didn’t like them, but again I remind you all of my favorite word: Moderation.

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April Fitness Challenge

I’m hesitant to make this public and hold myself accountable for this, BUT, I have a fitness goal that I have been wanting to attain since I can’t remember when and it’s about time I gave it a go.

This month, I am challenging myself to do at least ONE UNASSISTED CHIN-UP. 

There, I said it. It’s out there and it’s published. It’s time to start making these dreams come to life!

Q: Any words of wisdom/tips/advice for me?