Cinnamon Roll Waffles and Blueberry Pie

Happy FRIDAY! My favorite day of the week has arrived! Ahhhhh….

I am definitely linking up with Katie and Clare for Friday Favorites because I have lots of goodies to share from the week (as if you couldn’t tell from the post title)!

1. Moose definitely got in on the Friday favorites this week when he got to clean up an empty jar of peanut butter. Lucky pup!

Moose peanut butter

2. The beauty of fall makes me so insanely happy I can hardly explain. I love fall.

 

 

 

 

fall

3. Blueberry pie while celebrating my mom’s birthday. I can’t tell you the last time I had blueberry pie but I can tell you I wish it would have been sooner because this stuff rocked.

 

 

blueberry pie

4. Mind you the sweet tooth is in full force….this cinnamon roll waffle. OMG this thing was no joke. Cinnamon waffle with cream cheese icing. Um okay!

 

 

cinnamon roll waffle

5. Going through old bins and finding gems like this one. The fabulous four roomies from college at Mankato!

 

 

 

melanie angela heidi katie college

6. Weeknight dates with Dana. We kept putting it off because we have been so busy remodeling our upstairs bathroom and would really like to finish it before baby arrives, but we decided this is something we really wanted to do. We went to Ciao Bella in Bloomington and I got spaghetti and meatballs. I cashed the whole plate except for a couple of bites. I loved it.

 

 

spaghetti and meatballs caio bella

7. Crock pot meals. These were simple chicken tacos made with chicken breast, salsa, chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder. They were set in the crock pot for a little while and were ready for us when dinner came around.

 

 

crockpot tacos

8. New Larabar flavors. When we were in La Crosse we went to this ginormous grocery store called Woodman’s. We stumbled upon the Larabars and loaded up on some seasonal flavors like snickerdoodle and gingerbread! YUM!

 

 

larabar

 

I told ya–lots of goodies in today’s Friday Favs!

 

No updates on the baby front; I am definitely still very pregnant. It is so exciting to know it could be any day now that we meet our precious guy!

 

I hope you all have a great weekend!

 

What were some of your Friday favorites?

What’s your favorite kind of pie? 

I usually go for French silk pie but this blueberry pie opened my eyes to fruit pies again!

Cheesy Broccoli Soup and BBQ Chicken

Happpppy hump day to all!

I’ve got a few food pics to share with you on this Wednesday for my rendition of WIAW….What I’ve Been Eating Lately.

First off, gluten-free spaghetti with meat sauce. I tossed in some kale, spinach, onions, and ground beef into the spaghetti sauce. And of course, I had to top the whole thing off with parmesan. I love this meal.

spaghetti

Lunch in New York: A burger. Go figure. My body really craves the iron from the red meat. Although my gut hasn’t been appreciating the greasy food.

burger

A side of super amazing brussels sprouts to try to “balance” my meal. These were so incredible. I’m guessing they were roasted in olive oil and seasoned simply with salt and pepper but if that’s all it is, then why can’t I make them this good at home?

brussels sprouts

I was so absorbed in the events of the wedding that I neglected to take a single food photo. There was A LOT of food and a lot of GOOD food! Take my word.

Saturday morning I was wiped. This girl just can’t stay up until midnight like she used to in the old days. Room service was a must. Oatmeal for me, with a side of fruit.

oatmeal

Back at the ranch home, I tried getting back on the healthy food train after my 29 hours away with a big ol’ green salad. Unfortunately I had to do everything in my power to get this down. Like I mentioned, these days sometimes nothing sounds or tastes good!

salad

On Monday I made Peas and Crayon’s Broccoli Cheese Soup. Coincidentally, she is the one who hosts the WIAW link up!

broccoli cheese soup

This soup was pretty darn tasty if you ask me. I learned my lesson though to make sure and measure seasonings such as cayenne in a soup, because apparently my “eye-balling” it method made for a soup with a bit of a kick! I had to add extra broth and half and half to try to tame it down.

IMG_1434

I really enjoyed it though.

Last night I made a cranberry BBQ chicken (recipe to come soon). I melted monterey jack over the chicken and served it alongside a baked potato and green beans. After eating almost this entire plate of food, I remembered why I really shouldn’t eat big meals anymore. I just felt nasty. Smaller meals is the way I need to go these days. It’s just tough to do with work!

chicken potato green beans

I’ve been a cereal eating machine lately. My latest grocery grab was Honey Nut Chex.

honey nut chex gluten free

And lots of blueberries have been consumed in the last week as well.

blueberries

Y.U.M.

Lots of good eats once again! Thanks to Jenn for hosting WIAW!

Do you prefer small meals or large meals?

What’s your favorite cereal lately?

Baking, Shopping, and Good Food

I am most definitely linking up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday today because I have been treating myself quite a bit lately.

This weekend I treated myself to time in the kitchen. I baked up a couple of loaves of gluten-free bread using brown rice flour and almond flour.

IMG_1335

And I made these amazing snack bars!

raw cocoa bars

I enjoyed a relaxing evening with two calming essential oils: gentle baby and lavender. I also treated myself to a couple new ones: ylang ylang which smells AMAZING and citronella to try diffusing when we are sitting out on the deck to help keep the skeeters away.

ylang ylang essential oil

On Saturday Dana and I treated ourselves to lunch at The Bulldog in Minneapolis. We were both in the mood for a good burger (typical these days) and Becky recommended this place for amazing burgers, so we thought we would go check it out.

the bulldog

Patty melt for me! So good!

the bulldog burger

I treated the babes to a new outfit from Target. It was on the clearance rack for $5 and I just couldn’t resist.

baby boy clothes

I also treated myself to some maternity clothes and some looser fitting regular clothes. Besides pants and shorts, I should be set for a while! I stocked up on dresses!

pinkblush

Last night I was treated by my brother as he cooked up an awesome stir-fry dinner for me and the fam! As much as I love to cook, I love it even more when someone else cooks for me!

stir fry

Thank you Becky for hosting the link-up!

How did YOU treat yourself this week?!

Raw Cocoa Bars

Thank you for all of the sweet comments in reply to my last few posts! In case you missed them:

Beautiful Changes
Pregnancy: Some of the Details
Gender Reveal: It’s a…

We are so excited to know that we are having a boy and are dreaming about what he will look like, what his personality will be like, and what his interests will be! I’m also having a really good time starting to think about how I want to decorate the baby room.

I have baby on my mind all the time….but one must still eat and function on a day-to-day basis. :smile:

Yesterday I was a busy girl in the kitchen. Along with baking GF bread, and prepping fruits and veggies, I also put together a super tasty, fudgy, chocolaty bar. This bar is refined sugar-free, raw, and perfectly healthy! It’s great as a snack or even a dessert.

raw cocoa bars.jpg

There are only four ingredients involved in this bar:

  1. Dates
  2. Almonds
  3. Walnuts
  4. Raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder such as Hershey’s)

raw cocoa bars raw cocoa bars raw cocoa bars

They are so easy and so delicious. I ate three yesterday and wanted to keep going back. What I love about making my own bars is that I can make them in whatever sizes I wish. I like to make them in a variety of sizes because you never know when you might need just a mini pick-me-up or a more substantial one!

Raw Cocoa Bars
Print
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted almonds (I used raw)
  • ¼ cup unsalted walnuts
  • 1 cup dates (pits removed)
  • 3 Tbsp. raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder such as Hershey's)
Instructions
  1. In food processor, add almonds and walnuts and process until they resemble wet sand texture; pour into small bowl and set aside.
  2. Add dates to food processor. Process until mixture begins to form a ball, and pieces are small.
  3. Add nut mixture and cacao powder into food processor with the dates. Process until combined; about 1 minute.
  4. Form combined mixture into bars or balls using your hands and store in air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks (they last longer but they start to get hard).

There you have it! You don’t have to get the oven going, they are easy, AND they are healthy. There’s no reason not to make these cute lil’ guys!

Happy Monday my friends!

Healthy Snacking with Blue Diamond

Remember this box of snacking goodness I received a few weeks ago from the wonderful folks at Blue Diamond? If you don’t, here’s another glimpse…

blue diamond snacks

That’s a lot of delicious loot, right? Blue Diamond asked me how I get my good going now that the weather is finally starting to warm up.

The summer is crazy. We all know that. Especially those of us who live in the Northern climates who only get to enjoy warm weather for 3-4 months. We pack everything we can into those 3-4 months. Camping trips, hiking, bike rides, vacations, weddings, and of course, shopping for new summer clothes. There is so much fun to be had!

The days can be busy (in a good way busy), and so I always make sure to have plenty of snacks with me wherever I go. I stash snacks in my car and in my purse because you never know when hunger will strike and no one wants to encounter hangry Melanie. This is where Blue Diamond snacks come in to play so perfectly. They offer so many fun flavors of almonds and their snack chips are a household staple for us!

Here are some snacks that I like to have on hand…

Trail mix with roasted salted Blue Diamond almonds. In this mix I threw together the almonds, a dried fruit combo that I had of craisins, blueberries, cherries, and raisins, and Corn Bran cereal. Use whatever you have on hand and make your own trail mix to go. It’s a fun little snack to have around. Kids love it too!

blue diamond snacks blue diamond snacks trail mix

One of my all-time favorite Blue Diamond almond flavors: Salt n’ Vinegar. I stash these in my car and they are perfect while out running errands. They don’t need any accompaniments if you ask me. They are so good by themselves! Mmmmm!

blue diamond snacks

A true snack staple in our house is Almond Nut Thins. These crunchy snack crackers are gluten-free too! These would be great for a picnic out with friends or family. Grab a box and top it with your favorite spread: hummus, laughing cow and muffuletta olive spread, cheese, cottage cheese, guacamole, salsa. Get creative!

blue diamond snacks blue diamond snacks

Don’t leave the house without throwing some Blue Diamond almonds into your purse or car. They are the absolute perfect snack for your super fun and jam-packed summer!

Disclosure: I was given free Blue Diamond products to sample and review but all opinions expressed on the products are solely my own.

If you could only choose ONE flavor of Blue Diamond to eat ever again, which would you choose?

I would have to say salt ‘n vinegar or roasted salted! Black pepper rosemary is really good too though!

What I’ve Been Noshing On Lately

Instead of my usual “what I’ve been eating lately” title, I thought I’d switch it up a bit. Just like my other WIAW posts, this one highlights some of my eats over the last week or so.

What I’ve Been Noshing On Lately…

I didn’t want an actual Olive Garden entrée, I just wanted the salad that comes with it, so that’s exactly what we ordered for pick up. Have you guys ever had Olive Garden’s house salad? It is seriously so good!

olive garden salad

Fruit and nut “cereal” bowl complete with blueberries, strawberries, banana, sliced almonds, raisins, and almond milk. So pretty!

fruit cereal

Grilled burger loaded with mushrooms and onions with steak fries!

burger

Croque monsieur, croque madames and French onion soup. We had our friends over on Friday who we went to Paris with (I know, I know I still need to do a recap Paris), and we had a reminiscent meal of our trip there complete with baguette, European beer and Perrier. A croque monsieur is basically a grilled ham and cheese  with extra cheese on top, and a croque madame is a grilled ham and cheese with a sunny-side egg on top. These were better than the ones we had in Paris! So was the soup!

croque madam and french onion

Taco salad made with ground turkey. Have I mentioned how completely obsessed I am with tacos?!

taco salad

I’ve been happily snacking on Blue Diamond almonds and crackers thanks to the wonderful folks at Blue Diamond!!

blue diamond almonds

Banana soft-serve (straight, no mix-ins) made by Dana. This stuff is so stinking amazing. Please, please make it if you haven’t. Grab your blender, throw in a bunch of frozen bananas, a splash of almond milk (or whatever kind of milk you have on hand) and let the blender mix it to a soft-serve consistency. You have to stop in the process and scrape the sides, so it takes a little bit of work, but it is completely and totally worth it so do it!

banana softserve

Homemade meatloaf made with grass-fed beef and LOTS of ketchup obviously.

meatloaf

Chicken and steak shish kabobs from the kitchen of Kathy and Tom (mom and dad). Kabobs scream summer to me and although it was only about 40°F when we ate these babies, I still got that summer feeling.

kabobs

Broccoli and cheese soup from Panera annnnnd I had $1 off because I use my Panera points card every time I go which made it taste even better. Um…yes!

panera broccoli cheese soup

Breakfasts are almost always still my go-to smoothie: frozen blueberries, frozen banana, kale, almond milk, peanut butter and raw cacao powder. When your breakfast tastes like a peanut butter chocolate shake, why would you want to break away from it?!

I think my body is trying to fight off a cold so I’m trying to feed it lots of good healthy and nutritious foods. Or maybe it’s just allergies? I’m not sure.

Questions:

What’s the best thing you have eaten lately?

Have you ever had Olive Garden’s salad? Do you love it as much as I do?

Treat Yourself: Sweet Treats, Sunshine & Clothing Bargains

Happy Treat Yourself Tuesday! It’s been a while since I’ve linked up with Becky’s TYT and I have some fun things to share with you all, so today I am linking up!

To read about Becky’s Treat Yourself Tuesday, head on over here and learn why Becky is a firm believer in treating yourself on a weekly (and even daily) basis.

Since the weather has been amazingly beautiful, I have been treating myself to extra time outside. I am loving the Vitamin D and Moose is loving my company outside. moose

This was a total random purchase as are most of my clothing purchases, but I happened to stumble upon the clearance section at Gap and found this adorable polka dot blue sweatshirt. It fit me just perfectly so it was meant to be. I snagged it for just $9! gap sweatshirt

I am treating myself to a huge container of Driscoll’s strawberries. They are so sweet and perfect! They scream summer to me. strawberries

From healthy strawberries to a not at all healthy doughnut. I enjoy a doughnut I’d say maybe once or twice a year. We had a free doughnut coupon for a doughnut shop in our neighborhood so…….guess what happened. A long john, that’s what happened. I was bummed they didn’t have any long johns with chocolate and sprinkles but I made due with just the solo chocolate and it sure was tasty still. #allinmoderation #doughnutsaredelicious doughnut This maxi dress from Target. I wanted it ever since I saw Becky post about it but this one is the one I wanted and it was no longer available online and it wasn’t at my normal target. BUT…..after acupuncture last week I stopped at a different target and lo and behold…my dress! I also found a 15% off coupon on Cartwheel and got an extra 5% off by using my redcard. Boo ya. maxi dress

On Sunday my mom and I went out for a nice long walk. It was sunny, it was peaceful, it was lovely. We chatted away and talked about how we wish we could meet up for walks everyday! That walk was definitely a treat.

How did YOU treat yourself this week?

What’s your favorite kind of doughnut?

Thanks, Becky again for the link-up! Treat-Yourself-Tuesday-Badge

On Air with Fox 9: Blueberries!

Back in January, I had the opportunity to go back to Fox 9 for another on-air show featuring Driscoll’s blueberries. I have put off this post for a while because I was hoping that Fox 9 would post the recipes on their site and maybe even the clip from my segment, but neither was ever posted. After that never happened, it all kind of fell to the wayside and I just forgot to share it. Until today.

To read about my last visit to Fox 9 and see my video from my last show, head on over here: On Air with Fox 9: National Oatmeal Day

I arrived nice and early to the set and felt like an old pro.

on air fox 9

It didn’t take me long to set up which gave me time to relax, look over my notes, and chat with the Fox 9 crew.

on air fox 9

on air fox 9

The news anchor I worked with this time was Tom Butler. He was so kind and made me feel incredibly comfortable. I was a bit nervous, but did my best to hide it and he definitely helped put me at ease.

Once the cameras were rolling, we were live.

The segment was really great. It was all about healthy snacking and how blueberries can be a super healthy and delicious snack to add to your day.

The best part though was at the end of the segment I got to take part in the Friday Dance-Off. They put on a fun song, the whole crew dances and it is shown live just as the rest of the show is. I don’t know if all of you know this, but this is right up my alley. I love to dance! I killed it with some super corny moves and I’m pretty sure I won the dance-off. :wink:

I shared three Driscoll’s recipes with the viewers. On the segment, I put together the spicy trail mix. Feel free to check out the recipes.

 

Blueberry Cocoa Bites: think Larabar with a sweet blueberry filling.

Recipe: http://www.driscolls.com/recipes/view/10152/Blueberry-Cocoa-Bites

driscolls blueberries cocoa bites

photo source

 

Spicy Blueberry Trail Mix: I devoured this mix. The sweet and spicy combo really got me!

Recipe: http://www.driscolls.com/recipes/view/10113/Gluten-Free-Spicy-Blueberry-Trail-Mix

driscolls blueberries

photo source

 

Gluten-Free Blueberry Macaroons: not my fav for some reason but that’s not to say you won’t like them! You could use any flour you have on hand I am sure.

Recipe: http://www.driscolls.com/recipes/view/10099/Gluten-Free-Blueberry-Macaroons

driscolls blueberries macaroons

photo source

For the most part, the whole segment went very smoothly. I had a lot of fun once again!

I was incredibly honored to have had the chance to work with Driscoll’s and Fox 9 again. These are memories that I won’t soon forget! I hope they are more of these opportunities in the future!

Now, go make yourself some spicy trail mix!

Disclaimer: Driscoll’s compensated me for the segment as well as the products needed for the show however all opinions expressed are my own. 

Favorite Soup, Clean Things & Pups

TGIF!

I’m linking up with Katie once again for Friday favorites!

1. Getting goodies delivered to my door. Blue Diamond hooked me up with a fun little Olympic-inspired box of almonds.

blue diamond almonds

2. Lunch with two amazing and inspiring women at Panera. Can you believe I ordered the French Onion soup? I’m a creature of habit apparently. That, and French Onion soup is one of my all-time favs and since I don’t go to Panera too often, it’s one I like to order on repeat. And yes, I ate my whole loaf of bread with little repercussions (yay!) but I don’t plan on making that a habit.

panera french onion

3. As much as Moose is driving me crazy lately with his stir-craziness, he is so stinking cute still. I mean really, who can blame him. I would go stir-crazy too this winter. As you may have heard, we got bombarded with snow yesterday and Moose was in his dreamland. He just sat out in the snow and watched the world go by.

moose snow winter

moose snow winter  moose snow winter

4. Experimenting with my Young Living Essential Oils and finding new combos that work for different ailments/household messes/stinky gym shoes/sticker residue, etc. Being that I’m a science nerd, experimenting with oils gets me all happy.

lemon oil

5. These cleaning brushes from Collections Etc. The kind folks at CollectionsEtc.com sent me these cleaning brushes to review.

collections etc

I realize this is a bit of a random one for me, but the reason I agreed to review these is because I thought they would be perfect for cleaning the CamelBak water bottles which both Dana and I use on a daily basis. The downfall to the CamelBak is that there are a lot of nooks and crannies where bacteria can grow and it’s not always easy to clean out.

Well…I am happy to report that these little gadgets did a pretty fine job at disinfecting the water bottles. I used a lemon oil/vinegar/water blend to clean these along with the brushes.

The only issue I had was that not all of the straws on the water bottles are the same size, and so the cleaning tool got stuck in one of the straws. I had to unwind it out. So, technically it came out, just not easily so I guess I shouldn’t necessarily say it got “stuck.”

IMG_0413

It worked great for the mouthpiece.

collections etc

And inside of the straw insert hole.

collections etc

So far I have only used these brushes on the water bottle but I am definitely satisfied with the product! I have my eye on some cute tumblers on their website too!

Happy Friday to you all!

Disclaimer: Collections Etc. sent me these cleaning brushes to review on Beautifully Nutty. All opinions expressed on the product are solely my own.

A Clean Attempt at WIAW

It’s Wednesday! We are halfway through the week my friends.

Let’s get right to it and talk about some of my amazing eats from this week.

A week ago, I decided to drop refined sugars for a while. I know how much inflammation refined sugar causes to my body, and I wanted to give my body a rest from that madness. Check out this post about how I kick the sugar addiction. I still enjoy sweets but in the form of fruit and natural sugars like organic honey.

Besides the sugar thing, I have really cleaned up my diet again. I’m limiting my processed food intake, going crazy on the fruits and veggies, becoming more aware of my protein intake, and overall just trying to keep my food intake very balanced. It’s amazing what even a week of good clean eating can do for a person! I am feeling great and less bloated.

My EATS:

Those banana almond bars that I made for Valentine’s day are already gone! They were definitely enjoyed if you cannot tell. This is why I can’t keep any type of sweet in the house! At least they were healthier than a pan of Special K bars (oh how I love Special K bars–-Katie).

banana almond bars

This random stir-fry I threw together last night turned out AMAZING! It was sautéed onions, red bell pepper, and mushrooms with a cooked veggie burger and quinoa thrown in the mix. I topped the dish with hummus and was one happy girl.

veggie burger stir fry

Greek yogurt bowl with honey, banana, almonds, cinnamon and raisins; photo taken after half demolished.

yogurt banana

This salad that looked a lot prettier than it tasted. You win some, you lose some. I couldn’t figure out why it didn’t taste good because I’ve made a nearly identical salad before and absolutely loved it. I guess I wasn’t in the right mood.

salad

Thai lettuce cups with peanut sauce and mom’s homemade chicken wings!

lettuce wraps and chicken wings

I went through three napkins and really did a number on this dinner. So good!

lettuce wraps and chicken wings

Homemade almond crackers. I made two different kinds: salt and pepper and rosemary and garlic. They both turned out great!

almond crackers

As always, smoothies are still my go-to breakfast choice. I’ve been going through quite a few brown rice tortilla and peanut (or almond) butter wraps. Organic raw carrots. Cashews. Raisins. Dates.

LOTSA good food!

What have YOU been eating my nutty friends?

Thanks again to Jenn for hosting WIAW!