Carbolicious

Alright Becky, I’m linking up with you again today for Treat Yourself Tuesday!

This weekend I treated myself to LOTS of family time! I went dress shopping with my “second family,” had lunch with Dana’s parents on Saturday, and saw my parents and a bunch of family at my cousin’s wedding reception on Sunday! I loved every second of it. No wonder I was exhausted on Sunday night and yesterday! That, and it was 90 plus degrees and crazy humid.

I treated myself to a Shirley Temple (aka kiddie cocktail). I love that the bartender made it fancy for me and didn’t forget to put maraschino cherries in there. That is the best part!

shirley temple

We treated ourselves to some Indian food. We ordered chicken tikka masala and a cauliflower dish. It didn’t stand a chance to our Indian meal in London, but it was still good! Oh, and I love naan!

indinan food

 

We made a stop at Sebastian Joe’s for ice cream this weekend. The Nicollet pothole flavor is absolutely insane. I also got salted caramel which was really good. The last time I had Sebastian Joe’s was when I was meeting up with a bunch of bloggers in April 2013! That was the first time I met Katie and Becky!

sebastian joes

 

Yesterday I treated myself to all of the carbs. That is seriously all I wanted. I ate cereal, pb and j, a sandwich thin with laughing cow and cucumbers, watermelon, grapes….I couldn’t stop! I must have been tired if my body was craving such an abundance of carbs. Clearly I haven’t been following gluten-free too closely lately.

 

pb j

 

I treated myself to some couch time; some lazy time. I gotta soak up those moments while I have the chance right?!

I treat myself to (nearly) daily walks. Sometimes the walks are forced, but I am still doing it! I am finding it more comfortable to walk on my treadmill because I know I am closer to the bathroom (to be perfectly honest).

How did you treat yourself this week?

What does your body crave when it’s tired?

Some Favs from the Week!

I don’t usually say this, but this week seemed to last forrrrever. Forevvvver (name that movie). I am thrilled that today is Friday and I have a super fun weekend planned!

Although this work week seemed slow, there was a lot of fun that was had. I am linking up with Katie’s Friday Favorites. Let’s get this rolling.

Speaking of rolls, I enjoyed a cinnamon roll and coffee while catching up with my dear friend Haley. She is now a mama and her and I had lots to discuss as I prepare for this baby’s arrival!

coffee and cinnamon roll

An omelette made by Dana definitely makes my Friday Fav’s. It was loaded with veggies and topped with homemade salsa.

omelette

Finding new ways to use essential oils. This makes me oh so happy. Here’s the link to my post on my oil blog for carpet freshener: Freshen and Purify Your Carpets

essential oils carpet purifier

Meatloaf and mashed potatoes made by mi mama in honor of my brother Kevin’s birthday. That was one heckuva birthday meal request that I am thankful for! SOOOO good! It’s everything baby wanted. Homemade mashed potatoes made me super excited for Thanksgiving too!

meatloaf

Happy Birthday, Kevi!!

kevin melanie kevin and melanie and dana

 

Building excitement for my state fair visit. This is one I really want to try!

state fair food

Dinner with old friends at Peoples Organic. I got the Peoples Best Veggie Burger and neglected to take a photo of the actual burger due to being overly hungry and absorbed in conversation, but it was pretty, and it was tasty!

people's organic

Another favorite this week is imagining baby smiling inside. Now (at 29 weeks) is the time that they start to smile!

I’ll have to update you with a bump photo soon. Baby and mama are growing like crazy!

Happy Friday my friends!

Friday Favorites

A Friendly Weekend

It’s catch up time! How has everyone been?

My weekend was filled with so much fun that I just had to share.

Thursday: Katie and her cutie son Luke came over to my house with Panera and we enjoyed super good food and even better company. It was so good to see Katie (and Luke too!). I haven’t seen her since March! That’s not okay!

Friday:  Friday night was super chill. We got some stuff done around the house if I’m remembering correctly. Oh, and I made a delicious chicken teriyaki stir-fry.

stir fry

Saturday: We got to meet our friend’s new baby boy (!!), and then got together with a group of friends for a pool party! The sun was out for the first half and then went away. That was probably a good thing though since my since my skin is uber sensitive these days.

Once we got home I was completely wiped. I rested for an hour or so before getting ready for the night…

It was high school reunion time!

melanie 27 weeks

We met up with a group of friends at the Red Cow restaurant in Minneapolis.

red cow

We split an order of the caramel bacon puffcorn and OMG I would go back just for that stuff. I really do want to go back again some day because their burgers looked amazing. I didn’t get a burger because I had one for lunch and was trying to give baby some more variety and more veggies.

red cow caramel bacon puffcorn

So I opted for the Asian Chicken Salad.

red cow salad

It was good but not the best ever. Oh well you can’t win them all. I still want to go back.

Next up, the reunion at the Urban Eatery in Minneapolis. I was so excited to see my girls and my guys! This was one of the few photos I took the entire night. That’s a good sign I would say. :smile:

melanie amanda julie kate

It was a lot of fun minus the fact that it was really warm in the room we were in and Mrs. Preggo here was really sweating buckets. I was downing water like it was my job.

On Sunday, we celebrated an upcoming wedding with a couple’s shower for two of our friends who live in California. We ate insanely good food: quiche, monkey bread (which is my FAVORITE), yogurt parfaits, orange juice and ginger ale. Delicious.

It was a fabulous weekend full of friends! I loved it!

I am linking up with Becky‘s Treat Yourself Tuesday because I definitely treated myself to some tasty food and lots of friend time this weekend!

What is your favorite sweet breakfast treat?

I am torn between monkey bread and cinnamon rolls with lots of icing. I can go for a good doughnut from time to time too!

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!

Mother’s Day, Spring Rolls, & Smores Cookies

Happy Mama’s Day! I realize I am a day late but every day should be mother’s day anyway, right? :smile:

I hope you all had a great weekend! Mine was great as always. Here is my quick little recap for you all to enjoy.

Breakfast at Jensen’s Cafe. I got the usual: eggs, potatoes, pancakes (with their AMAZING caramel syrup) and fruit. I left feeling slightly stuffed. Dana and I had a few errands to run and it felt great to walk after this big meal.

breakfast at Jensen's Cafe Saturday involved a lot of house work, yard work, and relaxation in the evening.

Oh, not to mention this dinner. Homemade spring rolls with peanut sauce and shrimp. I added quinoa to the rolls and instead of putting peanut sauce inside of the roll I just used it as a dip instead. NUM!

spring rolls and shrimp

spring rolls and shrimp

 

On Sunday I met my mama for our annual Race for the Cure tradition.

race for the cure 2014

For you locals, Julie Nelson and Jerrid Sebesta from Kare 11 were at the race start. Local celebs!

race for the cure 2014

 

Mom and I after finishing the walk. We love our mother-daughter tradition! I love her so much.

mom and melanie race for the cure 2014

We spend the afternoon out at my parent’s new house. It backs up to a lake and has the most gorgeous view. We all enjoyed kicking back and hanging out while celebrating mama’s day!

I made these cookies which were a huge hit: Four Ingredient Smores Cookies

Dana and I hit up the grocery stores on the way home, finished a few more things around the house, and then crashed.

Another great mother’s day weekend to go down in the books!

How was your weekend? 

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

This ugly-looking smoothie deserves some major recognition. I’ve mentioned my favorite smoothie over and over, but I’ve never dedicated an entire to post to it. Considering I eat this smoothie at least 4-5 times a week, it’s time to give it some credit.

I’m talking about my chocolate peanut butter smoothie that I eat for breakfast. It tastes like a peanut butter chocolate shake except it’s wayyyyyy healthier.

chocolate peanut butter smoothie.jpg

 

It’s smooth, creamy, sweet, chocolatey, and knocks my socks off.

chocolate peanut butter smoothie

I’m not one to measure ingredients when I’m making smoothies, but I will do my best to share what I think are the approximate measurements for each ingredient. Feel free to play around with it though!

chocolate peanut butter smoothie

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 medium frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 handfuls frozen kale (approximately 1 cup?)
  • 1 heaping spoonful of raw cacao powder
  • 1 heaping spoonful of peanut butter
  • 1 heaping spoonful of ground flaxseed
  • almond milk (as much as you need to cover the ingredients

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients into the blender in the order listed above. I use the personal-size cups in my Ninja Ultima Blender and it is perfect.
  2. Blend until smoothie.
  3. Enjoy right away!

It’s as easy as that! I always feel good about getting some fruits and veggies in right away in the morning! It’s a great way to start the day.

QOTD: What are your current go-to breakfasts?

An Incredible Easter Weekend

This weekend flew by way too fast. No, wayyyyyyyy too fast.

We had two Easter celebrations: Saturday with Dana’s family and Sunday with my family. We ate very well all weekend enjoyed so much great company and lots of laughs.

Saturday

I brought this fabulous pear salad that turned out just as good this time as it did last time I made it.

pear salad

We had ham, cheesy vegetables, roasted potatoes…

Easter ham and cheesy vegetables

IMG_0966

 

And refreshing key lime pie. Everything was excellent!

 

key lime pie

 

Then we cozied ourselves on the couch and all hung out together as it rained outside.

moose

Easter celebration #1 = success.

Sunday

On Sunday we headed to church with my family. I love Easter service. It is so bright and uplifting!

dana and melanie

Then we headed back to mom and dad’s for Easter goodies….

Easter basket

And another absolutely amazing meal: ham, asparagus with cheese, cheesy potatoes, deviled eggs, pickles, olives, and fruit salad.

Easter 2014

And for dessert I made homemade lemon bars with ZERO refined sugar (minus the frozen yogurt alongside the bar).

I made the crust from this recipe:  crust

The gooey lemon bar part from this recipe: bar

lemon bars

 

They turned out so delicious! I didn’t miss the white sugar AT ALL!

We spent quite a bit of time outside yesterday because it was in the 70′s! It felt amazing to have the sun on my skin. Yay for spring!

Easter celebration #2 = success.

It was quite the weekend. I slept for a solid 10 hours last night. All of that eating and sitting around sure does wear a girl out. :wink: I hope you all had a great weekend full of relaxation, celebration, and family and friends.

Happy Easter!

xoxo

Currently I’m…

It’s time for a little update on “currently I’m…” Here we go!

Currently I’m…

Enjoying hot water with lemon. I always think of Caroline now when I drink it! :smile: It’s such a comforting way to start the day.

water with lemon

Onto season three of Pretty Little Liars. This show just keeps getting better and better!

pretty-little-liars-8

 

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Loving these oatmeal raisin cookie bites. Go make these! They taste like oatmeal raisin cookies but they are grain free and freaking amazing! Recipe: “Fauxtmeal” Raisin Cookie Bites.

oatmeal raisin cookie bites

 

Dreaming of eating another one of these egg sandwiches. Gluten-free waffle, pepperjack cheese, mustard and a fried egg. Ummm yea.

 

egg sandwich

 

Reminiscing about my amazing weekend with these ladies.

 

blends do chicago

 

Looking forward to a quiet weekend! It’s time to FINALLY take the Christmas lights down. Yikes!

 

Now it’s your turn. Currently I’m…

Favorite Food in London, Bruges, and Paris

I really want to begin my vacation recap posts, but am still slightly overwhelmed by the thought of it. So, I am going to ease my way into it by covering one of my most favorite topics…food.

Figure-friendly foods were not on my agenda for this trip. I was looking for macaroons, crepes, baguette, cheese, and hot chocolate, and that is exactly what I found.

Below are photos or some of my food highlights from the trip from London to Bruges to Paris.

London

The hot chocolate. It’s soooo much better in Europe (or maybe it’s just better on vacation?).

hot chocolate

Chicken Tikka Masala. OMG. I’ve had Indian food in the past but was never blown away by it, but this totally changed my mind. I couldn’t get enough of it! It was one of my favorite meals of the entire vacation. I can’t wait to find it at home now!

chicken tikka masala indian food tikka masala, naan

Butterbean burger at Happenstance. This picture does not do the burger justice. Have you ever thought of taking butterbeans and making them into a burger? I certainly have not but it is a brilliant idea. I devoured this burger. butterbean burger

Fish and chips. We had to; we were in London after all. Dana and I split a filet and we both really enjoyed our meal!

IMG_0288

Bruges

French Onion Soup (called onion soup in Europe). You all know I adore this stuff. I also had French onion soup on the plane ride out to London as well as two other times on the trip. Four times total. I love my onion soup!

french onion soup

Paris

This meal was actually from a day trip to Fontainebleau. We traveled out to go see a beautiful palace only to find out it was closed for construction when we got there. Not to mention, it was raining and cold. We found a cute little steakhouse and settled in for a burger and onion rings aka the best onion rings I’ve ever had.

IMG_0355 burger

Back to Paris…

Our favorite bread shop was called Coquelicot because look at it….

coquelicot bread paris

It’s perfection. It’s exactly how I would picture a Parisian bread shop. They make their bread and pastries in-house and everything is always so fresh and the place is always packed. Many days, we would buy a loaf of baguette for lunch along with some cheese and apples. I really looked forward to this lunch.

bread and cheese for lunches in paris

Crepes with nutella and banana. Need I say more?

nutella crepe

Crescents. Nearly every day. So buttery and flaky!

crescent rolls

Macaroons. I channeled my inner Blair Waldorf while eating these.

macaroons

This chocolate mousse. It tasted like the filling of a French silk pie. I was in heaven eating this. Ahhhhh so good.

chocolate mousse

More Indian food. We were actually planning on having Chinese food this night but the restaurant we walked to was closed so we had to find something else. I was once again so impressed with my meal. It was a rice and vegetable dish.

indian food vegetable rice

Check out the ambiance…

indian restaurant paris

In Paris, the boys had a couple of crocque monsiers. Ham and cheese sandwiches with an egg on top.

croque monsieurs

Oh yes, more baguette.

french baguette

And more onion soup. Don’t mind if I do!

french onion soup

My favorites: Indian food in London, the onion soup on our last night in Paris, the chocolate mousse, and the nutella crepe.

Needless to say we ate very well on vacation.

If you were in London or France, what food would be on your “must eat” list?

I’m linking up with Katie for Friday Favorites too! Thanks, Katie!

My Valentine’s Day Menu Inspiration

This year, Dana and I have decided to stay in for Valentine’s Day. Come to think of it, that is what we usually do. I prefer to make dinner especially when I know the restaurants will be swamped. I prefer the quiet comfort of home. Don’t get me wrong though because I enjoy going out to eat too!

Check out Valentine’s Day from last year: Valentine’s Day 2013. Last year we had grilled chicken with artichoke salsa and it was TASTY!

I have a tantalizing menu planned for tomorrow evening but I still have some final decisions to make. Maybe you all could help me decide?

Menu Inspiration

I know for sure that I am making some version of a gluten-free baked coconut shrimp. Skinny Taste’s photo is my inspiration! Num!!

coconut shrimp

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I know for sure I will be making clean and simple steamed artichokes. We bought four at Costco and they look fab! I hope they taste as good as they look.

artichoke

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I haven’t decided whether or not to make potatoes or cilantro lime brown rice. I realize the rice goes well with the shrimp, but I thought it might be fun to have the whole dinner be finger food friendly in which case I would go with the potatoes.

I could do baked potato wedges…

potato wedges

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Or these oven-baked parmesan french fries (OMG!)!

potato fries

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Or cilantro-lime brown rice which is always good.

cilantro lime rice

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Dessert

Since I decided to steer clear of refined sugars for a little while, I searched for a couple of dessert recipes that would fit my needs.

The first one is a no-bake chocolate banana almond square that is sweetened using dates, bananas and honey.

valentine dessert

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The second one is a clean eating brownie that is sweetened using maple syrup.

valentine dessert 2

source

I need your votes! 

Potatoes or rice?

Chocolate almond square or brownie?

Or maybe you have an even better recipe I should try? Let me know!

___________________

New Grocery Store Gift Card WINNER!

I only heard from one of my winners (Congrats, Laura!) from the grocery store gift card giveaway but never heard from winner #2, so I am selecting a new winner.

So…..Congrats to Laura and TANYA!! Please send me your addresses and I will get your $20 (originally I said $10 but it’s actually $20—whoop whoop!) in gift cards mailed to you asap!

Thanks!