Strawberry Cheesecake Baked Oatmeal

Hi, Beautifully Nutty friends! I’m Kim from Hungry Healthy Girl, where I share my love for all things food and fitness. My recipes range from vegan to gluten-free to every once in awhile splurges. There’s something for everyone! Melanie’s blog is so much fun and I’ve been reading it ever since I met her at the Healthy Living Summit, this past September. I can honestly tell you, Melanie is just as much of a sweetheart as she comes across on her blog!

Picture from the Healthy Living Summit…. I’m in the front, second from the end on the left. Melanie’s in the middle in pink.

healthy living summit guest post kim

I was so honored and excited when Melanie asked me to guest post for her. And I’ve got a REALLY delicious recipe to share with you guys.  If you’re anything like me, breakfast is your favorite meal and a warm bowl of oats is the best, especially in the winter. And what’s better than a bowl of oats? How about cheesecake oats? Yes, please! The cottage cheese gives these baked oats the most wonderful cheesecake-like taste. I’m pretty sure Greek yogurt would work just as well, if that’s your thing, but I haven’t tried this.

strawberry cheesecake baked oatmeal

Baked oatmeal is such a handy breakfast too. I made this Strawberry Cheesecake Baked Oatmeal on Sunday and it made enough for 6 breakfasts. Each morning, I just heated up my baked oatmeal with almond milk and added a drizzle of nut butter. I also experimented with adding in blueberries one morning and granola another morning…. both lovely choices.

strawberry cheesecake baked oatmeal

Strawberry Cheesecake Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats, gluten-free if desired
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cups milk, I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup maple syrup, honey would work too
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract¾ cup cottage cheese, Greek yogurt may be a good substitute
  • 16 ounces fresh strawberries, sliced (reserve about ½ cup for topping your oats before baking)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with a natural cooking spray. If you would prefer your baked oatmeal thicker, use a smaller sized baking dish.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt) in a large bowl. Toss in sliced strawberries (reserve about ½ cup for topping).
  3. Beat eggs in a medium bowl and then stir in the rest of the wet ingredients (milk, vanilla, maple syrup, cottage cheese).
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir to combine. Transfer oatmeal to baking dish and top with the reserved sliced strawberries.
  5. Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 375 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve with your favorite oatmeal toppers. I enjoyed my baked oats with added almond milk and coconut cashew butter.

strawberry cheesecake baked oatmeal

I really hope you get a chance to give this Strawberry Cheesecake Baked Oatmeal a try. If you’re an oatmeal fan, you won’t be disappointed!

Be sure to come visit me over at Hungry Healthy Girl. I would also love to connect on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Thank you, Kim for the delicious guest post! This would be a huge hit in my house!

Strength Training Tips for Beginners

Hello friends! My name is Caroline and I am so excited to be guest posting on Beautifully Nutty. Melanie and I met at the Healthy Living Summit in 2012 and have been inseparable, online friends ever-since.

me-and-caroline1

melanie and caroline

I live in Boston, MA and have been a personal trainer for the past 4 years. I just recently was able to pursue my passion for blogging and now work full-time as a fitness content writer for the Boston-based media publication, BostInno.

caroline

As I am still a personal trainer part-time, I work with clients that are just beginning their fitness journeys. With questions like “What are the best exercises?” and “How do I tone up?”, I felt the topic of strength training for beginners to be a great topic for my post. So let’s get right to it, this is your no-excuses, step-by-step guide to getting fit and ruling the weight room.

Strength Training Tips for Beginners

1. Don’t be afraid of the strength room.

All the time I see women too afraid of venturing to the “other” side of the gym. Whether it’s out of confusion or fear, we must begin to break that habit. Check out what your gym has to offer, you may be surprised by the variety of options they have. From Kettlebells to Bosu balls, modern gyms are typically stacked with the newest and coolest fitness gadgets. So go check it out, then move on to tip #2.

 

2. Ask. We won’t bite.

When I was working at the gym full-time, I was amazed at how many members would come in, walk around and then leave without so much as touching a piece of equipment. As a fitness professional standing in plain view, I grew confused as to why no one would ask me for assistance, for guidance. And then it dawned on me: people hate to ask for help. Well, I’m here to tell you, ask! You’re not looking to get a free training session, but a simple ‘what is what’ around the gym floor is a perfectly acceptable question.

 

3. Try a class!

Most gyms offer a variety of group exercise classes. From Zumba to bootcamp, these classes are a great way to learn new exercises and get ideas for your own workout. If you’re not feeling motivated, begin taking strength classes 2x/week so it becomes routine. When you feel confident you can train on your own, hit the floor with all the moves you’ve learned in class.

 

4. Don’t quit.

Speaking of motivation… the number one reason why people quit an exercise routine is because they aren’t seeing the results they want. Make sure you’re not only challenging your body, but also putting in the time and allowing for proper recovery. If you’re just starting off on a workout routine, go slow. Don’t bombard your body with two-a-days and logging millions of miles. You’ll burn out and most likely get injured. Like they say, slow and steady wins the race.

 

5. Recover, recover, recover.

After your workout it’s easy to put your feet up and call it a day. But before you hang on the couch or go sit at your desk, make sure you’ve properly stretched and fueled your muscles for proper recovery. Within 30 minutes of exercising, aim to take in a small serving of protein and carbohydrates. Hydration is key as well. If you’re not used to exercising, you’ll need to make sure you’re replacing the fluids lost during that sweat session!

Thank you, Caroline for those great tips. I am such a weinie when it comes to lifting weights with all the buff guys at the gym. I am getting better about it though! Love you twinie! ~Melanie

How to Survive a Hard Run

Hello Beautifully Nutty readers!! My name is Katie and I blog at Running4Cupcakes. My blog follows my life and my quest for balance and healthy living. I blog about everything, but my favorite topics are running, teaching BODYPUMP and aerobics, being a new Mom, daily life, my latte addiction, crafts, new recipes, baking, and lots of pictures of Luke (my 17 month old) and Abby (my 8 year old collie mix). I am so happy to be guest posting for Melanie while she is out having an awesome vacation. I can’t wait to see pictures and read all about it!!

So, recently I had a super hot, hard 4 mile run. I don’t know if it was just one of those hard runs, if it is because it had been over a week since I pushed Luke in the jogging stroller, the heat, the humidity, my breakfast, or what?!?

katie running4cupcakes guest post

 

Do you ever have hard runs?

katie running4cupcakes guest post

Duh, right?

If you do any running, you know that hard runs are the name of the game, but how do you survive and push through?

Here are a few tips and tricks that I use to get me through a particularly hard run whether it is 2 miles or 20 miles. ..

*Disclaimer – if you are trying to get faster or improve your running times, sometimes, all you can do is push through those hard runs. . . but these tips might help make the run better.

1. Walk. Sometimes a quick walk break from 10-30 seconds can bring your heart rate down and give you a little breather. Perfect time to grab a picture too!!

katie running4cupcakes guest post

2. Slow down. If you are having a hard run, forget about your pace, forget about any time goals. Slow down, concentrate on your breathing and re-set your expectations. A hard run can sometimes be made easier if you just re-adjust your goals. . .

3. Run faster. Wait, what? Didn’t you just tell me to run slower? Yes, yes I did. But, if you are my husband and you are having a hard run, he will run faster so it is over faster. . . now, that doesn’t work for me, but it is an option.  :wink:

katie running4cupcakes guest post

4. Take a water break. Same principle as a quick walk break. Slow your pace down and grab a drink of water, stop to walk and take a drink or swing by that water fountain or 7-11 and take a quick break for a drink. This slows your heart rate down and provides some hydration.

5. Pick a new goal. So, when I am having a hard run, sometimes, I will push through and complete my goal number of miles, but there are sometimes when that just isn’t going to happen. And that’s ok. . . Not every run is going to be perfect, great, with fast splits and speedy pace. Sometimes, adjusting your mileage, hilly course, or amount of breaks that you take, can make the difference between todays run and tomorrows run.

6. Change up your music. I just heard a great tip on Hungry Running Girl about having a playlist only for running. So, you only get to listen to specific songs while you are out on a run. You don’t get burnt out on music, so, when a song comes on you can totally rock out or dance down the street, because you love it!

7. Call a friend. Or pick up a friend to run with! I usually run with my phone so if I get bored on a run or I want something to distract me, I phone a friend. I always explain that I am out for a run, so please excuse the heavy breathing. . . but normally friends are more than happy to chat away while you are cranking out the miles. Also, being on the phone makes you slow your pace so that you can talk while running too!

katie running4cupcakes guest post

8. Motivation, baby. I have a few key motivation phrases that I think about when I am pushing through a hard run. 1. What doesn’t kill you makes your stronger (thank you Kelly Clarkson!). 2. You never regret a workout 3. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. 4. Finish hard, finish strong.

9. You never regret a run. <—See #8 motivation quotes. I obviously use this one a lot. :smile:

katie running4cupcakes guest post

10. Reward yourself. I always always always think about what I am going to do when I get home. Anything from take a long hot (or cold, depending on season) shower, food I am going to eat, what I am doing later that day, etc. FYI cupcakes are always good rewards for running –> get it, running 4 cupcakes? :wink:

katie running4cupcakes guest post

And no matter how far your ran or what you pace was, you survived a hard run, and that’s something to be proud of! So, please don’t beat yourself up over it, it’s one more training run under your belt, or good workout for the day. And you are better and stronger because of it.

What do you do a get through a tough run or workout??

Calcium & Bone Health – More Than Just Milk

Hey Everyone! My name is Kailey and I write for a blog called The Caffeinated Runner.
kailey
First off, I am so happy to be writing a guest post for Melanie. Her blog is pretty epic :smile:

Anyways, a little bit about myself – I am a junior majoring in Dietetics at Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!) I have a huge passion for all things fitness and nutrition related. I’ve run 4 half marathons and 1 full marathon. Currently, I am training for my second marathon in April! Bone health in endurance athletes, artificial sweeteners and product development are just a few things I could talk your ear off about.

Maybe your mom was onto something when she forced you to finish your glass of milk with dinner. If you are anything like me, finishing that tall, white glass of milk was a chore. Since I was very young, I have hated milk. However, there is no denying that calcium is vital for bone health.

By the age of 20, most women have peak bone mass. Yet, this isn’t always the case for most women. With the media telling us to remove the cheese to remove fat and calories, many women ages 19 to 30 aren’t getting the suggested 1000 mg of calcium. By not getting enough calcium in our diets, there is an increased risk of osteoporosis, which means porous bones. Osteoporosis sets women up for fractures later in life.

To ensure you don’t develop this debilitating condition, loading your diet with calcium is key! Dairy products like low-fat cheeses, low-fat or fat-free yogurt (yes, this includes Greek yogurt too!) and/or low fat or fat free milk are fabulous sources to maintain bone health. Top your yogurt with some almonds and you’ll be getting a double dose of calcium! Vegan? Dark green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, kale and bok-choy, offer up good doses of calcium. Additionally, calcium fortified foods are a great backup. Don’t go loading up on calcium rich foods and a supplement just yet. Our bodies only absorb a maximum of 500 mg in one sitting so it is best to space calcium rich foods throughout the day.

Calcium isn’t the only mineral that aids with bone health. Vitamin D, which comes mainly from the sun, is critical for the absorption of calcium. Magnesium has also been shown to help bones absorb dietary calcium. Make sure you aren’t eating too much protein or high sodium foods. These two nutrients rob our bones of calcium and are excreted via the kidneys.

However, it is important to note that food isn’t the only way to build good bones. Weight bearing exercise, such as walking, hiking, running and dancing, all helps with reaching peak bone mass.

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins/calcium.html

http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/

http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/Nutrition/#a

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Thank you Kailey for that great information! I hope everyone is doing well!

xoxo, Melanie

Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes

Hi my friends! I really don’t mean to rub it in, but I am currently on a white sandy beach enjoying the warm sun SOOOO…..I have a guest post for you to enjoy and it’s sure to leave you wanting a cupcake. Thanks to Becky for a delicious guest post! NUM!

I’m hoping to check in with you at some point soon! I hope everyone is well. xoxo. Melanie

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Hi! I’m Becky from over at Olives ‘n’ Wine – a blog where I share my passion for keeping a balanced life through eating well, tasting great wine, staying active, and traveling to new places – and I’m excited to be doing a guest post for Melanie today :smile:

Becky in Cali

Back in December, Melanie hosted a giveaway of Parkers Farm peanut butter and I was selected as the winner! It is a good thing that Kyle (my husband) and I looooove peanut butter! We’ve been consuming our fair share of peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter toast, grilled peanut butter sandwiches and peanut butter with bananas and apples – YUM! Mitchell (our black lab) has also benefited from Melanie’s giveaway. He’s been spoiled with extra peanut butter Kong treats and he loves licking the empty Parkers Farm peanut butter containers :)

As you can imagine, I have been busy finding ways to use an entire case of peanut butter the past few months and I’m excited to share one of my favorite peanut butter recipes with you today!

Chocolate-Truffle Cupcakes 5

Today, my friends, I present you with: Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting! This recipe is, to say the least, delectably perfect.

Chocolate-Truffle Cupcakes 1

Creamy, rich and chocolate-y cupcakes topped with a salty yet sweet peanut butter frosting. The combination is as delightful as it sounds.

Chocolate-Truffle Cupcakes 3

Chocolate cupcake dough stuffed with a chocolate truffle and baked until perfectly gooey. Then coated with a luscious peanut butter frosting and a dusting of peanuts and chocolate chips.

Chocolate-Truffle Cupcakes 4

Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting (Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart)

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

– Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup flour, plus 1/4 cup extra for truffles
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 12 chocolate truffles (I used Lindt Dark Chocolate)

– Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 TBSP milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips and/or peanuts, optional toppings

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with liners. Combine cocoa, 3/4 cup flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, individually, beating well after each addition, then mix in vanilla. On low speed, mix in flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream. Pour batter into cups, filling approximately 3/4 full. Next, roll truffles in 1/4 cup extra flour (this keeps the truffles from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake) and push one flour-coated truffled halfway into each cupcake. Bake approximately 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

While cupcakes are baking/cooling, prepare the peanut butter frosting. Beat together butter and peanut butter until smooth, slowly add in powdered sugar and milk until creamy. Once cupcakes are fully cooled, spread frosting onto cupcakes and top with chocolate chips and/or peanuts. Enjoy!

Chocolate-Truffle Cupcakes

Yes, this really happened in my kitchen and it was A-MAZ-ING! And, in case you’re like me and hate extra candy and treats around the house, this recipe is a fabulous way to use up some of those leftover, tempting Valentine’s Day truffles. :wink:

Chocolate-Truffle Cupcakes 2

Other peanut butter recipes that I love include:

SWAT Treats

Reese’s Peanut Butter Bark

Homemade Chocolate + Peanut Butter Granola

Salted Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies

A HUGE thanks to Melanie for allowing me to post on her blog today. :smile: I hope you’ll stop by Olives ‘n’ Wine and see what I’m all about!