Birthday Edition {WIAW}

Hey guys, I had a wonderful 22nd birthday yesterday! I woke up this morning with a serious sugar hangover, so you know it was a good one 🙂

But before we get to the food, let’s see how I did on my 21 before 22 list.

01 // Paint my fingernails. Half check. I started painting my fingernails one day and got through one hand before I decided I didn’t like the color. I was planning on repainting both hands a better color later on, but… that didn’t happen. I’m a terrible girly girl. I’m hoping to actually paint them soon, because this one-hand chipped nail polish look is not so cute.

02 // Run a 5K. Nope. I’ve run 5Ks on the treadmill so I can pretend that counts but I didn’t actually run in the race. BUT Appalachian is host a color run on the 27th that I’m planning to participate in for some race redemption.

03 // Make a REAL dinner.  CHECK. Double check. I made lots of homemade dinners over the past two weeks, even if I’m short on time, I’ve found making a real dinner at the end of the day is a great way to unwind, if I can hold off my hunger for that long.


04 // Studio yoga. Fail. I didn’t even make it to a class on campus. Sorry muscles for leaving you all tight and knotted up.

05// Start a new book. CHECKish. I just bought a new e-book today Effortless. It’s a moderately trashy romance novel, but that’s okay. I started reading Thoughtless, the first book in the series when it was just a story on Fiction Press so it’s kinda cool to see it in real life book form.

06 // Bake something.  CHECK. Hello birthday cake.


07 // Drink a shot of espresso. Didn’t happen, one day it will though.

08 // Spontaneous mid day coffee.  CHECK. I waited until my birthday to get it, but that’s okay, birthday coffees are extra tasty.


09 // Design something for the blog. Nope. I started something but I haven’t had the inspiration to finish. I’m going to keep working on it though.

10 // Buy a new vegetable. Kinda? I didn’t buy a new vegetable, but I bought some eggplant after not eating any in a long time and I’ve incorporated it into lots of meals, that kinda counts right?

roasted eggplant and sweet potato

11 // Juice it up. I didn’t break out my own juicer, but I did buy one from Earth Fare the other day. It was very beet-ilicious and now my pee is hot pink? TMI? Maybe, but oh so true.


12 // Break out the DSLR. CHECK. Thanks to a few hikes!

glen burney trail waterfall blowing rock nc


13 // Grandfather Mountain dollar days. Not yet, but I’ve got plans to go with some friends in two weekends!

14 // Clean my room.  Bam. Now to work on keeping it clean…

15 // Best Body Bootcamp.  CHECK. And loving every single workout.

16 // Kick this tendonitis.  CHECKish. I still have a little soreness, but I finished a 6 mile run today with almost no pain so I’m thinking it’s almost gone!

17 // Random act of kindness for a stranger.  CHECK. I left $5 for a stranger on a table in the campus coffee shop. Hopefully someone found it and enjoyed a much needed coffee or snack.



18 // Watch a Disney movie. an unintentional CHECK. I was hoping to watch something along the lines of the Lion King, but that didn’t happen because I couldn’t manage to sit still long enough. But I did watch the better part of the Hanna Montana Movie one afternoon on TV. Don’t you judge.

19 // Buy a new candle. CHECK. Now I just need a holder for it… didn’t think about that one.

20 // Get organized. My homework to do list could use a little attention but I spent one weekend deep cleaning my apartment kitchen, straightening up the living room and organizing my room. See mom and dad, I do know how to clean 🙂

21 // Have Fun.  One big fat CHECK.

14 out of 21, I’ll take it.

Now for the food!


(Thanks Jenn!)


Birthday fro-yo! Peanut butter, cake batter and brownie batter yogurt with cheesecake bits, cookie dough chunks, sprinkles, dark chocolate, oreos, Reeses, peanut butter sauce and sprinkles. Don’t be fooled though, this bowl was pretty gross. The brownie batter flavor was gross (I know how is that possible? So disappointing!), the peanut butter flavor wasn’t frozen (I don’t even know how that works) and the cake batter flavor wasn’t bad, just a little too sweet for my taste buds. Luckily I had some un-pictured fro yo redemption in the form of tart yogurt with strawberries and blueberries. That’s what I get for trying to be fancy, I should just stick to the basics, at least I know they’re delicious.


Just kidding! I didn’t eat this cake, but how creepy does it look? It’s supposed to be a puppy but it just scares me.


TACO TUESDAY. Boone Saloon does $1.25 tacos every Tuesday, this was my first time going to taco Tuesday but I will be back! I had three delicious veggie tacos and a pint of beer for $7, can’t beat that!

My roommate and I split a hard apple cider while watching the most recent Twilight movie (stop judging me). It was a delicious choice, I was looking for something a little lighter than beer and this hit the spot.

And some where in there I polished off a bag of gluten-free ginger snap cookies my friend bought me for my birthday. I have zero control around those things. ZERO.


This isn’t from yesterday, but I had this delicious meal Saturday at Mellow Mushroom and I couldn’t not mention it. Stuffed portobello mushrooms with feta and mozzarella cheese, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, served over spring mix and drizzled with balsamic. So. Good.

What’s your favorite birthday treat? I think frozen yogurt/ice cream is a birthday necessity

What’s the last delicious thing you ate?

Soft or hard shell tacos?

What I Ate Wednesday, Christmas Style!

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas! It felt great to unplug and spend some time with my family.


Cue the Christmas Eve family matching pajama photo. I had a gnarly stomach ache at this point (all my fault, I couldn’t resist the gluten-filled Christmas cookies, never again) it took too much effort to put on the red shirt, but I tried to blend in anyway.

My mom loves giving a family gift and this year everyone got jingle jammies! Two Christmases ago she gave everyone Nerf guns, and we had way more fun with them than a bunch of adults should. Seriously, Nerf guns are the best.

Now for the food!

For breakfast I had this beauty of a waffle:


Okay more like three. It was been FOREVER since I’ve had a waffle, I usually hate shelling out the money for a gluten-free mix, but holy cow it was amazingggg. My mom spotted some gluten-free Bisquick mix at the grocery store, so we picked up a box and the waffles came out really good. The texture was almost identical to regular waffles. Oh waffles, I have missed you.

Once we were properly fueled with breakfast, it was time for presents! I’m still 5 years old, it’s okay.

It’s funny to see the different wrapping styles in my family. My mom’s presents are wrapped super neatly, I go the green route and wrap everything in newspaper and Trader Joe’s bags because I’m a big hippie 🙂


And my brother just uses lots of duct tape:


Props to my family for finding awesome gifts for me, I didn’t want anything in particular this year. I’ve gotten to the point where I enjoy buying gifts for everyone else way more than I like receiving them. Saying that makes me feel a little old, in a good way I think.



I got some fun kitchen gadgets (including a juicer! Eeee I’m excited to try it out!), some fitness stuff (dumbells, yoga mat, running pouch) and a big box of Larabars courtesy of my brother the Trader Joe’s employee!

My family’s does our big meal of the day at lunch time rather than dinner so after unwrapping everything we turned into cooking machines and created this feast:


Starting with the oval dish at the bottom and moving clockwise we had:

  • Apple Sweet Potato Bake (followed this recipe)
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Tofurkey
  • Black Bean and Corn Casserole (followed this recipe)
  • Tofurkey #2 (that’s what happens when you have two hungry vegetarian brothers!)
  • Green Beans
  • Collard Greens
  • Plus an unpictured ham for the parentals, cranberry sauce, cornbread muffins and mozzarella and garlic stuffed mushrooms

Everything turned out delicious!

After lunch I proceeded to put myself into a serious sugar coma. My mom and I had a mini-bake session Christmas Eve and made gluten-free spritz cookies(!)


Okay, this is a picture of the regular ones because the gluten-free ones came out a little crumbly but they still tasted AMAZING. Buttery, sugary, goodness.

We also made pecan pralines. I say we made but really my mom made them while I napped. She did all the hard work and I just woke up later and stuffed my face. Not sorry about it.

Let’s not talk about how much sugar I ate yesterday. It’s not pretty. I don’t feel bad because Christmas comes once a year so I live it up, but I woke up with one serious sugar hangover this morning. I don’t think my poor body knew what to do with all the sugar. Sorry body.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the Christmas goodies but I’m definitely ready to get some veggies back in my system.


Days of sugary filled goodness are fun, but my body definitely feels 24528340598230x better when I fill it with plants. Come back to me kale.

Do you like practical or fun gifts?

Does your family have any Christmas traditions?

Waffles or Pancakes? Waffles!

Lots of Sugar and Lights {MIMM}

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA this weekend, I’ve been enjoying being a lazy bum and spending time with my family. Plus life is just so low key lately that I don’t have much to blog about, I’m not complaining though 🙂

Things making my Monday marvelous:

  • Seeing the country come together. What happened on Friday was horrible, it hurts my heart that so many people where hurt and that someone was hurt enough to cause this tragedy. My heart always sinks when I hear news like this, I like to believe that there is good in everyone, and when tragedies like the one in Newtown happen, it really makes me question that sentiment. Then I see the outpouring of support from people, essentially strangers, from around the country and it gives me hope. While I wish with my whole heart that this never happened, it is truly amazing how people come together in times of need.

  • On a lighter note, A Deen Family Christmas, I lovelovelove Paula Deen, and seeing this on TV made my day. Food, Paula Deen, AND Christmas? Yes please.
    Dear Paula, please adopt me as your granddaughter.
  • Christmas baking with my mom! My favorite part of Christmas time! We made spritz cookies:spritz2
    We make these cookies every year, using the recipe from the cookie press my mom got in the 70s. Recipes from the 1970s and older are the best because they are not afraid of a little butter and sugar. I might have eaten too many yesterday and my tummy is paying for it but it is 100% worth it. Sorry tummy.

    We also made fudge:
    The crumbly batch is the one I stirred, I got a little stir happy, and the flatter pieces are the batch my stirred and he did a little bit better job.

    We call the recipe the “Dead Sea Scroll Fudge” because the recipe is so old it’s starting to resemble the Dead Sea Scrolls. The recipe is actually from a Baker’s Chocolate recipe book from 1955! My mom even used this recipe to make fudge when she was a kid. It’s a winner and never ever fails. Best fudge ever.

    And finally we made some gluten-free friendly cookies too:

    We used this recipe from The Urban Poser. I made a few modifications, like swapping butter for the coconut oil and vegetable oil for the applesauce, and I just rolled them into balls instead of cutting out shapes.

    They came out so good! Proof is that I made a whole batch yesterday and there are none left today. Whoopsies. At least I shared a little 🙂

  • Surprise cannoli’s! My boyfriend works at an Italian restaurant and I always give him grief for having access to free Italian and not bringing me a cannoli because they are one of my favorite desserts. Well, Friday night he surprised me with a cannoli that he made at work! He’s a keeper 🙂cannoli
    The fact that it was made with love cancelled out the gluten. Or something like that.
  • These silly kitties
    They like boxes. Don’t even try to buy them a cat bed.
  • Christmas lights, I lovvvveeee Christmas lights. Seriously, don’t drive with me at night around Christmas because we WILL take a detour to look at lights. Saturday night my family drove out to downtown Apex to check out their Christmas lights and grab some dinner. The shops and restaurants downtown are decked out with Christmas lights and everything looked so beautiful!


  • Speaking of lights, check out this house in my neighborhood:

    They go all out every year and have been setting up all these lights for years. It was one of my favorite things when I was a kid and even though I’m in my 20’s I still drive by whenever I get the chance.

What made your Monday marvelous?

Do you have any pets?

Do your neighbors go all out with Christmas lights?

Party Animal.

I am not, but that’s okay.

I spent Friday procrastinating and not writing a 20 page paper I have due next week. I should get on that some time soon. I’ll do it tomorrow.

Saturday morning I ran 3.6 miles, it was glorious. But it was also open house, so I had to play dodge-the-prospective-students on the sidewalks.

Saturday night, we went out for my friend Elizabeth’s birthday dinner. We went to a cozy little place called Galileo’s. The food was good, but it was a little expensive and the portions were kind of skimpy. But I’m a broke college student so if I’m paying for a meal outside of the dining hall I want to be full when I leave. They use locally sourced ingredients, which was awesome and made a huge difference in the taste. I ordered their Black Bean Burger (sans bun) which was topped with salsa and cheese, very tasty but I could have easily eaten two more.

Elizabeth and I did get a free birthday shot, that was fun. It tasted like cake. I don’t know what was in it though, it probably would have been a good idea to ask first.

From there we headed back to my friend’s apartment for a small party.



There were lots a fun party decorations, including a few handmade gems from my roommate.


Yes, that’s a box of wine with a straw. Genius.


 Gluten-free beer decorations!

Speaking a gluten-free beer…


My roommate bought me some! It actually tasted pretty good, and my stomach didn’t hate me for it.


And we had strawberry margaritas. I liked the beer better, I’m such a man.

Then I proceeded to eat more gluten-free cake than any single person should. I blame it on my less than filling dinner. Not my fault, except that it is. It was delicious, and rainbow.

Best birthday present ever:


My roommate bought me 5 lbs of peanut butter. She’s such an enabler. Bonus is now I don’t need to go to the gym because who needs dumbbells when you have 5 lbs of peanut butter to lift?

This morning was spent with a severe sugar hangover (sugar mind you, not alcohol, I wasn’t that big of a party animal) while whining about the weather. It is 35 degrees right now, that is NOT right, there is also snow in the forecast for tomorrow. lamelamelamelamelame. Not cool mother nature, not at all.


For lunch I ate this beautiful salad. It was much needed. If I ever see a slice of cake again it will be too soon. Actually, that’s totally a lie.

This afternoon I got to help teach my first Pilates class! People actually came, it was beautiful. I was starting to worry I was bad luck. Only problem is there’s only one more class until the end of the year, which is kinda sad.

After Pilates class I had yoga teacher training (our last training class!) which was wonderful as always. I’m sad it’s over, I learned a lot taking those classes. Now I only have an audition class to teach and fingers crossed I get the job!

That brings me to now, where I am still procrastinating and not writing my 20 page paper. Luckily I’m a procrastinating queen, and there’s always tomorrow.

Lessons Learned from 40 Days Without Sweets

For Lent this year I gave up sweets. Some people thought I was crazy for doing this, and maybe I was a little. I have the biggest sweet tooth, and absolutely no control around sweets, so I wanted to put myself up for the challenge. And you know what, I did it.

I think one of the hardest things was deciding what was considered a sweet. Obviously cake, ice cream, candy, cookies, and brownies all fell into that catergory. But what about muffins or scones or chocolate chip granola bars? My intention wasn’t to give up sugar, so where do you draw the line? For me I avoided anything that could be eaten as a dessert, and for my own sanity I didn’t count protein bars as sweets (I had to be able to have a little something). I did stay away from the chocolate-coated, candy bar-like ones and stuck bars with natural ingredients.

My other challenges were stress eating. The semester has been a crazy one for me, and there were bad days where I would have given anything for a chocolate chip cookie. But I reminded myself that giving into that temptation would only make me feel worse in the long run.

So here’s what I learned from 40 days without sweets:

  1. I don’t need them. Seriously, I feel much better without them. My diet has been much more focused on whole, clean foods and I don’t feel so controlled by a pan of fresh-baked cookies
  2. There are a lot of better options for satisfying that post-meal sugar craving. I had days where I just was NOT going to be satisfied without a small sweet snack after dinner, this forced me to get pretty creative. I mixed unsweetened cocoa powder into more things than I probably should have (oatmeal, cottage cheese, sweet potatoes – surprisingly good, don’t knock it). I also turned to things like fruit, yogurt, and granola bars to help satisfy this craving, and they worked. I haven’t kicked the post-dinner sweet treat habit yet, but now a banana or cup of Chobani is all I need.
  3. The longer you go without sweets, the less appealing the are. By the end of Lent I wasn’t even looking forward to eating sweets. I really don’t want them that much anymore. Sure sometimes cravings hit, but they are scarcer and wimpier than they once were.
  4. I CAN do it. This was the most important thing I learned. I’ve struggled with getting my sweet tooth under control for a longgggg time, and I’m proud of myself for sticking with this.
Don’t think I celebrated Easter without chocolate though!
So. Good. Betty Crocker makes some banging gluten-free brownies.

Overall I really enjoyed this challenge, and it’s something I honestly want to stick to. Not to never have a sweet again, but to save them for special occasions (like the 21st birthday I have coming up in 8 days!) and not just eating a cookie because I’ve had a bad day. I’m in a really good place right now in regards to my sugar cravings and I want to stay there.

Happy Easter every one!