Respectful Blueberry Muffins

Hi Friends 🙂

I hope you’re having a wonderful day because I am!

It is the last day of September today. It went fast, huh? Tomorrow I plan on giving you all the final update on my September goals, but I do have to confess that I didn’t quite make one of them.

“#4. Read at least 2 non fiction books.”

Well, I finished one book (The Dance of Fear) but I will not be able to finish Love & Respect by the end of the day. Well, I could, but I don’t want to rush myself because I can already tell that I need to take my time and really absorb this book.

The author explains the “secret” to a better marriage. He found it in the Bible in Ephesians 5:33: “Each one of you also must LOVE his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must RESPECT her husband.” He explains that yes, wives need to also love their husbands and husbands need to respect their wives, but the emphasis is on wives respecting their husbands and husbands loving their wives because, according to the author, those are our primary needs.

The first few chapters of the book detail different scenarios and situations between couples — and when reading them I laughed a lot. Arguments sound so silly when you aren’t in them, right?  One story was about a couple who were celebrating their 10 year anniversary. The husband was out shopping for a card and found “the perfect one” — it has the right picture on it, the right message, everything. He comes home, writes a little message on the inside and gives it to his wife that evening. She opens it and makes a face. The husband is waiting for her to say something nice, or to start tearing up. Nothing. Instead, the wife asks “why did you get me a birthday card?” and immediately makes accusations that the husband FORGOT their anniversary. Long story short, the wife ends up being disrespectful to the husband and the husband responds by being unloving. The author refers to this situation as The Crazy Cycle:

Communication is the key to stopping the Crazy Cycle — and knowing what your partner needs. Even in arguements, you can be respectful and loving.

I’ve only begun to dig into this book but I like it so far. Learning about people, relationships and different personalities is really interesting to me! Plus, when I read marriage/relationship books I have the urge to make stuff for Jason, whether it is a card or a baked good 🙂 I try to show him that I appreciate him and all that he does!

Respectful Blueberry Muffins

I used the recipe I love which is *here*. They are dairy free and taste so delicious. I’ve made these with all sorts of flours, so feel free to experiment. Also, I’ve made these with different berries or with nuts instead of fruit.

*And because of the comments yesterday I’ve decided to give Glee a chance…Hulu here I come…*

Questions:

1. What kind of phone do you have? What do you like about it? Right now I have a Blackberry Curve — I love it because of the big screen, the “real” keyboard and the email access. Plus it takes pretty good pictures for a phone! I got my first cell phone at age 23 which was a basic flip phone, then I got a Razr — how cool, right? Then I upgraded to the Blackberry and I don’t think I could ever go back.

2. What has been the best relationship advice you have been given? The best advice I have been given is to choose your battles wisely and to compromise when you can. Obviously if there are big issues and you need to stand your ground, do so. But, if its not that big of a deal, give a little. For example: I am a saver and Jason is a spender. For a while I would freak out about anything he bought — even when he bought me flowers!!! Hello!?!?!?! Now, I have toned it down and although I still prefer to save, I don’t mind as much when we spend extra money. I’m letting go of my inner control freak gradually 🙂

3. Favorite muffin? I love blueberry or banana nut the best. But anything chocolate is ok too 🙂

Enjoy your day!

Holly

Pumpkin Pie in Coca-Cola

Hi Friends 🙂

Happy Humpday – not only is the week almost over but September is almost over! It is amazing how time can pass by so quickly. I’d still love suggestions for Halloween costumes for Jason and me, so let me know if you have any ideas.

Usually I watch The Biggest Loser on Tuesday nights, but last night I watched a little bit of this instead:

THE ONLY REASON I WATCHED was to catch a glimpse of this guy:

Yes, I had to see Uncle Jesse. 🙂 “Talk to me”

Rewind to yesterday morning, I decided to get up early and make something special for breakfast:

Pumpkin Pie Monster (from Angela’s blog)

I followed her recipe: ½ cup pumpkin, 1 cup almond milk, ½ scoop protein powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and a teeny tiny bit of maple syrup instead of molasses. And poured it in one of my CocaCola Babes glasses.

A friend gave these glasses to me years ago and I just love them!

I know, I know, I’m on pumpkin overload as is everyone else, right? I’ve decided to limit myself to posting one pumpkin recipe per week. Last week was Pumpkin Banana Bread and this week will be the Monster. What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

Questions:

  1. Do you collect anything? For a while I collected Coca-Cola products: trays, glasses, plates, cups, mugs, pictures, postcards, bottles, etc, but I’ve slowly gotten rid of pieces that I don’t really want. I used to want to decorate my kitchen with a diner style/Coca-Cola theme. Tastes change over the years J When I watched Hoarders on Monday, one of the featured women talked about all of her collections. To be honest that show scares me – because as gross as many of those homes are, I can somewhat see how easy it could be to slide into those habits. If anything I have been getting rid of TOO much stuff lately only because clutter now drives me more crazy. (was that even possible???)
  2. Do you watch Glee? Is it really as good as everyone says it is? I watch too much tv as it is and I would hate to start watching another show. But I’ve heard such good things about the show that I am wondering if I am missing out.
  3. What is your dream job? Are you living it right now? What is keeping you from living that dream? I honestly don’t know what my dream job is. I like my job for now, but I don’t see myself working there for the next 10-15+ years. As cornball as it sounds, I want to be a Mom/Housewife. Maybe one day… Years ago my dream job was owning my own Bed & Breakfast – I thought it would be fun to decorate the old house, make breakfast, meet interesting couples, etc. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll get to do that too!

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Holly

Count Choco-cado-ula

Thank you everyone for your support on taking weekends off of blogging. I want to enjoy this and I don’t want to stay up late working on a post. I’m not saying that my job and home life are suffering NOW, but late nights do take their toll on me, so I’m doing what is best for me. But who knows, maybe a weekend post will slip in now and then 🙂

Let’s just get right to the goods:

As I was picking out avocados at the store over the weekend I remembered seeing a recipe for Choco-cado pudding on Gina’s site. I knew I had to try it, so I did! I followed her recipe, but made only a ½ serving and lessened the amount of almond butter and agave.

Believe me, it still had plenty of chocolatey goodness. It made me think of this guy:

I *almost* bought of box of this cereal over the weekend but I knew I would eat all of it in one sitting so I resisted the urge. If only it came in single serving boxes! Then I could maybe trust myself. Someone PLEASE make a healthy version of Count Chocula!

I finally finished one of my Sept goal books: The Dance of Fear and I have to say I really enjoyed the last chapter:

Ha! It’s true, we all have our fears and what is important is to know that it’s ok! I am still normal! The book concluded by talking about courage: that if you are afraid of something – you need (and HAVE) courage to deal with that issue. The author writes “Everything in this world that is truly worth doing takes practice. Courage is no exception”. To me, she once again is saying “fake it til you make it”. You may not feel/be courageous right away, but with time and practice, you will be!

For me, I get anxious and nervous (and fearful many times) when I am invited to a social event: birthday party, holiday party, bonfire, out to dinner, etc. I struggle because I am introverted and yet feel the need and desire to be a part of the party – I want to be seen as friendly and fun to be with. But I don’t feel that way since I can be so shy sometimes. I seclude myself in order to keep myself from being uncomfortable and nervous. But The Dance of Fear has helped me to see that I will not wake up one day and exclaim “I love parties and I can’t wait to go to the next one!” Instead, I need to go to these situations and practice. I need to take the courage I have and use it to face my fears. And with time, I will get more comfortable and less nervous. It won’t be easy, but like the author wrote: Anything worth doing takes practice!

Sorry, just had to throw him in there 🙂

Questions:

  1. Do you like those Halloween cereals? What was your favorite? Count Chocula, BooBerry or Frankenberry? My favorite has always been and always will be COUNT CHOCULA!
  2. What are you afraid of? I am afraid of many many things: spiders, snakes, rats, SHARKS, plus many other creepy crawly things!
  3. Do you dress up for Halloween? What was your favorite costume? Do you have a costume picked out for this year? My favorite costume EVER was when I dressed up as a hillbilly – I had a mullet wig, “Billy Bob teeth”, I wore a torn flannel shirt with long john bottoms and big boots. I carried a 12 pack of beer with me and it was hilarious. I was comfortable (hello long johns!) and it cost maybe $20 (mostly for the wig and beer!). I’ve been trying to come up with a good idea for Jason and me. Any ideas?

Did anyone watch Hoarders last night? The woman with all of those cats in her house made me so sad. Those poor animals! I’m glad they were able to save so many.

Holly

Almond Butter Chili

Happy Monday 🙂

So, I’ve decided to not blog every day. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it, but sometimes I stay up way too late working on a post and that takes the fun out of it. I do have other commitments: a full time job, a husband, a house, family, friends, hobbies, etc. So unless someone wants to pay me to blog… I won’t be doing it every day. For sure I will be taking off most weekends. I know Laury does this and I respect her for taking the time off for herself.

I spent the weekend working on my September goals: cleaning the garage out, reading my books, exercising, eating well, going to church. 🙂 I’m doing good but I need to get in lots of reading over the next few days.

On Sunday I finally had a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Caribou Coffee – I see other bloggers write about going to Starbucks, but near my house there are PLENTY of Caribou Coffees and not so many Starbucks. *Plus* I had a buy one, get one free coupon — so how could I pass that up?

I actually prefer Caribou because of the “woodsy outdoorsy” décor. Hey, I’m from MN, what did you expect? Plus Starbucks (well, and Caribou too…) coffee tastes like burnt motor oilAverie has blogged about the terrible coffee at Starbucks and I agree!

After getting a lot of things done around the house on Sunday, I thought I’d make a delicious dinner: CD’s Almond Butter Chili from Heather Eats Almond Butter.

It was so delicious. I didn’t have all of the ingredients, but I managed and it turned out wonderful. Jason loved it! The addition of almond butter was pure genius. Heather I will definitely make this again! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I didn’t have any waning nut butter jars to use, and I’m sure that would have taken the meal over the edge!

Questions:

  1. What was the best part of your weekend? I have to say that I loved relaxing on Saturday and being productive on Sunday. It feels so good to cross things off of my to-do list.
  2. Do you have a blog? If so, do you blog every day? Do you feel pressure to blog about amazing things? That is what happened to me on Friday night – I didn’t have anything to write about and I spent too much time thinking about a topic or a recipe, etc. Instead, I could have just done something else with my time instead of staring at the computer screen thinking of a topic. I’ve decided that I won’t force myself to post just for the sake of blogging every day.
  3. How do you keep yourself organized? Do you keep a planner? A calendar? I honestly just keep lists with me wherever I go – my purse usually has 5-6 small pieces of scrap paper with notes, grocery lists and to-do lists on them. I also like to send emails to myself – that way when I check my email I am reminded of those to-do items. I’ve tried keeping a calendar but I get tired of it after only a few days.
  4. What is your favorite place to get coffee/tea? I actually like gas station coffee most of the time — it is cheap and READY! Or I just make mine at home. If I feel like spending extra money (doesn’t happen often) I go to Caribou.

🙂 Holly

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Hi Friends 🙂

TGIF!!!

Let’s just get to the good stuff, hmm?

I was at work yesterday just thinking about something to bake. I like to bring in something homebaked on Fridays to work and I also like to send something with Jason as well. To be honest I don’t know if Jason actually shares any of the treats or if he just keeps them to himself. 🙂 Either way, it doesn’t matter, because I cannot have treats like this at home:

Too dangerous!

I found the recipe here and I substituted a few things, so here is what I ended up using:

Pumpkin Banana Bread

1 mashed banana
1 cup Libby’s pumpkin
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg + 2 whites
1 cup oat flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a loaf pan with non-stick spray (or butter). Combine wet ingredients in one bowl, combine dry ingredients in another, and then mix together. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. (I also sprinkled 2-3 tbsp of pecan pieces on top before baking)

I’ll pack up half for me to bring to work and half for Jason to bring to work. And no, there isn’t any chicken in this recipe either 🙂

I wouldn’t call this recipe “mine” by any means, I only substituted a few things. But, when do you call a recipe “your own”? Do you have to change a certain number of ingredients? Or do you have to completely wing it to call it your own?

I forgot to mention yesterday that I received a very special package in the mail:

MACAROONS! Thank you Megan! They are so adorable:

Questions:

1. Any fun plans for the weekend? We have more Craigslist buyers coming on Saturday to pick stuff up, but other that we have no real plans (yes!!!). Hopefully we will go out to dinner on Friday or Saturday night and maybe go see a movie. Any suggestions?

2. What was your favorite animal as a child? Is it still your favorite animal? When I was younger I really liked pigs, cows, walruses and frogs. I don’t really know why. But I have quite a few pig stuffed animals (that I still have) and here is one of my favorite things:

I named him Mr. Dump years and years ago – and I still have him! I think I bought him at a garage sale. He may have only cost 50 cents but I don’t think I could ever get rid of him.

***Check out Katie’s giveaway: VEGGIE ICE CREAM!***

Enjoy your Friday!

Holly

Almond Butter Chicken Cookies

Hello!
 
It is almost the weekend, how exciting is that?
I’m looking forward to more Craigslist sales this weekend (hopefully) – last night we had a buyer pick up our roaster (a gift we never used and has been sitting in the box for almost a year!) and he was so excited about it! And the night before a buyer picked up our juicer (again, a gift that I used once) and she ended up emailing me later that night that they used it and loved it! It felt so good to get rid of stuff AND to give someone a good deal on good stuff 🙂

On Tuesday one of my coworkers casually mentioned how his birthday was earlier in September – and I told myself that I need to make him some cookies or something. I didn’t have time to go to the store so I tried to think of a recipe that I could make with what I had on hand. I remember seeing SOMEONE (who? I don’t remember) making Peanut Butter Finger’s flourless PB cookies and I figured that was a great choice!
 
I used some of the Barney Butter I won from Lindsey:

I mixed up the almond butter with an egg and 1 cup of sugar (I could have tried to make them with less sugar, but I had no time!). I baked them up and they turned out wonderful:
 


The best part was giving them to him. He was so happy and kind of embarrassed. Oh well. Later that morning he came to my office and here is our conversation:
 
Coworker: What kind of cookies were those?
Me: Um, almond butter cookies. Did you like them?
Coworker: Yes, they were great but I was wondering what you put in them.
Me: The recipe is easy: almond butter, an egg and sugar
Coworker: Oh, I thought you put chicken boullion in there because they kind of tasted like chicken.
 
?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!
 
What a hilarious thing to ask!!! I asked Jason if he could taste chicken and he said no, so I’m not sure what was up with my coworker! Ha! My coworker did tell me that they tasted good, but he just thought he had figured out the “great cookie secret”. 
 
As you may have noticed, my blog has something new on the sidebar. I am a Wellsphere “Top Health Blogger”. TRY TO CONTROL YOUR JEALOUSY 🙂
 
Questions:
 
1. Have you ever had a recipe turn out terrible?
I think my Chicken Cookies actually taste fine…But other than that I have made cookies without flour of any kind which resulted in a pan of burnt liquidy cookie dough. What I scraped off actually tasted kind of good! And basically anytime I cook fish it is either raw on the inside or completely overdone.

2. What is your favorite nut butter? I have quite the collection now:

But I have to say that my favorite (taste wise) is Jif creamy. I know, its full of hydrogenated oils, but it tastes the best. Other than that I love Maranatha no stir natural PB. Barney is pretty good too 🙂
 
3. Did you watch the Top Chef reunion last night? What did you think?

Holly

Taco Pizza

Hi Everyone 🙂
Thanks for your nice comments yesterday – little Holly is pretty cute if I may say so myself. It seems as though most of you agree that thinking of yourself as a child is a good reminder to treat yourself well, and that we need to not talk negatively about ourselves. Check out Katie’s post from Monday if you didn’t get a chance yet. When I was searching for the perfect photo to post, I also found this treasure:
Yes I still have my first pair of glasses from 2nd grade! The pink hearts in the corners with the little fake diamond are too precious!
For the past few days I have been waiting until I had the time to make a pizza. I know they aren’t super time consuming, but just waiting 30 minutes for the dough to rise is too much for me! But I had time on Tuesday 🙂
It was so good! I used Matt’s Spelt Pizza Dough, again subbing agave for honey since I didn’t have any honey. I decided to make it a Taco Pizza. The toppings included:
Refried beans (the pizza sauce)
Salsa
Black beans
Soy cheese
Sliced green pepper (from the Farmers Market)
Sliced black olives
I used this salsa as recommended by The Fitnessista, and let me tell you, this is awesome salsa! And I crunched a few tortilla chips on top:

Last night was The Biggest Loser premiere – what did you think?
I didn’t sit down and watch the whole show. I wish it was only an hour long. Two is too much. I keep the tv on but I do other things, so I missed most of it. I really like a few of the contestants and hearing their stories is always heartwrenching. But I do not like when the camera zooms in on certain parts of their body: like their stomach or their butt. We know they are overweight, THEY know they are overweight, so is this necessary? Do you think that more viewers take a look at their own bodies and make changes as a result of seeing that footage?
Questions:
1. Do you like where you live? Would you ever want to move to a different city, region of the country or even a different country? I like where we live for now, but I do think it would fun to move somewhere else. I love MN for the seasons change, I can’t imagine not having feet of snow in the wintertime or the blazing hot summers (as much as I dislike them). I don’t think I could live in the south for fear of bugs L If anything I hope Jason and I get a chance to travel more in the coming years – there is so much of the country (and world!) that I have not seen!
2. Did you watch BL? What are your thoughts? Who is your favorite trainer on the show? I posted my thoughts above, I didn’t want to get too specific about contestants in case you haven’t watched it yet. My favorite trainer is Jillian. I dont’ like when she becomes a therapist to the contestants, I really wish they had a staff member to take care of that. But I love her training style and I would want someone tough like her instead of Bob (who, I think, comes off as too easy going).
3. Have you kept anything from your childhood? (like my old glasses) Is it something that you hope to give to someone else one day? (a child, a niece/nephew, a friend) What do you like about it?

Enjoy your day!

Holly