Cran-Banana [Perfect] Oatmeal Bread

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For at least a decade of my life, I was obsessed with oatmeal. I started eating it for breakfast every morning in my early twenties, and the love affair grew stronger as the years went on. I blame my mom for this. I moved back home for the first year after graduating college and noticed that my mom would eat oatmeal every morning (it was probably something that Dr. Oz suggested ;)). She’d cook up slow multi-grain oats and stir in dried fruits, nuts and brown sugar to add texture and flavor. I adopted her breakfast habits and was immediately hooked.

It might sound really silly, but oatmeal had a very significant meaning in my life when I was teaching. I’d make up a batch for breakfast the night before, pack it up, and re-heat and eat it when I got to work. I got to work at least a half hour before the school day started so that I could just slowly ease into the morning and enjoy my “oatmeal time.” It was by far my favorite part of the work day (needless to say, I didn’t really love my job… at all).

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Happy Thanksgiving

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Hey friends!

Just wanted to stop by to say a quick “Happy Thanksgiving!” I hope that you enjoy some restful time with your family and friends (even if there may be some chaos to get the actual meal going!). We’re hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year, which I am super excited for. Some wonderful friends are coming over to share the holiday with us, since all of our family is on the east coast.

Check out my post on Sierra Trading Post’s blog about simple ways to enjoy a healthy holiday:

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Enjoy- and have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!

[Mini] Pecan-Crust Sweet Potato Pies

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Whenever I’m asked to choose my favorite holiday, I’ll quickly say “Thanksgiving.” There are so many things that I love about Thanksgiving- the food (of course), the traditions, spending time with loved ones and the excitement of the Christmas season right around the corner. Sadly, I wasn’t been able to spend the holiday with my family last year and won’t be able to again next week but I’m lucky enough to have some great friends to share the day with.

Greg and I are hosting Thanksgiving at our home this year- and we’re pretty excited about it! It will be our first holiday in our new house and it will be nice to experience and share some of our favorite traditions here with our friends. We’re doing it pot-luck style and everyone is bringing a few different dishes. As I was sitting here thinking of what to prepare (besides a gigantic turkey!), I pondered upon a few different dessert ideas. To me, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving unless you end the meal with pie (or, preferably, a few different types of pie!). I wanted to make something that’s somewhat traditional – and give it a bit of a facelift. My mind immediately went to two different types of pie: sweet potato and pecan. Then I thought- why don’t I combine the two?

For me, my least favorite part of a pie is the crust: it’s all about the filling. I wanted to create a recipe where the crust was every bit as delicious as the filling- a pie that had delicious, harmonious flavor in every bite. I think I achieved it with this recipe. ;)

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Currently: November 2014

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Happy Monday, friends! We’re already half-way through the month, so it seemed like a good day for a Currently post. Before we get started, here’s a photo from my snowy hike yesterday.

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It was all of 30 degrees out, but it seemed like a heat wave compared to the weather we had last week!

Currently: November

Current books: Nothing at the moment, but I ordered Andy Cohen’s new book from Amazon the other day (which is supposed to arrive tomorrow).

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I also ordered his first book, which I (sadly) didn’t even know existed until recently. I love Andy Cohen and think he’s the most talented person on television!

Current music: I’ve been listening to a lot of Shovels & Rope (and saw them in concert last night). They were amazing- and I was out until midnight (which is crazy, considering I usually go to bed at 10 pm, even on weekends).


Current guilty pleasure: I was going to list this song for the answer above, but the amount of times that I listen to “Stay With Me” each day (and sing at the top of my lungs) has totally turned it into a guilty pleasure. 

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Beauty Faves & Hair Washing

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Hello!

Brrr… it is COLD and snowy here in Colorado. I’m starting to get used to the bi-polar weather we have here- I think. I went from hiking in capris and a tank top one day to freezing in a down coat the next (I’m more of a fan of the former). Everyone is really excited about the snow, but I still think that there is nothing good about snow in the front range- save it for the high country where people go to ski!

Now that we’re done with the weather report, I’ll get on with today’s post. :) I am by no means an expert in beauty rituals, skin care and all of that good stuff. However, in my 34 years of existing in my own skin I have come to figure out what products help my skin stay moisturized, (hopefully) younger looking and better looking in general. I’ve come to discover a few new beauty products recently that I love and wanted to share- so that you can love them too!

Just a disclaimer- these are all products that I personally buy, and have not been sent to try out. (But, if any of these companies want to send me freebies, go right ahead! ;)).

I’ve tried out so many different brands of skincare products and make-up over the years, and am currently loving (everything from) Mineral Fusion and Alba Botanica’s Acnedote line. Luckily, I haven’t had many problems with acne in the last few years and I think that might be partially due to this awesome face wash.

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And I keep this scrub in the shower. It’s AWESOME.

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Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

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For as dominant as my sweet tooth is, it’s also very particular. I love ice cream (and my favorite is vanilla bean!)- but don’t care too much for most types of cake. I am a total dark chocolate addict, but am not crazy about it in the form of cake or ice cream. Fruit pies, crisps and cobblers make me swoon, but danishes, pastries and doughnuts really do nothing for me. Actually- I take that back: doughnuts are awesome, but something that I rarely, if ever, eat. And here’s why: I can’t eat something like that for breakfast. It would sit in my stomach like a brick and give me a carb crash an hour later. In my opinions, doughnuts should be classified as a dessert.

Part of my full-time job as FlapJacked’s social media manager is coming up with a new recipe each week. The mix is so versatile that I’ve been able to create everything from quick breads to corn dogs to cheesecake to biscuits, amongst many other delicious (and mostly healthy) creations. And, most recently, I created doughnuts. Healthy doughnuts. Doughnuts that you can eat for breakfast that will keep you feeling satisfied and not weighed down. Doughnuts that you could eat three or four of without feeling an ounce of guilt. Yes, people- DOUGHNUTS.

When I was figuring out the ingredients for this recipe, I knew I needed a liquid that was rich, creamy and flavorful and would provide a little bit of healthy fat. It also needed to be something that was lower in calories and would keep the nutritional stats in a happy place (so heavy cream and oil were out!). The answer was simple: Silk Almondmilk Light.

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Currently: October 2014

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Whoa- two posts in a week… can you believe it?! Because I will be rambling enough down below, let’s just get right into it:

Currently: October

Current books: I recently finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and can confidently say that it’s my favorite book EVER. I haven’t started a new book yet, but want to read another Cheryl Strayed book or Into The Wild next (because I love the movie, and I bet the book is 10x better). I tend to like reading memoirs and non-fiction - I’m open to suggestions!

Current music: Speaking of Into the Wild, I literally listened to the soundtrack all day long while I worked yesterday. This song is my fave. :)


Current guilty pleasure: I pretty much always say Real Housewives of New Jersey, so I’m sticking with that. I can’t wait for the reunion show on Sunday!

Current nail color: Chipped.

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ACL Reconstruction Surgery: 5 Months [or 22 Weeks] Post-Op (!!)

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It’s October 20th- which means that it’s been exactly five months since I had ACL Reconstruction Surgery (and tomorrow will mark exactly 22 weeks). Honestly, that’s pretty hard for me to wrap my head around! I know that I say this in every post, but time has FLOWN! When I look back on that horrible day (of surgery) five months ago, I get chills. Man, it sucked… and I hope that none of you ever have to go through it! But- if you do- just have faith that time will pass quickly and you will get better.

While I still stand by the fact that I want a re-do of summer and am not at all ready for winter to come, the weather has (thankfully) been awesome here and perfect for playing outside (including lots of hiking with this guy!).

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One of the ski resorts out here has already opened and others will start following soon. I have still have very mixed feelings about skiing. On one hand, the thought of skiing again makes me terrified and furious. The other part of me wants to take what I learned from recovery and face my fears and be a badass on the slopes… within reason. I think that I will just wait until I’m ready, take it slow and play it safe all season. My surgeon advised me to wait until the end of December, always wear my knee brace, to stay away from crappy snow (ice) and to take it easy. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Now for the formal progress update:

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Bodypump 91 Review

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It has been a loooooong time since I wrote a Bodypump Review, and I vowed to get back into doing so with the latest Bodypump release. Even though my gym launched Bodypump 91 almost four weeks ago, I know that most other clubs are just now getting around to launching. (My group ex manager decided to do it on the first day of fall to get into the “Fall into Fitness” thing.)

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Believe it or not, this is the first launch I’ve done since Bodypump 84- which was over a year and a half ago! There’s not nearly as much opportunity for Bodypump instructors here in Boulder and I was just subbing classes for the first year that I lived there. I’ve taught every release since I moved- but just haven’t been there for the actual launch day. It wasn’t until last April that I finally got my own class- and then was out for two months for knee surgery right after. So, because of the timing, this past launch was the first that I’ve gotten to do since moving- and it felt GOOD to be back!

Because of the early launch at my gym, I had to learn the choreography for Bodypump 91 FAST. In fact, I learned the whole thing while I was in Maryland last month for work- most of it in my hotel room at 6:00 am each morning before having to put in a full day Expo East! It was stressful and exhausting- but totally worth it in the end.

If you’re not familiar with Bodypump, here’s a quick description of the class from the Les Mills website:

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Creamy Delicata + Apple Soup

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As much as I’ve tried to hang on to summer (and make it last forever) I’ve decided to finally let go. Fall is here- and that’s not a bad thing. Even though I’d forever state that summer is my favorite season, fall probably comes in a close second. Summer has only been gone for about two weeks and already it seems that the air has changed. Walking around outside I’ve noticed (especially after the sun goes down) that it smells like fall. Do you know what I mean?

There are certain things that I will always associate with this season: apples, pumpkin everything, Crock Pot cooking, football, changing leaves, beautiful sunsets… I’m sure I could go on. As it starts getting colder outside there is one thing that I crave all the time: soup! If I hear of a delicious-sounding soup on a restaurant menu or even see something boxed in the store, I have to get it. Each and every time I ask myself: why don’t I make this myself?

When I was thinking of a simple, fast soup recipe to make I immediately thought butternut squash + apple soup. When I went to the store to buy my ingredients I was immediately sidetracked by a beautiful pile of delicata squash. Although butternut squash is probably my favorite winter squash, I like delicata almost just as much. It’s slightly sweet, rich and buttery (and delightful!).

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