foodie fridays

Smoked Cherry Bombs? What is this sorcery? Cooking Light is cooking up a little magic for the upcoming 4th of July celebrations you may (or may not) have planned. I don't know what I will be doing yet. Maybe I'll just sit at home and watch the fireworks and eat all these Cherry Bombs.

  • /2 cup cherry wood chips
  • 12 dye-free maraschino cherries with stems (such as Tillen Farms)
  • 2 ounces almond paste
  • 5 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash of salt
  • 4 (14 x 9 inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Pierce 10 holes on one side of the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch disposable aluminum foil pan. Place holes over element on cooktop; place wood chips over holes inside pan. Heat element under holes to medium-high; let burn 1 minute or until chips begin to smoke. Arrange cherries on opposite end of pan. Cover pan with foil. Reduce heat to low; smoke cherries 5 minutes. Remove from heat; uncover.
3. Combine almond paste and 1 tablespoon sugar; beat with a mixer at medium speed until mixture resembles damp sand. Add cream cheese, vanilla, and salt; beat until combined.
4. Place 1 phyllo sheet on a work surface (cover remaining dough to keep from drying); lightly brush with butter. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Repeat layers with remaining phyllo, butter (save a little butter for the outsides), and sugar. Cut 12 (3 1/2 x 3-inch) rectangles through phyllo layers using a pizza cutter or sharp knife. Place 1 teaspoon almond mixture in the center of each phyllo stack; press 1 cherry, stem up, into almond mixture. Gather corners of phyllo, and press around stem to seal, forming a pouch. Gently brush pouch with remaining butter. Place pouches on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375° for 13 minutes or until crisp. Cool on pan on a wire rack.



My lovely friend, Tina (Kristina Garcia Photography) found these amazing masks in Italy and wanted to do a fun shoot with them. I gladly obliged.

Check out her Instagram too!


what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Nude Lip
I love the combo of these two lip products. Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm on Complex with a little of NYX Butter Lipstick in Sugar Wafer on top.

2. Baby Photos
I picked up some pictures of Matt from his parents, and they are all so cute!!! I'm using them for a wedding craft.
3. Pup Snuggles
I was lucky to capture this little moment before bedtime.


foodie fridays

[image via: Food Network]
Corn is pretty much life. Well, not really. But it's sooo good. I hadn't eaten it very much until Matt came into my life. It's weirdly like his favorite food. We have been adding it to a few of our dishes, and this one from Food Network is one we have to try.

Deconstructed Mexican Style Corn


Chipotle Salt:
5 tablespoons chipotle powder
3 tablespoons kosher salt
6 ears corn
1/2 red onion, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro
Zest of 2 limes


For the chipotle salt: Combine the chipotle powder and salt and store in an airtight container.

For the corn: Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat until hot, and then add the corn and char on all sides, turning occasionally, until blackened in parts, 12 to 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off the cobs.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and saute the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the charred corn kernels and cook until warmed. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese, the mayonnaise, cilantro and lime zest. Season with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of the chipotle salt.

Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cotija cheese and more chipotle salt.

Cook's Note: This recipe is great with an added squeeze of fresh lime juice.


what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. You Fresh Naturals
I received this yummy surprise in the mail. Thank you YFN!

2. Girls Weekend
I love my friends and escaping this past weekend to swim, eat, drink, and laugh was just what the doctor ordered.

3. Cards Against Humanity
Seriously the funniest and most fun game.


what do strangers think of you?

I saw this video on Healthy is the New Skinny (one of my new favorite websites). I absolutely fell in love with this video and the message behind it. Please watch.


sunday spark

"She'll change her name today
and she'll make a promise and I'll give her away
Standing in the bride room just staring at her
She asked me what I'm thinking and I said "I'm not sure,
I just feel like I'm losing my baby girl"
And she leaned over...and gave me...
Butterfly kisses"

Happy Father's Day, pops.


foodie fridays

[image via: Cooking Light]
I was hooked on apple butter for quite some time. It went especially well with toast and some peanut butter. I haven't had it in awhile, but I stumbled upon a recipe for it on Cooking Light. Looks like I may get hooked again...

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
  • 10 medium apples, peeled and cut into large chunks (about 2 1/2 pounds) 
  1. Combine all ingredients in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 10 hours or until apples are very tender.
  2. Place a large fine-mesh sieve over a bowl; spoon one-third of apple mixture into sieve. Press mixture through sieve using the back of a spoon or ladle. Discard pulp. Repeat procedure with remaining apple mixture. Return apple mixture to slow cooker. Cook, uncovered, on high 1 1/2 hours or until mixture is thick, stirring occasionally. Spoon into a bowl; cover and chill up to a week.
  3. Stovetop variation: Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 1 hour or until apples are very tender, stirring occasionally. Strain through a sieve as recipe instructs in Step 2. Return mixture to pan. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently.


what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Bridesmaid Dresses
I'm so happy that I got to spend the day with (most of) my bridesmaids and that we found the dresses! 
Obviously in one color, not shown ;)
2. Dutch Bros.
My co-workers surprised me with coffee on the way to work!
3. Swimming
I've been enjoying the pool with Matt and our pups! Nugget loves his new haircut and floating on his surfboard.


rock bottom

I've been on a weight loss journey for four years now. I don't know why I ended up on this journey. Four years ago, I felt awful about myself and was on a mission to eat healthier and join a gym. Simple as that. I don't know why it led me to an eating disorder. I don't know why I became so obsessed with a "perfect" body. I don't know why, after all the experiences, it has placed me in a role some would call a "role model.

Truth is, I don't think this journey ever ends. Nor do I think one ever fully recovers from an eating disorder. There is always that tinge of guilt with every bite of food, no matter how much you try to pretend it's not there. There is always that feeling of failure when you don't get a workout in. I feel like those feelings of guilt and failure have only escalated since I first shared my "before and after" weight loss picture.

I never thought that my picture would go viral. I never thought it would bring about a large reader audience on my blog or a 68k following in Instagram. I never thought to watermark it so companies wouldn't use it for false advertisements for their weight loss pills. I never expected the response it received. It felt wonderful to be able to reach people, but eventually I just felt pressure and I've felt it for two years now.

This pressure pounds at me every day, especially in the past months. The pressure to post workouts, healthy recipes, and gym check-ins. I felt like I needed to keep up with everyone else's gym selfies and ab progress photos. As if that determined my value as a person. It wasn't even something enjoyable anymore. What I once loved, felt like a job I wanted to quit. 

I know fully well that I am the one who lets the pressure get to me. I am the only one who can control how I feel. Yet, I crumbled. The strength and confidence I thought I had, I said I had, was at an all-time low. I completely shut out healthy foods and workouts. I despised it all. I despised the position I had somehow put myself in. I despised that people looked up to me. I despised my body.

The past month, I've eaten more pizza then you can imagine. I've had Taco Bell, Wendy's, McDonalds, Dairy Queen. I've drank more beer and margaritas than necessary. I've gone to the gym maybe once every two weeks, sometimes once a week if I'm lucky. I completely rebelled against everything I thought I believed in. Against everything I loved. Against everything I had a passion for. I threw it away.

I started questioning everything I stood for, and questioning why I chose to become a personal trainer. If I can't even practice what I'm preaching, how in the world am I supposed to help someone else? Feeling like a failure, I stepped away from my social media accounts. The few times I posted were maybe the one healthy bowl of oatmeal I made for the week. Or I posted about another fitness account. I had NO material to post of myself. I had no progress photos, gym check-ins, or any picture where I felt good about myself. I kept taking pictures for progress photos, and just couldn't commit to a healthier lifestyle where there would actually be progress. Instead, my progress was backwards as I started adding on pounds.

I've lived in baggy clothes because I've gained weight. Truthfully, I've worn oversized shirts and flowy dresses since my initial weight loss. I still had that fat girl mentality. My fiancé's eyes pop out of his head if I ever wear anything form-fitting. He thinks I'm beautiful, but I don't feel that confidence or beauty. My gym clothes are tight and uncomfortable. My sports bras and leggings are suffocating.

By all means, I know I am not fat. Yet, there comes a time when you don't feel like yourself anymore. You don't feel good about yourself anymore. Not many understand this feeling and it's difficult to find someone who can relate to. My fiancé, friends, and family try to understand or talk me through everything, but they don't fully get it. I tend to keep a lot of the feelings to myself. Eating disorders aren't an easy thing to comprehend. People tend to think "Just eat. Just fix yourself." Not that easy.

I can't even count how many times I've said that it's time to "get back on track." I started feeling like a broken record, and honestly I was broken. I am broken. I feel like I've self-destructed. I feel like I've let people down. 

Through it all, I need to remind myself that I am HUMAN. I am not just a face. I am not just a supposed role model. I am a woman trying to figure things out, just as anyone is. I am searching for balance. I am searching for beauty, in myself and all things. I am painfully trying to understand the definition of beauty, and why I have struggled to feel it. 

I don't have it all together. I apologize for not holding it together, but at the same time I don't. Things fall apart, so better things can come together. I know I've been pretty absent in the fitness/health realm, but I didn't feel like I could help others if I couldn't even help myself.

My passion is to help others. I want to be honest. I want to be helpful. I want to give you a hug. I want to tell you it gets rough as all hell, but it can get better if you believe in yourself. I want to inspire. I want to make you feel like you're not alone. I want to be that person to someone.

So I'm brushing myself off. I'm giving myself a hug and I'm telling myself "I love you." I'm going to study my ass off for this personal training test. I'm going to continue to surround myself with supportive and loving people. I'm going to remain strong and try not to let the pressure get to me. I'm going to continue to fight the demons of an eating disorder. I'm going to treat my body with respect again. I'm going to read and learn and listen to others' experiences. I'm going to grow. I'm going to explore the true meaning of balance. Most importantly, I'm going to learn the ways of loving myself. 

Thank you to Andie Mitchell (http://canyoustayfordinner.comfor being so honest in her writing and inspiring me to express my feelings


get to know me q & a


foodie fridays

[image/recipe via Cooking Light]
I love a good grab-and-go breakfast treat. It's not always possible to get out the pots and pans, and create a delicious breakfast feast. I wish I could make pancakes or eggs benedict every day (or at all), but it's just not plausible, especially for a working girl.

These Breakfast Fig and Nut "Cookies" by Cooking Light are ideal for me. I would probably throw in some fruit or a to-go carton of yogurt to add a little more substance to my morning. But really...who doesn't love cookies for breakfast?

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dried figs
  • 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (about 2 1/3 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup unprocessed bran (about 1 ounce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar 
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in chopped figs, cranberries, and vanilla.
Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, bran, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring just until moist. Gently fold in almonds.
Drop by level 1/4 cup measures 4 inches apart on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until almost set. Cool 2 minutes on pans. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.



ideal body type


When did it become the norm to look a certain way? When did it become a fight/struggle to have a certain body shape? WHO told me I had to look a certain way?

I have been asking myself these sorts of questions for the past few months because I've honestly been so lost. I wasn't finding joy in the gym or in healthy foods. I was finding joy at home relaxing or going out to eat. I took a lot of time off from the gym and healthier choices. I was sick of it all.

Diets and working out seven days a week don't even grant me the "so-called" ideal body traits, so why am I killing myself to live up to unrealistic expectations or others' bodies? I am ME! I'm tired of being unhappy and struggling to conform to a diet I hate/workouts I hate in order to achieve some "body type." Is an ideal body type even real?

We are all different! We are all beautiful. Why are we constantly trying to change into someone else? Sorry if this disappoints you as some sort of "fitness role model," but I'm over fitting the norms and acting like I'm perfect. I'm over striving to be like someone else and conforming to their lifestyle.

There is no such thing as an ideal body type. We all have different views on what is attractive. It's high time we start viewing ourselves as attractive and good enough.


what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Surprises
Matt surprised me with a home cooked meal after a long day at work.

2. Maleficent
Angelina Jolie played this part so well! Beautiful movie.
3. Brunch
I love when brunch with your best girls turns into a 7-hour ordeal because you're laughing and talking so much.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...