Ridiculously Good Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Hola! That’s pretty much all the Spanish I know. Sad huh? I really wish I could speak it fluently. I’ll put it on the bucket list. Maybe after nutrition school…then yoga certification…I guess it’s pretty evident that I continuously like to be learning.

So who is happy it’s Friday? I am! We’ve got another birthday party to go to (kid’s) and its even a costume party, and if you are a parent then you already know that’s a big deal. And did you guys know Puss in Boots comes out at the theater today? I just read that this morning, and People.com gave it a decent review. So hopefully we will make it around to seeing that. Oh and I’ll throw a Saturday morning spin class in there. If you’ve joined the St Bernard’s Health and Wellness Institute, start your Saturday off right and come spin with me!

We had the so-so salmon and bok choy leftovers for dinner last night, and it was better because I drizzled some sweet chili sauce over the salmon this time. Yeah, I jazzed it up a little bit. And it made it a lot tastier. Then I was craving something a little sweet, but not crazy sweet because I’m really trying to cut back on sugar. Yes, I’m really making the effort. Not to cut it all the way out, mind you, just cut back. So I came across this recipe for Ridiculously Good Pumpkin Spice Cookies. This was my first time to ever visit this blog, Natural Papa, and I found it through a Google search for healthy pumpkin cookies. Y’all, these cookies are, well, ridiculously good. Seriously. They really aren’t too sweet, the main flavor you taste is really the pumpkin. And (I hear) the dough is amazing too, ya know, before you bake it. Ahem, that’s just what I heard. Anywho, I followed the recipe exactly and even used the egg replacer just because I had some, but he tells you how to use eggs if you want to. I did add probably about a half cup of chocolate chips, and it added a little chocolate-y kick that went nicely with the pumpkin flavor. While I was eating one I even thought that some shredded coconut would be good as well. So use your imagination, and try whatever you want! But they are super easy to make and you won’t be sorry, if you are into pumpkin-y things this time of year like I am.

So the lighting is awful, nighttime, under microwave lighting, and I apologize for that, but at least I did remember to take a pic of the little cookies in all their pumpkin glory:


This little recipe is going in my binder, which is where I put only the recipes that I have actually made for my family and they have gotten the raves I so crave when I cook for others. I’m like please tell me you like my cooking and baking…please? Seriously though, the binder is kind of sacred, and this one’s going in there. Somewhere near Spinach and Quinoa Enchilada Bake. Well, they will be filed under different tabs, one is entree and one is dessert, but you get it…only the special ones, my friends.

So, I’m making a couple of homemade pizzas for dinner tonight because my parents are coming into town. And I usually do make my own dough (if you guys want to hear more about that, let me know!), but tonight I’m going to cheat a little. I’ve discovered these whole wheat pizza dough balls. I’ve gotten them at both Fresh Market and Whole Foods in the freezer section, but they are pizza dough balls that have already risen and then been frozen, so all you have to do is thaw them and then roll them out on your pizza stone, top with sauce and your favorite ingredients and pop them in a very hot oven. Voila! So because I’ve got a few of these dough balls, I’m using two of them tonight for homemade pizza. If you have never made homemade pizza, you really should try it. It tastes so much better than what you order from pizza delivery, and it’s so much healthier too. I’ll do my next blog post on homemade pizza.

In the meantime, have you ever tried homemade pizza and, if so, did it turn out well? What are your favorite toppings to try out when making pizza?


October 28, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

What’s Rocking Your World?

Hey guys! I’ve been busy this morning teaching spin, being mommy, all that fun stuff, but finally got a minute to sit down and blog, yippee!

And I wanted to share a couple of things with you guys that are rocking my world right now. In a good way. Starting with my lunch. It’s my favorite. Lunch. Ever. Seriously.

Here’s a pic:


What we have here is a large green salad topped with my other new obsession salad dressing (more on that in a sec), and the piece de resistance: the open faced avocado and tomato sandwich. I toast one piece of whole grain bread (millet is my favorite), spread a little coarse mustard on it, cut up (ok, smash) half of an avocado on it, top with some sliced tomatoes and finish it off with a nice sprinkling of cayenne pepper. I try to eat a little bit of avocado daily, as including healthy portions of good fats can help to increase your energy, boost your immunity and optimize digestion. And avocados are a very healthy source of good fat, in moderation. Cayenne pepper helps to improve circulation, rebuild red blood cells, and remove toxins from the bloodstream. Good stuff friends. If you’ve got a taste for the spicy, not unlike myself, add a dash of cayenne pepper to your food! But this is definitely my standby lunch at the moment, one that I never tire of. And like I’ve said before, I’ve definitely got my vices. So I may sometimes finish off this tasty lunch with a square of dark chocolate. Or two. Ahem.

So here’s another thing that is rocking my world right now:


I got this at Whole Foods last weekend, and I know they also carry this brand at Fresh Market as well. It’s the Cindy’s Kitchen Mango, Coconut and Pepper, and I’ve been using it on my salads. But it also says it can be used as a marinade or as a glaze, or for stir fry. And that is on my agenda. Either to use it as a glaze and roast some veggies, or in shrimp stir fry. Y’all, it’s so good. It’s sweet and spicy at the same time, which is one of my favorite flavor combinations. Apparently this Cindy’s Kitchen brand has come out with some new flavors in their line, and I do want to try out a few different ones, but this is going to be a repeat buy for me!

One thing that has been rocking my world in a not-good way? My bum knee. It’s giving me some trouble. I’ve got a torn meniscus but it hasn’t bothered me in probably two years really, and I’m not sure what I’ve done to reaggrevate it, but it’s kind of putting a damper on things for me right now. Yuck.

I did make a salmon and bok choy recipe last night that I had torn out of a Cooking Light magazine a while back. It was pretty good, but I’m not sure it gets a spot on my dinner rotation list. I do like recipes that encourage me to try new and different vegetables, such as bok choy. There are so many interesting vegetables at the grocery store, so sometimes it’s good to step out and try something other than, say, green beans. Who knows, you may discover a new veggie that you adore!

Ok, I’m off to do more mommy and housewife things. But I’m curious, what’s rocking all of your worlds right now? A certain meal you’ve had recently, a yummy new snack you like to have in the afternoons, maybe your favorite fall order at Starbucks…what’s rocking your world?

October 27, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

A Delicious Pasta Dish

Hellooo and Happy Hump Day! This week has been jam packed for me, which usually seems to make the week go by faster. But for some reason this jam packed week has been dragging for me! So it seems like today should be Thursday or Friday instead of Wednesday. But it’s been a fun week, so it’s ok. I taught my first spin class this morning at the St Bernard’s Health and Wellness Institute, and had so much fun (hi Laura, if you’re reading)! I’m going to be pretty busy up there doing classes, and studying for my nutrition class, but I’m really going to try to stay up on my blog!

So I started my day with some delicious green-ness in a smoothie form. I usually drink about 20 ounces or so of smoothie in the morning. This morning though I drank half of it on my way to spin class, and it made me so full that I had to put off the other half for after class. Now for lunch I’m polishing off some leftovers from the pasta dish I made last night. It was so good y’all, and very different, and my leftovers have been in the fridge so it’s more like pasta salad today. Which is perfectly fine with me. I’m into pasta salads, and this one is amazing. Y’all have to try this one, seriously.

So here’s the recipe I used for the pasta last night. I made it just like the recipe says, except I used two sweet red bell peppers (I get those at Sam’s, do you guys ever buy these? If not, you should! Go now!) and two zucchinis to make it even more full of veggies. If you wanted to add meat to this dish you absolutely could. Maybe if you had some shredded or chopped cooked chicken, or even some turkey Italian sausage, just make sure you cook it in the skillet first for a few minutes. But either of those would be delicious. Or even some cooked shrimp! And if you aren’t crazy for edamame, you could absolutely substitute green peas for it. I really liked the edamame though. I thought it gave the dish a nice subtly salty flavor, not too salty though, and I liked the texture from the edamame. But don’t be afraid to switch out whatever you’ve got in your fridge or just to suit your tastes if there is something in the recipe you don’t love!

Here’s a pic of my leftovers highlighting as pasta salad today:



Let me just say once more how yummy this is! If you and your family are into pasta type dishes like this at all, this is a must try. And for those of you that are wondering, and I know you are, my kids ate it too. And they liked it. Checkmate.

And while you're over there at Oh She Glows, take a peek at more of Angela’s recipes! I like everything I’ve made from there. I’ve got my eye on a few more recipes that I’m going to try out soon from her blog.

So have you guys made anything yummy this week that you’d like to share? I’m always open to new recipes, so if you’ve found something worth trying, please do share!

October 26, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Back on Schedule, and What Are Your Cravings?

Hey everyone! I know, I know…I’ve fallen a little behind. We were out of town over the weekend, our other daughter got sick…it’s just been a little crazy and kind of off schedule-y around here. But I’m settling into the week a little bit now, and I’m ready to cook! I’ve got something new on the agenda for tonight, and I’m pretty excited about it. Speaking of being out of town for the weekend, yesterday morning was the first day I had had my green smoothie in a few days! Here is a picture of my smoothie in all its green goodness:


I was really missing it and it was so delicious yesterday morning. Swear, I feel so much better when I have one to start my day. So now I’m back on track.

I was in Little Rock over the weekend, and I did get to drop into Whole Foods, but I forgot to take a picture of all my loot! Let’s see, did I get anything new and interesting? Hmmm, I got some more coconut milk yogurts, because my hubby really loves them (ok, so do I!). I got a package of soba noodles, which I’ve never used before, so I’m excited about those. I got tons of greens: spinach, mixed baby lettuces, etc. I’ll use those in my smoothies, and I also have a big salad for lunch every day as well as a little green salad with dinner most every night. So we go through tons of greens every day. I got some dried mango, which I’m totally obsessed with. Actually I bought it on Sunday, and now it’s Tuesday morning, and the mango is already all gone. Alright, alright, it was gone by Sunday night. What can I say, I love the stuff! And at least they don’t add sugar to theirs at Whole Foods, it’s just straight dried mango. Maybe I should get my own dehydrator? Hmmm, what else did I get? Oh! I also got some nori wrappers, I’m determined to make some kind of wraps with them. Maybe not necessarily sushi, but something. I’ll have to research it a little.

So I’ve been listening to a webinar from my nutrition school about cravings. Do you guys ever have any cravings? I do! I seem to always have a sweet tooth. It really seems to be only at night though. And I learned something today about that. Apparently eating root vegetables is good for someone with a sweet tooth, because root vegetables have some natural sweetness to them. So I’m going to try to add some more root veggies to my diet. I adore sweet potatoes, so this should work out nicely for me. We will see if it helps curbs my sweet tooth. I think it’s fine to moderately indulge yourself every now and then, but my sweet tooth sometimes just gets completely out of control.

And on another note, in case you guys haven’t seen me at the open houses the past couple of days, I’m now going to be teaching spinning classes at the new St. Bernard’s Health and Wellness Institute! So if you’ve signed up to join, or you’re thinking about joining, come by and see me and try out a spin class!

So what about you guys, do you ever have cravings? If so, what do you tend to crave? Sweet, salty, creamy? Do they seem to come more at certain times of the day?

October 25, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Low(er) Calorie Drink Recipes and WPS!

Hello and welcome to the weekend! Don’t you guys just love the energy on Fridays? Everyone is in a fantastic mood, especially with a beautiful and sunny fall day like today, and an uber- important game to watch tomorrow! And here would be a good time to throw in a Woooooo, Pig Sooie!!!

And with all the excitement of gameday, I’d like to direct you all to the second part of a guest post I did for my homegirls Mary and Lindsay over at Gameday Runway. If you need some ideas for low(er) calorie gameday drinks, check out this post! And definitely try them out, they are super yummy!

Also, wanted to share this with you guys:


I opened up my first young coconut this morning! I bought one at Whole Foods when I was there a few weeks ago, and it’s been sitting in my fridge. So this morning I YouTube’d how to open one, and me and my big knife whacked it right open! My almost 5-year old daughter was absolutely amazed at it. Then she and I drank the water that came out of it. Apparently coconut water is packed with vital nutrients as well as electrolytes to help you stay hydrated. And there is meat on the inside that you can use in smoothies, puddings, and some other ways that I haven’t fully researched yet. But I will. And I’ll keep you posted!

So definitely let me know if you guys try out my low(er) calorie drink recipes, and also let me know if you’ve got any of your own!

And did I mention…Woooo Pig Sooie!

October 21, 2011. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Who Do You Follow?

Hey everyone! So I really haven’t done any other cooking this week except for the Shrimp, Spinach and Shallot Quiche I made on Monday. We’ve been eating it leftover every night this week, but alas, the quiche’s run is now over. And I would cook tonight but I’m going out to dinner with some friends!

I did, however, make these little Halloween cuties for my girls:



I also tried out a raw, vegan dessert recipe last night that involved cashews, maple syrup, some rum and dates, but to be quite honest with you they weren’t just so amazing that I really want to share. Let me try out another one, and if and only if it knocks my socks off, and the family’s socks, I promise to share!

So I’ve been trying to come up with some new ideas for the blog, and while I was reading my Twitter feed this morning I thought, I wonder who everyone else follows on Twitter? So I thought I’d share with you some of my favorites that I follow on Twitter, and I was hoping you guys would do the same and tell me about some of your favorites that you follow on Twitter!

Here’s my list, and I will give a brief description of each one:

@EatThisNotThat – yes, just like the book. They are always posting diet and health tips about different categories of foods and the healthiest options in each category, as well as healthy menu options from different restaurants. They also post recipes sometimes. And they will retweet fitness and workout tips from Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazines. PS – There are two Cook This Not That cookbooks available at bookstores, and I am obsessed with both of them! They are full of easy, 8-ish ingredient recipes and my family has loved every single thing I’ve made out of them both! Recommendation-ometer: 10 out of 10. Seriously.

@soulcycle – they post really cool playlists from their spin instructors, as well as lots of inspirational quotes and advice. Also healthy recipes and tips from time to time.

@WholeFoods – phenomenal, healthy, seasonal recipes, and lots of them! Have you ever wondered what you could do with parsnips in the fall? Well wonder no more! Y’all, they are a treasure trove of healthy recipes over at Whole Foods. I really should buy stock in this place, it’s pretty amazing!

@WellandGoodNYC – two writers who cover NYC’s most interesting wellness experiences, from gyms to yoga and spin studios to best places for a facial or a detox. I’m new to following these two but so far I like them, I like them a lot actually. I know I don’t live in NYC, but everything trickles down to us here in Arky, so I like being in the loop on up and coming things, especially things that relate to health and wellness.

@ KimsBeautyDetox – Kim is the author of The Beauty Detox Solution, and a nutritionist to many celebrities. Some of what Kim advocates in her book might be considered pretty far out to some people, but from a digestive point of view it all really made sense to me. She tweets tips on what foods are good for certain body functions, for instance: foods to improve your mood, the antioxidant benefits of acai berries, and different things like that. If you are pretty open minded in the way of diet and wellness, I think you’d enjoy following Kim! PS – she’s great about answering any questions you may have over Twitter!

Ok, so those are a few of my favorites that I follow on Twitter. These are all just diet and wellness related, and I follow many other people for other things I’m interested in, but I thought these would be the ones you guys might be interested in. Check them out if you get a chance!

So now, you tell me…who do you follow?

October 20, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Halloween Treats?

Hey everyone! How is your week going so far? Mine’s been pretty busy. Today I’ve got a sick child and a doctor’s appointment for her. Here we go again, ’tis respiratory season! And this weather! 45 degrees say what?! I was certainly not ready for that. Maybe some lower 60’s, even mid 50’s, but no, not quite ready for upper 40’s.

So we are still eating on the leftover shrimp quiche. We will probably have it for dinner again tonight, but after that I’ll throw out anything that’s left. With meat, and especially seafood, two days is about all I’ll do in the leftover department. I’m always scared it’ll go funky after any longer than that, and we will come down with some incurable bacterial something or another. Yeck…

So I’ll really been craving candy corn! Think I may just have to pick some up today. Y’all, I adore candy corn. I know it’s just straight high fructose corn syrup, but I just can’t help myself. I may try to figure out a quasi-healthy bar recipe I could put some candy corn in? Just enough candy corn to get the flavor of it, but not overdo it. Cause I most definitely have overdone it probably could overdo it on candy corn right out of the bag. I’ve also got one of those Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcake mixes from Williams Sonoma in my pantry, so I could also make those for the girls and make them all cute and Halloween-y. Basically I just love to cook and bake. It’s fun to me. My Mamaw used to let me bake with her when I was a little girl, and I always thought it was so much more fun to cook with her than with my mom because Mamaw never cared how big of a mess I made in the kitchen. She just said don’t worry, it can be cleaned up. I try to keep that in mind when I’m letting my girls help me bake and not freak out when flour goes all over the counter and the floor. But I’m human, and sometimes I do freak out when flour goes all over the counter and the floor.

What are all of your favorite Halloween treats? Is there anything interesting and seasonal you all like to make this time of year? If so, please share!

October 19, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Shrimp, Spinach and Shallot Quiche

Hey guys! So I was talking to one of my riders from spin class, Jackie, the other day about different things she likes to cook for dinner, and she gave me the idea for a shrimp quiche! I love, love quiches of all kinds, but I had never even thought of the idea of putting shrimp (or any seafood really) in a quiche. But I made one last night and y’all, it was wonderful. A definite make again-er! Thanks to Jackie for inspiring this recipe.

Shrimp, Spinach and Shallot Quiche
adapted from here

1 (9 inch) frozen pie crust
5 cups spinach
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, finely diced (or 1/2 medium onion)
5 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb cooked shrimp (or lobster, crab, shallots etc)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 tsp dried thyme

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. If your pie crust isn’t already in a dish, place in a 9 inch pie plate.
3. Spray nonstick pan with cooking spray and, over medium heat, sauté spinach until wilted, about 4-5 minutes. Remove to a plate.
4. In same pan over medium heat, heat oil and sauté shallots (or onion) until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes longer, or until soft. Stir in cooked shrimp, and remove from heat.
5. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, sour cream salt and pepper. Spread into the pie crust. Layer with the shrimp mixture. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top.
6. Whisk together eggs, milk and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, and pour over pie.
7. Place pie on baking sheet, and bake in middle of oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

*Note: in case you guys haven’t already figured out from reading my blog, I’m a big use whatever you’ve got in the fridge/freezer/pantry kind of cook. You want to make this tonight but you don’t have any shrimp, but you do have some cooked chicken in the fridge? Use that, it’ll work! You don’t have any shallots or spinach but you’ve got a medium onion and some frozen broccoli? Use that! You don’t have any mozzarella cheese but you’ve got Parmesan and cheddar? Use either or both! Really any ingredients in most recipes can be substituted for something else. Use your imagination.

So here’s a picture of the lovely little quiche:



Sorry, the second picture is not great quality (iPhone) but I wanted to show you guys everything in the quiche when you take a bite. I’m telling you guys, if you like quiche and you’re a seafood eater, you can’t go wrong with this. I would definitely serve this to guests as well, it’s that good!

I forgot to ask you guys, did you go check out my guest post over at Gameday Runway? If you haven’t had a chance to, here’s the link! Let me know what you think about the health(ier) gameday recipes I posted (one is my favorite guacamole recipe), and later this week they are going to post the second part of the article, which is lower calorie gameday cocktails! You don’t want to miss that, right?

So have ya’ll ever heard of a quiche with seafood in it, or have I been living under a rock? Is this a recipe you think you’d ever try?

October 18, 2011. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

The Plan For The Week

Hey guys! How was your weekend? Mine was great, very relaxed and low key, lots of playing outside with the kiddos. I love weekends that aren’t packed full of plans. And that’s exactly what I had this weekend, a no plans weekend! I feel very rested this morning and ready to get my Monday on. Oh! I did go see Memphis the musical over in, well, Memphis on Saturday…it’s amazing y’all. If you are thinking about going over there to see it, I definitely say do, you won’t regret it! The story is great and the music, singing and dancing are amazing! It’s definitely worth the trip over.

So even though it wasn’t very cool this weekend, and was actually quite warm and nice, guess what my hubby requested for dinner last night? You got it – chili! I told y’all, we are always eating chili of some form or fashion around here in the fall. I had some of the cutest little squash in my fridge that I picked up last time I was at Whole Foods. They were miniature sunburst squash, and yes I did say they were cute! I needed to use them and thought, why not put them in the chili? So I used this chili recipe that I shared with you guys last week, except I didn’t have the bell pepper and I only had two cans of beans. I also added my cute little squash, which I just cut into smaller pieces, and added a can of Mexicorn. See, really anything goes in chilis or soups. I also made it in the crockpot because I had a spin class and just didn’t want to be around the stove all afternoon. It was great!

So I got a couple of great recipe ideas from one one of my riders in spin class yesterday (thanks Jackie!). The one that really caught my attention, and the one that will make it’s debut at our home for dinner tonight, is seafood quiche! I love quiches and have made many different kinds before, but have never even thought about seafood. You can put lobster in it as well, but I’ve got shrimp in my freezer so that’s the direction I’m going with mine. I’ve also got some mushrooms in the fridge that need to be used, as well as a jar of roasted red peppers in the pantry. I have certain staples that I like to always have on hand, and roasted red peppers qualify as a staple to me. They are so versatile and can be used in so many different types of recipes.

So here’s what our tentative dinner plans look like for the week, always subject to change!

Monday – shrimp quiche with mushrooms and roasted red bell peppers
Tuesday – probably leftover quiche
Wednesday – couscous stuffed red bell peppers
Thursday – probably leftover couscous stuffed red bell peppers
Friday – TBD

And, I have my orientation today for my nutrition school! I’m so excited about that and am really ready to get started on my courses! Thank you all for your sweet words after I told you guys about it on Saturday.

So what do you guys have on your minds for dinner this week? Do you all kind of plan out your week’s dinners in advance, or are you more fly by the seat of your pants about what’s for dinner?

October 17, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Some Very Exciting News!

No, I’m not pregnant, in case you’re wondering after reading the title of this blog. But I DO have some other exciting news I want to share with my readers! This arrived at my house yesterday:


What is this large red box, you might ask? In this box are all of my materials to begin the health coach training program with The Institute for Integrative Nutrition! I’m beyond excited about this guys. IIN is the world’s largest nutrition school, and I will start my training with them next week for a year long program to become a health and nutrition coach. As you guys probably can already tell, eating and feeding my family as healthily as I can is super important to me. And, obviously, I like to share with others healthy recipes, lifestyle tips and any other information I’ve read in books, magazines, on the Internet…I just love it. It’s my passion. And I truly believe our country is in a health crisis with the skyrocketing obesity rates and the diabetes and other diseases that are largely due to an unhealthy lifestyle. I very much believe in prevention. So I’ve decided to make this my career path. Did I mention that I’m so excited?

This is something that I’ve been thinking about doing for a while now. It’s really a huge leap of faith for me, but I believe in it and am so passionate about it that I just know I’ll be able to help people. And I also believe IIN is the best place for me to get my training. I’m going to have the privilege of hearing lectures from some of the most leading experts in the fields of nutrition and wellness, such as Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and Dr. Arthur Agatston. That’s some good stuff my friends, good stuff! And in case I didn’t tell you guys, I’m reeeally excited!

And, I’ve even got more news…I’ve written my first guest blog! My homegirls Mary and Lindsey over at Gameday Runway asked me to come up with a couple of healthy snack options for gameday (or anyday, for that matter). So go check out my post here on Gameday Runway! And check back over there next week when they post my low(er) calorie drink recipes. Be sure to pick up a few fashion tips for the next big ballgame on your calendar while you are over at GDR!

Have a great Saturday you guys! No cooking for me today, no sireee. We’ve got a 5 year old birthday party to hit up! Happy birthday Camryn!

October 15, 2011. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

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