Protein-Packed Energy Bites

Protein-Packed Energy Bites

Raise your hand if you’re ready for this crazy weather to calm.down. Both hands flailing wildly in the air…ahem.

If you live around the Midwest, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, well, for the past 5+ days it’s been a full blown sauna outside…wet, heavy with humidity, and hot. Walking outside, I instantly feel my hair get 10x bigger and it feels like I’m breathing in a lake. Fortunately, I work in a super air-conditioned building and only have to experience this extreme weather for about 20 minutes each day…but still. #firstworldproblems

Before this extreme weather, I was lingering on to any bit of summer left that I could. I was dodging back-to-school talk as much as possible (which is pretty tough considering my work is talking nothing but back-to-school) and holding on to watermelon, grilling, and lazy summer days as much as possible.

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But now…now I’m ready for fall. I’m accepting the fact that school is here for most people already and everybody’s thoughts are already geared towards apple and pumpkin picking (okay, I admit, I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, too), and most of all, I’m accepting the fact hoping that cool weather will be here soon.

One recipe that always makes me think “back-to-school” are Protein-Packed Energy Bites. There are so many variations of this simple creation—all of which are probably delicious—but I’ve been making variations of this one for years.

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What I’ve Learned in a Year + Anniversary Week Celebration

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Wow, thanks for all the well wishes and congratulations last weekend for our one year wedding anniversary! It was a wonderful day and I was so excited to be able to share our special story with you guys! The response was beyond what I was expecting. I have to admit, I’ve been rereading the story I posted last week a couple several times this past week just because I love reliving the moments. It makes me smile every time!

How did we celebrate you ask? Like they say, “go big or go home,” right?! We made it into a whole anniversary week! We both had vacation time, so we chose to spend it just enjoying each other’s company and celebrating the year we’ve had together with a stay-cation (for the most part). It was perfect. Just imagine it as having a lazy Saturday at home for seven. days. straight. Glorious, I tell ya! We were productive, yet still had time to relax and go do fun “outings.” Here’s a recap of our anniversary (week):

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One Year Wedding Anniversary + Our Story

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I can’t believe it’s been a year since I said “I do” and married my best friend…I know, it sounds so cliché and everybody says that in all their Facebook anniversary posts, but I guess now I know why they say it—it’s true.

August 10, 2013, was one of the best and happiest days of my life and it was such a great climax to—in my opinion—a great story of how Philip and I met (but I may be slightly partial).

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a any length of time, you know I keep hinting at sharing our story with you at some point, and I thought today would be the perfect time to fill you all in on our special story…

It all started with, “I have a son I think you’d like…”

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Quick Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Quick Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Well, hello again. Is it just me, or are Mondays just tough to get back in the groove of things?

For some reason it’s always so hard for me to jump right back into the work as if no time elapsed from Friday. Somehow my mind completely forgets about whatever I was working on the previous five days during the week and come Monday, I have to rethink everything through on what was happening just two days prior.

It may just be the Type A in me coming out (and my love for lists), but in order to not waste a good half hour just rethinking through where to begin at the start of every week, I always make myself a list on Friday of the things I need to do when I come back on Monday—it brings me back to reality preeetty quickly come Monday morning. :)

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I suppose this particular weekend made coming back to reality even more challenging, since it was another weekend away from Madison, having fun with the fam.

We made our second of our three mini-road trips this weekend to Peoria, Illinois, to celebrate Philip’s brother’s birthday. It’s always a great time when the family gets together—not to mention some great food.

Philip’s dad always makes our Saturday breakfast a special one by making us all a warm breakfast with eggs, toast, bacon, and grapefruit (and yes, it’s always grapefruit). I’m usually almost exclusively a cereal/oatmeal kind of breakfast girl, but the warm breakfast turns an everyday occasion—where you’re half asleep slurping up soggy cereal—into a special occasion that the whole family can enjoy together.

Speaking of family mealtime, that’s a whole other topic I could get into, but I’ll spare you the details. All I’ll say for now is it’s an important habit to get into no matter how big or small, young or old your family is. There’s your dietitian tip of the week from me. :)

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Cherry-Almond Farro Salad

Cherry Almond Farro Salad

Don’t you just love summer? The days are long, the worries are few (or at least I like to pretend that’s true), and short road trips are abundant.

This past weekend began our three-weekend stretch of road trips. As I type this, we’re currently somewhere in the middle of Iowa as we make our one-day trek across the entire state back to Madison.

Although this weekend will have consisted of a total of 16 hours on the road by the end it, it’s been so much fun! The whole reason for the trip was to see this pretty lady and her man get married in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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Kate was a fellow intern, now dietitian, who loves food as much as me—her food selection and cake (oh my gosh, the cake!!) was proof of that. The food was tasty, the party was lively, and the whole wedding itself was stunning. I’m so glad we could help Kate and John celebrate their special day.

Although the trip was essentially all about the wedding, the trip had so many other fun, unexpected perks along the way. Philip and I got to catch up with my parents in Ames, Iowa, on Friday night and Sunday for the perfect halfway pit-stop to and from Nebraska. It’s always fun to be back at my old stomping grounds, even for a short time.

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Dirt Pudding

Dirt Pudding

Happy Monday, everyone!

If your weekend weather was as nice as it was here in Madison, then I hope you were able to get out and enjoy it! I was able to be outside quite a bit (my pink red face is proof of that!). To start it off, I had the fun opportunity of helping out at a kids road race on the UW campus bright and early on Saturday morning. A couple things about this:

1) I’ve never been on the set-up/tear-down side of a race before. Whew! Even for a small kids race, it was quite the production! I have so much more appreciation now for all the work that goes into just the day-of work, not to mention all the planning beforehand that goes into races.

2) It was so cute to see the kids all decked out in their running “outfits” and their pure, genuine excitement for the race. They may have been cute, but these kids were definitely legit! I think they’d give me a run for my money.

Philip and I spent the rest of the day together, mostly outside of our home…which is my excuse for not noticing this change in our dining room wall art until well into the evening.

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Lettuce…Turnip…the Beet. Get it? For some reason (maybe it has to do with my love for food and nutrition), but this phrase just makes me smile and I’ve been obsessed over it for quite awhile.

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Months ago I talked about wanting a t-shirt made with this saying on it (which my sister-in-law has graciously volunteered to do!), but had no idea my sneaky husband was planning on doing this the whole time. None. Zilch. Nada. He never ceases to surprise me!

I previously had these up on the walls, which I also really loved. Philip somehow took these, did a little Photoshopping magic, and turned them into something any dietitian would want to have in her kitchen. The colors match our kitchen perfectly and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how they turned out. Didn’t he do an awesome job, you guys?!

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Corn & Black Bean Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

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Sheeeee-ee-rry, Sherry baby. Shee-ee-rry, Sherry baby…

This song. It seriously won’t leave my head. As soon as I think it’s gone, it comes back. For those of you who didn’t grow up with the oldies being played around your house like I did, this is “Sherry” (fitting name, right?) by The Four Seasons.

Philip and I went out on a date night on Friday and saw our second movie in the theatre since we’ve been together (I know! We just like our homemade popcorn and M&Ms too much, I guess). The movie? The Jersey Boys—a movie all about the struggles and successes of The Four Seasons.

We were probably the youngest ones there by about 20 years, but nevertheless it was entertaining, had lots of music and dancing (have I told you I absolutely love musicals?), and music that evidently gets stuck in your head for the entire weekend. For me, it brought back memories of riding to school every day with my mom, listening to her cassette tape (I was very young, of course :)) of The Four Seasons. Good memories, I tell ya.

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Leaving the movie theatre, Philip and I started talking about our differences in “movie theatre going”. I couldn’t believe he only went to the movies a handful of times during high school. I was practically in shock, because coming from a small town, the only thing to do was to go to a movie.

The movie theatre and I probably saw each other on a biweekly basis. Perhaps it was the excitement of leaving our small town and driving 30 miles to the next “largest” town that had not just one movie theatre like our town did, but a mere seven! Or maybe it was the Wal-Mart we’d hit up first to stock up on the dollar boxes of candy (since we had no Wal-Mart, that, too, was exciting). I think I better stop now…

Whatever the reason for my high movie theatre attendance, I almost always had Karen, my partner in crime, along for the ride. Which brings me to this post (poor transition, I know). She asked me months ago to do a recipe with quinoa in it and I can’t believe I’m just now getting around to putting my first quinoa recipe on here. I tell myself I was waiting to start with the best, and I think I did. This one is a keeper, folks!

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Strawberry Spinach Salad with Grilled Salmon & Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Happy Monday, everyone!

I hope you all had a fun-filled Fourth of July weekend! I had probably the most “summer-like” weekend that I’ve had in a looong time! Something about bike rides, s’mores, boating, sitting out in the sun, grilling, and having ice cream just screams summer.

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Enjoying the fireworks on the lake with Philip and my uncle.

It was a wonderful, mini-vacation from work and I’m already feeling a lot more rejuvenated than I was last weekend—plus, my second attempt at jam making yesterday afternoon was a success!

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Philip and I started off our long weekend with more strawberry picking! We knew we couldn’t wait much longer if we wanted any more fresh strawberries. We lucked out and hit the tail end of the strawberry season here in Wisconsin (why does the season have to be so short?!). The sweetness of these strawberries are incredible! I’m telling ya, after having these, the strawberries in the grocery store don’t even compare. Besides just canning the strawberries, I’ve been eating them plain, in fruit salads and spinach salads for a sweeter spin.

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One of my favorite salads right now is my Strawberry Spinach Salad with Grilled Salmon & Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette. Not only does it have the strawberries that are in season right now, it also has another food that’s “in season”—salmon!

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Kitchen Catastrophes + Triathlon Updates

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I’m alive and feelin’ good! I crossed off another one of my races on my list on Saturday—my first Olympic-sized triathlon…well, my first triathlon of any kind, really. Surprisingly, the only pain I have is the sunburn I have on my shoulders and back from the 5+ hours of being outside on Saturday morning. I almost woke up on Sunday morning in shock that I was in less discomfort and had less soreness than any of the running races I’ve done. I guess next time I need to push myself a little harder. ;)

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Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everybody has their favorite go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. It may be just the back of the Nestlé chocolate chip bag or some special recipe that has been passed down through the family. I don’t care what it is, where you got it, or how much you love the cookies—you need to change cookie recipes, because you’re going to love these more. I’m telling you, these are your new favorite. Guaranteed. I’m usually tentative on telling people to change what’s currently working (I mean, why rock the boat, right?), but I’m tellin’ ya, I’m boldly stating that these are worth it!

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