Cranberry Apple Avocado Salad

cranberryappleavocadosalad

My goodness! Life has been fairly busy lately. Things were a little more relaxing once the house got repaired from the lightning mess, however, the past couple of weeks, the closer we get to the holidays (um, it’s exactly two months until Christmas), the busier things get! I sound like I’m complaining, but it has me so excited. :-)

I know that it’s too soon to talk about holiday stuff for the majority of people, but every year in October, I get the holiday fever. I put the Josh Groban’s “Noel” CD in my car, I start crafting like crazy for holiday gifts & I’ll linger around any aisle in a store with snowflakes and trees. I’m tempted to burn my holiday tree candle, but then I’ll want to put the tree up. I do have my limits…. :-P

When I attended Fresh Summit this past Sunday, I received a bag of this new (to me) variety of lettuce from Coastline Produce called Little Gems. They looked like baby romaine, but they are a hybrid of crispy romaine and sweet butter lettuce. I couldn’t wait to try it, so I went to the store with an idea of combining apple and cranberry in a salad with this lettuce, along with a vinaigrette recipe I’ve had my eyes on since last year. Then, when I got home, I found that I received the amazing prize (from the California Avocado Commission) that I won from Dine & Dish’s Avocado contest (STILL can’t believe I won it!!), and included in that prize was a bag of avocados. I couldn’t help but add this to the salad as well, because avocados are pretty darn awesome in any salad. :-) It was so so good! The crispness of the apple and lettuce, the creaminess of the avocado and the tartness from the cranberry just made this salad delightful! The salad dressing is a bright pink color, which I think makes it so pretty and colorful. In fact, looking at it while I’m in my holiday fever phase makes me think that this recipe would be PERFECT for the holidays. It’s red and green, after all. :-)

Cranberry Apple Avocado Salad
Source: dressing adapted from AllRecipes

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 1 head Little Gem lettuce (or lettuce of your choice), washed well and dried
  • 1 large apple (I used gala), cored and sliced thin
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. water

Directions:

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine all of the ingredients, blending until the dressing is very smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, add the lettuce, apple slices, avocado slices & dried cranberries. You can either serve it with the dressing on the side or tossing the salad with the dressing, a little at a time, until the salad is dressed to your preferences. Serve immediately.

Disclaimer: I received the lettuce at no cost to me from Coastline Produce, and the avocado was part of a prize pack from the California Avocado Commission.

 

PMA Fresh Summit Recap

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This past weekend, I had the privilege to attend Fresh Summit, as a part of Team Fresh Summit (which was a group of bloggers brought together by PMA – Produce Marketing Association and Kitchen Play). I had no idea what to expect, but I was excited to learn about the produce industry and possibly be introduced to new brands that I haven’t seen before.

The conference was Friday/Saturday/Sunday, but I only could attend on Sunday. I figured that 7 hours on the expo floor would be plenty. I could meet all of the brands that I wanted to say “hello” to, and have extra time to stop by booths that caught my eye.

Before I braved the expo, there was a general morning session. While it was geared more towards people in marketing careers, I think I could apply quite a few principles from the speech to my blog. I wasn’t expecting much from the general session, but wow, time flew! It was one of the better sessions I’ve sat in for a conference (professionally and blog-wise).

After a meeting with PMA and the other bloggers of Team Fresh Summit, it was time to hit the expo floor. Can I just say…HOLY COW! I thought I knew the convention center’s size, but man…from the inside, it’s a whole different animal! I mean, look at the picture above. That’s a 3D Mardi Gras Mask made of berries. BERRIES. Plenty of booths were this extravagant, and it was quite a site to see!

I learned a couple of lessons during the expo, in case I’m able to attend this again: first off, I’m never bringing my DSLR to a conference/expo again. My iPhone takes great pictures, and weighs barely anything. It was kind of silly on my part to lug around a 15 lb. camera bag when I only took a handful on the DSLR anyway. :-P Also, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! I’m naturally shy, but after speaking to a couple of people, I found that it was easier to approach someone at a booth and introduce myself. I was doing fairly well until somewhere in the 2000s when I lost my prized list of brands that I wanted to meet with. ::sigh::

Needless to say, I didn’t meet every brand I wanted to meet with. I wasn’t bummed about it though…there were 1000 booths there, and the brands I did meet with were wonderful! I’m in shock that quite a few people actually took some time out of their busy day to talk to me…with 20,000 people walking around, that expo was booming! In fact, Fresh Summit can only be held in a handful of cities, because of the size that they require to make this event happen.

Another cool thing about the expo is that most of these booths had displays that were well-stocked like grocery stores. So much food…

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…and I found out from someone that every single bit of food leftover from the event ends up at the local food bank. I read a tweet from the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau that said the food bank received 300,000 pounds of food from Fresh Summit. Isn’t that awesome??!

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I’m a little bummed that I could only attend for one day, but at the same time, it was a wonderful experience! I’m so glad I was able to attend. :-)

At the end of the day, I have to admit my shoulders were on fire haha! The booths were so generous, as you can see below. That shopping bag was full! Also, according to my pedometer, I walked 4 miles that day….my body was aching the next day. At least after all of that sampling, I had a great work-out! :-P

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Thank you so much to PMA, as well as Kitchen Play, for my registration to Fresh Summit. I had a great time! If you ever have the chance to attend Fresh Summit (it’s going to be in Anaheim next year), definitely consider it. It’s so cool to learn about the produce industry, and to actually put a face to a brand that you buy in the grocery store. :-)

Disclosure: I was provided with a free registration to PMA’s Fresh Summit. All opinions are 100% my own.

Quitting Weight Watchers

I quit Weight Watchers.

I know…that was quick, eh? It just wasn’t for me, and I’m gonna explain why.

Weight Watchers didn’t feel normal to me. Given that I was calorie counting for well over a year, I thought a change would do me some good. It was the exact opposite. I had to relearn what foods were Points wise vs. calories wise. Sure, a new diet is an adjustment, but I guess I didn’t think it’d be that bad.

I also realized the system treated foods much differently than calorie counting. Some foods were 0 points, which to me, made NO sense since they had calories. How is it zero points? I also compared my Weight Watchers journal to MyFitnessPal ever so often (I have trust issues) to see if the calorie values for the points I consumed were about the same for what MyFitnessPal recommended. Every time, I was consuming more calories with Weight Watchers. No wonder why my weight loss wasn’t going as well!

I’ll admit, I gained some weight (again) once I quit. I just couldn’t get motivated by Weight Watchers, knowing that I was eating more than I should be. I also just couldn’t get motivated by my leader….I know they say just switch, but um, our center had one leader (for the meetings I could attend).

So, before the holidays, I decided that I REALLY need to get back to it, and I’m falling back on an old friend: Diet Bet. I’m embarrassed by the fact that I was 225 (almost 75 lbs. down) back in APRIL…and I’ve gained some weight since then. I guess it’s the nature of being human (nobody’s perfect, and this is, after all, a journey), but I’m still disappointed in myself.

I think it’s best to just get back into losing the weight before the holidays hit, because for me, once it becomes a routine for me again, I go into LOSE ALL THE POUNDS mode and do fairly well (at least in past experience, it’s gone this way). I especially need a routine again, since half marathon training starts next week (OMG Y’ALL)!

So, here I am…back to calorie counting! I’m “niftyfoodie” on MyFitnessPal, if you’d like to follow along! :-)

Are any of y’all trying to get back on track before the holidays? What plan are you following?

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

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Hey, did you guys know that it’s 68 days til Christmas? Yeah…I know, right? I found myself in a bit of a panic when I realized that I really haven’t started shopping yet, and that’s SO not like me. I usually have a closet full of gifts to wrap before Halloween even gets here. It’s just how I am. I’m the type of person who prefers to have a tree full of presents when the tree is ready to go up. I’m sure that makes me weird or something, considering most of my family is the exact opposite. I don’t know how my mom does it, but on Christmas Eve, she usually has a gift-wrapping fest and gets it all done. Me? I’m wrapping the evening of Thanksgiving. :-)

I tend to really get into the holidays. For me, I go for the “Merry, Not Scary” side of Halloween, thus the reason for the Halloween Pacman inflatable. No headless horseman/creepy skeletal/fiery inflatables here…I usually tend to veer towards pumpkins. I should clarify to say happy pumpkins….and Casper. I also get into the Halloween snacks. Is it just me or are Halloween Oreos for some reason 10x more addictive than regular oreos? Now, since the scientists have said that oreos are as addictive as cocaine. I guess that makes sense…I totally can’t have just 1 serving of oreos lol! Honestly, I probably could seriously sit down and eat half of a bag. :-P

Another cookie that’s pretty addictive are these pumpkin snickerdoodles. I seriously ate 3-4 of these right out of the oven. They’re slightly crunchy on the outside (from the coating) and perfectly chewy on the inside. The flavor is wonderful…even my pumpkin hating husband loved these!

By the way, this weekend I’ll make the quick drive to New Orleans for PMA Fresh Summit! I’ll be tweeting and Instagramming like crazy, so feel free to follow me on Twitter & on Instagram :-).

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Source: Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the coating:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • dash of ground allspice

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugars, and beat them on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula, and then mix in the pumpkin puree. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until incorporated into the batter. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula again, and then with the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just mixed. Cover the bowl and chill the dough for at least an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking sheets by lining them with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. In a small bowl, add sugar and spices for the cookie coating and mix well. Scoop the dough with a cookie scoop and roll it into a ball. Place the ball in the coating mixture, and roll to completely coat the dough. Place on the cookie sheet and repeat with the cookie dough, leaving 2-3 inches space between each cookie dough ball. Gently press the cookies down with your hands to flatten the dough slightly.
  3. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are just set and baked all the way through. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, and then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling. Repeat with the rest of the dough, until all of the cookies are done. Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Pie Spice

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I have a slight problem when it comes to baking with pumpkin. I seriously cannot stop. It’s something about the smell of spices baking in the house, combined with the warm comfort of something pumpkin-y. I just can’t…sorry Libby’s…I can’t quit you. So, to go with my mad pumpkin addiction, every fall, I make some version of pumpkin pie spice, and it’s crazy how quickly I go through a batch. So, this year, lesson learned… I made a double batch of the recipe below. :-)

I do have to admit that this is an adaptation of the original recipe. I played around with this recipe last year, and finally found a mix that works well for me. Personally, cloves are just very strong to me, and it also reminds me of my wisdom tooth surgery a few years ago. Memories of percocet, dissolving stitches and some sort of medicine that tasted like cloves just don’t bring on those warm, fall-y feelings (hmm, I wonder why…haha). So for me, I found that I preferred to cut back on cloves and allspice in this mix, and then added in more nutmeg instead.

Pumpkin Pie Spice
Source: adapted from My Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well until combined.

Pumpkin Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

Pumpkin, Apple, Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

Life is such a roller coaster. A couple of months ago, lightning hit our house and turned so much of our lives upside down. Then, we had some really terrible news in our family that just made me question how much worse things can get. (Don’t do that, by the way.) It was tough not to cry at random times, which was so embarrassing when it happened at work (especially since I work with guys, which was probably super uncomfortable for them…ahh, tech field). I tried to use the allergy excuse, but they knew what was going on. Things were just broken….our house, our hearts…I really had no idea when good things would happen again, but that was the only thing that kept me going. Good things had to come for us. Soon.

Now, we’re painting new sheet rock in our house. The house that we could have completely lost, but we didn’t. As tedious as painting is, I appreciate that we have walls to paint. We pulled out Halloween decorations, which were right next to where the fire started. I can’t look at the attic the same way again, but taking out these goofy decorations make me realize that we’re very lucky right now. We’re doing normal things again, like planting fall flowers, cutting grass that is still growing like a weed and loading dishes in the dishwasher. While those tasks aren’t really super fun, I take a step back and think that I didn’t have to replace those plates that I’m rinsing out, I didn’t have to walk through a house full of water/smoke/fire damage and just think about everything we lost. I’ve had those nightmares lately….multiple times, and waking up in my bed makes me smile and count my blessings.

We’re so lucky. I’m so lucky that I can blog about this baked oatmeal. I’m sitting in our living room, blogging, staring at my sofa full of clean clothes that I’ve yet to fold, and watching my dog attempt to steal a sock from the pile to rip to shreds. I’m so lucky.

Now, this baked oatmeal is simply fall. When it was baking in our kitchen, it just smelled amazing. Pumpkin, apples, cranberry, cinnamon….it’s a perfect fall breakfast. This is one of those dishes that make you want to curl up in a blanket, sip on a cup of coffee and just embrace the season.

Pumpkin Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal
Source: adapted from My Kitchen Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 medium apple, cored and cubed

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper or spray the inside with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and dried cranberries, and stir everything until combined. In another bowl, add the milk, pumpkin, melted butter, egg and vanilla, and whisk the mixture well.
  3. Add the wet mixture, as well as the chopped apples, to the dry mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into the baking pan, and spread the mixture evenly in the pan. Bake the oatmeal for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden and the liquid is absorbed.

Peanut Butter Mississippi Mud Brownies

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It’s finally that time of the year. The weather finally got a clue and cooled down. I was super giddy about it all, until I remembered that my allergies usually hate weather changes. Let’s just say that I raided the grocery store today, and amongst the things in my cart were Mucinex, zinc drops, vitamin C, Benadryl & Reese’s cups. Priorities, people!

One of the great things about the weather cooling down is that I just want to bake up a storm. I naturally purchase more butter, flour, sugar and eggs. I already have a stockpile of chocolate chips & random candies to mix into baked goodies, so I don’t have to go to the store when the urge to bake strikes.  :-) I also really crave comfort foods, like pot roast, gumbo and chili.

Recently, I was asked if I wanted to review a copy of Southern Living’s new book “No Taste Like Home”, which was released yesterday.

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As a fan of Southern Living, I couldn’t say no, and with Southern Living being known for the typical Southern, comforting recipes, it was perfect timing with the weather cooling down. This book basically highlights recipes from different regions of the South, including:

  • The Heart of Dixie
  • Cajun Country
  • Big, Bold Texas
  • The Piedmont & the Mountains
  • The Bluegrass, Bourbon & Barbecue Trail
  • The Coastal South

Basically, if you’re from the South, there’s a good chance that you’ll see some familiar hometown recipes. If you’re not from the South, you’ll probably want to start cooking from this book immediately to introduce yourself to some amazing Southern fare.  :-)

When I got the book in my hands, I immediately had to skim through it with my sticky note pad handy to bookmark recipes that caught my eye. Let’s just say that the copy I have is full of sticky notes. So many wonderful recipes, and the photos are just lovely. I typically would have first made a recipe from the “Cajun Country” (Louisiana) chapter, but this recipe, from “The Heart of Dixie” (Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi) chapter was just pulling me in. Rich chocolate brownies with peanut butter batter swirled in, topped with melted, gooey marshmallows, peanuts and a decadent chocolate frosting. I mean…c’mon. How could I not?

Do I even have to say that they were beyond delicious? Oh my gosh…insanely good! You will definitely want a glass of milk (or heck, a scoop of ice cream) handy for these, though. They’re definitely indulgent, and while there’s a few steps involved, they are just completely worth it. I promise!

Now, of course I wouldn’t gush about this book without sharing some of the love! The wonderful folks at Southern Living/YC Media are offering a lucky Nifty Foodie reader a copy of this book. To enter the giveaway, just check out the Rafflecopter widget below! [Read more...]

Sticky Buns with Pecans

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Y’all. I just can’t stop thinking about fall spices. I can’t get enough of the spicy, warm scents in our house, and even though the weather hasn’t caught up yet, I’m baking up a storm! I’ve already gone through 3 cans of pumpkin, picked up all of my favorite fall spices (since a few were running low from last year) and I’m fairly sure my mixer is enjoying those precious little breaks ever so often.

This recipe is out of the norm for me. You see, when I started baking, I tried to be brave and try recipes involving yeast. I can’t tell you how many times the yeast just wouldn’t rise. I figured out that my error was probably in the temperature of the water, since yeast can easily die if you use too hot of a liquid in your recipe. So now when I bake with yeast, I’m very mindful of the ingredients’ temperature, and sometimes err on the cooler side, just in case.

I saw this recipe on America’s Test Kitchen’s twitter page a couple of weeks ago, and I just couldn’t get it out of my mind. I took a Saturday morning to make these happen, and thankfully, the yeast was my friend. These were delicious and pretty darn easy to make (seriously…it’s just time consuming because of the rising times). My mom happened to be in town to meet me for lunch that afternoon, and she loved these! I had to send one home to Dad, too. :-)

Sticky Buns with Pecans
Source: America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 4 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus additional for dusting work surface)
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm

For the caramel glaze:

  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. corn syrup (light or dark)
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • pinch of table salt

For the cinnamon-sugar filling:

  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • pinch of table salt
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the pecan topping:

  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. corn syrup (light or dark)
  • pinch of table salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup pecans (toasted in a skillet for 5 minutes on medium heat, then cooled and coursely chopped)

Directions:

  1. To make the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment), whisk the eggs until combined and add the buttermilk, whisking to combine as well. Add the sugar, salt and yeast to the mixer and mix well. Add 2 cups of the flour, as well as the melted butter, and mix until the mixture is evenly mixed and moistened. Add another 2 cups of flour to the mixture, and switch out the paddle attachment for the dough hook, and knead the dough on low speed for 5 minutes. Once the kneading is done, check the consistency of the dough (dough should feel soft and moist, but not wet and sticky…if you need more flour, add the extra 1/4 cup in). Knead the dough on low speed for 5 more minutes, and you’ll notice that the dough should clear the sides of the bowl but still stick to the bottom of the bowl. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, and knead the dough by hand for about a minute to make sure that the dough is uniform (if the dough is still sticky during hand kneading, knead in more flour 1 tbsp. at a time).
  2. Spray the inside of a large bowl or plastic container with nonstick cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl, and lightly spray the dough with cooking spray as well. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and place it in a warm, draft-free place until the dough has doubled in volume (about 2 – 2 1/2 hours).
  3. While the first rise is happening, make the glaze. Combine all ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan, and cook the mixture over medium heat (whisking occasionally), until the butter is melted and mixture is thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into a nonstick metal 9×13 inch baking dish, and spread the mixture evenly with a rubber spatula to completely cover the surface of the baking dish. Set aside.
  4. Now, make the filling by combining the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl, and mix everything until well-combined (making sure to break up any sugar lumps). Set the mixture aside. After the dough has finished its first rise, place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. With a gentle hand, shape the dough into a rough rectangle with the long side nearest you. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour, and roll into a 16×12 inch rectangle. At this time, brush the dough with the 1 tbsp. of melted butter, being sure to leave a 1/2 inch border along the top edge of the dough. After you’re done buttering the dough, with the remaining butter on the brush, brush the sides of the baking dish. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, making sure to leave a 3/4 inch border along the top edge. When all of the filling is used, smooth the filling in an even layer with your hand, and gently press the mixture into the dough to adhere. Starting with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the top seam to seal the dough, and roll the cylinder seam-side down. Gently stretch the cylinder to an even diameter and an 18 inch length. If necessary, push the ends in to create an even thickness throughout. With a serrated knife and gentle sawing motion, slice the cylinder in half, then slice each half in half once more to make even sized quarters. Then, slice each quarter evenly into thirds, making 12 buns.
  5. Place the buns in the prepared pan, cut-side down. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, and set the pan in a warm, draft-free spot, until the buns are puffy and are pressed against each other, about 1 1/2 hours. While the dough is in its final rise, place the oven rack in its lowest position. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Once the buns are done rising, place the pan in the oven, and bake the buns until they’re golden brown, and the center of the dough reads 180 degrees on a digital thermometer (about 25-30 minutes). Cool the buns in the pan on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes, and then invert the pan onto a rimmed baking sheet, large serving platter or cutting board. Using a rubber spatula, scrape any leftover glaze from the pan onto the buns. Allow the buns to cool while making the pecan topping.
  7. To make the topping, add the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt to a small saucepan and cook the mixture over medium heat, until it reaches a simmer, stirring occasionally to thoroughly combine. Remove the saucepan from heat, and stir in the vanilla extract and pecans, until the pecans are evenly coated with the sauce. Using a spoon, spoon a heaping tbsp. amount of nuts/sauce over the center of each bun. Continue to cool the buns until they are just warm, another 15-20 minutes. Pull apart the buns or use a serrated knife to separate the sticky buns and serve.

Monday Weigh-In: Week 90

This week was pretty awesome. I got back into running, did a ton of fall yardwork (hello pretty flowers) and was pretty much on plan all week.

The scale was definitely my friend. :-)

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Week 89: 238.4
Week 90: 235.2

Weight Lost: 3.2 lbs. 
Total Weight Lost: 63.3 lbs.

I plan on running more this week, and possibly getting back into weight training as well. I’m hoping to see my first 5 lb. star at my next weigh-in…I was SO close this week!

How was everyone else’s week?

Berry-Nana-Cado Smoothie

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I started running again this week, and I was SO shocked that I was able to do 10 minutes of running at a time. It has been way too long since I last hit the pavement, and it felt wonderful to get back to it. With working out, though, comes a mean appetite. I come home starving, even if I have something before my run. My favorite snack post-workout is a smoothie. Just throw the ingredients in, and let the blender do all the work. When you feel like collapsing on the sofa and staying there for hours after a hard workout, this is my kind of recipe.

I usually just go with a banana/protein powder combination, because it seriously tastes like a milkshake. I prefer to buy bananas super cheap at our local grocery store, when they’re overripe. 3 bunches of bananas for 99 cents? SCORE! I’ve been known to purchase 5-6 packs of bananas, and I just take a few minutes to quarter the bananas and place them in one layer in a freezer bag. Easy peasy. For this smoothie, I went protein powder-less, and tried something different: avocado.

Now, before you cringe, avocado is a fairly mild food. It’s not like I threw guacamole in the blender…avocado alone lends a creamy consistency to the smoothie. This recipe couldn’t be easier either…throw all of your ingredients in and blend away! You’d be surprised…seriously. It’s great, and it’s surprisingly filling, since there’s no protein powder in this recipe. :-)

Note: This post is my entry for the “Wake Up Breakfast with California Avocados” link-up/contest, being hosted by Dine and Dish & Cookin’ Canuck.

Berry-Nana-Cado Smoothie
Source: heavily adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a medium California avocado (pitted and flesh removed)
  • 1 1/2 cups low calorie orange juice (I used Trop50)
  • 1/2 of a frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries (no sugar added)
  • 1/4 cup frozen strawberries (no sugar added)
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 6-8 ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Throw all ingredients in the blender, and blend until all ingredients are blended well. Enjoy!