Michigan Food Tour

Every trip to Michigan feels too short. This one DEFINITELY did because we haven’t been there since 2019 (thanks, Covid…). So I didn’t get to see everyone I normally see OR eat all the staples I normally eat, but I did eat some delish food and wanted to share. I’ll make another similar post over the Holidays when we return.

Sister Pie Grey Ghost

OBSESSED with Grey Ghost. During Covid I kept receiving emails that they were selling burger kits and all I kept thinking was “one day I’ll get that burger.” That day happened in July! We went to Grey Ghost with my bestie Jason (he’s also the person who chooses food pics when I am stuck, so this dinner was actually a meeting of the FULL PhD and Patisserie media team). πŸ™‚

Mocktail: I had the Rock n’ Rye mocktail and it was SO. GOOD. I love when a restaurant has a dedicated mocktail menu because you know they thought things through. I also wasn’t mad about that bendy straw.

The cheeseburger was delightful and melty and the flavor was fantastic. The carrot tartar was so interesting and delightful. The scallion pancake has the best little pals hanging out- bok choy, a spicy sauce, and carrot.

I basically ONLY ate this meal for that day. Not on purpose- but it was probably for the best. Holy cow.

La Pita

For those people reading who are not from/in the Metro-Detroit area, there are THE BEST Mediterranean restaurants in the Dearborn area. At La Pita they have a lunch plate, which you can get all day. Due to this all-day availability, I think it should be called an “Awesome Plate.”

This meal has fattoush salad, a shish tawook (chicken kabob with chicken breast), rice, hummus, and toum (garlic paste). Not pictured: the EXTRA plate of garlic paste and baskets of fresh bread. The REALLY good Mediterranean restaurants have a special oven for bread. Look at this:

Delightful. πŸ™‚

Mexican Gardens Camino Real

We were planning to go to Mexican Gardens to see my cousin, but they were closed for the week. As if there wasn’t a damn parade when people heard we were coming to town. πŸ™‚

The good news was I got to try this place for the first time AND THEY HAD TOPO CHICO. When people drink margaritas I feel like a Topo is the best option to still feel fancy. Here’s my meal and my super cute cousin. She taught me how to braid hair, curl my bangs, play Contra and Super Mario 3, and other important skills.

Kate’s Kitchen

Oh, Kate. She makes pies with lard (and a secret recipe). She makes homemade cinnamon swirl toast that is grilled and topped with icing. GOOD LORD. I also asked for the “Bob Klein eggs.” That’s not what they call them. But my dad used to melt American cheese on eggs and I know they do this at Kate’s.

Sadly, they closed their dining room so we had to get it to go. I am happy to report that the food was just as good when I placed it on my mom’s adorbs dishes (which are the same design I grew up eating off of). πŸ™‚

Candlelight Dinner Powered Dinner with String Lights

My friends Matt and Aya are the most AMAZING people. They are thoughtful, hilarious, great hosts, and were willing to STILL host us when their power went out. We ended up noshing on the delish medditeranean spread you see above. The dessert was amazing matcha pudding made by THEIR 11 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER who makes macarons that are better than mine. It’s cool. She fed me and I’m not mad about it. πŸ™‚

This pic sums us up pretty well:

TV Diner Red Olive

We met up with UJ and A2 for breakfast. It was supposed to be TV Diner, but by this point you realize that we were really struggling with the locations for planned meals out. Ha! TV diner wasn’t going to open until 9 (we met at 8) so we met down the road at Red Olive. It was a great reason to get a breakfast plate with gyro meat.

Mom’s House

As usual, my mom stocked the fridge with more food than we could ever consume. We even had apples and carrots for the road. We wanted to have a chill last evening in Michigan, so my mom made a delish dinner using the grill: red skin potatoes, baked beans, brats, and grilled veggies.

I also wanted to share a few snacks. I enjoyed my mom’s chips and dip (the sour cream and onion soup mix dip), a TON of fruit salad, and even some little bebe muffins from Meijer.

Fun Fact: my mom ate a lot of ice cream when she was pregnant because she didn’t like milk. My favorite food is ice cream.

We finished the trip with a delightful breakfast (seen above) before heading to Pennsylvania. You’ll see the PA “Food Tour” next Thursday.

Bonus Fun Facts:

  • My mom has several “fake food” items in her house. These were purchased when I was in high school, I believe. The OJ carafe and glasses pictured made me afraid something terrible happened because it was displayed on the counter when I got home from work. I thought “something TERRIBLE must have happened for mom to leave this OJ on the counter!” This was pre-cell phone so I just sat at home hoping for the best.
  • My mom put one of the earliest pictures of me and Jon in a frame that said LOL. She still insists this means “lots of love.”

Thanks for “visiting Michigan,” friends!

Peach Cobbler

I have to admit something: I have never purchased, cut, or baked a peach. I have eaten peach pie and I am pretty sure I’ve had those peaches in syrup that sometimes get served with school lunches. But that is it. End of line. So when I saw peaches were in my weekly Farmhouse Delivery CSA box, I started to dig around for ideas. This cobbler was the one that was the most intriguing. Next week I’ll be sharing some chutney I made using white peaches.

This recipe is pretty straight forward. I followed it exactly, other than subbing NuNaturals 1:1 stevia for the sugar. Here are the IKEA assembly pictures:

Basically, you mix the sugar in with the peaches, add the crumble, and bake. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool for 20 minutes so it can thicken.

We ate ours with vanilla ice cream and Busy Bee granola on top. 10/10 would make again!

Thanks for reading!

XO,

Fast App Friday

I am not going to make Fast App Friday a weekly thing because I have commitment issues, but I DO want to share a fast app or snack when I find one (or in this case make one up in my mind palace).

I enjoy a cheese board, but I also do not love making a lot of cheese decisions. Like, give me a plate for one with exactly as much charcuterie as I need or I am overwhelmed. And by the end, I am also overeating.

I really enjoy the “jarcruterie” trend where mini jars were used in an effort to serve people in covid times. I made something similar over the holidays:

I also made a mini-board during the holidays which covered my need for adorable meats and cheeses in a larger snack (aka mini meal type of way):

I think that these types of apps are super fun and a great way to play with textures. One texture I am digging right now is granola because Hunt & Gather Foods sent me several to try and I just keep topping all the dang foods with it! πŸ™‚ I was working on some chutney recipes for Me and Jon to taste test (that intel arrives Monday). I had some blueberry goat cheese for that blog post and thought “this flavor combo would be awesome with Busy Bee granola.”

So, I took 5 crackers out of the freezer (I am frugal like an adorable grandma who lived through the depression- you can store these in the freezer). Then I smeared some spicy pepper jelly on them and topped that with some blueberry-vanilla goat cheese. Then I topped these aborbs treats with granola and drizzled some local honey on top. Behold!

The textures, salty sweet elements, crunch from the cracker, softness of the cheese…. good lord. These were amazing. And I am OBSESSED with how beautiful the busy bee granola is with the flowers in the mix. Look at the pops of blue! πŸ™‚

Jon and I both really enjoyed these, even though they weren’t an official part of the chutney taste test. Jon wants to try this combo on a toasted crostini next because I’ve created a monster. Ha!

No oven needed. No heat at all (other than that amazing pepper jelly). Deliciousness with minimum assembly required. Fast App Friday, y’all.

(drops mic)

XO,

Canned Iced Coffee Taste Test (Part 1)

Hello, friends!

As I am sure you know, my hubster and I are pretty obsessed with coffee. He prefers iced coffee or cold brews. I am a hot coffee or latte gal. But the Texas summer has arrived and I will be enjoying iced drinks for the foreseeable future.

When Jon and I went to Civil Goat Coffee a few weeks back, we saw they had canned cold brew. We decided it would be fun to try some of these canned options out to compare. This first list is flavored iced coffees (sorry Civil Goat- you’re in Part 2). There were four choices which we rated in pairs. I am going to share our thoughts on these from least delicious to most delicious. Let’s do it!

#4: Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream Latte

Two of these four beverages are from my friend Trader Joe. They ranked at the bottom of this list, which is sad because I LOVE Trader Joe’s. I love coconut milk in my iced coffee, but this was not a good mix. The flavor wasn’t great and it was not worth the calories.

Would we drink this again?

Jon: Nope! (3/10)

Me: Nope! (5/10)

#3: Trader Joe’s French Vanilla Cold Brew

So this tasted better than the coconut milk one. Our major source of contention here was that it was not flavorful. It was supposed to be vanilla but we couldn’t taste it. I gave it a higher score than Jon because it tasted like watered down cold brew with a splash of milk, which I absolutely drink. However, I gave it a 6 because I don’t like liars and this does not taste like vanilla.

Would we drink this again?

Jon: Nope! (4/10)

Me: Sure… if it is free or I am wicked tired (6/10)

#2: Minor Figures Coffee with Cocoa & Oatmilk

Okay, before we talk about the quality of the drink can we talk about THIS CAN?!?! It is so cute! I have taken pictures of each can with the coffee drinks because they are all unique.

The taste of this coffee was legit AND I enjoyed the oat milk (which I NEVER do). The drink was cocoa-forward, which was a delightful treat (I’m looking at you T-Joe who made a “vanilla” iced coffee that does not taste like vanilla at all).

Would we drink this again?

Jon: Yes! (8/10)

Me: Yes! (7/10)

#1: UpRiver Dirty Chai

So this can is minimalist cute (though I grew up DOWNriver, not UPriver). I was surprised when this drink came out so creamy. It was spicy and delicious! The flavor was packed in and I was happy to see the chai spices included clove and black pepper. You could taste a hint of both and it was delightful. If you do not like a chai flavored drink that is spice forward, buy this anyways then give it to me. πŸ™‚

Would we drink this again?

Jon: Yes! (8/10)

Me: Yes! (8/10)

Better luck next time, Trader Joe’s. You make SO many amazing treats for my taste buds. I would consider living exclusively on your garlic paste. Maybe flavored coffee is not your wheelhouse. We can’t be good at everything. We aren’t Prince (RIP).

XO,

Staycation

Hello, friends!

We decided to do a “staycation” on Memorial Day weekend because we will be traveling later this summer and wanted the weekend to be chill. We did, However, dress in matching gear to suggest we were tourists in Austin:

We decided to spend Sunday chillin at Zilker, so naturally I had a chance to pack a lunch! I enjoy what are called “zoo lunches.” These are lunches people bring to eat at the zoo- usually a sammie and a side with no utensils required. I am obsessed with these low carb wraps, but Jon is less enthused, so I added mayo because that fixes everything.

If you’re vegetarian, I suggest a wrap with hummus, giardiniera, some crunchy veggies, and leafy greens. My man needs more calories than I do on account of lifting heavy things all the time, so you can see his sammy and meal on the top and mine on the bottom. He also received more lunchable-type meats/cheeses. Lucky dude. πŸ™‚

We have a pretty good system packing for Zilker now. We fill a backpack with a tarp blanket (in case it is wet), sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and bug spray. Then we pack the lunches in a cooler bag with frozen waters (that act as ice packs until they become water again). Brilliant!

It was a super fun weekend! We also went to a new coffee shop, went to the Domain, and watched movies. Fun times were mos def had. Now I begin teaching my summer semester while also planning for my next Bake Sale, which will benefit the Trevor Project. Pride Month is the prettiest bake good month because rainbows are life.

Stay tuned for a post on those treats. None of the pictures here are what I am mailing, but damn if they aren’t adorable.

Hugs,

Done with Booze.

Hello, dear readers!

Today is a special day because it is my two-year soberversary. I had no clue my last drink WAS my last drink. But my last drink was poured from a freshly opened bottle of Courvoisier, which I took from my dad’s woodshop after he passed. It sat on all of my bar carts and I never drank it. I decided it was fitting to drink that on my last night in Austin, where I had just earned my PhD. Then I left the bottle in ATX and headed to Pennsylvania for the summer.

Then something happened in PA. I don’t know what “clicked,” but I told Jon “I am not going to drink for the rest of 2019.” There was no terrible drinking story that happened before this decision (they exist, for sure, just not immediately before/close to the time of the decision). I just wanted to see what it would be like to remove it as an option. Previously, I drank socially and also at home when stressed. Inevitably EVERY time I drank I decided to eat alllllllllllll the foods as well. It was not helping my goals for fitness or body composition. So, I thought half a year of not drinking would be an interesting experiment.

Well, friends… that experiment has resulted in two years of sobriety. I feel weird about the word “sober.” I don’t go to AA or get triggered when I see people drink. But drinking didn’t serve me well. It made me have crap sleep, eat weird foods, have gastro issues, and WAS A DEPRESSANT. Not good for people literally diagnosed with depression (aka me). So I’m done. Done with booze.

The best way to sum this decision up is Chris Cooper’s Done with Fish moment in Adaptation. Watch this short clip if you haven’t seen it. He’s so good in everything but this role is special. And this sentiment is perfect:

Meryl Streep’s character was interviewing Chris Cooper’s character about how he was able to walk away from something he used to be passionate about. He explains how he used to be obsessed with salt water fish and had SIXTY tanks in his house!

Then one morning, I woke up and said, “Fuck fish.” I renounceΒ fish, I will never set foot in that ocean again. That’s how much “fuck fish.” That was 17 years ago and I have never stuck so much as a toe in that ocean. And I love the ocean.

I love a manhattan, but fuck alcohol. πŸ™‚

Mocktails

While “that’s how much fuck alcohol,” I do love a cocktail glass. So I wanted to share a few recipes using some ingredients from Hunt and Gather Dry Foods. I posted a full YouTube video here. In said video I may or may not hug some cocktail glasses.

If you aren’t a YouTuber, I have included pictures of the cocktails below, along with ingredients.

Main Ingredient/Star of the Show: I received the coolest jar of amazingness from Chantal (aka Hunt and Gather’s Goddess of Dry Foods). I saw her making these on Instagram and was OBSESSED because they are so beautiful:

Pictured above, this Hibiscus Rose Cocktail Kit smells AMAZING! The jar is filled with Hibiscus, Rose Buds, Lemon, Orange, vanilla Bean and a sugar cube dyed with beet root powder. I was so pumped to use it (but also sad because it is beautiful- I now understand when people say my cookies are “too pretty to eat.” Okay, thanks- but eat the cookie plz).

I digress… First, I followed her sage advice and steeped the contents of this jar with some OJ (my pals who imbibe would add booze here to infuse it). Then I strained out the beautiful dried flowers and citrus. What remained was a beautiful burgundy liquid.

I decided I wanted to make mocktails three ways with this:

730 Sparkler

  • 1 part Hibiscus Rose Infused OJ
  • 1 part Topo Chico or Clean Sparkling Yerba Mate
  • Garnish with Strawberry

This is poured over ice, so it will stay nice and chilly on a summer day! This is called the 730 sparkler because that’s how many days I haven’t had a drink. I had to use a calculator because I don’t keep track. πŸ™‚

Coupe de Ber

  • 2 part Hibiscus Rose Infused OJ
  • 1 part tea
  • splash of bitters
  • garnish with blueberry skewer

This one is served in a coupe glass, which is generally used for cocktails made with an ice shaker. Since these ingredients were already cold, I did not use a shaker. However, the skewer of blueberries is frozen and can be used as a “stir” in the drink to keep it cool without watering it down.

Cerci Arnold Palmer

  • 1/4 cup mocktail mix
  • 1/2 cup sun tea
  • 1/4 cup strawberry lemonade

This goblet, paired with the deep red color from the mocktail mix, has Cercei Lannister written all over it. Though she’d be pissed when she took a sip and realized it wasn’t wine. She’d be all “who gave me this?!” And I would hide and let this badass handle it:

I also made a delicious arnold palmer with the Watermelon, Blueberry, and Basil Sun Tea Kit. I did not place the tea in the sun (May is quite rainy in Texas), so it steeped overnight in the fridge instead. This was so delightful. I used a stevia-based strawberry lemonade to mix with it. Here’s a quick video of the process of the drink below. You can see it is lighter because the cocktail mix was still steeping when I made this tester for the video. πŸ™‚

Odd Timing…

So some might not think that moving to a new state to start a new job is a good time to stop drinking. Or a pandemic, perhaps. Or a snowstorm where one flushes their poop with melted snow in the middle of said pandemic? All valid points.

I had no idea that the Courvoisier I took from my dad’s woodshop would be my final drink. OR that it would be the weekend I earned my PhD- LITERALLY poured into a glass that said “Dr. Amber” on it. But that’s when it happened. And I am so happy it did.

I want to end this by quoting Snoop Dogg as he accepted his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame:

Last but not least, I wanna thank me.

I wanna thank me for believing in me.

I wanna thank me for doing all this hard work.

I wanna thank me for having no days off.

I wanna thank me for, for never quitting.

XO,

Wait… am I paying for gym class?

Hello, dear readers!

Today’s post is about my complicated relationship with running. However, if you’re here for some delightful food content, you’re still in luck. I have started this post with a preview of a tart I’m making this weekend AND a video of icing cookies for a talent show. Without further ado…

In Food News:

  • I made Toast Biscuits (pictured above) for the first time (my mother in law is visiting this weekend and she likes them).
  • I am attempting a Roasted Strawberry and Rhubarb Tart this weekend for her birthday. Pics next week for sure! For now, enjoy this majestic rhubarb I scored from Farmhouse Delivery!
  • I entered a Faculty Talent Show at ACC. Here’s my video.

Fun Fact: I competed in a talent show in Elementary School where I just did the running man to Mariah Carey’s banger Someday. I did not win AND someone said “cool dance moves” on the playground later that day. That was officially the day where I understood sarcasm.

Now, back to gym class…

So, I did not get to run with people in Montana. I did Orangetheory and Crossfit, which both had running elements. But it wasn’t my main focus. When we moved back to Austin last summer I ran a bit, but spent most of my time weight training and doing WODs. I began the Trans Texas Virtual Run on February 1st… the race goal is to run/walk 634 miles by December 31st, though I am hoping to make that happen by my 40th birthday in October.

Most of this mileage was earned solo. However, things have changed post-Moderna vaccine.

Now I run with people again! Hooray for people! Real humans. There’s proof below. The pictures are of (from left to right) Rogue Running, November Project Austin, The Morning Jos, and Comedor Run Club. I would like to walk through why I like these groups and they will be part of my regular running rotation.

Rogue Running: This is a twice a week activity. The weekday meetings are the gym class stuff: drills, fartleks, time trials, etc. Then the weekend is a long run. I am doing a free month at Rogue but plan to continue because I am not sure how to build endurance/speed on my own. So, I am officially going to PAY for gym class. lol!

The Morning Jos: This Tuesday morning run ranges from 3-5 miles. I have only done the 3 mile version. To get to 4 miles you run behind the Capitol. For me, this is like the horizon in The Truman Show- for all I know this is a painted wall. But I am sure I will get to that route eventually. For now a big reason I do not do the full loop is because of the pace thing. Most runners at my pace do the 3 miles and it is still dark (we begin the run at 6am). Once I can can catch up with the peeps who run behind the Capitol I’ll move up to 4.

November Project ATX: This is the running group I’ve been with the longest! They are fun and inclusive. The timing doesn’t work as well with my work schedule, so unfortunately this will likely be my least consistent group. Mileage at NP varies because there’s a lot of body weight movement interspersed and sometimes a game or activity. Fun times!

Comedor Run Club: This club meets M/W/F, but I can only do Fridays because of my work schedule. This is the most intimidating run of my week. Not because of the people- all SO NICE! But because it is a 3 mile run and people wait for everyone to finish before high-fiving taking a group picture. I will inevitably be the last person to get high-fives for the foreseeable future. Did this make my pace faster? Yes. Does it make me nervous to keep going? Also yes. This image is what I keep thinking of when that fear creeps in:

This struggle will always be a part of my running routine. I am not a fast runner and will never be a sprinter by any means. The hardest part of this is keeping the energy up to go anyways. For most people in these groups an “easy pace” is a 9-minute mile and I have been logging in the 11-12 range. I was able to keep a pace of 11 minute miles at CRC last Friday, which included the traffic lights and me forgetting to turn my watch off when I stopped. I am hoping to be in the 10s tomorrow.

That last sentence might make people say “it sounds like running with people is improving your running pace” and I would agree with these imaginary readers/speakers. However, the “can’t” and “should” monsters tend to worm their way back into my thoughts and it is annoying. Something that has helped?

Taking Time to Enjoy the Little Things

As cheesy as that title is, I have been working hard to live in the present. As an anxious person it is easy to live in the past or the future. Those are generally where anxiety thrives. So noting a beautiful moment like the wildflowers in the breeze or a solid message is nice. Stopping to take a picture to remember those times is a great way to connect with the present.

I also took a picture of this delish beverage I had at the Run of the Year event last weekend. We ran a 5K for Lymphoma research, which is important to me (my dad died due to cancer). The beverages served help support addiction recovery, which was an added bonus. I am sober and do not use recovery services or anything. But I like that people can access those easier because of this company. Yay for that!

Today I saw a little lizard AND a tortoise/turtle. See if you can find him- he had stellar turtle-flage.

I decided it would be fun to get to the 200 mile mark for this post (while working on it I realized my 3 miles would get me over the milestone). So, cheers to 200 miles, y’all!

XO,

Nafas

Food is my love language. If I care about you as a friend or family member I would like to feed you. My favorite way to do this is to find new and interesting recipes a friend or family member would enjoy trying.

Everyone’s family has dishes that are important to them. My dad’s cheesy eggs were the best. No one can top those. My mom’s carrot cake is only rivaled by her chip dip. I am certain I have eaten both within 24 hours and felt better for it.

The Arabic word nafas, translated to breath or spirit, is the energy people put into food preparation that makes it seem exceptional to the people who eat it. Bottom line is, if the person making it isn’t feeling it you aren’t going to fall in love with the dish.

My favorite cooking show is The Great British Bake Off. I enjoy this show because it is so supportive and positive. Val, a former contestant and overall angel of a human being, once stated:

The book Like Water for Chocolate covers this (thanks again for letting me borrow that, Jeca!). The narrator of LWFC told us “With a little imagination and a full heart one can always prepare a decent meal.”

Similarly, Eric Ripert, hugely famous chef and pal of my favorite chef Anthony Bourdain, once noted:

“If you have in your life something cooked by someone in your family who put love in the food β€”Β you feel something, something. There’s a sensation, and IΒ think a lot of people have the same experience β€” that can make the difference in between something that has been cooked by someone who loves to cook andΒ loves to put good energy in that food to make you happy. … It explains why you can feel the love in the food.”

From Ripert’s book 32 Yolks

Bottom line: Food made by someone who cares about you just tastes better.

Food Rituals

This post is about a serving dish instilling that same feeling of being cared about. It is a simple milk carafe from my childhood, which I have spent so long trying to find a replacement for. Then, without warning, it was on my front porch. My mom mailed it to me as a surprise! Thanks again, mama! πŸ™‚

Here’s the carafe, which was part of my school morning breakfast routine for years:

I was an only child growing up, which meant that I had a lot of alone time. I was a kid who took her time getting ready for the day and had no younger siblings to herd or older siblings to push me through the morning routines before school.

My parents both worked and my dad left earlier in the morning to avoid rush hour going to and from work. We all shared one full bathroom, which meant we got ready in shifts. My dad used the bathroom first, then my mom. I would shower while my mom had coffee and picked out her work outfit. Then she’d go back to the bathroom to finish getting ready while I ate breakfast.

Before my dad left for work, he’d put a bowl of cereal on a placemat with this pink carafe full of cold milk. Whenever I would amble to the kitchen table, my breakfast was waiting for me! No soggy cereal. No rush. It was ideal for my stubborn “I’ll get there when I get there” childhood self.

This was not the part of the ritual I remember most (though I must admit that the satisfying crunch of freshly milked cereal is not lost on me). Usually in the morning my dad would follow me around the house, calling me princess and making jokes. I would stare through him with a hardened gaze, similar to Bill Laimbeer:

Always so angry, Bill...

Anyways, while he pushed every button possible and I glared and stomped like a four-eyed Joe Pesci, my mom would counter this with “she’s not awake yet!” or “leave her alone!” And my dad wouldn’t because pissing off a small child is almost always hilarious. And there was a pink carafe of mia culpa waiting in the kitchen anyways. He would take off for work and I’d eat my cereal, reading the back of the box for entertainment.

I think the most interesting part of this is knowing there’s no pictures of me using this carafe. It was a part of my morning ritual just like my toothbrush and backpack. It was not considered “special” but a humble part of our morning routine.

It was more than that, though. It was a gesture from my parents that said “we are all doing our own thing and the cereal is waiting for you when you’re ready.” Being seen like that, knowing that your parents are aware that rushing you is a disaster, feels like a hug. It is a gesture that shows so much love. That carafe was full of nafas.

Dunkaroos

Seeing and holding this carafe brought back so many memories. The recipe this week is a simple one for when you have too much icing. I made adorbs cupcakes for my friend and had leftover buttercream. SO- there was no choice… I had to make dunkaroos!

I bought these adorable birthday cake bunnies from Annies Organics with the hopes to use them for the Easter Brunch. Alas, they arrived after so they became dunkaroos!

Side bar- I did not pick up on the fact that Dunkaroos had an Aussie twist. But the shapes were basketballs and sneakers as well? So the Dunkaroo mascot was a sneakerhead who lived in Australia but knew how to dunk basketballs AND “arroos” as well? Strange stuff. I guess I didn’t question most commercials after Nancy Reagan made me afraid of fried eggs.

I usually sign off with my logo, but I found this when looking for a solid Laimbeer pic. Enjoy!

XO,

P.S.-If you have no idea who Bill is or why he’s so angry- watch this

The BEST breakfast shake. Ever.

This shake has EVERYTHING: oats, protein, deliciousness, cinnamon, cocoa powder… come on now! Why have I been hiding this from you? (No, really… I am asking you because I am at a loss.)

I have lived in many-a-homes. This recipe has travelled with me since I lived in Michigan with my adorbs hubster. Here’s a pic of our last day at that house and what we looked like in 2013:

Side bar: the woman who took this pic was the obligatory “nosy neighbor” in every movie ever. She asked us how much our house sold for and where we were going before taking this picture. I just wanted to set the scene for you here. πŸ™‚

Anyways, back in this adorbs house I came across this recipe on Pinterest. It was absolutely delicious and I told everyone on Facebook, because I think Instagram was new and I did not have Twitter. So I told who I could, okay?

I updated this recipe for y’all by adding 2 tbsp of NuNaturals Collagen. While this recipe was already delish, it did not really have much protein. I liked the flavor as is, so I didn’t want to add a protein powder and screw that up. This was the ideal solution! Here’s the gang taking a group photo before I assembled:

All you do is take every ingredient except the frozen banana and let it soak overnight together like a little pool party. Then you blend the soaked oat mixture with the frozen banana and enjoy! Today is super busy so this is the perfect lunch time treat! Full disclosure, I am literally drinking this as I type. It is a delish treat that makes working through lunch seem manageable (I am not working through lunch because this is not my job, but I imagine it would be good on a day where I was swamped and had to).

Enjoy!!!

XO,

A few thoughts as warmer weather approaches…

Hello, friends!

Now, I am not one to “Keep up with the Kardashians,” but I am one to follow Jameela Jamil. She is a warrior for inclusivity and authenticity. Jamil posted this on her Instagram page a few days ago:

I don’t know why this hit me so hard, but it did. At first I was all “get over it, Khloe.” Then I remembered all the times I’ve cringed at photos, untagged myself in photos, etc. Social media is tricky that way.

I have often opted to post shots of myself that were “flattering.” However, I also know other people take pictures that include me and those pics are… less awesome? Ha! I have worked REALLY hard the past few years to not politely ask my husband to not upload pictures where I am shown from a weird angle. This “work” is because being a human is hard enough without worrying that an unflattering picture exists- especially when the rest of the world does not think said photo is unflattering.

I saw the “unfiltered photo” that Khloe wanted removed. She looked legit, but due to body dysmorphia (takes one to know one, Khloe) and her penchant for filtering/editing a normal picture- her brain deemed that picture bad or unacceptable. Authenticity be damned.

Now there’s a point to be made that all of us should get to choose how we present ourself to the world. I prefer to have makeup on. Spoiler alert: my hair is not actually red. It is “mousy brown.” Well…. it was mousy brown, now it is mousy brown peppered with shiny grays. It happens.

I love Instagram and I love a filter, especially when my aforementioned roots are cray. But this editing does result in a potential sacrifice of authenticity and sends a message to the ourselves: I’ll be/look better if…

Jamil’s Instagram post got me thinking. We live in Texas, which is basically living on the sun in July and August. Every time the weather turns and it starts to creep into the 70s, then 80s, women across planet Earth collectively sigh and worry about “summer bodies.” No one would complain about having Khloe’s unfiltered “summer body.” But she didn’t want that particular view/angle/untouched pic to be be shared. And I am not going to share it. You do you, girl. That said, this is the time of year where women cringe in anticipation of warmer weather and fewer layers.

Men deal with this too, btw. This is not a gendered response, but I identify as female. If you are a dude, I recommend that you listen to Armchair Expert’s episode called Men’s Bodies. The episode covers body image issues, body dysmorphia, and three famous dudes celebrating the male form. It is hilarious and also covers body image for men, which is rare to experience. If you’re a babe, it is still awesome. Listen to it.

If you haven’t caught on yet, this blog post I will not talk about food. Amazing recipes will pop up next week like a patch of bluebonnets on I-35. In this post I will share four thoughts I have about all of this from a female lens.

One: We ALL deserve to feel comfortable

So… it is getting warm here already. Running outside can be hard. I always wanted to run with Sportsbra Squad ATX because I thought it was such a cool movement. But, before moving away from TX for a year, I was stuck thinking “I’m not ready yet.” Not ready running-wise… I thought I wasn’t “sports bra ready.”

Yep… you read that correctly. I thought to myself “I’m not physically fit enough to join an inclusive body neutral movement where women wear what is most comfortable in the heat.”

That is a terrible lens to view the world. I love when I see people comfortable with who they are. As someone who took nearly 40 years to get there, I am not leaving. Flag planted. Here I am, y’all. And you might see my belly button (that was a joke I would tell my husband: “this summer strangers will know I have an innie.” I also just googled innie to see if there was a better term. A full page of innies and outies, y’all).

Anyways, I am working on changing that whole “not yet” narrative. My body is strong. It can run longer distances than it used to and it can deadlift over 100 pounds. It also feels too hot with clothing intended to cover it up for the sake of covering it up.

So now my neighbors know that I have an innie. πŸ™‚

I should add that when I ran in my sports bra it was warm. But I also made sure I was wearing a flattering outfit. Because this shit never stops, it seems. Jeez Louise. Baby steps.

Two: Just wear the damn thing.

When I was in high school I always wanted to wear the spaghetti strap dress over a t-shirt. Total 90s vibe. But I did not feel like I had the right body shape for it. Jon and I watched Derry Girls on Netflix, which has high school girls who were growing up in the 90s. I kept seeing that look and was jealous. Because somehow I STILL can’t wear it?!

SO. DUMB. Just wear the damn thing.

I did and it was cute! I felt the same way about a crop top. First, I was afraid to wear a crop. Then I was okay to stand in a crop, but did not want to sit because… bodies squish? Here I am squished, covered in rainbows, and I survived.

Just. Wear. The. Damn. Thing.

Three: Listen to Jonah Hill

I love Jonah Hill’s journey. He has really found what makes him happy the past few years: directing, fashion, surfing. It is inspiring. But this post meant so much to me.

I’ll let him speak for himself here:

Love you too, Jonah.

I was also taken aback by this next post, which bolsters my stance that we were likely our truest self as a child. What I mean is that over time our truest self is chipped away. This is due to societal norms, peer pressure, self-esteem issues, etc. Kind of a gut punch, right?

Look at Jonah celebrating that his truest self is finally free:

Four: Surround yourself with people, art, accounts that make you feel good.

This sounds silly, but it is true. You get to have some control over your social media and what you consume. My feed was mostly runners and food and academics.

One day I followed a Austin gal who dressed really cute and had a similar body shape- why not score some cool ideas? She labeled herself as “mid size.” I did not realize that there was a term “mid size,” which refers to curvy people who are not plus size, but aren’t Kate Moss either. I have several mid-size accounts in my feed and it brings me so much joy. I cannot tell you how lovely it is to see bodies like mine, and bodies that aren’t like mine, trying out cool clothes or taking a selfie because these chicks are just feeling fly.

Additionally, there are some art accounts that share “normal” bodies. This yoga print (free from Art by Moga) is my fave:

Look at that little soft tum doing yoga. LOVE. IT.

I also enjoy following athletes who are humble and fun. One of the dudes from Fleet Feet Austin has the BEST Instagram pics:

Earlier this year when it was still chilly, I shared this one and tagged him in the post:

It is fun to push myself in this way. I do not think of myself as an “athlete” or a “runner.” But truth be told, I am both. I have been working on this for years so occasionally I’ll ask my husband to stand across the street to take pictures of me running up and down a hill with cool wall art. It happens when you’re married to an athlete. Trust me. πŸ™‚

This takes time.

I want to end this post with acknowledging that this takes time. I am not rocking the “beach body” I had hoped I would have by now. I am, however, the most comfortable I have been in my own skin. I am sure this comfort is somewhat tied to my consistent weight loss/maintenance as of late. But this is ALSO because I’ve been dipping my toes in the “self-acceptance pool.” Sometimes it is scary but it always ends up okay. As previously mentioned, on a hot day I decided to wear a sports bra and no tank. This was HUGE for me. So, before the run I strutted into my husband’s (home) office and said “see you in a bit-” showcasing my INNIE- BREATHING FRESH AIR FOR DAYS.

He was like “cool.”

(silence)

I said “be proud of me.” It took him a minute to figure out why, which is probably the coolest part of that story- other than my innie, which was straight up chillin in the breeze. He didn’t see it as brave. Utilitarian wonder boy over there…

If you need me, I’ll be laying on cold concrete after a 5 mile run, using a gross sweaty shirt as a pillow and drinking whatever water is left in my Camelbak.

XO,