Weekly Ten: May 10, 2013

1. If my diet ever ends (who ever thought I would be “shedding for the wedding” as a bridesmaid?) I am eating most of these.

2. I recently purchased this beautiful, useful camera bag. A wonderful travel accessory! I’m in love.

3. A hilarious Mother’s Day mug, and some other gift ideas for the mamas in your life.

4. Prince Harry is coming to Denver! It’s okay, you can be jealous.

5. I just found out my Chinese visa is good for one year. Maybe I should go back and visit the Venice of the East?

China

6. Speaking of Venice, the Boyfriend and I are visiting the Venice of the North on our mini-European adventure. Maybe someday I’ll see the real Venice…you know, the one in Italy. For now, this will do.

brugge

7. I kind of adore Elizabeth Smart. Don’t you? Here is her opinion of abstinence education–it’s worth a read.

8. This blew my mind! Disney villains turned beautiful.

9. Top baby names of 2012 released by Social Security’s annual list. For some reason I always love reading this list and not finding my name on it. Also, I’m pretty sure Emma and Isabella have been in the top ten for decades! But, probably not as long as Elizabeth has been on that list…

10. Speaking of dieting, these are some of the best tips I’ve ever read for living healthier.

Semi-Healthy Carrot Cupcakes

Happy Monday everyone!

As it unfortunately keeps raining here–despite a small window on Dad’s Day where we ran the dogs around–I’ve been doing some baking lately. Some of it has been not-so-healthy, but lately I’ve been learning some healthier-baking tips, like substituting applesauce for some of the oil.

Brilliant, no?

One dessert I had some trouble finding a healthier alternative for is carrot cake. I loooove carrot cake, and I love that you can pretend it’s healthy, even though sadly, it really isn’t.

gotta love it

However, while flipping through my latest issue of Fitness magazine, I stumbled upon the following recipe, played with it a little, and the result is delicious, popular, and with about a pound of carrots in them, kind of good for you!

CARROT CUPCAKES:

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick cooking spray/muffin liners
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 7 egg whites, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 cups finely shredded carrots
  • Raisins, chocolate chips or chopped nuts: optional.
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several muffin trays or spray with nonstick cooking spray. *NOTE: Recipe can also be made into bars by spraying a 9 X 13 inch pan.*
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together egg whites, applesauce and oil. Stir into flour mixture. Stir in shredded carrot and other optional fillings.
  4. Spread batter in muffin tins. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. In a medium bowl, beat together sifted powdered sugar and cream cheese until smooth.
  6. Frost cupcakes and enjoy!!
One thing I changed (besides the addition of chocolate chips and making it extra cinnamon-y) was that I kept my brown sugar a little lumpy, letting it break up in the little cupcakes for a little fun surprise. I also switched to cupcakes, as I always find I have more self-control to have just one or two cupcakes, rather than cutting myself a GIANT piece of cake…they’re like pre-made into serving sizes! Plus, there are few things happier than cupcakes.
That’s it for now, folks! As always, let me know if you have discovered any delightful recipes, or if you try this one out successfully! 
Until we meet again. 🙂

(top ten again)

Here’s to keepin’ the discoveries alive for another week! Read on:

1.Dr. Scholl’s Footmapping Technology. At our local Wal-Mart (ahem) I found this machine that analyzes what kind of feet you have, and guides you to “customized” inserts for your shoes. Since my new job has me running around on my feet constantly, I thought I would give these a try, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them! I have almost zero pain now, when before, after an 11-hour shift, I could barely walk.

2. Orange Dream Smoothie. I have one of these daily now…sometimes I throw in extra protein powder.

3. Adele. As in, the British sensation. I can’t believe it took me so long to discover her–she’s been around a few years–but I’m hooked now!

4. Iowa Girl Eats. A new blog I found about running, eating (with a sweet tooth), and traveling–what’s not to like?

5. The couch to 5K running plan. Wish me luck!

6. Orange Star Flowers. My new favorites!

7. Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad. Now, I’m not advocating fast food–but this salad is delicious (and not so many calories for the half size!) and I’m determined to replicate it. All of the ingredients with a pomegranate vinaigrette dressing…I’m in love.

8. Burt’s Bees Lip Balm: with Mango Butter! I’ve been in love with Burt’s Bees since I was about twelve (it’s a common love) and I found a new spin on it, with mango butter! Yummy!

9. Lotus Hair Treatment. My mom, as a loyal customer of Avon for years, recently brought a small bottle of this stuff to test out. It even helps with some of my frizz (although nothing can truly defeat my frizz: my hair refuses to be tamed. Just like the girl…) and makes my hair soooo soft.

10.  I’m making this new chicken tonight that I have very high hopes for (is this cheating?) and if it’s delicious, I’ll post the recipe tomorrow. So, as always, stay tuned!