Weekly Ten: May 3, 2013

Happy May! Did you have a lovely, spring-y May Day?

We didn’t. Colorado, in it’s usual fashion, snowed on the first day of May. Although I logically know that Colorado gets the majority of it’s snow in March and April (which is a lot, it is Colorado), this year I am struggling with the lack of spring. I want it to be green around here, already! Can you believe there are still no leaves on the trees?!

Even though it’s not spring, I’m still pretending it is, by zip-lining this weekend with the Boyfriend and going to a Rockies game. I hope you have a great weekend, too, whatever the weather where you are!

1. I recently bought this dress at Anthropologie (where I buy many of my gifts, such as this mug, for pretty much everyone I know) for a decent price. Don’t you love the pockets? It’s sort of like this dress that I’ve been lusting after for quite some time.

2. The San Francisco Zoo has a new baby. I follow them on Instagram just to see as many photos of this cutie as possible. It never fails to brighten my day!

try not to squeal. I dare ya.

try not to squeal. I dare ya.

3. I’ve finally finalized my trip for this summer! I’ll write more later, but when I finish my internship in August, the Boyfriend and I are meeting in Belgium. Yes, we chose Belgium as it’s supposedly a gastronomic paradise. Don’t judge us. We are only spending a few days there, so eating all the chocolate, fries, waffles and drinking all the beer we can won’t be so harmful. 🙂

belgian chocolate

4. In the spirit of my upcoming voyages, here are some helpful sites for my fellow travelers: visit Le Travel Store for travel gadgets and visit Insure My Trip to purchase the best travel insurance for you.

5. Cinco de Mayo this weekend! Let’s eat this. And these.

6. May the fourth be with you!

keep calm

7. This site always has fun gift ideas–here are some for graduation (I have many of these coming up! Including my baby sister who is graduating from college, and my brother who is completing his master’s!)

8. These may be the cutest Tom’s on the market. (Although these are pretty fun, too).

9. As part of one of my internships (I have three…I overburden myself) I attended a legislative hearing on this bill in Colorado (it’s currently moving through the House). It was fascinating to see the process! It made me reconsider policy as part of my career path…stay tuned. (More immigration related news in Denver here).

10. Since I’ve recently cut sugar out of my life (except from my morning coffee) I really haven’t been craving it, except in the last few nights I’ve been having dreams about candy. Yes. Candy. And which candy do you suppose I am dreaming about? Nothing fancy, and not anything I’ve had in years, but these. I’m apparently a girl of simple pleasures. (If you’ve given up sugar, do you have any tips for me?)

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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. 🙂

No Chicken

Oops.

I believe I said I would put up a recipe for that chicken…but after making it, it just wasn’t quite blog-worthy. However, I did make my own Italian bread crumbs–from scratch! It’s easy: preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, and place in several slices of (I used wheat) bread. Several slices will go far: I used four and I had way to many crumbs! Leave the bread in the oven for about an hour, turning several times. After the allotted time, take out, crush into crumbs, and add choice Italian seasonings. I kind of go crazy with spices, and I hardly ever measure them, but I used oregano, garlic powder, a tiny bit of cayenne pepper, freshly ground black pepper, a little bit of dried onion, and some paprika.

yum. bread crumbs.

You can also just use the pre-made Italian seasoning mix…but either way, lots of flavor!

Since I failed to actually complete a “top ten” for last week, I will attempt to make it a top ELEVEN this week. We’ll see how it goes…

(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!