Cake Batter Oats

Blogging these days feels like an accomplishment. Between two jobs, five days of class, and four days of volunteering, my life is a little crazy right now.

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I will say I am actually enjoying [?!?!] my counseling class, and I have this food procurement class where I get to cook, bake, and learn knife skills in the lab. This semester is rough but at least it has some balance.

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You know what else has balance? These oats. Healthy, fibrous oatmeal with cake batter flavor and sprinkles. If that’s not enough to get you out of bed in the morning, I don’t know what is.

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So whether it’s your birthday or the morning before a huge exam, treat yo self.

Cake Batter Overnight Oats

1/3 c oats
1/3 c soymilk
1/3 c plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp white cake mix
1 tbsp cheesecake pudding mix
Sprinkles, strawberries, and banana slices

1. At night, combine the oats, soy milk, and yogurt. Cover and refrigerate over night.
2. The next morning, warm for 60-90seconds, then stir in the remaining toppings.


Protein Waffles

Let’s talk leg day.

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Now, I’m sure you’ve seen all the funny leg day pictures and if you workout, you’ve probably experienced them. Simple tasks like driving (switching from gas to brake – OUCH), walking up stairs, putting on pants… you know. It’s painful.

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Well, I am seriously trying to get my booty in shape, literally, as well as my triceps and my abs. I mean, less than 30 days until spring, people! I go to Planet Fitness, and even though they don’t have yoga classes, they DO have Smith Machines, which are those fancy little machines that have the bar and the free weights and the automatic lock. Aka. Squats without assistance. Or benching or whatever you want to do – Smith Machine has your back. Unless you drop it and it doesn’t catch immediately – then you’re a lunk. But that’s another story [that luckily hasn’t happened to me].

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So I had been doing the norm – leg extensions, hamstring curls, calf raises, adductors, abductors, squats… but now I am adding lunges with the Smith Machine. And MAN OH MAN are my gluteals sore. For real, though. If you don’t know what a Smith Machine is, check it out. That bad boy is your friend when it comes to bikinis. I’ve started doing higher reps/lower weight to try to “tone” rather than “bulk,” and those last few reps are tough.

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THE POINT is – do your leg day. Do your squats. Earn your protein. That was literally what I was repeating to myself (“Earn your protein, earn your protein.”) as I cycled ridiculously fast and was panting like a 100-year-old sedentary person. I’ve started in on the whole protein powder thing (chocolate, of course) and I like to earn it. Deserve it, if you will.

You deserve these waffles. You do 4 sets of 15-20 reps on squats AND lunges on the Smith Machine ( + the other leg machines + cycling or some cardio), you definitely earn your chocolate protein.

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These waffles are actually not chocolate… the boyfriend prefers his fancy protein over my cheap protein (I’m still having to be persuaded into this whole protein thing), so he added his to the waffles. So, in the end, all I’m driving at is – earn your protein. Earn your waffles.

Protein Waffles
From Tone It Up; makes 2 waffles

1 banana
4 egg whites + 1 egg
2 scoops vanilla (or chocolate!) protein (about 20g each, so 40g protein)
1 tbsp milk
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp peanut butter
Toppings (optional): sliced bananas and strawberries, maple syrup

1. Mash banana, then blend all ingredients.
2. Make waffles in a waffle maker.

Whole Wheat Strawberry Waffles with Hazelnut Chocolate Drizzle + Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundup

Today is Valentine’s Day.

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I love looking back. Looking back at where I was years ago.

One year I had a “Valentine” – it was in high school when you are awkward and someone asks you and you don’t know what else to do but say yes. My mom was uber excited, so she bought a big Hershey kiss and a small bag of Valentine candies for me to give him. We had band practice that day and he completely ignored me. SO, I promptly came home, ate the candy, and finished my homework before AIMing my friends about my failed Valentine’s Day. Then I hear the doorbell ring. Guess who it was? My Valentine. Whoops! No candy for you today…

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Another year it snowed on Valentine’s Day, they cancelled school, and the boy I was dating at the time – it ruined his WHOLE plans. He had gotten the spare keys to my car from my parents and was going to put a surprise in it at school: a teddy bear and flowers. Poor thing. That was obviously not going to happen since I didn’t go to school but he, luckily, had a plan B.

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Two years ago I made a million (and by million, I mean 165) Valentine cards for the residents of the nursing home where I was volunteering.

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Last year I discussed the blessings of having a boyfriend but the “All Black Parties” I used to have with friends when I was single back in high school.

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This year, I have to say… best Valentine’s Day yet. I mean, first of all, we celebrated early. And by celebrated, I mean my boyfriend was SO excited about giving me my present, that he gave it to me almost a week early. I’m still enjoying the single red rose and the necklace I now wear daily. Yesterday, though, he made these for me. I got him a waffle maker for his birthday because he’s one of those want-it-and-go-get-it people but luckily I picked up on this one little tidbit of information, held on for dear life, and was able to surprise him. With no school, snow on the ground, and sleeping in late, obviously we had to make waffles. I mean, what’s a snow day without waffles?!

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What are you doing this Valentine’s Day? Are you spending it with a loved one? Or working – like me – and celebrating Valentine’s Day at a different time? Or are you treating yourself to a hot bath with a good book and a glass of wine? Maybe eating Ben & Jerry’s right out of the container with some girlfriends while watching New Girl [or guy friends while drinking beer and watching Anchorman]? Whatever you’re doing, I hope it’s perfect. And full of chocolate and waffles.

PS: Check out below for more Valentine’s Day recipes!

Whole Wheat Strawberry Waffles with Hazelnut Chocolate Drizzle
Adapted slightly from Waffles

2 large eggs
1 1/2 c 2% milk
1/2 c canola oil
1 c + 2 tbsp whole-wheat flour
2 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 c fresh strawberries, chopped
Jif Chocolate Hazelnut spread + maple syrup for toppings

1. Preheat waffle maker.
2. Whisk together eggs, oil, and milk in a medium bowl.
3. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Create a well and add wet ingredients. Whisk together.
4. Fold in strawberries.
5. Ladle batter into waffle maker and make waffles.
6. Drizzle melted chocolate sauce on top and add maple syrup if desired.

It’s not too late to get started on your Valentine’s Day baking!

Pink Chewy Granola Bars

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Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Glaze

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Raspberry Orange Chocolate Mousse

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Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Pink Mint Frosting

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Low-Calorie Whole Grain Strawberry Muffins

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Chocolate Chip Berry Muffins

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Or, if you’ve already celebrated and need some detoxing, try this Mango Strawberry Tahini Smoothie for breakfast, this Honeycrisp Spinach Salad with Pecans and Cranberries for lunch, and this Kale and Ravioli Soup for dinner.

Low-Calorie Whole Grain Strawberry Muffins

I took a Myers-Briggs test a couple of days ago.

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Have you ever taken one of those? They are pretty fascinating. So, it’s for my Management Nutrition class. We evaluated ourselves in relation to what we thought we were as the words were described to us by the instructor. Then, we ‘graded’ our actual Myers-Briggs test that we filled out.

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I thought I was ISFJ – Introvert. Sensing. Feeling. Judging. And before I continue, judging means ‘organized and structured’ rather than what you’re thinking. Just to clarify. Promise – judge free zone here.

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Turns out I am ESFJ. Essentially the same, except Extrovert. I’m okay with that. And honestly, the more we learned, the more I realized that’s right. Introverts become energized or ‘refilled’ by alone time. Extroverts become pumped up by being around people. You put me in a room by myself – I will fall asleep. Myers-Briggs, how are you so right? So weird, but so right. Like it knows us.

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You should do one. You should also make these muffins. These muffins are DELICIOUS. And only have about 115 calories per serving! Maybe 120… definitely less than 150 calories. Depending on if you use all the batter or take a couple spoonfuls to taste-test. But this was using a nutrition calculator [I think I got about 117 calories each] and making 6 muffins. So, if you make 7 muffins, they would be even fewer calories!

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Strawberry Oat Muffins
Adapted slightly from Simmworks Family
Makes 6 muffins

1 1/4 c old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tbsp sugar + extra for sprinkling
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 c plain low-fat Greek yogurt
1 egg
1 c strawberries, diced
Juice of 1/2 clementine

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Combine oats, sugar, baking power, and baking soda in a food processor. Process until finely grounded.
3. Combine yogurt, eggs, strawberries, clementine juice, and oat mixture in a bowl until well combined.
4. Scoop muffin batter into a greased muffin tin, sprinkle sugar on top, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Summer Breakfast Quinoa

I’m interning with this dietitian, and we are currently focusing on gluten-free grains.

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Hello, quinoa. You are so dreamy. Full of protein, gluten-free, and highly versatile.

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We set up a sample and information table at a grocery store, and despite having few takers, we made some breakfast quinoa for people to try. Now I have quinoa on my brain. And breakfast quinoa? Nothing better than starting your day with some good ol’ protein.

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I softened these berries and peaches over heat and scooped them onto some cinnamon-infused quinoa. The almonds, pepitas and chia seeds added a nice crunch.

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Shake up your breakfast. Eat some quinoa.

Summer Breakfast Quinoa

1/4 c quinoa
1/2 c plain soymilk
1/4 c blueberries
1/2 peach, chopped
1/4 c strawberries
Pinch of cinnamon
Sprinkling of almonds, chia seeds, and pepitas

1. Combine quinoa and soymilk in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then simmer on low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. After simmering for a couple minutes, add in cinnamon and stir to combine.
2. Combine blueberries, peaches, and strawberries in another saucepan. Add 1 tbsp water and cook, stirring frequently, on medium-high (closer to medium) until a sauce forms and the fruit softens. Bring down to a lower temperature, and continue to cook for a couple minutes while quinoa finishes cooking.
3. Combine quinoa, fruit (and sauce made by fruit), almonds, chia seeds, and pepitas in a bowl and serve warm.