Monthly Archives: September 2014

Stereotypical Pumpkin Blog Post

Making fun of the fact that people are obsessed with pumpkin-ized things as soon as September hits is almost a bigger craze than actually liking pumpkin-ized things now. I feel kind of hipster-ish about the whole thing. I liked pumpkin things before it became cool.


I thought I was gong to wait until October but last weekend I stopped at a roadside stand and picked up a couple of pie pumpkins to begin the baking bonanza. No canned pumpkin here!!! Roast fresh is so much tastier.

Wednesday I shared what I made {and ate} with the pumpkin I roasted…but I also wanted to share some of my favorites and some recent finds from around the web!! As if there was a shortage….

Sugar Detox Pumpkin Cookies by What’s that Smell

Pumpkin Coffee Cake by Hold the Grain

Pumpkin Bars by Crave the Good

Paleo Pumpkin Bars by Elena’s Pantry <<<Made those this week

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Bars by Running with Spoons

How to Make Pumpkin Puree by Skinny Taste

Two ingredient pumpkin spice cookies by Peanut Butter Fingers

Paleo Pumpkin Granola by PaleOMG

Pumpkin and Coconut Soup by the Circus Gardener’s Kitchen

Pumpkin Spice Mousse by Primalist

Pumpkin Spice Mini-Donuts by Primal Palate

Pumpkin pie Breakfast Bake by me!

Enjoy the pumpkin goodness.

Let me know your favorite pumpkin recipes!


WIAW: Pumpkin Cauli-Mash

Hello and welcome to my second straight WIAW! I love reading other people’s WIAW so I figured I would keep up the routine.

It seems like pumpkin season gets earlier and earlier every year. I couldn’t wait…I roasted one up this weekend and now have a bunch to use up. So lots of my eats yesterday included pumpkin, go figure.


Breakfast was a smoothie with the new protein powder I’m trying out. I bought it at Wegmans.


A new hemp protein powder. I’ve tried hemp powders before but I finally think I’ve found the one I’ll stick to. I mix up a banana,1/4 cup coconut milk and 3/4 cup water, ice cubes,  3 tablespoons of protein powder, one tablespoon of almond butter, a tablespoon of cocoa and a little bit of maca powder.


I hate having protein shakes for breakfast because it really doesn’t keep me that full. I’m fine for lunch but when I get home I’m a hangry monster. All I have time for is the shake because I have been working out in the mornings and can’t fathom getting up any earlier (5:30 am). I love working out in the morning but I love breakfast. So this has been a dilemma. I haven’t quite decided on a routine since school started. We’ll see if I continue to get up to workout through the winter….


Can of Wild Planet Sardines and Soup (just like last week)


(I started eating lunch with people instead of alone and it was too awkward taking a picture, lol)

Anyways, when I got home from work it was beautiful out so I took the dog for a run. When I got back I inhaled two carrot pumpkin muffins (turned cookies) from the 21 Day Sugar Detox.



I can never make muffins because they ALWAYS stick. Please let me know if you know of a muffin tin that doesn’t stick!!! When I use papers they stick to the papers……usually it’s the coconut flour.

For dinner we ACTUALLY DIDN’T HAVE CHICKEN. Meatloaf made with beef and beef liver, green beans from the summer and a pumpkin-cauliflower mash was on the menu. How do you make pumpkin cauliflower mash!?!?!? Glad you asked!


pumpkin cauliflower mash


Pumpkin Cauli-Mash
Serves 2
A great, savory way to enjoy the seasonal favorite.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
  1. 1 1/2 cups fresh roasted pureed pumpkin (or canned...but taste will probably be blander so add more spices!)
  2. Half a head of cauliflower
  3. 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or ghee)
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1/2 tsp black pepper
  1. Prep cauliflower by breaking it into florets. Place it in a saucepan and cover with water.
  2. Let the cauliflower come to a boil and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the cauliflower and place it in the food processor with the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Process until creamy and enjoy!
  1. I roasted and pureed my pumpkin before hand. It's quite easy if you find some instructions online. If you use canned pumpkin for this recipe I would add more spice because I envision canned pumpkin being a lot more bland.
Pencils and Pancakes
Can’t forget dessert (like I did last week). Another pumpkin treat…..pumpkin bars from Elena’s Pantry. Soooooo good. I can foresee these being made again next week.


Lots of pumpkin, lots of deliciousness.

Do you know of any  muffin tins that are good to use with coconut flour?

Do you take pictures of your food in front of people??


Gardening Mistakes

As the gardening season comes to an end, I’m left with relentless squash plants, amounts of canned pickles that we’ll never get through, and big plans for what NOT to do next year.



I’m not saying that my garden was a failure or anything, but this year I had an approach like “plant as much as possible and see what happens”. I dug it all by hand. I planted things way too closely. And I planted too much of things. Live and learn! And that’s what I’m doing….every year will get better and now I know next year not to make these mistakes:


1. Planting too closely. I planted nearly my 25 tomato plants all in about a 3X5 area of the garden. Looked good initially, but once they grew to full size they just suffocated each other and the neighboring pepper plants.

tomato plants 

2. Less peppers. I will do the hot peppers again because those are fairly abundant, however I got a whopping total of 3 (or 4?) bell peppers from the many I planted and had growing since March. They’re just not good for our climate.

3. LESS SQUASH. Probably two-three plants would suffice. I had about 8-10. It wasn’t enough to start a roadside stand, yet it was way too much for us.


4. Need to plant winter veggies like butternut squash, spaghetti squash, more potatoes, carrots and possibly beets. This year I was all about tomatoes and peppers and never really thought that maybe I should do some crops that would store easier.

5. Plant lettuce in the spring. Lettuce is something I buy organic so it can get really pricey. Why not plant my own? The reason I didn’t this year was because I thought it would be too hard to do organically with all the bugs. But my kale plants this year were one of the biggest producers and Austin doesn’t even eat kale.


6. Rent or get a roto-tiller. I need a bigger garden. I can’t dig it all by myself again!


I really enjoyed being able to grow my own food and preserve it by canning or freezing. If I go into next year with a better plan and actually figure out how much of each thing I will need and have sufficient space, I can really maximize the food savings once the growing season ends.

What gardening mistakes have you made?


Thinking Out Loud: Animals!

I’m linking up with Amanda this week to share my thoughts in her Thinking Out Loud link up….

This week I am having mixed emotions about our last week with the pigs! 




This Saturday they go to become bacon. They’ve been with us since March, and I understand meat is what we got them for but it doesn’t make it any easier! I remember when they were just tiny little guys. 



 It’s hard coming to terms with the fact an animal has to die for me to eat, however I think it’s important to face up to this fact. Many people respond with ‘I’d rather not know about it.’ I don’t agree with that. I really don’t feel that I ought to be eating meat if I’m not ready to face this fact. And when it comes to stuff I’m eating ‘not knowing about it’ doesn’t jive very well for me. 

The chickens were one thing….  we only had them for 8 weeks. The pigs are a bigger deal because I’ve been caring for them since March. Before we did the chickens a farmer that I get food from told me that you’re giving the animal the best life possible and you know you cared for it the best you could and gave it a good life while it was with you. Every time I had to get up early to care for them proves that I did give them the best life. I think anyone who wouldn’t have at least a little uneasiness about sending something you’ve cared for for 6 mos away to die wouldn’t be normal. 

Anyways…. Expect some pork recipes! 

In other news, school started and for the first week I did a fun project where the kids had to write three statements to tell the world (got the idea from Olive to Run). I snapped a picture of each of them and then made them into the movie. I can’t add the movie because it has kids’ faces, but here are some good ones. 



I pretty much squealed when I opened the mailbox the other day to find my free samples of AMRAP bars!!
















I had been waiting patiently for my samples and they finally came. I cannot wait to try these, they look delicious…especially the fig flavor. I’m obsessed with figs.

This week I finished doggy obedience classes with our new dog, Anna. They were mildly helpful. The key is you have to practice a lot at home which I haven’t been the best at but we will work on it! You think these two are friends yet?
















If ‘friends’ means incessantly bothering one another 100% of the time, then they’re definitely best friends.

I found this picture of Frank when he was little and my heart melted a little bit.



Just a wittle baby!!!

That’s all for today- trying to post more often now that I’m back in a routine!

Have you ever taken your dog to obedience classes??

Have you tried AMRAP bars??


What I ate Wednesday- Paleo Cookie Dough Bites

I thought I’d join the party hosted by Jenn to share what I ate on Wednesday Tuesday this week. Back to school means back to a routine…meaning I’m not around the house all day with the temptation to snack…which I love! It also means back to prepping food on Sundays all day. I like prepping food, but it sure makes for a short weekend when you’re getting ready for the week all day on Sunday.

What I Ate Wednesday: FALL into Good Habits

Prepping all my food on Sunday definitely is the only way that I can manage eating healthy all week though, so in my mind it’s worth it!

Breakfasts this week have been an old favorite:

pumpkin pie breakfast bake

My ‘pumpkin pie’ breakfast bake made with butternut squash. I had mine topped with some homemade almond butter and it was fantastic at keeping me full until lunch.

 Saturday I made chicken soup from the chicken we ate last week, and Sunday I prepped some of Nom Nom Paleo’s spicy tuna salmon cakes. The cakes are great for a quick lunch protein. They are delicious!












The soup I made from boiling chicken bones in the pressure cooker then adding carrots, onions, leeks and kale. Looks gross but tastes good. Hopefully the bone broth will help me battle the cold I think I’m getting……#backtoschoolprobs










When I got home I had an after school snack of a hard boiled egg and a homemade cookie dough larabar.

HB egg

For some reason my yolks have been less orange lately. I think it’s the changing weather and the fact that I got this new feed for my chickens last month when we ran out and I was in a pinch. I’m not sure what’s wrong but most of our chickens seen like they’re losing weight.










These cookie dough bites are the best! Not a totally unique recipe by any means… I used some ideas from around the web. Quite simple to make.


Paleo Cookie Dough Bites
Yields 12
A simple, delicious, whole food snack for after work.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
  1. 1/2 cup pitted dates (about 10-15)
  2. 1 cup raw cashews
  3. 2 tbsp almond butter * or other nut butter
  4. 1 tbsp coconut oil
  5. 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. Heat up about 1/2 cup of water on the stove. Once the water is boiling, put the dates in the water then turn off.
  2. Let the dates soak for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Place everything but the chocolate chips in a food processor and pulse until the mixture comes together.
  4. Place the mixture in a bowl and fold in the chocolate chips
  5. Form into ball shapes- this made about 12 bites
Pencils and Pancakes
Every week for the past couple weeks have been including a lot of chicken…..our homegrown chicken! It is SO good. Yea, there may be a few more feathers to pluck out but I get over it! I will typically roast a chicken the first night, then use leftovers to create other meals for two more nights. Then any more leftovers are used for our lunches. One chicken tends to last most of the week. Last night’s was night #1 so we had roasted chicken, curry spiced parsnip fries and salad.


















And that’s what I ate in a day, folks. Have a good hump day!

Do you prep on Sundays or feel that it’s not worth it?

How many snacks do you normally have in a day?


PiYo Workout Program

Yesterday morning I finished, in full, the entire PiYo workout program from BeachBody. It feels great! I was so excited when I found out there was going to be a high-intensity, low impact program from this company. I had toyed around with doing things like P90X or T25 for awhile, but I knew with my history of back injuries , my body just couldn’t handle the jumping and high impact moves.

If you’re not familiar with what PiYo is…this is from the website:

PiYo combines the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of yoga. And, we crank up the speed to deliver a true fat-burning, low-impact workout that leaves your body looking long, lean, and incredibly defined.




I love Yoga, so I liked the idea of making Yoga into an intense workout for my body. I ordered the program as soon as I came out.

It was important to me that I followed the program in full….not just do it for a week or two then quit. I can only think of 2-3 days TOPS that I didn’t do the scheduled workout. So I’m pretty proud of myself! After doing the whole two months here’s what I found.



  • Since there was a schedule, I felt obligated to do the workout even when I didn’t feel like it.
  • It was seriously intense. I haven’t sweat that much since I was doing intense workouts before I hurt my back, in a good way though!
  • It really was low impact 95% of the time- no jumping.
  • You needed absolutely no equipment.
  • Pretty inexpensive.
  • Workouts were all short (under an hour)


  • I also felt obligated to follow the schedule even when my body was telling me to take a break.
  • You only got one day off a week.
  • Pushing yourself was emphasized over listening to your body.
  • I definitely got bored of it after 8 weeks…..maybe that’s just me because I get bored of every workout I’ve been doing for a long time.
  • I lost most of my arm strength from not lifting….it was very leg heavy.


So to sum it up….the workouts were great and effective but 6 days a week is too much for my body to handle. I actually ended up taking a WHOLE week off in the middle of the program, then resumed and started the second month. I take a week off of working out every now and then to recharge my body, and the workouts were just VERY leg work heavy. I have issues with my back, legs and hips cramping up and going into dysfunction causing muscle aches and pains. So all those lunges, squats, etc. started adding up and causing me pain. In the videos she has more of a “push yourself” mentality rather than a “listen to your body” mentality, which I can totally appreciate. But it worries me that people new to working out will “push themselves” into an injury (like I did) because they think that they just need to ignore the pain. That’s my only beef with the program. I, personally, really really need more than one day off a week. If people don’t need that….this program is great! And the program is great any way, honestly. I felt amazing and stronger after every single workout.

The million dollar question….did I see results/lose weight? Well I wasn’t really trying to lose weight, to be honest. I didn’t take ‘before’ pictures. My measurements pretty much stayed the same. But that might have more to do with my summer diet of food and drinks than it does the program. If I kept the diet tight during those two months I probably would have seen results. I really don’t care though and I wasn’t trying to lose weight….so whatever.

I will definitely keep incooporating these videos in my workout plan even though I am done the program. I plan on mixing them in 2-3 times a week and adding some weight training back in. And I will most definitely be taking at least 2 rest days!

Disclaimer: All opinions in this post are my own, I was not sent any PiYo materials free of charge. This was just my own personal review of PiYo, a registered trademark of BeachBody fitness products. Description and photo from

Have you tried PiYo?

How many rest days do you take?