learning to eat, cook, and live healthier one day at a time.

Category Archives: Dessert

Good morning! It’s been pretty gloomy in Sioux Falls these past few days which has got me feeling reeeally lazy. My top accomplishments yesterday were making it to the gym and renewing my apartment lease.

Over a week ago I checked out the Sioux Falls Peach Fest and picked up a couple pounds of fresh Georgia peaches that were brought in on trucks. I was set on using the peaches to experiment with different recipes, but I must admit most of them were consumed just by themselves.

I did make a peach & blueberry protein oatmeal, and am now here to share a delicious peach dessert I whipped up!

Simple Peach Crisp:

Peach Crisp

Peach Crisp

I had never made peach crisp before a week ago. I’ve made apple crisp and similar blueberry crisp bars, so I had an idea of what I was getting myself into. After browsing through various recipes on Pinterest and a couple cookbooks, I finally found one that looked perfect from gonnawantseconds.com.

The original recipe comes from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and calls for raspberries as well.

Here’s the recipe I followed:

Peach Mixture Ingredients:

  • 8 large peaches, peeled and sliced
  • zest from a large orange
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 TBS all purpose flour

Crumble Topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 2 sticks unsalted cold butter, cubed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
  2. In a large bowl, combine peach mixture ingredients. Gently fold mixture until well combined, spread into baking dish evenly.
  3. Add all topping ingredients into the bowl of a stand-up mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until butter is the size of peas. The mixture should be crumbly.
  4. Spread crumble topping over peach mixture.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until top is crispy and the juices are bubbling. I needed to add about 7 extra minutes to my baking time.
  6. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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I tried a small portion of my peach crisp before dividing the rest into multiple containers for sharing and refrigerating it. Vanilla ice cream would be great with the peach crisp, but sadly I didn’t have any. Here’s a little tip: frozen light whipped topping works as an alternative to vanilla ice cream.

And with that, all my peaches are gone! This recipe was great, but a little sweet for me. I think next time I’ll reduce the amount of sugar used in the peach mixture and maybe add some raspberries to cut the sweetness of the peaches. The topping was by far my favorite part of the dish. I would not make a single change there!

 

 

 

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It feels like Fall outside! A ‘cold’ snap is taking over the midwest right now. We’re sitting in the mid 60s which is my kind of temperature. Pretty sure I’m the only person loving the fall-like weather. What makes it even better is I’m home in Minneapolis today, and autumn weather in Minneapolis is just my perfect kind of atmosphere.

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If only there were some orange and red leaves on those trees. Just a couple more months!

This weekend has gone by way too fast, like every weekend that I’m home. It may be cooler today, but yesterday was a perfect July day, so Mike and I took advantage of the weather and went stand-up paddle boarding on Lake Calhoun. I left my phone in the car in fear of falling off my board and losing my phone forever, so I sadly do not have any pictures from our adventure yesterday.

Half way through our outing the wind started to pick up. It was almost impossible to paddle against the wind and I got a little nervous we were going to be stranded in the middle of the lake.

Eventually we made it back to the shore, and celebrated with some froyo!

froyo

froyo

For flavors, I combined vanilla, pear, and a bit of salted caramel. I topped my froyo with mangoes, raspberries, brownie bites, almonds, and a couple sprinkles because I’m five.

Less than six hours later, it was time for froyo round two. Embarrassing.

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Sorry for the blurriness. After dinner at Mike’s family’s house, everyone was in the mood for a frozen yogurt dessert. We couldn’t say ‘no’ to a second helping. I mixed things up with this one and went with vanilla, forrest berry (intriguing?), and dark chocolate. I topped it all with strawberries, black berries, oreo pieces, and those little jelly balls that seem to be all the rage. Let’s just say I’ve had my fair share of frozen yogurt for a while. Not a bad thing.

I have a bad habit of over indulging every time I’m home. It’s like trips home have started feeling like vacations, and I can just let it all hang loose.  It’s time to get serious and start cutting out some of the junk as I’m starting my half marathon training tomorrow!

I used this lazy morning to put my training schedule together. My work schedule is changing and my days off will now be Wednesdays and Thursdays. I’m going to use Thursday as my long-run day. Kind of weird, since my half marathon is still on  Sunday. I only have 8 weeks to train, which will be the shortest training period I’ve ever had for a race this size. Yikes!

Time to go play with the puppies in the backyard for a bit!


When it comes to sweets, there are a few things I cannot turn down: oatmeal raisin cookies, dark chocolate, and banana flavored candy. I love ice cream, but I can usually control myself around it.

Well, this weekend was full of ice cream treats and I’m very happy I didn’t turn them down.

Weekend Recap:

Mike was here this weekend and finally there was nice weather in Sioux Falls. But first, the ice cream.

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Chocolate frozen custard topped with reeses at Culvers

Cherry Berry frozen yogurt

Cherry Berry frozen yogurt

The frozen yogurt came after our dinner Saturday night. I chose rice krispie flavor, vanilla, and candy bar topped with brownie chunks, fruit, and a random frog that Mike threw on top of mine. Thanks.

Dinner at Grille 26:

I didn’t make it home from work until around 7:00 Saturday night, so I quickly changed and got ready to head out for a late-ish dinner at Grille 26 in Sioux Falls. I’ve been wanting to try the restaurant ever since I moved here in August and am very happy I finally did.

Grille 26 is my kind of place; not too fancy, but very nice atmosphere, food and service. They had a really good cocktail menu, so we started out with a couple drinks. I went with a “rosemary cooler” with lemonade, cucumber, fresh rosemary, and Smirnoff. It was nice and refreshing. Mike went with the “northern lights” cocktail with Yukon Jack Jacapple, cranberry and lime. Also very good!

Drinky Poos

Drinky Poos

Next we placed an order for the spinach and artichoke dip to start.

G26 Spinach & Artichoke Dip

G26 Spinach & Artichoke Dip

They could have just served the bread and I would have been happy. That stuff was so dang good. The drinks and appetizers were great, but my entree was the real winner. I went with a brick oven salmon on top of two mushroom risotto cakes with roasted mushrooms and spinach.

Brick Oven Salmon

Brick Oven Salmon

With the risotto cakes out

With the risotto cakes out

I’m all about textures, and the crispy crust on those risotto cakes was perfect. As soon as I saw meatloaf on the menu I knew Mike was sold.

The Loaf

The Loaf

His was also great. I’m usually more of a ketchup person when it comes to meatloaf, but the gravy actually went well with it.

We both cleaned our plates as usual, and headed out for froyo! We had plans to spend the rest of the night out on the town, but as soon as the sugar from the frozen yogurt got to us we were done, and passed out on my couch before 11:00. Real party animals. Mike left yesterday, so today is my day to get all the things done for the week. That includes a 7 mile run today. I’ll be heading out shortly and am excited to share how it went later today!

 


I’ve got a case of the Mondays. But in my case, I’m sad that my weekend is coming to an end. So in reality, you could say I have a case of the Sundays.

This weekend was a blast. Mike was in town and we went out for a co-worker’s birthday Saturday night. Sunday was spent lounging and running errands before he had to head out. Now it’s back to the work thing!

Today was a great day. It was a great day because I had a great run and felt like I could have done it all over again as soon as it was over.

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Today was my first “long” run of half marathon training. I feel kind of silly calling this a long run, since it’s still pretty close to my short runs of 3 miles. It was just over 40 degrees when I set out around 11:00 this morning, which I call perfect running weather. I took things slow and tried to hang just under 9 minute miles the whole time. I never felt exhausted or like I was running out of steam. I honestly felt like I could have tacked on 2 or 3 extra miles easily. This is the exact pace I want to be able to keep during my half marathon, so I’m feeling hopeful!

For me, there’s nothing worse than feeling like I just barely scraped by after a run. I loved the optimistic, confident feeling I had at the end of today’s run, and really hope I can carry that into my long runs for the rest of my training.

The rest of the day included:

  1. hair appointment
  2. grocery shopping
  3. picking up new headphones that don’t sound like static in my ears

When I returned home I was ready for a little relaxation. Since it’s spring break season, I decided to get a little tropical in Sioux Falls. I put on my swimsuit and headed down to the hot tub in the pool area of my apartment complex. I was beyond happy to see there was nobody else in there.

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Exotic Sioux Falls

I brought down some iced pomegranate green tea and the April issue of Women’s Health to enjoy during my “me time.”

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And of course a pen and paper to jot down any notes throughout my reading!

Once I started sweating profusely, I knew it was time to head back up. I was planning on baking something for another co-workers’ birthday after dinner, but I jumped the gun and hopped to it still in my swimsuit!

She requested O Henry Bars, which I had never heard of but recognized them after Pinteresting them.

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Look familiar? Here’s the recipe I followed:

O Henry Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 4 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter

Directions:

  • Combine melted butter with brown sugar and vanilla.
  • Mix into oats, add corn syrup. Stir until everything is nice and sticky.
  • Press mixture into 9×13 baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes, let cool completely.
  • Once cooled, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in microwave and spread over the top.
  • Refrigerate until chocolate sets.

As you can probably see, mine are not completely set yet, but they look delicious!

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My co-worker told me her mom used to make these all the time. I hope mine pass the test!


It’s been a fantastic lazy Sunday. I spent the day doing a little bit of work and a lot of lounging around while watching the final day of the Olympics.

On these types of days, baking is always something that pops into my head. Today was no exception! I’ve had several ripe bananas sitting in my freezer for weeks that I’ve been meaning to use for banana bread. Tonight I bring you a new banana bread recipe: Minnesota Farmer Banana Bread.

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My mom gave me a Twin Cities cook book this past Christmas. It’s filled with delicious looking recipes that originated from different areas around the Twin Cities. This was the first recipe I’ve had a chance to try from the cook book. I followed the recipe pretty closely, but added whole wheat flour and a dash of cinnamon.

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Minnesota Farmer Banana Bread

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • t tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3-4 bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
My favorite ingredient!

My favorite ingredient!

Stir it up

Stir it up

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  • Blend together flours, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
  • In another bowl, stir together the eggs, oil, and bananas.
  • Fold banana mixture into flour mixture to create a thick batter. Fold in chopped walnuts.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake 55 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Let cool for about 15 minutes before slicing.
The loaf!

The loaf!

Yum!

Yum!

I used a slightly smaller loaf pan for this, about 8×3 I believe, and it turned out just fine. This is a very simple and tasty banana bread recipe. The loaf came out perfectly moist. I’m looking forward to trying more recipes from this cook book in the near future!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


My 23rd birthday weekend has officially come to a close! It was by far one of the best I can remember.

Mike was visiting Sioux Falls this weekend, which made it extra celebratory. Saturday was my actual birthday, but the festivities really got going into Sunday. Saturday included a solid day of work, and a fun night of bowling with some of my coworkers! It was a blast, despite the fact that I’m a terrible bowler.

My mom was nice enough to have cupcakes from Oh My Cupcakes delivered to the news room Saturday afternoon.

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After work, I quickly drove home for the nice birthday dinner Mike had prepared of very fresh and delicious chicken tacos.

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The fresh cilantro is what made these tacos. I was thoroughly impressed. The next few hours included several games of bowling, and several rounds of beer before we found ourselves at a bar just next to my apartment building.

Sunday

On Sunday morning, Mike and I woke up feeling less than 100% due to the previous night’s festivities. It took us a couple hours to gather ourselves and make our way out the door for our drive to Omaha, NE! We’ve been planning a little 24 hours getaway to Omaha for the past couple months. I know Omaha doesn’t necessarily sound like a real hip travel destination, but I must say I was impressed.

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We actually stayed just outside of Omaha in Council Bluffs at Harrahs Casino. We have a weird obsession with casino buffets, and naturally we had to seize the opportunity to try out a new one.

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This was the first plate for both of us. The first of four, that is. This was by far the healthiest one. Some of the highlights for me were the macaroni and cheese, hash brown casserole, and some type of a spicy sausage. We left the buffet feeling absolutely stuffed, and ended up just relaxing in the hotel room for the next couple hours.

By the time night rolled around, we had somehow made room in our bellies for dinner. We had reservations at 801 Chophouse in downtown Omaha, which I had chosen based on some amazing reviews I read.

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We have a really hard time taking good pictures. Anyway, our meals were excellent. As soon as I saw the pork chop on the menu, I was sold. It was really dark in the restaurant and I was a little nervous to use my bright flash, so these photos aren’t the best.

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Mike ordered a delicious chicken dish with a sauce of dried fruits and beans. For sides, we went with somewhat healthy options of asparagus and sweet roasted carrots. And then there was my monster pork chop.

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It came with an apple and cherry jus, just like the one I’m used to ordering at my favorite restaurant in Chicago, Ditka’s. While it wasn’t quite the same as Ditka’s, it was more than satisfactory. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pork chop as thick as this one was.

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Look at that thing! Mike and I tried to guess how many grams of protein were in the entire thing (which I ate all of), and decided it had to be at least 60 grams. Hey, at least pork is lean, right? In our final attempt to get one good picture from the night, we asked our sever to take a couple of us.

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Unfortunately, the combination of living in the sunless midwest and the bright flash turned us into ghosts. Oh well! We were so exhausted from the weekend that we didn’t even make it down to the casino like we had planned. We spent Monday morning exploring a bit of downtown Omaha and the Old Market area. We treated ourselves to one last birthday weekend indulgence at a bakery in Old Market.

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That is supposed to be one slice of apple crisp. Apparently ogres are common diners at this bakery, because I don’t know where they got the idea that this is a normal sized portion.

Overall, this weekend left me full and happy. Let’s hope the rest of the year brings the same feelings.


It was another snowy morning in Sioux Falls.

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I have Mondays off and normally I like to take advantage of the extra time by going for a long run. I glanced out my window to check out the weather conditions this morning. The snow didn’t completely cancel my running plans, but the freezing temps did. It was in the high teens this morning with wind chills in the single digits.

Once my running plans were thrown out, I settled on incorporating some extra cardio into my leg workout that I had planned for later in the day. I usually hate doing cardio too close before, or immediately after a leg workout since my legs usually turn into jelly on leg day. I figured tacking on 15 minutes of HIIT on the treadmill as a warm up, and 15 minutes on the elliptical as a cool down would be a safe bet. Worked like a charm!

Last night I had the baking bug. I’m really trying to stay away from too many sweets this week since my birthday is this weekend, and I know I’ll be celebrating with a cake or two. Instead of whipping up some traditional cookies, I opted for a healthier little experiment.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Protein Muffins

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated splenda or other sweetener
  • 1/2 can canned pumpkin
  • 2 egg whites or egg beaters
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 TBS sugar free chocolate chips or regular chocolate chips
  • 3-4 TBS water

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  • Combine eggs, pumpkin, orange juice, greek yogurt, and splenda. Beat until well combined
  • Add flour, protein powder, baking soda, pumpkin spice. Mix until well combined
  • Add water to create smoother consistency
  • Fold in chocolate chips
  • Pour equal amounts into greased muffin pan. If using liners, lightly grease liners as well.
  • Bake 20 minutes
  • Let cool 10 minutes before removing from muffin pan

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These little guys are so good! I was expecting them to have a spongier texture, like most things made with protein powder usually have. However, they came out dense like typical muffins. I might try making them with craisins or nuts instead of chocolate chips next time.



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