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

Tag Archives: Baking

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!





Good Morning!

We’re two days away from race day people! Nerves are setting in!

I completed a 2 mile run last night and am debating whether or not to do an easy 3 miles tomorrow morning. I really want to get one more run in, but will not have any time today as I am driving to Minneapolis straight from work.

Let’s jump into the second installment of Friday Favorites: a collection of random things I’ve been diggin’ lately.

Friday Favorites:

1. Baking

Okay, so this is not a recent occurrence. I always love baking, but I’ve been on a hiatus since Easter which is a long time for me. Mike’s birthday is this weekend, so I had an excuse to make the best cake on earth: Oreo cake!


This is seriously one of the most amazing cakes ever. I made the same one last year following this recipe, and made the addition of little cookie dough balls in the cream filling this year. Hopefully it’s a hit!

2. Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter


This is also not really a recent development. Peanut Butter & Co. has some awesome flavored nut butters, but this one is close to the top of the list. I’m not normally a chocolate in the morning kind of person, but this peanut butter isn’t terribly sweet and has a nice cocoa taste. I actually have two jars in my cupboard right now and have been putting it on a bagel thin or english muffin pretty much every morning this week. So good!

3. Quest Bar Lemon Cream Pie 


I absolutely love Quest bars, but unfortunately, I can’t afford to buy them all the time. I recently discovered the lemon cream pie flavor and it may have taken the place of banana nut muffin as my favorite. It seriously tastes like a lemon poppyseed muffin. If you’ve never tried Quest bars, you should check them out. They’re all natural, packed with protein, fiber, and actually taste good.

4. HIIT Cardio

This might sound stupid, but I really miss HIIT cardio. I have gotten so bored with steady state cardio and running throughout my half marathon training. Last night I decided to turn my scheduled 2 mile run into an interval run by going 1 minute at a slower pace, and 1 minute at a faster pace and just the slight variation felt so good. I really miss sprinting. I feel like it makes the time pass much quicker for some reason. Definitely looking forward to fitting more HIIT into my workouts after Sunday’s half marathon!


Alright folks, that’s all we got. Sorry this was so food-centered, but I do like talking about food. Next time I post will most likely be after the half-marathon! Scary!

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.


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.


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.”


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.


Look familiar? Here’s the recipe I followed:

O Henry Bars


  • 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


  • 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!


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.



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.


Minnesota Farmer Banana Bread


  • 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


  • 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!



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!








Happy Sunday!

Sunday has become my favorite day of the week. Not only is it my Saturday, but it seems to be the laziest day of the week. Perfect for lounging and doing things slowly.

Last night some of my coworkers and I got together for a girls Christmas cookie night. Normally whenever I host a cookie party, I’m the one who ends up doing most of the work. That was not the case last night! Everyone came through and we ended up with several varieties of delicious Christmas cookies.

2013-12-07 23.08.58


The menu consisted of classic cutout sugar cookies, peanut butter blossoms, corn flake wreaths, and peppermint candy canes & wreaths! I must say the cornflake wreaths were probably my favorite of the night. I’ve never made them myself, but I just love the crunchiness of them. Apart from baking, the night consisted of pizza, wine, and good conversation while watching the snow fall outside. Perfect winter night!

I had planned to wake up early to go snow shoeing this morning, but the combination of too much wine and sugar last night resulted in a later rising time than anticipated.

I got my snow shoes for Christmas last year but never had the opportunity to use then in Chicago. Since we’ve had about 8-10 inches of snow in Sioux Falls over the past week, I decided to give them a whirl this morning.



There’s a trail in Sioux Falls that goes around the whole city. I live very close to it, and decided to follow a little closer to the creek where the snow was deeper. It was such a nice escape. There was nobody out this morning, and the falling snow made it even more picturesque.







There were so many tiny animal tracks along the creek that I wanted to follow. Although the temperature was in the single digits and well below zero with the wind chill, I didn’t mind. Opportunities like this make living in the freezing midwest worth it. I’m officially a fan of snow shoeing!

Happy Halloween!

It’s funny how a year ago when I was still in college, all I thought about on Halloween was partying. Now, I’m jealous I don’t have my own house where I can hand candy out to trick-or-treaters. Growing up gets stranger every day.

This has been quite the week, even though it’s only have way done for me. On Monday night I whipped up several batches of two different types of cookies: Monster Cookies & Chocolate Reese’s Halloween Cookies!


I adapted the chocolate cookies from a recipe on Love From The Oven, and the monster cookies from Greens & Chocolate. As always, I tweaked both recipes to make them my own.

I added candy corn flavored m&ms to the monster cookies, and used reese’s pieces instead of sixlets in the chocolate cookies.











Nothing better than a night of holiday baking! This was probably the most relaxing part of my week so far.

Yesterday, I traveled to Aberdeen, SD for several stories. It’s about a three hour drive north of Sioux Falls. I never mind long drives, and am very used to the seven hour drive from Chicago to Minneapolis, so three hours is a cake walk. That was not the case yesterday.

About an hour into my drive, the temperature dropped from 40 to 32. I was suddenly surrounded by a thick wall of fog and snow, with icy roads ahead of me.

aberdeenaberdeen2 aberdeen3

What should have been a three hour drive turned into a four hour drive. And what should have been about a nine hour worked day turned into 12 hours.

I wasn’t sure if I should be more excited for Halloween or Christmas up in Aberdeen! Either way, the weather definitely had me in the holiday spirit.

Tomorrow night is Halloween for me. One of my co-workers is hosting a Halloween party. Stay tuned for what I’m hoping will be a killer costume. I’m hoping the next 48 hours fly by. I’m heading home to Minneapolis very late Saturday night!



There have been some notable changes in my life since my blogging ambitions were put on hold back in February. I’ll start at the beginning.

I completed my first half marathon in 2 hours and 1 minute.

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 6.58.43 PM

I graduated from college.


Congrats, grad.

I moved from Chicago back to Minneapolis, and lived in my childhood home for two months while searching for a job. IMAG0607

Sayin “so long” to my roommate of the past 4 years!

Sweet home Minneapolis.

After two months of scouting the midwest for my first job as a reporter, I landed in Sioux Falls, SD.


New stomping grounds.


Yup, that’s me!

The past 6 months have been interesting to say the least. Between living in a new state, starting a new job, and saying goodbye to a lot of loved ones, it has been a learning experience.

Now that all that’s cleared up, let’s get to more important things. The things I originally had in mind when I started this blog. Food and fitness! I realized that with the holiday season coming up fast, I’m going to be (and already have been) doing a lot of baking and holiday cooking. I love being able to share those experiences, which is what inspired me to get back to blogging.

Since moving to Sioux Falls, I have had much more free time than I did in college. Balancing school, work, internships, and dance team didn’t exactly leave a whole lot of room for hobbies. However, now that I have two full days of the week all to myself, I will definitely have more time to post delicious recipes and helpful workouts. Here’s a little preview of what I’ve been up to already since moving to Sioux Falls:

halloween baking

Ooooh yeah, my coworkers like baking. This was the end product of a Friday night spent with two of my new coworkers. Needless to say I’m fitting in just fine. There’s definitely going to be much more yummy baking and cooking this week. Want to know why? Mike is coming to visit!


Mike also moved back to Minnesota after graduation. It’s about a 3.5 hour drive from Minneapolis to Sioux Falls, so we’ve been trying to see each other every other weekend. So far it’s working out nicely. We have big plans this weekend that include enjoying some fall treats, trying new recipes, and exploring nearby hiking trails.  Can’t wait to share!

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