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Posted on Oct 30, 2013 in Recipes | 11 comments

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Oh, Autumn. How I love thee so. With you comes crisp weather, apple-based desserts, and, perhaps my favorite thing of all, pumpkin EVERYTHING.

Seriously, you can’t walk three steps through the mall come Fall without bumping into something pumpkin-related. Pumpkin scones, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin scented candles, pumpkin perfume (don’t laugh, I’ve seen it!). Of course, it’s not really like I’m complaining. I looooove pumpkin! Especially when it comes in the pie variety (something I’m very much looking forward to, come Thanksgiving).

Unfortunately, my impatient nature doesn’t really bode well for the whole “wait until Turkey Day” thing when it comes to pumpkin pie. But, then again, it’s not like I can just eat a slice of pumpkin pie every day. Or, well, I mean, I could, but I really shouldn’t. Enter: the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie.


Now, I know what you’re thinking. There are TONS of pumpkin pie smoothie recipes out there! I’m sure that September and October bring nothing BUT pumpkin smoothie recipes to the healthy living blogosphere. But. Let me tell you something. All those other smoothies? They usually have a whoooooole lotta stuff in them. Stuff like frozen bananas and almond butter and QUINOA FLOUR. Things that, my friends, you simply would never find in a pumpkin pie.


My solution? A true, simple, minimal-ingredient recipe that will give your tastebuds a treat without A) packing on the pie-induced pounds, and B) actually tastes like pumpkin pie. And hey, bonus! It’s vegan! #winning

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
(Makes 1 very large serving or 2 smaller ones — it’s quite filling so I definitely recommend sharing with a friend!)


1 cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix — I use Libby’s)
1 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze almond milk (or milk of choice)
1/2 cup ice cubes
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tbsp sugar or sweetener of choice


As with all smoothies, the instructions are:

1. Put ingredients into a blender.
2. Blend.
3. Enjoy!


almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

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Posted on Nov 22, 2011 in Food, Recipes | 28 comments

Mini Pumpkin Pies with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Pumpkins Pies

I don’t think these need a big setup.

Ingredients for Success

They pretty much speak for themselves.

Cookie Cutter?

Say hello to the classic holiday favorite, miniaturized.

Baker at Large

Bite-sized, in fact. Well, if you’re me, that is. If you’re a regular person with regular table manners, perhaps it’d take two or three bites.


These little tarts are the perfect portion size for Thanksgiving, dinner parties, or simply for the knife-averse. No pie-dividing necessary!


And bonus? They do nothing but reinforce the idea that yes, if it’s adorable, it just tastes better.


Mini Pumpkin Pies with Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Print this recipe!

Makes ~36 individual tarts.

Prep time: 10 – 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes per batch

These delightful and, needless to say, adorable individually-sized pumpkin pies are accented with just the right amount of sweetness. Top them with decadent homemade cinnamon whipped cream for dessert or a party dish that’s guaranteed to please!

Cuter is Better

For the Tarts:

– Pumpkin pie filling, enough for 1 pie (I made mine using a variation of the official Libby’s recipe.)
– 1 box refrigerated pie dough (the kind that comes with 2 in the box), or your favorite dough recipe.
– Round cookie cutter, bowl, or cup with a 3-inch (ish) diameter

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out your pie dough, then cut out small circles of dough. Press them into a non-stick sprayed muffin/cupcake pan.
2. Fill the cups with the pumpkin pie mix (I poured mine into a measure cup to make it easier), filling them to the top of the dough. (You have may extra filling left over once all the tarts are filled.)
3. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
4. Allow tarts to cool completely, or refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with whipped cream!


For the Cream:

– 1 cup heavy whipping cream
– 2 tablespoons sugar
– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. In a chilled bowl, whip together cream, sugar, and ground cinnamon, about 2 minutes or until firm peaks begin to form. Do not overwhip! I used an electric hand mixer, but you can do it by hand using a whisk, or use a standing mixer instead.
2. That’s it. There’s really just the one step. 🙂

Just a Bite

I like my pumpkin pie cold, which makes it even easier because I can make these the night before and refrigerate them until it’s time to consume! Make them now, thank me later.

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Posted on Nov 21, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food, Pup Posts | 17 comments


Whew! What a weekend! Not only did it start off with an exciting giveaway (you can still enter to win a skirt or necklace from Shabby Apple!), but the rest of the weekend was full of vampires, food, dogs, and emotional drama. Winning!

Friday night was both excellent and terrifying, mostly because of seeing Breaking Dawn. I am only slightly ashamed of my extreme love for all things Twilight, and I was really excited to see the movie. Don’t judge me! While I fully acknowledge that it wasn’t exactly quality cinema, I was thoroughly entertained the entire time. My only real disappointment was that I didn’t get to see the Hunger Games trailer up on the big screen! And hey, there’s nothing like vampire-werewolf-human love triangles and hybrid-baby-mama-drama to put your own issues in perspective, right?


Saturday was the busybusybusy day. After completing a 6 mile training run/walk (PDR!) and meeting up with my friend for lunch at Sweetgreen (best salads evaaaar!), my roomie Erin and I headed to the dog park with the pups. Not just any ol’ dog park, either, no sirree. Shirlington Dog Park!


I think I’ve mentioned it before, but this park is fantastic! It’s further from my house but so worth the drive. There are always so many dogs, and such a great mix of sizes.

Running with the DogsPack

This means there are always at least a few pals for Harry & Daxter to play with that don’t make me seize up in fear due to their enormousness, haha… ha.


Good times were had by all!

On the Hunt

Post-dog park, it was time to finish up the dish I made for Panda’s Thanksgiving potluck. It was partly a pre-Thanksgiving celebration, and partly a Bon Voyage party, since she’s moving away for a little while. I decided that my contribution had to be extra adorable to try to make up for the sad part, hence:

Pumpkins Pies

Mini Pumpkin Pie Tarts! Topped with cinnamon whipped cream. I’ll be posting the recipe for these tomorrow, so stay tuned. They were a precious supercute huge hit!

Just a Bite

I couldn’t go to the party without putting my face on first, of course.


My espionage-ready face, that is. Hehe.

Tiny Pie MeFaced!
Rachel & ChadDrank.

I’m going to assume I don’t need to spend much time detailing how much fun it is to get together with friends, eat food, drink, and play Rockband. We all know it’s pretty much always awesome.


Although my epic failure at Super Smash Bros deserves an honorable mention.

Gaming for One

As does awesomely running into fellow blogger Amanda!


More blog-life colliding with real-life awesomeness. Running-on-Waffles-Amanda knows Panda-Amanda from work/grad school, and happened to be at the potluck too! Small world, no? We had a lot of fun reflecting upon how creepy/awesome it is to feel like you know someone without ever having met them before. Instant friends!


Oh yeah, and the food. Oh my, the food! I don’t think I’ve eaten that much in, well, a looooong time. And I won’t be eating that much again until… Thursday. HA.

Cider MeWatergate

My plate was literally bursting, and I didn’t even get to try everything! There was hash brown casserole, chicken, stuffing, mac & cheese, sweet potato rolls, squash souffle, asian slaw, meatballs, and not one, but two different kinds of mashed potatoes! It was a beige wonderland of deliciousness. I also had my first encounter with Watergate “Salad”, too, courtesy of Erin’s contribution. Who knew so many processed ingredients (pistachio pudding mix + cool whip + crushed pineapple + marshmallows + walnuts?!) could combine to create such epic tastiness?


And on the dessert table, alongside my mini pumpkin pies, were these pilgrim hat cookies that Amanda made, funfetti cupcakes, brownies, cookies, and an epic-looking coconut cream pie that I was sadly too full to consume.

Oof, so many noms. It definitely set the mood right for Thursday! Speaking of which, I have luckily coerced blog-reader-turned-friend Ania, who is also on her own this Thanksgiving, into having dinner with me! So if you are similarly orphaned this holiday, please email me if you’re like to join in! There will be turkey, taters, and other deliciousness.

Happy Monday!

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Posted on Oct 27, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food | 29 comments

Welcome, Great Pumpkin!

Today’s the day! I’ll be off to Ottawa in just a little while, where I can hopefully leave the frustrations of the week behind and celebrate Halloween in style! Hopefully without going too far overboard while I’m at it… urk.

Admittedly, I did my fair bit of doldrum dwelling yesterday after my le terrible weigh-in. But, never a fan of self-pity, I did try to turn it around. Like all of you wonderful readers were saying to me in the comments, it’s a new day and a new week! No reason not to move forward in full force. So for once I actually counted every calorie I consumed yesterday (1254, shock!) and cooked myself a dinner that was ridiculously healthy for how tasty it was.

One intensely bountiful produce drawer, plus:

A few tablespoons of deliciousness, equals:

Veggie bowl to the extreme!

Going out of town means I had an intense game of pantry roulette to play, after all. Had to use up all that produce! In the bowl was spaghetti squash, onions, mushrooms, asparagus, and kale, peanut sauce and some green onions for garnish.

SauteAdd teh veggies
KaleSquish, Squash

Just more kitchen therapy to help haul me out of the doldrums. It worked! Still a little discouraged about my weight situation, but it’s getting better.

Sweet as Pumpkin Pie

Of course, the pumpkin carving party I crashed at Amanda’s didn’t hurt either.

You'd better learn your rules
Such a gracious hostess, hahaha.

In true Halloween spirit, we carved our pumpkins with a scurry movie on the background afteer some mild objections from me. I can’t handle scary movies — I got roped into seeing House of Wax once and had nightmares for like three weeks! But this one, “The Frighteners”, had Michael J. Fox in it so it wasn’t that bad.

Mmm, guts.

Amanda, her roommate Brad, and our friend Eddie all ambitiously followed patterns from a book, so they ended up with very cool and intricate designs on their pumpkins.

Skeptical ScultorIn process

Me though? I was going for an even classier approach.

Too Much Candy

Bahahaha. And with that image now forever burned into your memory, I bid you adieu! (See? I’m already getting my French-Canadian on.)

Have you carved anything interesting for Halloween this year? Or seen any pumpkins of note on a neighbor’s doorstep, perhaps? Since becoming an “adult” and moving out of my parents’ house I’ve found that my pumpkin carving has fallen by the wayside. Sad! I definitely have to remember to keep this tradition alive.

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Posted on Oct 7, 2011 in Food, Recipes | 29 comments

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Holy cheese on a cracker, guys! I had a sneaking suspicion that the topic of fat acceptance vs. fat glorification would be a conversation starter, but I really had no idea that it would inspire such thoughtful discussion (and imagine my delight at how thoroughly civilized it was!) If you have a few extra minutes today, I highly recommend reading through the comments on the post — there was a vast and varied range of opinions shared (including those of my Dr. Dan, my brother-in-law!) All the thoughtful commentary made me a happy schnauzer bear.

Good job, friends, good job.

So, now that we’ve made note of your sheer awesomeness, I shall make an observation. Things have been kind of serious on the blog this week (no, my name isn’t Captain Hammer Obvious, why do you ask?) Between revisiting my darker days and yesterday’s post, I’ve been putting out a lot of heavy, thought-provoking (for me, at least) stuff. And aside from my second foray into the world of vlogging, I haven’t exactly been my chipper self. I’m so glad that I have a forum where I can candidly discuss those kinds of things (and that you all feel comfortable sharing your points of view in return!), but c’mon, I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer over here, especially not on a glorious Friday like today!

So! Let’s lighten up! Starting with my first pumpkin oatmeal bowl of the season, which was enjoyed yesterday morning.

Punkin Oats
So Fall-icious.

In the mix, we have:

2/3 cup pre-soaked oats
1/3 cup light soy milk
1 heaping tablespoon pureed pumpkin
1 tablespoon maple syrup
An undetermined amount (read: a lot) of pumpkin pie spice
And a dollop of Peanut Butter & Co. White Chocolate Wonderful on top

Warning: this make ALOT of oatmeal. It carried me from 8:30 AM to 2 PM.

If you’ve read more than like, er, one healthy living blog, you are probably familiar with the concept of overnight oats. If not, well, sucks to be you.

I kid, I kid! Let me elaborate: overnight oats are when, in lieu of taking the time to cook raw oats on the stovetop, you let them soak in water or milk before consuming for a period of time (uh, overnight, possibly?) The oats absorb the liquid and become soft, though admittedly not as soft as they would be if they were cooked, and it’s hugely time-saving in the morning because you can prepare them the night before. Huzzah! Since I’m a good li’l healthy living blogger, you know I love me some oatmeal, hahaha.


Anyway, a coworker and I have recently been discussing the idea of pre-soaking grains prior to cooking, and she told me she tried it with oatmeal and had great success! So I figured I’d give it a whirl as well. Turns out pre-soaking your oats is essentially the same thing as making overnight oats, only, um, even easier.

Step 1: Put oats in a bowl.
Step 2. Dump a lot of water in the bowl.
Step 3: Cover and, optionally, refrigerate.

No measuring required! In the morning, you strain all of the water from the oats, and then mix up your regular oatmeal ingredients, only you can use way less milk than normal because the oats are already nice and pillowy. THEN you cook ’em, and they become a creamy, smooth, fluffy bowl of morning comfort. Or, if you’re me, you take the bowl to work and zap it in the microwave for 2 minutes because the very idea of turning your stove on at 7 AM makes you want to cry.


And then you have it alongside a big ol’ glass of iced joe.

I think I’ve made it abundantly clear here that I am not exactly what I would call “a morning person.” So being able to throw together quick but hearty breakfasts and lug ’em to work with me is a definite must in order to keep to my “always eat breakfast” mantra.

All right, I have one last “lighthearted” treat for you guys this Friday. This might not be a huge shock to you if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, but I went crazy the other night and decided to submit an audition tape for The Glee Project! Urk. So please click through and watch me as I make a thorough fool of myself and (GASP!) sing! And then, even if you hate it, please Like it. 😉

So I know you are probably sick of wedding recap posts by now, but this weekend brings on Wedding #3 of 2011 (here’s #1 & #2), with my good friends Abby and JP getting mawwied in Baltimore! Steve is a groomsman again, and Ben is the videographer, so it should be good times all around!

What are your favorite oatmeal toppings/mix-ins? I like pumpkin in the fall, but my all-time favorite combo will probably brown sugar + raisins. The brown sugar melts into the hot oatmeal, and there’s just something about this combination is so, so good!

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