Rainy Day Baking

This morning, the rainy weather inspired a baking experiment: Strawberry Avocado Muffins. After stumbling across this recipe for blueberry avocado muffins, I knew that it would be a perfect foundation for a creation of my own! Instead of blueberry, I opted for strawberry because that was the only berry I had on hand, and let’s be honest: who doesn’t love a little pink and green?

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Strawberry Avocado Muffins– adapted from Gimme Some Oven‘s Blueberry Avocado Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 large ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla)
  • 10 strawberries, roughly chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; line a 12-muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

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In a separate bowl, beat avocado with an electric mixer until smooth. Add egg, almond milk, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

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Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix gently until just combined. Do not over-mix. Then, fold in your strawberries.

ImageSpoon batter into cupcake liners, top with strawberries, and bake for about 20-25 minutes.

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Happy baking! What is your favorite muffin recipe?

Baking with Avocado

Avocado seems to have amassed a big following over the past few years. And for good reason– its packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, potassium, Vitamin C and B6. It even has a small amount of protein and is great for the skin.

Personally, I think the taste of avocado is OK, but what really impresses me is the texture. As I’ve recently perused Pinterest, I’ve seen that it makes a nutritious addition to baked goods. Although I’ve never baked with the fruit, if it’s anything like pumpkin, greek yogurt, or zucchini, I know it will lend a perfectly moist texture to any quick bread, muffin, or cake.

My week off from classes presents an ideal opportunity for some avocado baking experiments. With that, I’ve rounded up a few avocado recipes that would be delicious as part of a breakfast or snack. If I try any of these, or invent my own recipe, I’ll be sure to share my results with you on the blog!

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Blueberry Avocado Muffins

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Sweet Avocado Muffins

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Avocado Banana Bread

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Chocolate Chip Avocado Muffins

Have a great weekend, and happy baking!

What are some of your favorite “healthy baking swaps”?

Pumpkin Pie French Toast Casserole

I’ve always been a fan of prep-ahead breakfasts. There’s nothing more comforting than waking up and knowing that breakfast is ready to go! One of my go-to favorites? My Pumpkin Pie French Toast Casserole. It’s sure to sweeten any busy morning!

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Pumpkin Pie French Toast Casserole

Serves 4-6

  • 4 6-inch Italian Rolls (day-old works best)
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup milk– I used Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Cut bread into cubes; let sit in a bowl for one hour. If the bread is too fresh, you’ll have a soggy casserole!

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Combine eggs, pumpkin puree, milk, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in another bowl. Whisk to combine. 

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Pour this liquid mixture over the bread cubes. Toss to coat.

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The hard work is done! Let sit overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pour French toast mixture into a greased casserole dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the egg is cooked through.

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Top with butter or maple syrup, if desired, and enjoy!

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What’s your favorite prep-ahead breakfast?

Style Envy: Spring Pin-Worthy Fashion

Spring Style

When seasons change, it’s safe to say that Pinterest is one of my go-to sources of style inspiration. This morning, I’m checking in to share some of my favorite pin-able looks for Spring 2014:

Shorts

CoralDress ChevronBlue

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Reviewing some of my recent pins, I’ve concluded that my favorite looks for spring include:

1. Mini-dresses. I can rest assured I’m not the only one who loves the convenience of a mini-dress on a hot day.

2. Fun patterns. Hello chevron and florals. The bolder the better! I love patterns that make a statement, especially when paired with a basic, solid t-shirt or Oxford button-down.

3. Wedges. My 5’2” self adores the extra height that wedges add, while sparing my feet of the dreaded pain that heels typically bring!

4. Gold Accessories. Gold hues exude sunshine. This versatile metal pairs well with seasonal colors like white, turquoise, and coral.

5. White Jeans. To me, there’s something about white jeans that are perfect for spring. I think it’s the crisp, clean element that it adds to any look.

I hope I’ve inspired your own Pinterest excursion! Have a wonderful Saturday!

Spring Has Sprung! For Now…

Hi friends! It’s been a while since I’ve popped in with a post. For all my readers on the east coast, it goes without saying that we’ve been through some rough weather lately. As I checked the weather this morning, I was delighted to see a forecast for some milder weather over the next few days. With that, I headed to the gym this morning with a little extra “spring” in my step, and completed the workout below. Given the unusual amount of snow this winter, I’m not sure how long these pleasant temps will stick around. But in the meantime, it’s a cause for celebration!

Spring

While we’re on the subject of weather, I couldn’t help but share this e-card I found on Pinterest. It perfectly captures my sentiments about this winter.

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I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Crock Pot Cabbage Roll Soup

Hi there! How are you this morning? Long time no chat. I last checked in on the blog with a recent string of unfortunate computer incidents, a very busy semester, and time spent on the job search. Needing to find some ways to simplify my life, I decided to take a temporary step back from blogging. While I don’t think I’m ready to start writing regularly again, I’m planning to check in from time-to-time with fun recipes and workouts, so I hope you’ll keep stopping by!

The tough semester has fortunately ended, and I’m home on break.  This means that I have access to a nice, big kitchen again, including my mom’s handy dandy Crock Pot, which is the inspiration for today’s post!

Last night’s dinner was a winner for cold weather– Crock Pot Cabbage Roll Soup! Stuffed cabbage is a family favorite. This quick, easy, flavorful soup has the great taste of stuffed cabbage, but without all of the effort involved in mixing the meat and rolling it in the cabbage. Another fun twist on this version of “stuffed cabbage:” I used barley instead of rice. I love the chewy texture and thickness that the barley adds to this soup.

Crockpot

Crock Pot Cabbage Roll Soup

  • 1 medium head of cabbage
  • 1.5 pounds lean ground beef– I used 96% lean
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2/3 cup raw barley, rinsed
  • 1 quart beef broth
  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • A few generous shakes of pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

Brown onion and beef. Add salt, pepper, paprika, sugar, and garlic powder. Add crushed tomatoes and rinsed barley, stir, and reduce to a simmer.

Meanwhile, coarsely chop cabbage, and lay in the bottom of your slow cooker. Pour beef, tomato, barley mixture on top of the cabbage.

Add quart of beef broth to the Crock Pot, cover, and cook on high for 5 hours.

Once the cabbage has cooked down and the barley is soft and chewy, garnish with your favorite fresh herbs. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

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Everything in the Crock Pot!

Ready to serve!

Ready to serve!

Serve and enjoy!

If you’re in the market for a simple, delicious meal that’s perfect for the cold weather, be sure to give this one a shot!

What are your favorite soup recipes? Do you like stuffed cabbage rolls?

Making Do

MIMM

Good morning and happy Monday! How was your weekend? Mine was as busy as ever, but marvelous nonetheless.

First things first: my apologies for the somewhat sporadic blogging lately. Last Tuesday, after a long day of class, my laptop simply wouldn’t turn on. With a crashed computer, all thoughts of a Thursday blog post fell by the wayside. Luckily, I had my WIAW post prepared ahead of time, so I made sure to post while I was at school.

Wednesday night, I made the hour-long trip to BestBuy to replace my computer. Excitedly back at home with my new laptop in hand, I was disappointed to learn that there was a device issue with the computer preventing me from getting wireless Internet access.

Bad Luck-2, Rebecca- 0.

After about 2 hours on the phone with the Sony customer service rep (and a missed class), I was told I would receive a new USB device in the mail that should help with the Internet access. For the next “3-5 Business Days,” I’m at the mercy of an Ethernet cord, or whenever I can get Internet at school.

For now, I’m “making do” and posting whenever I get Internet access, so I figured I’d sneak in a Marvelous Monday post while I can.

Aside from my spotty Internet access, I managed to have a little fun this weekend. I kicked off Saturday morning with a good workout:

Lift

20 minutes run at 7.5 mph

2 x 15 Bicep curls

2 x 15 Tricep kickbacks, each side

2 x 10 Lateral raises

2 x 15 Bicep curls, bottom-half, each side

Saturday night, my friends and I headed to our favorite Mexican place in town, and I got the most fantastic tacos—corn tortillas stuffed with shrimp, lettuce, pico de gallo, and cheese. I feel like fish tacos are much more common than shrimp, but I’m a huge shrimp fan, so I was delighted to see them on the menu! Sadly, as with most of my restaurant meals, I didn’t get a picture—not quite comfortable with whipping out the camera at restaurants. But, I can assure you that they were delicious.

Sunday was perfectly relaxing. Not having 24/7 Internet access has been somewhat refreshing. I woke up, did laundry, and headed to the library. When I had Internet at school, I was so much more focused on my work than I would have been working at home.

This morning, I’m hoping to sneak in a workout. Then it’s class, with a presentation on the agenda. I hope your week gets off to a fabulous start!

Do you find that you have bad luck with technology?

What’s your favorite thing to order at Mexican restaurants?