Breakfast phases


I will be the first one to admit — I go through phases with food. I will be mega-obsessed with a certain food, eat it more or less nonstop for months, and then get really tired of it and stop completely. (I actually do this with a lot of things — TV shows, music, etc.) Anyone else?

I went through a phase when all I did was eat oats…every. single. day. From my go-to three-minute breakfast oatmeal (<– early Levels post alert!) to zucchini bread oatmeal to baked banana walnut oats, I definitely had a love affair with oats.

Then, I entered my pancake phase. Two-ingredient banana pancakes, banana cottage cheese pancakes, apple cinnamon pancakes, honey almond flax pancakes…the list goes on and on.

Then, it was the it’s-too-hot-to-eat-so-I’ll-stick-to-cold-foods-for-breakfast-please phase. It was pretty much defined by my PB & (Strawberry) J bowl, which happens to be delicious any time of day.

Maybe I’m going full circle because I’ve been all about oats again lately. Especially when they look like this…

Blueberry pie oats 2

Although it’s a “hot” breakfast, the fresh blueberries and blueberry jam make it just summery enough to work. If you love the taste of sweet blueberry pie, you’ll love this blueberry pie oatmeal!

Blueberry pie oats

Blueberry pie oatmeal
Serves 1

  • 1/2 c. oats
  • 1 egg white
  • 2/3 c. liquid (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk + water)
  • 1/2 c. fresh blueberries
  • 1 tsp. blueberry jam
  1. In a small pan, add oats and liquid. Turn up heat and allow oats to absorb water.
  2. Once most of the water is absorbed, stir in your egg white and continue stirring until cooked.
  3. Remove from heat, place in bowl, top with fresh blueberries, and blueberry jam.
  4. If desired, top with additional toppings! I used a scoop of peanut butter and sprinkle of hemp seeds.

How to level up this recipe:

  • For added protein, add 1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder.

How to level down this recipe:

  • For added sweetness, use 1 Tbsp. brown sugar (or agave).

Do you ever go in phases with foods? What’s your latest phase?


A very atypical WIAW


So with the busyness of summer and managing my job, working at church, and being a dog mama, it’s been quite a while since I jumped in on the What I Ate Wednesday party! Sad, right?

Thankfully, I’m back this week with a very atypical WIAW. I normally stick to capturing a full day of eats on a weekday, but someone I caught pictures of all of eats last Saturday, so I wanted to share!

I typically stick to a pretty standard eating schedule: three meals, three snacks, but we were celebrating my sister’s 21st birthday, so it was definitely all over the place!

I started off with a few handfuls of unpictured Honey Nut Cheerios around 7:45 a.m. before heading out for a run with my sister. After our run, we quickly showered, got ready, and headed to brunch at White Rose Bar & Grill. Kate & I split a veggie omelet and crab omelet with tri-colored potatoes and wheat toast.

Kate birthday food


I ate all of my omelet, one slice of toast, and almost all of my homefries. I don’t know what it is about purple potatoes, but I absolutely love them…fabulous meal! I ended up staying full for hours. Around 3:30, I started to get a little hungry so I picked up a fruit cup and nut & fruit mix from Starbucks while we were out shopping. (Sorry, I snapped the photo after I had finished everything up!)

Starbucks WIAW


On the way home from our shopping adventures, we stopped by Chipotle and I enjoyed a salad with chicken, brown rice, fajita vegetables, mild salsa, and corn salsa…and some chips on the side, of course!



That was it! I was (comfortably) full all day and got to enjoy two of my favorite meals — breakfast and Chipotle!

Do you have a strict eating routine or do you mix it up? 

Happy 21st birthday, Katie!


Today is my sister’s 21st birthday! I can’t believe my little sister is the big 2-1! (I think I also can’t believe I celebrated my own 21st birthday over two years ago…I feel old.)

She came home from Pittsburgh this past weekend to celebrate with our family, so after enjoying a fun date night with Andy on Friday, I packed up and headed back home to PA.

We started off early Saturday morning with a (hilly!) run, then got dressed and ready to head out to brunch at White Rose Bar & Grill in York. I’ve been there a few times for lunch/dinner, but never for brunch and it was amazing! My photo is blurry, but I ended up enjoying half a veggie omelet/half crab omelet (Katie & I split ours in half), homefries, and a slice of the wheat toast. It was excellent, and I was full for hours! If you’re in the York area, I definitely recommend checking it out for brunch on the weekends.

Kate birthday food


We had the opportunity to spend brunch with our favorite family — the Bowker girls! (Remember them from my Pittsburgh marathon adventures?)

kate birthday 2


Kate birthday 3


We also showered Kate with gifts, and I had the opportunity to give her something I’ve been working for all of last week! I had this idea in my head to give her 21 wishes for her 21st birthday, but I’ll be the first to admit that the ideas in my head don’t always turn out as well in real life. Thankfully, this one was a winner!

Kate birthday gift


I filled a small box with 21 candles. I wrapped a piece of paper with a wish onto each candle, taped it, and tied it with a ribbon…she ended up loving it!

Katie birthday both


We spent the rest of the day shopping with my mom and just had a lot of fun together. I feel so blessed I was able to get home for a few hours and spend time with her!

Happy 21st birthday, Kate!!! You’re smart, beautiful, and filled with so much love — you enjoy the best day (and year ahead) ever!

I scream, you scream, we all scream…


…for ice cream CAKE!

Remember last weekend when I made FIVE ice cream cake for Miss Riley’s 1st birthday party? They were a definite hit and easy as could be to put together!

I’ve been making these cakes for about a year or so, and my favorite thing is that they’re highly customizable. You can use whatever type of cookie/cracker crust, ice cream, and add-ins that you want and still achieve the same result. For St. Patrick’s Day last year, I made an ice cream cake with an Oreo crust + mint chocolate chip ice cream. For Riley’s party last week, I made two cakes with a chocolate graham crust/chocolate ice cream, two cakes with a regular graham crust/vanilla ice cream, and one cake with a regular graham crust/party cake ice. Whatever works!

Without further ado, here’s my homemade ice cream cake…

Homemade ice cream cake


Homemade ice cream cake
Serves about 12

  • 8 graham crackers (any flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 half gallon ice cream (any flavor)
  • 1 tub fat-free Cool Whip
  • Add ins/toppings — sprinkles, pretzels, chocolate syrup, crushed cookie, etc.
  1. Before you do anything, allow your ice cream and Cool Whip to thaw. You want them to be as soft as possible (without melting) to make it easy to layer later. (I typically wait 30 minutes; it’ll vary depending on temperature of your house.)
  2. Spray a 9 x 13 pan (or 9 x 9 for thicker cake) with cooking spray.
  3. Next, crush your graham crackers. (I place mine in a sealed plastic bag and used a mallet to crush. For a finer crust, add graham crackers to food processor and then pulse to desired consistency.)
  4. Place in bottom of pan with 2 tbsp. melted butter. Mix and begin to form crust.
  5. Next, take your soft ice cream and spread evenly over crust.
  6. If you are using any add-ins (see options above), put these here. (My favorite is crushed pretzels!)
  7. Finally, spread thawed Cool Whip evenly over top of ice cream.
  8. Cover and place in freezer for at least one hour to harden. (You will want to have it thaw slightly before serving.)

How to level up this recipe:

  • To make this “healthy,” stick with low-fat graham crackers for the crust and a natural ice cream/frozen yogurt.
  • Add a layer of frozen strawberries between ice cream and Cool Whip.

How to level down this recipe:

  • Use half a sleeve of crushed Oreos instead of graham crackers for a richer crust.
  • Use a layer of hot fudge (major yum!) in between ice cream and Cool Whip.

Want to impress a party you’re heading to this weekend? Take along one of these, and I promise you will! I am off to a dinner date night with the hubby and then I’m heading back to PA to celebrate my sister’s 21st birthday…I’ll share those festivities with you later this weekend. Make it a good one!

Riley’s first birthday


Yesterday, I had the privilege of celebrating this cutie’s 1st birthday!

Riley 1


Remember my friend Leslie who I ran a 5K with earlier this summer? Her daughter Riley turned one on Saturday, and Leslie had the best owl-themed birthday party for her!  From these beautiful owl-shaped cookies…

Riley owls

…to Riley’s personal owl cake…

Riley single cake

…to the party favors…

Riley favors


It was all owl themed and absolutely adorable!

And, if you follow me on Instagram, you know I contributed a little something to Riley’s party celebrations as well — ice cream cakes!

Ice cream cake prep

I made five ice cream cakes for Riley’s big birthday celebrations — two vanilla, two chocolate, and one party cake! They are pretty easy (once you let the ice cream defrost) and always a big hit whenever I take them anywhere. Be on the lookout for the recipe later this week!

I’ll leave you with a final photo from Riley’s bash…how precious is her tutu?

Riley family (1)

Happy 1st birthday, Riley; I hope your next year is as fun and positive as you are!




Almond flour zucchini bread (and my dog)


This post was meant to be about this awesome Paleo zucchini bread that I made a few weeks ago and never shared with you, but now that I have a dog I have to sneak a photo of him in, too…look at our little family!

Family photo


I now understand how people can get obsessed with their dogs. I’m currently not very happy with mine considering he woke me up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning and has done both #1 and #2 in my house today. Grrr. However, he’s a cutie. You should see him go up stairs! (He’s so small that we have to carry him down and it takes him forever to get back up them with his little legs. It’s so cute!)

Dempsey Thursday


Okay, anyways, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

A few weeks ago, I had a ton of zucchini and made this beautiful zucchini  bread oatmeal. With lots left over, I attempted a Paleo almond flour zucchini bread, which turned out pretty great as well! My only complaint is that it wasn’t very sweet (actually, it wasn’t sweet at all), but after topping it with peanut butter and nuking it in the microwave for ten seconds, I was really pleased.

Almond flour zucchini bread


I followed this recipe from Running to the Kitchen. Next time, to give it a sweeter taste, I will probably use two bananas instead of just one, so if you’re looking for something sweet, be sure to add more sweetener or an extra banana!


We got a dog!


The title says it all: we got a dog yesterday!


Say hello to Dempsey!

Andy grew up with dogs and has wanted one since before we got married. On the other hand, I definitely did not and am actually pretty scared of them. They are very overwhelming to me, and I really don’t know what to do with them. I’m usually about 90% sure I’m going to get bit at any time.

However, I knew getting a dog was pretty much non-negotiable for Andy, so I eventually got him to agree to hold off until this summer… since he works in a school and has summers off, I figured that would be the best time to get a puppy and train him/her.

We’ve been looking all summer, and it’s been quite a process! Finally, we found this collie/shepherd mix at a local farm. I told Andy we were just going to “look”…

Dempsey & ANdy…so you can see how that ended up 🙂

Does anyone just go to “look” at a puppy and not buy it? I would have to guess “no”…

Dempsey outside

We’ll see how the next few days go…I am still apprehensive, but the hubs is about as happy as can be! 🙂