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?


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!

Green oatmeal


I know what you’re thinking — green oatmeal? Yuck! 

Last weekend when I was home visiting my family for the Fourth, my dad was quite generous with sharing the vegetables from his garden. It just so happened that he gave me zucchini. Like, a lot of it. And by a lot I mean approximately five huge, green zucchini. 

I had to get pretty creative since I’m the only one who eats zucchini in my family of two! After shredding and freezing some of it, I whipped up a roasted vegetable zucchini quinoa and almond flour banana zucchini bread…and still had some zucchini left. What to do, what to do? 

Throw it in some oatmeal! 

Zucchini Bread Oatmeal


I’m serious when I say this stuff tastes like zucchini bread, fresh out of the oven, and it is delicious. I made mine in a round Corningware dish and had enough for six whole servings! 

Baked Zucchini Bread Oatmeal

  • 3 c. oats 
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 c. agave (or honey) 
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 c. milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk) 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 c. zucchini 
  • 1 small apple, chopped 
  1. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients (oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon). 
  2. Next, add 1/3 c. agave, 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce, 1 c. milk, 1 tsp. vanilla, and egg. Stir until well blended.
  3. Mix in zucchini and chopped apple. 
  4. Pour into a greased baking dish. (I used a 9-inch round Corningware dish but 8 x 8 dish would work as well.) 
  5. Bake at 350 for about 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out smooth. 
  6. After it’s finished, top with desired toppings! (I used flaxseed, hemp seed, and peanut butter. Walnuts or raisins would be great also!) 

How to level up this recipe:

  • Use 1/2 c. ground flaxseed to the dry ingredients to pump up the fiber and protein count.

How to level down this recipe:

  • For added sweetness, use 1/3 c. brown sugar instead of agave. 

How do you use all that extra zucchini in your garden? 

Weekends = Pancakes


What are weekends good for besides making pancakes?

Okay, well, weekends are certainly good for a lot of things, but experimenting with pancake recipes definitely tops my list! I did some experimenting of my own yesterday morning and developed a pretty delicious concoction that’s easy to recreate…even when you’re short on time on a weekday morning!

Greek yogurt pancakes with spiced apples
Greek yogurt pancakes with spiced apples
Serves 3

  • 6 oz. greek yogurt (I used part vanilla, part plain Chobani.)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c. oat flour (or other flour of choice)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 medium apple, chopped
  • A few shakes of cinnamon
  1. Preheat a griddle or large pan and spray with cooking spray (or coconut oil).
  2. In a bowl, combine your greek yogurt, egg, oat flour, and baking soda. Combine until well mixed. (Batter will be thick.)
  3. Drop batter on to heated griddle (or pan). Flip once, and remove once cooked through.
  4. In a small bowl, combine your chopped apple and shake cinnamon over top. Place in microwave for 45 seconds.
  5. Divide spiced apples evenly over pancakes. Top pancakes with nut butter, maple syrup, or seeds of choice. Enjoy!

How to level up this recipe:

  • For added fiber and protein, add in one tablespoon of flax seed to the batter.

How to level down this recipe:

  • Use regular white flour instead of oat flour.

How was your weekend? Did you experiment with any good recipes? I’ll be back later this week with a recap of a fun wedding I had the opportunity to attend this weekend and another good recipe or two!

Exhausted arms + summery oats!


Good morning! Sorry for disappearing for a few days…last Thursday after work, I headed off to the beach with a friend for a short weekend and tried to completely unplug. Although it ended up raining most of the time we were there, it was still a lot of fun!

I’ve been working with my friend Leslie for the last few weeks to help her train for her first post-baby 5K, and we completed the race on Saturday morning on the Ocean City Boardwalk…she did so great! She originally wanted to finish under 35 minutes, and before the race, I told her she should push for 33 minutes…and she ended up finishing in 31:30! Congrats, Leslie — you did awesome! (Sorry for the blurry phone photo!)

5K race


As for my own workouts, I banged out 30 minutes on the elliptical this morning followed by three rounds of this upper body workout…

  • 10 bicep curls (each arm)
  • 10 shoulder presses
  • 10 bent over rows
  • 10 flys (each arm)
  • 15 tricep dips
  • 10 tricep extensions
  • Cardio: 30 jumping jacks, 30 high knees, 30 tuck jumps

My arms are seriously exhausted right now!

I followed up my workout with a great big bowl of chia seed oats with some vanilla protein powder, peanut butter, strawberries, and blueberries…I love the addition of summer fruits in my morning oats!

Strawberry and blueberry oats


I’ll see ya’ll tomorrow for WIAW…but before that, be sure to check out the Lean Green Bean. I was featured in her weekly food prep inspiration post on Sunday! 🙂

Staying healthy in a crazy busy week


Wow…what an incredibly busy weekend!

After a short run of Friday afternoon, Andy and I went to a birthday party Friday night and then spent most of yesterday and today at church for various commitments. However, I had a short break yesterday afternoon and was able to go visit my best friend from home on her graduation day!

Michelle's graduationAlthough I missed her actual graduation, I was able to join her and her family for a party back at her house afterwards. Congrats, Michelle — I’m so proud of you!

After a crazy busy weekend, this week likely isn’t going to slow down at all…I have commitments tomorrow until 9:30 and then am speaking at a banquet on Tuesday night back in my hometown, which is about a two hour drive. I plan on staying at home and getting up super early Wednesday morning to drive back for work and then celebrate Andy’s birthday with him!

So, in light of a super busy week, I wanted to do some serious healthy food prep…

Food prep 5.19

Food prep 5.19 2


I made apple almond butter pancakes from Detoxinista, cut up fresh pineapple & strawberries (you better bet I’m having some PB & Strawberry J Bowls this week!),  roasted asparagus, and balsamic glazed white pizza.

Need some of your own inspiration to do some food prep? Head over to the Lean Green Bean Blog…I love reading about what everyone whips up; it inspires me to get creative myself!


It’s a Pinterest Party!


If you head over to The Lean Green Bean today, you’ll see a fun blogger link-up — a Pinterest Party! I’m pumped to participate 🙂

Here’s the deal: Lindsay over at LBG asked us all to put together a post of our five favorite recipes we’d like to see pinned and visit other blogs to pin some of theirs in return. So, let’s get moving! Here are my five favorite pin-able recipes from Levels…

(P.S. Share the love! Pin your favorites and then visit Lindsay’s blog and check out the other blogger pin parties!)

Avocado Cobb Salad with Chipotle Homemade DressingAvocado Cobb Salad with homemade Chipotle Dressing

Chicken and Bean Crockpot Chili...a one pot meal that's simple and healthy!Chicken and Bean Crockpot Chili 

Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken CheesesteakSlow Cooker Chicken Cheesesteak

Sweet potato vegetable chiliSweet Potato Vegetable Chili

Honey almond flax pancakesHoney almond flax pancakes

And, a bonus one! (Can I do that? I’m going for it!)

25 Healthy Snacks_Levels25 Healthy Snacks!