Beet-Crusted Goat Cheese Balls

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There are a few different “buzz foods” that jump out at me whenever I see them on a menu. Words like avocado, bacon and goat cheese usually steer me towards making a decision about what to order. And if I see that beets are on the same plate as goat cheese, that’s definitely what I’m getting.

I remember ordering this particular salad at one of my favorite restaurants near my old house in Maryland- it had mixed greens, beets and fried balls of goat cheese on the top. The goat cheese balls were crispy fried goodness on the outside and warm and creamy inside. I had thought about trying to make my own goat cheese balls at home a while ago, but didn’t think about it again until I received a box of goodies from The Better Chip.

The different flavors of chips from The Better Chip are delicious on their own of course, but I love to use them as a healthier, all-natural “crust” more than anything. When I saw the beet flavored chips, I immediately knew what I wanted to do with them: make beet-crusted goat cheese balls!

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The process if very similar to how I made fish sticks (and super easy!):

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The Coffee vs. Smoothie Dilemma [JAVAPRO Review]

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The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of JAVAPRO.

Aside from water (and possibly almond milk), coffee and smoothies are two of the beverages that I consume more often than anything else. I am most definitely one of those people that doesn’t feel truly awake until I’ve had my morning cup of coffee. I also can’t drink coffee before my morning workout (that would not sit well on my stomach while teaching Spinning class!) but immediately want a cup when I’m home from the gym. However, I also like to have a smoothie right after a workout. This is the dilemma that I often face: should I make a cup or coffee or make a smoothie? As you may already know, I love smoothies…

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I’ve attempted to make my own version of a coffee smoothie many times- whether it’s from using cold coffee, coffee frozen into ice cubes or adding instant coffee to the mix. Some of my attempts have turned out to be okay- but none have really blown me away. When I was presented with the opportunity to review JAVAPRO through my ambassadorship with Fitfluential, I felt like someone had been reading my mind! I’m a fan of coffee flavored anything and thought that a whey protein powder that has coffee in it might be just what I’ve been looking for!

I had actually been noticing the bags of JAVAPRO at my gym for a few weeks – the packaging is certainly eye-catching and separates itself from the standard tub of protein powder I’m used to buying.

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Cooking With Greek Yogurt [Book Review & Giveaway!]

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There are a few people that you will cross paths with throughout your life that just really get you. I’m lucky enough to have met several women that fall into that category, thanks to the wonderful world of healthy living blogs. Through blogging events, conferences and informal meet-ups, I’ve come away with some pretty fantastic life-long friends. One of those friends is a smart, creative, quirky, talented, gorgeous girl named Cassie. Though Cassie and I only met (in the flesh) for the first time this past September, we’ve been digital friends for a couple of years. I’ve been a big fan of her blog Back to Her Roots ever since I discovered blogs!

Cassie and I bonded over so many different things and immediately hit it off (along with Gretchen!) when we spent the weekend together in Minneapolis for the Healthy Living Summit, where we presented together on a panel.

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One thing that I’ve always admired about Cassie’s blog is its elegant, simple and slightly funky layout and design. She designs every little detail herself, and from a fellow graphic designer, that’s something that I can truly appreciate. Cassie even designed the mountain/sun logo on my blog’s header! I was really excited for my friend when I heard that she was creating a cookbook, and even more thrilled when I got my own copy in the mail earlier this month!

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Before I even get to the recipes, I have to say that just thumbing through this book is a graphic designer’s dream! The fonts, photography (!!) and every little detail are just laid together perfectly and create an amazing visual experience for the reader. There are large color photographs for every recipe and the text is simple and easy to read. The book is filled with lots of color everywhere and it just made me smile as I read through each page.

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Holiday Baking [& My Favorite Christmas Cookie]

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Zzzzz… Forgive me. I’m still in a sugar coma from this weekend!

I hope your weekend was great- mine was full of fun times with good friends and (as mentioned above) lots of sugar! A few weeks ago, my friend Heather sent out an Evite for her annual Christmas cookie baking party. Since I’m a big fan of both cookies and a good party I happily accepted the invitation! It’s become tradition that the women come to bake and chat while the guys hang out in front of the televsion watching football and drinking beer. Sounds good to me!

Greg, Paige and I headed over there late in the morning with supplies in hand. Everyone was supposed to bring ingredients to make one or two cookie recipes and at the end of the day we’d all take home a few of each. I knew right away which type of cookie I’ve wanted to make: Creole Crispies. I know that the name sounds a little funny, and I really have no idea where it came from (unless they’re a New Orleans specialty?) but these cookies have been a favorite in my family for generations. I remember baking them with my grandmother and mom growing up, but had never actually made them myself. Creole Crispies are always a big hit with everyone, because they’re thin, buttery, chocolate-y, chewy (yet crispy!) and delicious.

The batter alone is simply delicious.

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But (obviously) the baked cookies are definitely better.

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Guest Post: Sweat the Sweet Stuff [Chicken Alfredo Pizza!]

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Happy Friday, y’all! I’ve been enjoying spending time with my wonderful friends and family here in Maryland over the last few days. Tomorrow is the big event- my youngest stepsister’s wedding! I’m so excited for her and can’t wait to see how she looks on the big day!

I’ve got another great guest post (and recipe!) for you from a wonderful gal that I met at Blend this past May. I’ll be honest- our immediate connection was due to both of us sharing one fabulous name. Since then, Lauren has kept me drooling over the fabulous plates of food she posts on her Instagram account. Her recipe below is no exception!

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Hi! I’m Lauren and I blog over at Sweat the Sweet Stuff!

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To tell you little bit about myself: I’ve always loved fitness and I just got into cooking a few years ago. With all the wonderful cooking, I gained about 10 pounds! I was following recipes to a T, which meant lots of butter, cream, sugar, cheese, all the delicious yet bad stuff! Thanks to Pinterest I found new workouts to challenge myself and learned about clean eating.

Then the wonderful world of Instagram came along so I started following my favorite bloggers on there. I ended up losing 20 lbs. and became extremely passionate about health & fitness. So in January I finally mustered up the confidence and stopped listening to the evil little voice inside my head saying I couldn’t do it and boom!- Sweat The Sweet Stuff was born! I came up with this name because I have a sweet tooth and I love working out so I thought it was very fitting. I love helping people realize that eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring! All you have to do is make a few simple swaps in a recipe so you can still enjoy the foods you love!

Connect with me here:

Lauren Lomsdalen @ sweatthesweetstuff.com
Instagram
Twitter
Pinterest

(Mountain)Lauren and I both enjoy pizza nights so I figured it would be perfect to share my latest homemade pizza recipe with you today. I honestly prefer homemade pizza now to the greasy, fatty kind you get in a pizzeria! This crust is so simple to make too and doesn’t need time to rise!

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Chicken Alfredo Pizza

For my basic crust recipe click here

- Bake the crust then top with cashew cream alfredo: 1 cup cashews soaked at least 3 hrs to overnight, then blend with about half the water, add 2 garlic cloves, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast & a pinch of sea salt.
Set cooked chicken slices & broccoli florets on top with a little mozzarella & Parmesan, then bake another 5 min or until cheese is melted.

Do you ever make homemade pizza?

What’s your favorite kind of pizza?

Guest Post: Better With Veggies [Mocha Espresso Cake!!]

Happy Thursday, friends! Today I’m thrilled to have my friend Heather taking over to share a delicious recipe with you. Heather has been a great friend of mine ever since we met back at the Blend Retreat in 2012. Shortly after that, she moved out to Colorado (which made me insanely jealous) but little did I know then that I would be following in her footsteps! Heather and her awesome husband Kirk was also gracious enough to host me when I came out to find a house to rent last spring. She was also one of the first people I got to see when I moved here last spring!

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If you’re not familiar with Heather’s blog- make sure that you head over there and check out her incredible and inspiring journey towards preparing her first figure competition, which is less than two weeks away (I can’t wait to go cheer her on!). I’m very proud of this girl.

Alright- get your napkins ready because you might drool a bit. Here’s Heather!

Hey Me & The Mountains readers! I’m Heather from Better With Veggies, a Colorado girl with a love for food, fitness, and an adventurous life. I’m taking over Lauren’s blog today to share a weekly cooking challenge that I host called Meatless Mondays from A-Z (also known as #MMAZ)!

Mocha Espresso Cake [Read more...]

Labor Day change of plans

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Happy Labor Day!

Greg and I made plans to do our hike and bike this morning, since we haven’t been able to since right before our wedding. The hike and bike includes driving to Brunswick and riding along the C&O (towpath) to Harper’s Ferry, WV (about 12 miles roundtrip) and hiking the long way to Maryland Heights (about 4.5 miles). All in all it takes about 3 hours to do the hike and bike, plus another 40 minutes of driving to and from the towpath. And it’s AWESOME. But, with the rainy forecast, we changed our plans and will hopefully get to go next Saturday. Fingers crossed for dry weather!

So, we hit the gym instead. Definitely not as fun, but it was nice to really have nothing scheduled to rush home for. And I did something rare- actually ate breakfast BEFORE working out and went to the gym a little later in the morning. It is extremely rare for Greg and I to ever eat breakfast together, since we are on totally different schedules (even on the weekend). I was craving these coconut flour pancakes that I had made for dinner a few nights ago so I decided to whip some up. (I just made Greg some multi-grain pancakes from a Bob’s Red Mill mix). I couldn’t decide which fruit to mix in (peaches, apple or strawberry), so I went with all three. My pancakes were pretty low-carb and high-fiber, which isn’t really the best pre-workout fuel, but what can I say… I was craving them!

And they were DELICIOUS.

And I definitely added a dab or two of sunflower and almond butters to top them off.

These guys helped do the dishes:

After an hour or so of digestion, it was off the gym we go! It is extremely rare for me to have a workout that is 100% cardio with no strength training, but since that’s what the hike and bike would have been, that’s what I did.

Workout included:

35 min of treadmill (25 min hill intervals/10 min sprint intervals)

11 min of Jacob’s Ladder (ugh… waiting for a stair climber to open up)

14 min of Stair Climber intervals

15 min of zoning out on Elliptical with US Weekly (my reward at the end of a high-intensity workout).

Plus, a little stretching. Definitely not enough.

Made a dent in this for a post workout-snack:

Wegman’s started carrying Siggi’s in a larger size container- which of course costs an arm and a leg- but it still made my day! I am hoping that Skyr becomes as much of a hit as Greek Yogurt so that I don’t have to empty my bank account each time I buy a 6-oz. container!

We’re off to the movies… 90 minutes of staring at Paul Rudd isn’t a bad way to spend the afternoon.