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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

{Spinach and Arugula Falafel}

This week has been crazy busy.  It is one of those weeks where I felt like I was living one day ahead of myself!  Do you ever have those weeks?  Monday I felt like I was playing catch up from the weekend, Tuesday was filled with Girls on the Run and wedding planning, Wednesday we babysat the
 twins (such cuties) and tonight I have a fun filled evening with Girls on the Run (GOTR) practice and a fundraiser to support Girls on the Run Twin Cities!  It is weeks like this that I am thankful for leftovers, and healthy ones at that! 

I whipped these delicious spinach and arugula packed falafel on Tuesday night, and have been enjoying them pretty much everyday this week!  These falafel are a delicious on there own or make a great protein packed topping for a salad or wrap filling!  Whip up a siracha yogurt dipping sauce to spice things up!  Make them tonight and enjoy them for days! 

Spinach and Arugula Falafel:
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Makes 12 Falafel 

1 15 oz can chickpeas drained 
2 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour 
1 Tablespoon Tahini
1/2 Tablespoon Water 
2 Garlic Cloves 
1 Teaspoon Cumin 
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt and Pepper  
1/2 Cup Arugula 
1/2 Cup Spinach 

Siracha Yogurt Dipping Sauce:
1-2 Teaspoons Siracha 
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt

1- In a food processor combine chickpeas, whole wheat flour, tahini, spices and water.  Pulse until a thick paste forms. 
2- Place chickpea mixture in bowl and set aside. 
3- Add spinach, arugula and garlic cloves into food processor and pulse until finly chopped. 
4- Add spinach/arugula mixture to your chickpea mixture.  Stir until well combined. 
5- Form chickpea mixture into 12 patties and place on a baking sheet.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. 
6- Serve with Siracha Yogurt Sauce, or as a wrap filling or salad topping! 


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

{Blueberry, Banana, Protein Smoothie}

Smoothies have been on my mind lately, and this one is just to good to keep to myself!  I whipped it up post workout the other day for a sweet protein packed treat, and I have been having it for breakfast ever since!  

Blueberries have to be one of my all time favorite berries!  I love the purple hue of this smoothie, it just makes me happy!  Whip this smoothie up for breakfast, a afternoon snack, post workout treat or dessert!  It is tasty, and I guarantee you will be hooked! 

Blueberry, Banana Protein Smoothie 
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 1 

1/2 Half Banana 
1/2 Cup Blueberries 
3/4 Cup Milk of Choice 
1 Tablespoon Greek yogurt 
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Protein Powder **Optional 

1- Combine all ingredients into a blend. 
2- Blend until smooth, pour into a glass and enjoy! 

Check out my Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie with Chia Seeds, here


Monday, April 28, 2014

{Get In Gear Half Marathon}

This past Saturday was a beautiful day for a half marathon!  The sun was shining, there was minimal wind, and even though it was a bit chili at the starting line, the cool temperature was ideal for running!  My sister and I suited up bright and early for our race with the best cheering squad I know!  I am so thankful to have the support on race day from my parents, fiance and sister!

  This was my second half marathon so I kinda knew what to expect come race day, however I didn't set any expectations for this race.   I didn't go into this race wanting a PR, or a specific goal time.  No, this race I was simply there to run because I love running and I love the challenge of a long distance.  This race I was also there to support my sister and be by her side as she tackled her first ever half marathon! 

 I had a blast sharing this race day with her!  It was fun to stand at the starting line together, dancing to "pump up music" while fellow runners glanced at us like we might be crazy!  I loved being able to cheer her on as she crossed the finish line, and was the beaming, proud big sister as I ran to greet her at the finish line!  I would say that this half marathon was a success!

Also, check out this delicious Quick Rotini with Sausage and Tomato Sauce from Cooking Light.  This pasta was the perfect pre-race dinner!  It is delicious!!  Click Here! 

Get in Gear Half Statistics: 
Time - 1:45 - 1:47** Official Times not Posted 
Age Group Place - 17th out of 132
Gender Place - 61 out of 591 

Friday, April 25, 2014

{Looking Back; Long Distance Races}

With my (and my sisters) half marathon being tomorrow, I find myself mentally prepping for the long race ahead! 

I in vision myself briskly running along, pushing through the challenges of the run, and in vision myself strongly crossing the finish line!  I find that visualizing a positive race the day before actually helps get me in the right mind set for actual race day! 

13.1 miles is no joke, it can be mentally and physically exhausting.  But, with that being said, I love the challenge (some more days then others).  I love the build up of anticipation as you wait at the start line, and love the thrill of crossing the finish line even more!  I am going into this race with no goal times, I am simply just running because it is something that I love to do!  So as I mentally prep for this distance race, lets take a look back at some of my best and favorite races! 

TC 10 Miler - 2013 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

{Kale and Brown Rice Salad with Spicy Tahini Dressing}

Hello, Friends!  
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend filled with family and friends, as you celebrated Easter!  
Derek and I were surrounded by family and loved ones all weekend, and it was wonderful!  But all the wonderful food has me wanting to push my bodies reset button! And with only 3 short days until my sister and my half marathon (man I hope I am ready) I have been trying extra hard to fuel my body with the best, most nutrient dense food out there! 

Thats where this delicious kale salad comes into play!  Yes, this is the 3rd kale salad that has been featured on the blog in a short amount of time, but seriously I cannot get enough of this leafy green!  My next big challenge is going to be figuring out how to get Derek to love kale as much as me!  It is a challenging I am willing to take on! This delicious salad combines the goodness of whole grains with the nutty flavor of tahini.  Top this salad off with a little avocado or toss in some grilled chicken, shrimp or even chickpeas and you have yourself a meal!   

Kale and Brown Rice Salad with Spicy Tahini Dressing
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 2-4 

1/2 Cup Dry Brown Rice, prepared according to package directions, cooled
2 Large Bunches of Kale chopped with stems removed 
1/2 Large Red Pepper Chopped 
1/4 Cup Chopped Cucumbers 

Dressing - 
2 1/2 Teaspoons Tahini 
1 1/2 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce 
1/2 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce 
1 Teaspoon Honey or agave
1 Teaspoon Siracha 

 1- In a microwave bowl heat tahini until soft, about 15 seconds.  Combine remaining dressing ingredients and whisk together until combined. 
2- In a large salad bowl combine kale with the dressing.  With your hands massage dressing into kale for about 5 minutes.  Make sure that dressing is evenly distributed. 
3- Add rice, red pepper and cucumber to kale and toss salad to combine. 
4- Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds. 

**Top with avocado, grilled chicken, shrimp or chickpeas for a complete meal! 

Check out these other delicious kale salad recipes from around the web! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

{Salsa Chicken and Brown Rice}

How is everyones week going?  Mine has been a bit crazy but I can't complain!  Hard to believe that tomorrow is Friday and even harder to believe that I am about a week and a half out from my first half marathon (my sister is running it with me) of the year!  And you know what is even more crazy? The fact that Minnesota got more snow yesterday!  I could hear the rain/sleet mix hitting my window as I wrote today's post!  Will Spring ever come?  I sure do hope this weather turns around quickly, and that it is nice for our half marathon!  

With my mind being scatter brained the trend of easy to prepare, yet delicious meals continues on with this delicious Salsa Chicken which I serve over brown rice!   Don't let the fact that this recipe is made up of mainly pantry staples deture you from trying this recipe.  This salsa chicken makes great leftovers, and packs easily for lunch!  Don't want to serve the chicken over rice?  Use the salsa chicken as a delicious burrito or taco filling!  I will say these aren't my best photos, I snapped them super quick the other night.  But alas I feel like they are going to have to do!  Just trust me, you should make this dish!  I hope you enjoy! 

Salsa Chicken and Brown Rice 
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4 

2 Chicken Breasts (Boiled and Shredded) 
1 Jar Salsa of choice (I used Pace) 
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder 
Juice from 1 Lime 
1/2 Cup Corn 
1/2 Cup Black Beans 
1/4 Cup Pepper Jack Cheese 

**Avocado, GreekYogurt/Sour Cream, and additional salsa for serving! 

1-Prepare rice according to package directions (I used minute brown rice) 
2-Combine cooked chicken salsa, chicken, beans, cumin, garlic and lime juice in a bowl.  Stir until well combined. 
3- To serve, divide rice and chicken among four plates.  Top with cheese and toppings of choice!  I topped my portion with avocado.  Greek yogurt, sour cream and additional salsa would be delicious! 


Monday, April 14, 2014

{Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie with Chia Seeds}

Feels like it has been forever since I have blogged!  I have kinda gone full speed ahead on the whole wedding planning thing!  I feel like I will calm down a bit on the wedding front once the date is set, and the venue is official!  Lots of little ideas and plans right now but nothing 100% set in stone!  Wedding planning is exciting, but also makes you think a lot!!  And I am a planner with a brain that I feel never shuts off! 

I mentioned a few posts ago that I had been gravitating towards simple and easy to prepare recipes, and this smoothie definitely falls under the simple category.  But don't let the simple preparation turn you away from making this smoothie, because this smoothie is delicious!  This smoothie has a thick and creamy texture and is packed full of good for you protein.  This smoothie was created in an attempt to fit a little more protein into my life, while also providing me sweet tooth with a delicious and healthy dose of chocolate!  I added in chia seeds for a nutritional punch, but feel free to omit the chia seeds if you like!  Make this smoothie for breakfast, an afternoon snack or whip it up for an after dinner treat!  It really is yummy! 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie with Chia Seeds
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 1 

1 Small Banana 
3/4 Cup Chocolate Soy or Almond Milk 
1 Teaspoon Peanut Butter (Almond Butter would work too) 
2 Tablespoons Greek Yogurt (I used 2%) 
1/2 Tablespoon Chia Seeds (Optional, or throw in some flax seed) 

1- Combine all ingredients in a blender. 
2- Blend until well combined. 
3- Pour into a glass and enjoy! 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

{Fruity Chicken Salad with Creamy Poppyseed Dressing}

The weather has been absolutely beautiful here in Minnesota, it feels like Spring has finally, Finally arrived!  I have been loving the sunny days, and mild temperatures!  It has been great to be able to walk to work without freezing, run outside and not have to worry about ice and snow, and to be able to finally pack up my winter sweaters!  Good bye winter!  I love Spring, the first sign of grass (even if it is brown) after the snow melts, the beautiful flower, and how everyone here in Minnesota seems to come alive once the weather turns nicer!  It is true that in Minnesota conversation can revolve around the weather!  Spring also has me craving things like picnic food.  You know, chicken salad, pasta salad, and fruit!  This warm Spring weather was the inspiration for this fruity chicken salad.  I don't know about you but I love fruit in my chicken salad, it adds a fun surprise!  This chicken salad features a creamy poppy seed dressing (I cheated and used one of my faves), tangy greek yogurt, strawberries, apples and almonds!  Its truly delicious, perfect on a bed of spinach or sandwiched between thick whole wheat bread!  Even better after it has sat in the fridge overnight!  

Fruity Chicken Salad with Creamy Poppyseed Dressing
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 3-4 

2 Chicken Breasts cooked and shredded (I boiled mine and then shredded the chicken) 
1 Granny Smith Apple Chopped (skin on or removed, your preference) 
1/2 Cup Chopped Strawberries 
1/3 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt 
1/4 Cup Poppy Seed Dressing (I used Briannas Homestyle Dressing, Creamy Poppyseed, my fav!) 
1/4 Cup Chopped Celery 
1/4 Cup Slivered Almonds 
Lemon Pepper to Taste
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
**Spinach, Avocado Slices, Whole Wheat Wrap or Whole Wheat Bread for serving

1- Combine yogurt, poppy seed dressing, pepper and garlic powder in small bowl.  Stir till well combined. 
2- Place cooked chicken, celery, apple and strawberries into a medium bowl, gently toss to combine. 
3- Pour dressing over chicken mixture and gently stir until dressing is evenly incorporated over salad. 
4- Place chicken salad in fridge for 30 min - hour to chill. 
5- Serve over spinach, in a whole wheat wrap or thick slices of whole wheat bread! 

Check out these other delicious chicken salad recipes from around the web! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Happy Birthday To...

...My best friend, biggest supporter and one of the most amazing guys I know! 

You fill my life with love, fun, and adventures! Here is to many more birthdays that we will get to celebrate together!  I cannot wait to celebrate you this evening, I love you!  
Happy Birthday, Derek! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

{Veggie Packed Quesadilla with Pepper Jack Cheese, Feta and Siracha}

Derek and I have officially been engaged for a week, and wedding thoughts are slowly creeping into my thoughts and maybe even my dreams!  I am excited, a tad overwhelmed and feel like I have no idea where to even begin!  But it is exciting, and I want to enjoy every minute of wedding planning!  I have found that this past week was a bit of a whirlwind and a bit of a blur!  I feel as though I was walking with my head in the clouds, I guess you could say I was and still am on cloud 9 at the thought of our engagement!  I have found that I have been gravitating towards easy and simple meals, pulling odd things together and reconnecting with some old favorites in the food world!  Like these veggie packed quesadillas!  I whipped these up for Derek and I Friday night before hunkered down on the couch for a movie night!  These quesadilla are a healthy spin on my old favorite, adding in plenty of veggies, and spicy bold flavor punch from the pepper jack and feta cheese!  I cooked mine up in my George Forman, but you could easily whip these up in a skillet on the stove! Sub in any veggies you like, serve with sour cream, and your favorite salsa!  

Veggie Packed Quesadilla with Pepper Jack Cheese, Feta and Siracha
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 2 for dinner or 4 for an App 

2 Whole Wheat Tortillas 
1/2 Cup Cherry Tomatos, Halved 
1/2 Medium Red or Green Pepper Chopped 
1/4 Cup Chopped Red Onion 
2 Tablespoons Feta Cheese 
1/4 Cup Pepper Jack Cheese
Salsa, Avocado, Sour Cream/Greek Yogurt for Serving 
2 Teaspoons Melted Butter or Olive Oil for tortilla 

1- In a skillet saute onions until tender.  Add in pepper and cherry tomatoes.  Once all veggies are tender sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper. 
2- Lightly brush outside of tortilla with butter or olive oil.  Place buttered side down on a clean plate.  Top half of the tortilla with 2 tablespoons pepper jack cheese.  Layer small handful of fresh spinach on top of cheese followed by half the sauteed veggies.  Top Veggies with remaining 2 tablepsoons pepper jack cheese and 1 tablespoon feta.  Fold tortilla closed over cheese and veggie picture.  Place on heated George Forman grill and cook until cheese is melted and tortilla is crispy  (about 5 minutes).  Repeat with remaining tortilla.  **Note if using a skillet cook on each side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.  Make sure cheese is melted! 

Serve drizzled with siracha, sour cream, avocado slices and salsa! 


Thursday, April 3, 2014

{BBQ Chicken Tacos}

Hi Friends!  I have missed blogging and sharing recipes with you this week!   But it has been a whirlwind of a week, and is almost a blur in my mind!  Lots going on, lots of excitement, and lots of preliminary planning!  Derek and I are over the moon excited for this next chapter in our lives and so thankful for the support and love we have been experiencing from family and friends.  Read our engagement story here.  

But today, I want to share these delicious BBQ Chicken Tacos with you!  They are super easy to make and absolutely delicious!  I whipped these up the other night while Derek and I discussed wedding plans!  He even texted me the next day saying, "Not sure what exactly we had for dinner last night, but they were really good, and I liked it!"  Man I love him!   So here you go, BBQ Chicken Tacos! 

BBQ Chicken Tacos 
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4 - 6 (Depending on how 

2-3 Chicken Breast Shredded (I used about a pound, and boiled the chicken)
3/4 Cup BBQ Sauce (Look for one with no High Fructose Corn Syrup)
2 Teaspoons Siracha
1 Bag Broccoli Slaw
Juice from one Lime
1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
2 Teaspoons Cumin
1 Teaspoon Chile Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Avocado, Greek Yogurt/Sour Cream for Serving
4-6 Whole Wheat Tortillas

1- Combine shredded chicken with BBQ Sauce and Siracha.  Stir till well combined and set aside.
2- In a medium bowl combine broccoli slaw through olive oil.  Make sure all ingredients are well combined.
3- To serve - Divide broccoli slaw among 4-6 whole wheat tortillas and top with BBQ chicken, Avocado Slices and taco toppings of choice!  I used siracha and avocado for ours - Derek LOVED them!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

{Our Next Chapter}

Well, it is official...Derek and I are engaged!  He popped the question this past Saturday, April 29th.  He proposed on our two year anniversary, at the restaurant we had our first date, and at the site of our very first kiss!  

We are filled with excitement as we begin thinking about this new chapter in our lives, and have been overwhelmed with well wishes, and support from our family and friends!  We truly feel blessed to have such amazing family and friends, and are grateful for everyone who has helped us celebrate this milestone! So, would you like to here the tale of our engagement?  Derek asked in the most perfect way!  He truly surprised me, and knows me all to well!  Here it is, warning it's long!