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vanilla whoopie pie with butter cream frosting

No Day is Complete Without Vanilla Whoopie Pies (Especially Easter)

Hello friends. To those of you who celebrate, I hope you had a wonderful Easter. I’m currently enjoying a cup of coffee and leftover Italian anise cookies from yesterday’s celebration.

I love holidays for two reasons: 1) You get to spend the whole day with family and 2) you can eat anything you want without worrying about the calories or feeling guilty.

I might of gone a little overboard on number 2. There were jelly beans, dark chocolate bars, italian cookies, pineapple upside down muffins, homemade oreo ice cream cake. I mean how do you say no to any of those things?

We started Easter Sunday by attending church with my family. James and I brought out the blue blazers for this occasion!

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Then we headed to my parents house for a light brunch. How pretty is this table? My mom doesn’t miss a beat!

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I’m sorry I couldn’t wait to take a bite of this delicious pineapple upside down mufffin. Wait, I’m not sorry.

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Brunch was followed by even more eating at my grandparents house. There was a whole spread of homemade italian goods – rolls, wedding soup, ravioli. We really stuffed ourselves good.

While all of these events were absolutely wonderful – you can’t go wrong with food and family, I mean family and food – I also had to celebrate Easter in my own kitchen. I couldn’t think of any better way than to whip up a batch of vanilla whoopie pies. OH. MY. GOSH. You guys, these whoopie pies were so moist, so creamy, so good. They were like bites of fluffy heaven, with a little sprinkle crunch ( you know how I can’t resist that crunch ­čśë ).

The best part is they were super easy to make with this fantastic whoopie pie pan:

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It’s kind of like a muffin tin, but each hole is much more shallow. Using a pan like this one ensures that all of the whoopie pies are the same size, so that you can easily match them up and fill them without creating a giant mess. Don’t worry if you don’t have one of these (although, I highly recommend one if baking is a love of yours). You can spoon your dough onto a regular baking sheet to create the pies – you’ll just have to be extra careful that you’re making them all relatively the same size.

As always I recommend adding your own personal touch to these – use your favorite color sprinkle, dust them with some cocoa powder, or even add a little liquor to the butter cream. Any way you choose to make them, I’m sure they’ll be delicious!

Vanilla Whoopie Pies with Buttercream Filling

Vanilla Whoopie Pies with Buttercream Filling

Ingredients

    Whoopie Pies
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 c almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Buttercream Filling
  • 10 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 T heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whoopie Pies
  3. Beat egg yolks and sugar in a small bowl until the mixture is fluffy.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles a course meal.
  5. Beat sugar and egg mixture into the dry ingredients.
  6. Add milk and vanilla and mix well.
  7. If you have a whoopie pie pan, now's the time to use it! If not, use a tablespoon to drop mounds of dough on a baking sheet. Keep at least two inches of space between each mound. Lightly pat the tops of the cakes to flatten and even them out.
  8. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack.
  10. Buttercream Filling
  11. In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth.
  12. Add powdered sugar and salt, and beat until smooth.
  13. Mix in vanilla and heavy cream.
  14. Once the whoopie pies have cooled completely, spread some filling onto the flat side of one whoopie. Then place another whoopie (flat side) on top to create a sandwich.
  15. Now, decorate as you see fit! Sprinkles add a nice touch of color, a hint of more sweetness and a little crunch.
http://foodievsfitness.com/no-day-complete-without-vanilla-whoopie-pies-especially-easter/

target tuesday: total body

Target Tuesday: Total Body Cardio Circuits

Ready for another great workout?

It’s been so cold here in Cleveland, Ohio – less than 20 degrees – so running outside is pretty miserable. I normally look forward to a winter run, but I have my limits. So, I’m turning to indoor cardio workouts instead.

I like to do total body circuits like these when I’m feeling especially blah. Feeling an all-over sore the next day is a great way to lift yourself right back up out of those blah feelings, guilty feelings – whatever food related feelings got you down.

There’s no equipment required for this cardio circuit workout I’m about to share with you; although, you might like to use a mat for your walkouts and pushups.

Ok, now push yourself and enjoy the burn!

cardiocircuits

target tuesday - glute and hamstring workout

Target Tuesday

Yep, time for another Target Tuesday!

I’d like to use this week’s Target Tuesday to challenge you to conquer your fear of the winter cold, get outside and go for a walk or a run. Even a short run will do. One mile. Or, 30 minutes.

Seriously. Layer up and get out there. I wear Under Armour’s Coldgear Infrared┬álong sleeve and leggings on my runs with just a hooded sweatshirt as a top layer, and I’m usually too hot by the end of the run. I highly recommend this apparel if you’re in the market for some winter gear. The best part about this ColdGear is it can be worn as layering for other winter activities, such as downhill skiing and snowboarding, or cross country skiing. But, I digress. Regardless of what you have to wear; however, my point is it really won’t be as cold as you imagine it to be, because if you challenge yourself, push yourself, you’ll end up sweating even in 30 degree weather.

Here’s a tip on how to stay even warmer, and add in an extra glute and thigh work. Find a hill and conquer it over and over again. Run up and down at a steady pace – encouraging yourself on the way up and allowing yourself to relax on the way down. I’m fortunate enough to have a rather large group of hills right outside my driveway, but check your local parks or the next street over for the hill that might challenge you.

I’ve found that with the right layering and the right path, you can actually learn to enjoy winter running or walking. And, lately it’s been a great stress reliever. Why? Because the mind can’t think about anything else but staying warm – keeping up a good pace to maintain body heat – or getting home to the warm – only a few more miles or minutes to go.

Give it a chance, and let me know how it goes!

cranberry walnut energy bites

Cranberry Walnut Energy Bites

Yes, I already have another energy bite recipe for you. I was so in love with the last pie-inspired bites, that I just had to try another variation. The blueberry lemon energy bites I made last week were really proving their worth while working on our new home. They were a great snack to grab for a brief break while in the middle of a time intensive project, and they were just enough to hold us over until the next real meal.

Starting these bites was pretty easy – I had a large bags of walnuts and large bag of dried cranberries waiting to be used up in the pantry.

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With the two main ingredients already selected, it was just a matter of determining what flavors to complement them with. I obviously chose cacao (recommend Navitas Naturals), and then the coconut just naturally followed.

While many people use flaxseed meal in their energy bites, I prefer to use the whole flax seed. While you might not get the same nutritional value, you can’t trade it for the extra crunch that the whole seed provides.

Some other ingredients I considered adding that you might try are nut butter (almond is my favorite), coconut oil or oats. If you choose to experiment with the ingredient list, remember to keep a good balance between the wet and dry ingredients, so the bite size balls will hold their shape.

Enjoy these yummy treats!

Cranberry Walnut Energy Bites

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 12 bites

Cranberry Walnut Energy Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c walnuts
  • 1 c dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 c flax seeds
  • 2 T organic raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 c honey

Instructions

  1. Blend walnuts in food processor until they form a course meal.
  2. Add dried cranberries and blend until they're about the same size as the walnuts.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Process until the mixture forms a dough.
  4. Roll into small balls.
  5. Roll the balls in additional coconut if you'd like (I highly recommend it!)
  6. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
http://foodievsfitness.com/cranberry-walnut-energy-bites/

Balancing Cookie Eating with At-Home Workouts

So, I’ve got a plan together for baking this season. Now, the question becomes what am I going to do┬áto be sure I’m keeping a healthy balance between all the cookie eating and working out in this frigid weather?

The great wrench in this mix is that I’ll also be giving up my gym membership when we move out of the city at the end of this week.

I started researching gyms in the suburb we’re moving to and quickly found they were far and few between. Even worse, most of them had terrible reviews regarding uncleanliness and unbearable shower conditions. After reading several of these┬ánasty reviews, I quickly gave up on the gyms and turned to studios offering other specialties like yoga and barre. While I love these types of classes, they can be hard on the budget.

So, I ultimately decided to give at-home workouts a try for a while! I hope to blog about my progress, my highs and lows and provide recommendations for anyone else who might be interested. On the surface it sounds like a great idea, right? No time wasted driving to the gym. But, I’m sure the greatest challenge will be pushing myself to the max during EVERY┬áwork out.

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I’m setting this goal for myself (before the new year even starts!), and I’ll need you to help hold me accountable: Complete 45 minutes of at-home strength and conditioning work three times per week. Run for 30 minutes three times per week (I’m hoping a pair of YakTrax will help to alleviate fears of falling on all the ice and snow in northeastern Ohio).┬á

Here are my current favorite resources for at-home workouts:

Body Building

Muscle & Fitness

And, some free YouTube channels I’m interested in trying:

BeFit

BodyRock

If you have suggestions for at-home workouts or love something you’re currently doing to stay fit this winter, please share in the comments.

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I also decided to treat myself – merry Christmas to me ­čÖé – with a month of unlimited Pure Barre classes. I really enjoyed my first experience a few weeks ago, and I’m excited to make it a regular part of my workout routine. I think this treat will be especially important as it gets colder outside and the motivation to workout is often overcome by the desire to curl up with a blanket, a book and some coffee.