Girls Life Magazine Feature: Uncut Edition

I was featured in the October/November issue of Girl’s Life Magazine.

It’s on page 82; you should really check it out. You can find out super random information like my favorite food!

I was beyond excited when they asked to feature me and I sent them a ton of information for the potential article. Obviously, not everything I gave them (they asked for quite a few things and I’m not exactly concise!) could be published in the magazine. I’m incredibly grateful that they chose to feature me at all.

I thought it would be fun to share with you just some of the Q&A and pictures that weren’t printed. Here ya go:

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How would you describe your personal style? Casual and practical, yet fun and girly. I like to keep the basics pretty simple, but add fun touches to dress things up. I definitely believe that a cute scarf makes an outfit in the same way an interesting pillow transforms plain bedding into something personal and unique.
 
How would you describe your food? I strive to create food that is delicious and satisfying, yet nourishing and nutritious. There’s nothing worse than feeling sick or lethargic after eating a meal. I love making food that is both tasty and makes you feel good. I always use lots of fresh ingredients.
 How is the food you enjoy making representative of your personal style? My food is basically my heart on a plate. Just as I’m practical, yet quirky and fun, so is my food. I’m outdoorsy and active, yet girly; my food provides fuel for the body while delighting the tastebuds.
 
How has your blog changed since you started it? At the beginning I was all about healthy, healthy, healthy. If a food wasn’t totally 100% “healthy” and nutritious, I wouldn’t post about it. Now, I’ve realized that I can post whatever I want. If I make something delicious, I’ll post it no matter the nutritional value. A healthy life can include some not-so-nutritious indulgences.
When it comes to food, what is the most important thing? That it looks appealing! I know it sound superficial, but you eat with your eyes first, so if a food looks unappetizing you’re automatically going to not like it as much.
When did you start cooking? What’s your first memory of cooking, or being in the kitchen?
I’m pretty sure I was born with a spatula in hand! No really, every since I was itty bitty I’ve  loved to be in the kitchen. I was friends with these girls who lived two doors down from me and I remember when I would go to their house their mom would let us make muffins without a recipe. She would just put in some flour and sugar and let us add anything we wanted: cereal, marshmallows, whatever. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I think that is when I first realized how much I love experimenting and being creative in the kitchen. I was probably six at the time.
Who is your favorite chef/celebrity chef? What’s your favorite cookbook?
 I’m a bit of a food network junkie; I love so many different chefs. I’d have to say Emeril Lagasse though. He was the first chef I ever remember watching, when I was 8 or 9. I love the energy and life he displayed in the kitchen. He made me realize that the kitchen isn’t just a place to slave away, but rather a place to have fun and enjoy your time in.
I’ll be honest, I almost never use cook books. I could spend hours at Barnes and Noble perusing through cookbook after cookbook, but I never actually cook from cookbooks. I have issues following directions. I mostly use recipes as inspiration. Any cookbook with lots of bright, vivid pictures is a win in my book. Lately, I’ve been loving Peas and Thank You by Sarah Matheny; I’m no vegan but it’s fun to try new things.
 
What does cooking mean to you?
I see it as as an act of love. I may not go around telling everyone I love them, but I think the message is conveyed when I serve them fresh cobbler with homemade ice cream.

 
What else do you do, aside from cooking? So many things! I love to play tennis. I spend a lot of time at the lake and I love kayaking, wakeboarding, tubing, jet-skiing. Hiking and swimming are great also. I’ve recently started experimenting with photography. I’m on student council and help lead a youth group at my school. I’m also pretty involved at my church. Pretty much I’m one of those people who gets involved in every possible activity! I’ve learned that eating a nutritious diet helps fuel me for all of these activities!

Do you want to cook professionally? In some form, yes. The late nights and intensive labor of being a restaurant chef don’t appeal to me, though. I’d love to teach cooking classes, be a food writer or work on recipe development for a magazine. Nutrition research also intrigues me. Food will definitely affect my future career path in some form.
 
Why is it important for tweens and teens to get in the kitchen? I think it’s a great creative outlet. I’ve always been jealous of people who are really artistic as I can’t paint or draw to save my life. But, then I realized, I am artistic and creative! Food is my medium :)
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The pictures are of my Cinnamon Apple Crunch Bars (with peanut butter option) and my favorite parfaits. The recipe should be posted on GirlsLife.com within the next week or so. If you want it sooner, feel free to email me and ask for it.
When it comes to food, what do YOU think is the most important thing?

How would you describe the food that YOU make?

Feel free to answer any of the questions about yourself! I’d love to know more about YOU!

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My Favorite Muffins: The Choice is Yours


I’ve been holding back on you. I’ve never shared with you the recipe for my and my family’s favorite ever muffin recipe: Applesauce Spice Muffins. The name doesn’t allude to anything grand or special, but let me tell you these muffins are glorious. You’ll find yourself eating one and then another and, before you know it, ten muffins will have somehow found their way into your person. Tricky little guys these muffins are.

Oh and whenever we share these with anyone, they undoubtedly ask for the recipe. If I was the betting type, I would consider waging money that someone might just ask you for the recipe.

I decided to make them a little healthier. Now, you won’t find me trying to improve the nutritional value of a cupcake. Healthy cupcake just screams oxymoron to me. But if I can make muffins, perfect little breakfast pastries from heaven that they are, a little healthier, you can bet I’m going to do it.

I’ve decided to share with you both the original recipe and the “healthier” version. They are both wonderful and delicious. I won’t say they taste exactly the same, because they don’t. But I happen to love both of them. If you just can’t decide, make both.

Make these today. Save some for tomorrow – perfect way to celebrate Muffin Monday.

Family Favorite Applesauce Spice Muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup applesauce

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp cloves

Powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, add sugar, beating at medium speed; add egg, beating well. Add applesauce, mixing well. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients; add to creamed mixture. Fill greased mini muffins pans about 3/4 full. Bake for 14 minutes. Cool. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving/eating. Enjoy!

*batter can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks prior to baking as they’re best fresh

Extra Fueling Applesauce Spice Muffins

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of butter, softened.

1/4 cup sugar (I used blended sucanat)

1/4 cup honey

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups applesauce

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1st allspice

1/4 tsp cloves

Powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees

Cream together butter, sugar, honey, and 1/4 cup applesauce. Add eggs and  remaining applesauce, mixing well. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients; add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Filled greased muffin pans about 3/4 full. Bake for 14 minutes. Cool dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

*Both recipes make about 30-36 mini muffins

*It is correct that the original recipe has one egg and the healthified recipe has two. That is not done to improve nutritionally value, but it simply what worked in my experimentation.

Which muffin recipe will you try?

Are you good at making decisions?

I am not. Even little tiny decisions, take me forever and usually end with, “I’m good with anything, you decide.” But as bigger decisions loom in my future (hello college, career choices, etc), I’m realizing that little decisions such as what restaurant to go to or whether to do my English presentation on Powerpoint or Prezi really aren’t all that important.  Of course, in the instance of these muffins my inability to make decisions would surely come in handy. I’d make both and be better off for it. You should do the same (:

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Monday Matters

1. My brief lack of blogging is because I spent the weekend (err Wednesday through Saturday) in Keystone. My dad has a conference there, the basic theme for the event was “making Colorado the healthiest state.” There were a few sessions about nutrition and my dad invited me to attend snuck me into one of them. I’ll be discussing it more in a future post.  Look forward to that soon!

2. We climbed our first fourteener on Saturday! The atlitude + rockiness + steep incline made this a tough hike, but we made it!

3. I totally lied to you the other day when I said something about 61 songs. It was an accident. The number is actually higher. STOP JUDGING ME.

4. I start school in 11 days. Nooooooooooo. Summer reading, College apps, SAT stuff, and service hour sheets will be occupying my week. It shall be lots of fun (what is this, opposite day??).

5. I’m going vegan for the week. Actually, 5 days. The thing that is making it most difficult is I’m refusing to use any substitutes. No margarine, tofu, or soy yogurt for me. I’m sure if I was a long-term vegan I would use those things on occasion (except for margarine, I would NEVER cheat on butter like that) but I figure I can go without them for 5 days. I will be making lots of Mama Pea recipes.

Peas and Thank You: Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love

6. I head back to Texas a week from Wednesday. I’m going to die in the heat.

7. I have a super easy, tasty, healthy, breakfast to share with you.

Trail Tacos

Whole-wheat tortilla + natural pb + granola + honey + apple slices + cinnamon

Try ittttttttttt.

Seal with peanut butter (it help it stay closed!) and love.

Make ahead, store in the fridge, grab when you’re hungry.

Perfect thing to eat while climbing mountains, listening to teeny bopper music, or reading borrrring books.

Can you believe it’s August 1st???

Weekend Recap: 11 Things I Learned

This weekend some of my parents’ friends invited us to their cabin on Trout Lake which is near Telluride.

The view from the cabin

I learned a few new things this weekend.

1. Contrary to what spell-check says, jeeping is most definitely a verb.

2. Driving is better than riding.

3. A fish is a fish, no matter how small.

4. Having a fire in the fireplace in July is totally acceptable.

5. If you can’t find skewers for your shrimp/veggies/pineapple there’s no reason you can’t make your own by whittling some aspen branches with a pocket knife.

6. Wildflowers are oh-so-fun to take pictures in.

7. Sometimes it’s fun to go through rivers…

even if there is a bridge right next to you!

8. If you’re unsure if your cobbler turned out (baking at 10,000 feet certainly messes with things), top it with ice cream. No one will notice.

9. Melting snow is some pretty powerful stuff.

10. Gondolas are the best transportation method to take to church.

11. Painting in the middle of the street is totally acceptable.

What have you learned this weekend?

Don’t forget to enter the Newman’s Own Organic Giveaway

Back to My Roots

So let’s be honest, sometimes there are certain recipes I want to post, but I don’t because they aren’t healthy (<- I really hate that word). And if I were to mention an unhealthy (<- hate that word even more) food I feel like I have to make an excuse or justify eating said food. I know that it’s probably all in my head as you guys are like the nicest people ever, but I’m still sick of it.

I just want to make food that is good. Food that people enjoy. If I had to choose between something healthy or something delicious, I’d pick the delicious food every time.

You see, food and I go way back. When I was 6 or 7 I started a restaurant called “Train Depot.” The recipe was open around noon for lunch and again in the afternoon for snack hour. It even had menus. Keep in mind the only customers were my 3 older siblings (we were all homeschooled back then). I think the name came because the first time I “operated” the restaurant I served the food to “customers” dining in a train we made in our backyard out of the chairs from the kitchen table. My brother was certainly my most loyal customer. He would often order the “casadillas” or grilled cheese, two of our specialities. Side dishes included yogurt and apple sauce. For dessert my favorite thing to serve was Graham Cracker Suprise which involved graham crackers, peanut butter, and chocolate chips. Nevermind the fact that none of the menu offerings had more than 3 ingredients; it was something I enjoyed doing. I enjoyed serving my siblings and seeing how it made them happy when I made them lunch.

Flash forward a few years to when I was 9 or 10 on my parents anniversary. They decided to keep things simple and have a simple anniversary dinner at home. I begged to cook and serve them dinner. My mom and I compromised by picking up a Central Market Dinner for Two which I plated and served to them. But, I did get to make the dessert. I made Volcanoes (aka molten lava cakes) and topped them with raspberries and whipped cream before taking them out to my parents who were dining on the back patio. I was so proud of what I made and nothing made me happier than seeing my parents enjoying the dessert that I had made.

To me, that’s what food is all about. Sure it’s fuel and nutrition and all that good stuff, but ultimately it’s about bringing joy to others. I feel like in the past year or so I’ve gotten so caught up in making healthy food that I have strayed from what began my love for food. I’m still that little girl whose eyes light up when a new culinary creation turns out well and who enjoys nothing more than having someone else enjoy a dish she has made. I never wantthat to change.

So, in the future, I may post some not-so-healthy recipes. No shame. No excuses. It’s my blog and I can post about whatever I want. If you don’t like it, I’m sorry. But, there’s a lot of food that I enjoy that isn’t neccessarily healthy (depending on how you define the word) and I see that as no reason to stop me from eating it.

Sound good?