5 Ingredient Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Along with everyone else in the world, I enjoy the fall season. I definitely would not say it is my favorite season, and the main reason I like it is well duh…APPLE SEASON. But nonetheless,  I still get the pumpkin bug.

So with the fall weather settling in this weekend, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to unleash the pumpkin beast.  First things first, we splurged on some treats at  Trader Joe’s and bought Pumpkin O’s and just maybe some pumpkin ice cream. I mean what could be better then a gluten-free cereal with more sugar and less fiber then is really desirable to start off the morning? But hey, I have to say it is delicious!

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While eating our pumpkin O’s  we were pondering what to take to a fun dessert potluck. Well I was pondering and Chris was telling me something about Notre Dame football… Any who we decided on making some pumpkin cupcakes and I knew just the ones to make. These cupcakes are  easy, quick to make,  taste delicious, and are super festive!

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Super Simple

Gluten-free Pumpkin Cupcakes

Yield: Makes 15 moist, delicious, you-better-keep-away-from-your-husband cupcakes.
  • 1 box gluten free cake mix (we used betty crocker, because we had it in our pantry)
  • 1 can of pumpkin (we used Aldi brand because it was $.79, boom)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice seasoning
  • 2 tsp vanilla
Frosting
  • 1 8 oz package neufchâtel cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick softened butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

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Steps to get you to pumpkin spice heaven
  1. Preheat oven and place appropriate halloween (or fall) themed cupcake liners in your muffin tin (or grease pan thoroughly)
  2. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and blend for 1-2 minutes until everything is fully mixed together and smelling like Thanksgiving.
  3. Scoop batter into muffin tin. It makes around 15 muffins (sort of an odd number, but then you can eat a few and then bring them to a gathering and no one will know!)
  4. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean!

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Frosting
  1. While cupcakes are cooling. Whip together frosting by combining the powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. FYI this is half of a typical cream cheese frosting recipe that I finds provides the perfect amount of frosting. If you like a 1:1 ration of frosting to cupcake you will need to double the frosting ingredients.
  2. Frost cupcakes and dust with pumpkin pie spice, if you’re fancy like that.
  3. Eat.  p.s. if the cupcakes aren’t cooled completely they have a tendency to stick to the cupcake liners, but once they are cooled it shouldn’t be a problem!

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Happy Tuesday Everyone!

~Alyssa

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WIAW Washington D.C Whirlwind

Hey Guys! Sorry I keep taking some long breaks over here on the bloggity blog. But I’m back with a life update after a quick weekend visit to Washington D.C. Sadly we did not run into the pope, we flew in on Friday after he was already in Philadelphia (or New York?). But anyway everywhere we turned there were cut outs of the pope which made me really happy!

IMG_0818 (2)On Friday we flew out of course with an iced pumpkin spice latte (half the pumpkin) in hand. Once we arrived in D.C we went our separate ways. Chris met up with his friends from Notre Dame for a bachelor party and I headed out to meet my college roommate and BFF Abby!

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Friday Night Abby and I had some margaritas and some much needed girl time! I love this girl and spending uninterrupted time with her to catch up was just what the doctor ordered. Such a blessing in my life!

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Saturday we went to Alexandria and walked around the waterfront and stopped at the farmers market. Of course I had to buy some honey crisp to snack on, I mean I can’t walk passed a honey crisp and not buy one.

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We met up with her family for a bbq before heading to Arlington for dinner and some drinks!

Sunday rolled around and we picked up Chris from his festivities and headed to mass and brunch.

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That pretty much brings us back to Monday and here is What I Ate, because I could not keep my phone alive long enough to capture a fun day in D.C (need a new phone!) I will continue to broadcast what a day looks like for an almost RD in Minneapolis.

Breakfast: Pumpkin oatmeal with apples on top. Full disclosure this was made by the husband and 100% delicious!

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Am snack: Gluten-free pumpkin, applesauce muffin. These were not made by the husband, and they need a bit of work.

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Lunch: Leftover Cauli-mashed potatoes and bbq chicken with a side of honey crisp apple. I did not get a picture but here is a pic from the walk I took on my lunch break!

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Pm Snack: The BEST chocolate smoothie/shake! 1 cup milk, 1 spoonful of cocoa powder, 1 spoon full of chunky pb, and one frozen banana. Yummy

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Dinner: Taco salad with mexican quinoa and black beans. Nothing new there.

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Dessert: half a caramel apple and some tea!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

WIAW Labor Day Edition

Hey Guys, so this past week I was upgraded from crutches to das boot! Never has a 20 pound boot felt so good on my foot. I will admit I was a bit apprehensive when I was released from the splint, stuffed into a boot, and expected to let go of the crutches and walk free. But never fear I eventually limped along and since then I have progressed to a somewhat normal-ish walking gait.

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With my increase in mobility we traveled to the State Fair on Friday where I indulged in some french fries, apple cider, and maybe a bit of mocha frappe. It was HOT and everything cold sounded great.

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Which brings us to Labor Day.

The morning started with a 2-mile walking “workout”. It took me 44 minutes but hey I did it. After Chris finished his 8 mile run and my work-out envy had calmed down, we sat down to egg sandwiches and apples!

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Then after doing some studying with an iced caramel latte in hand, we did some shopping and then headed to Chipotle for an early dinner.

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We finished the day off with some homemade coconut brownies, cribbage, tea, and some Everybody Loves Raymond. Wow we sound like 90 year olds.

And there you have it an exciting labor day in the life of the Hammitt’s.

As always thanks to Jenn from peasandcrayons for hosting.

~Alyssa

 

WIAW Crutches Edition

Hey guys! While my life has slowed down considerably due to crutches there is also another important milestone that I recently reached. As of yesterday, September 1, 2015 I am now Alyssa Hammitt, MPH!! Woo! Oh my goodness I am so excited to finish this program and definitely learned a lot in this jam-packed 2 year craziness.

But Anyway not to get sentimental, but here is a picture that my cohort snapped on Monday after we finished our presentations. These women are some of the kindest, most generous, and passionate people and I am so glad I went through the program with them!

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After all that sentimentality…here is the food part.

Here is a glimpse into the life of a recovering bunionator. Sunday seems like a great place to start.

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8 am: wake-up and take a shower (p.s. showering is the worst). Balancing on one foot while getting into and out of a slippery tup leaves for a lot of opportunities to fall. So far there has only been one casualty…

9am: Mass. Of course we were late because everything takes longer with crutches, and let me tell you, you can’t inconspicuously crutch into a church.

10:15 am: Starbucks! Iced Coffee with 2 pumps of hazelnut and 2% milk is my jam!

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10:30-12: Crutch 4 blocks to and from the St. Paul Farmer’s Market…so SWEATY. But hey as my husband says no one can stop this (almost) Dietitian from getting some veggies. We did have a giant Sweet Tango apple at the market to hold us over.

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12:30: Breakfast is served (Finally). We were both starving and inhaled some oatmeal and berries!

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5pm: Potluck with my cohort and the new incoming students. Sadly no pictures taken of this great spread. I mostly stuck to vegetables as you never know when gluten can pop into a dish that is unlabeled. Oh and I had like 5 of these cinnamon rhubarb muffins Chris graciously made! They are soo good!

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8:30 pm: Secret Dairy queen run after leaving nutritious dinner. Reese’s blizzard hit the spot and helped me to carbo load for my presentation the next day.

Have a great Wednesday!

~Alyssa

Bunionator No More!

Life update, this past Wednesday I had bunion surgery.

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How did this happen? Am I a 90 year old?

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So my problems with my trusty dust bunions go waaaayy back through my collegiate volleyball career, through my high school sports days, and into my early childhood. I think my first memory of the dangers of beginning bunions were my good old days of gymnastics. I think I was about 7 yrs old. My sister was in gymnastics and was really good so obviously I wanted to do it. Everyone remember Shawn Johnson…yeah so did I, and I was nothing like her, in fact I was pretty darn terrible. But back to the point…I would complain to my parents that my ankles would hurt after gymnastics and they thought I was just weak-minded (in fact they still do). BUT it turns out that I had flat feet…womp womp. Besides hurting my ankles from lack of support we learned later in life that flat feet lead into bunions. I got my first orthotics in 9th grade, which I seldom wore, and then my bunions started really hurting my last couple years in college.

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In college, I finally listened to my parents and started buying sensible (ugly) shoes and wearing my orthotics, but by now my genes and carefree attitude had already down the damage. I got through 3 years collegiate volleyball days with lots of ice and the nickname bunionator. I’m not joking there was a poster that was given to me with my number and that glorious nickname.

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Why Now? Skip to the current days, after training and running 2 half marathons, it was just time to bite the bullet and have bunion surgery. So I patiently waited until I was done with my internships and pretty much graduated from my program.

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After surgery: I will be on crutches for 2 weeks then hopefully transition into a boot. The pain was pretty bad the first couple days but the narcotics were worse, so I tried to wean myself off of those pretty quickly. The worst part is the immobility and lack of being able to carry things around.

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Exercise: As of now I do a lot of sitting, but I do try to get outside to go for a “walk” everyday. I am always breathing and out of breath and my mom just rolls her eyes at me as I hobble along. Keep in mind these blocks end up being around 2 blocks there, rest, and 2 blocks back.

I will keep you all updated as I progress and heal! I have a 5k scheduled for the end of October and we shall see if I am walking or running it.

~Alyssa

6 lessons in 6 months

So I have now officially been married for 6+ months. And during these 6 months I have learned many things about Chris and about marriage and using this profound knowledge I have made  a simplified list of 6 things you need to know to survive your first six months of marriage. Well I made 3 rules and Chris made 3 rules.

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Alyssa’s 3 Rules

1. Always sleep with background noise. A loud fan is our method of choice. If one of you is a light sleeper and one of you has some snoring  (he calls it breathing, I call it snoring) problems, background noise is key. Always remember sleep is crucial to living a happy life.

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2. Make Dinner Together. This goes off the concept of limiting phone time and making quality time a priority. Chris is gone so often during the week for work that on weeknights we both have our own separate routines. So when he is around I find myself distracted by social media, because that is my habit to keep me occupied while he is away. So now we have phone time-outs on evenings when we are both at home, and we always make dinner together.  We use this time to talk about our days, laugh, sing, dance, clean (if you’re Chris) and do a little bit of cooking. This uninterrupted time has quickly turned into one of my favorite parts of the day.

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3. Pray ALL The Time. Living together with someone new and expecting your lives to seamlessly flow together is not going to happen. Now throw in stress from school and tons of traveling for work and you have a hot mix of emotions (90% of them mine) and the only way to get through it is to turn to God and constantly pray. I pray for Chris all the time  and I pray for me to a better, more selfless wife. Sure we have our moments, we are humans, but with God on our side it’s easier to not sweat the small stuff.

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Chris’s 3 Rules

*Written by Chris*

1. Be okay with clutter. Oh man is that a tough one for me to handle. It’s really not that I’m a super clean person, but I definitely like things neat and organized. So when I’m using something, once I’m done, I put it back right away or clean up. Whereas Alyssa tends to leave a lot of stuff on the floor, such as clothes, school work, and BOBBY PINS (the worst). This just builds up long enough until a mass clean session is necessary. I still struggle with this one, but I’m learning to accept things being a little more messy. Although, in my opinion, she could totally accept things being a little more organized 🙂

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2. Consult the wife when grocery shopping. So once upon a time, I’m all like I’m going to be nice and go grocery shopping for us. I’ve never been a big fan of grocery shopping (which I believe stems from going grocery shopping with my dad and my grandpa. They know EVERYBODY and grocery shopping takes 2 hours every time because they’ve always got to visit. Small town problems). Well, I didn’t appropriately shop for all the correct items this one fateful day. My lovely wife was not too pleased. But I also feel like she was being especially hard on me because of this whole dietitian/nutritionist/gluten-free thing she has going on. Nonetheless, from that point on, I consult the wifey during grocery shopping excursions…but I can still get away with a package of Oreos now and then.

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3. Compromise! All in all, I would say my lists really comes down to compromising on many things. Whether it be what workout we’re doing for the day, what activity we want to do for the day, or being okay with clutter (shiver). Really that list can go on and on. But as for one recent example, football season is coming up (woo!!!!!). Which also means fall is approaching. Alyssa and I just had a discussion that for each sporting event attended, we must also go to an apple orchard. Alyssa loves her apples, and I love my football games. Of course, doing these things is way better together (unless it’s grocery shopping), but being able to compromise on things is extremely important.

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So there you have it, marriage advice from the newly weds! If you are recently married or a veteran I would love to hear some of your secrets for marriage!

~Alyssa & Chris

No vegetables for 5 days WIAW

Where have I been and What have I been up to for the last month? Good question. Simple, abbreviated answer in the past month I have:

  • Camped for 3 days with the extended Wappes Clan at Cascade State Park
  • Traveled 45 miles in 5 days in the Boundary Waters
  • Spent quality time with my SISTER (twin)
  • Played Beach Volleyball in a 2 Day Tournament
  • Finished my LAST nutrition internship
  • Defended my Master’s Project
  • Prepped for foot surgery that is TODAY!

Clearly that is too much to recap in detail, so we will skip right to one of the super fun parts! Last week I ventured to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA). And had just the greatest time. My sister, Sara, flew in from Orlando and it was Chris’s first time in the boundary waters. The crew was: Captain Loran (my dad), my uncle Dan, my aunt Theresa, my cousin Brendan, my sister, my husband, and ME! Such an amazing group of people to spend 5 days in the wilderness with!

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It all started on Wendesday when we left our group campsite with our whole extended family at 7 am to head to Sawbill Outfitters. We had 2 out of the 3 canoes, but rented one canoe from here. Because we were going straight from family camping to the BWCA we had to be ultra prepared which was more than stressful for some of the members in our crew. For my sister who flew in from Florida and went straight to camping for 10 days with no bags packed…yeah she wasn’t worried.

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What’s a WIAW post without the food, so let’s get to it. We packed all our food about 4 days before the trip. Yes, you heard me right, a food pack chalk full of processed, packaged foods for our delight that had no chance of expiration.

The Planning Process: After a couple of boundary waters meetings we devised a loose menu of shelf stable, light, durable, calorically-dense, somewhat healthy, and of course gluten-free (if one person is, then the rest suffer ). With our ideas in hand we set off to the grocery store, where we did not stick to the outside of the store and where we did not fill up the cart with fresh produce. WHAT? It took me awhile to pull myself together, hah not really I was secretly rejoicing in all the salami that was to come!

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This picture shows the majority of what we ate in the boundary waters…yes that is 8 salami logs.

And here is what a day in the boundary waters looks like:

Breakfast (~7:30): Granola bar, you had a choice of a Larabar or a Kind bar. There was enough for 1.5 bars per person so we did some sharing. AND Tang. Nothing like  the sugar-filled orange drink product to wake you up in the morning.

4-5 miles of canoeing and portaging

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Snacktime ~10am: My family kept joking that we didn’t need a watch because right at 10 and noon on the dot my stomach would tell me it was snack and lunch time. Snack was GORP and beef jerky. The night before we all made our GORP bags from peanuts, almonds, raisins, dark chocolate chips, dark chocolate m&m’s,  candied almonds, and granola.

3-4 miles of canoeing and portaging

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12:30-1:30 pm Lunch: Lunch was 2 logs of salami, babybell cheese, and Mary’s Gone crackers for me or hardtack for everyone else. And Kool-aid. Lots of kool-aid.

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1-2 miles of canoeing and portaging to our nightly campsite

5:30pm Dinner: Our dinners included spaghetti with dehydrated beef, chicken and rice, chill w/ dehydrated beef, and macaroni and cheese with tuna. And of course some dinner kool-aid.

11892105_10100507414294882_1867954271664779349_nDessert Gorp: 8pm before the bear bag went up.

I already miss it so much and wish I could go back!

Question of the day: What is your favorite camping food?

Obviously I have deep love for salami…enough said.

Thanks for reading. I’m hoping to check in much more frequently because I have missed the blog and you all so much!

As always thanks to Jenn from peasandcrayons for hosting.

~Alyssa

WIAW: Hello Again

Why Hello!

I have been a little MIA lately, but don’t worry I am still up to my usual shenanigans and eating well with a side of CHOCOLATE! Also I greet you today with all the wisdom of a 25 year old. My birthday is a well over a week ago now, but you know I still am celebrating this whole birthday month thing.

My birthday was just wonderful. My parents came up a couple days before and we went out to dinner and then on my birthday we had friends over for brunch (WAFFLES) and then Chris made me dinner (tis the time honored tradition). He also got me tickets to Mary Poppins so we enjoyed a great night out at the Theatre. Oh and I drank all my free coffees for my birthday so I was a bit hyped the entire weekend.

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And surprisingly, I still have been eating although I haven’t been posting it (weird).

So here is my day of eats from this Monday:

Breakfast: Overnight oats with as many peaches and strawberries as I could stuff in the tupperware. Confession I had to bring a second tupperware for my extra strawberries to add in after I had made some room and ate part of the oats.

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Snack: Banana (unpictured, but I’m sure you can picture it)

Lunch: Cucumbers, broccoli, with spicy hummus (aka the BEST ever) and left over turkey spaghetti made with butternut squash noodles.

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Snack: Dark Chocolate Almonds

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Dinner: Tuna avocado salad

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Dessert: Cantaloupe…and then cake (made by Chris aka the cake whisperer)!

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Thanks as always to Jenn from peasandcrayons for hosting this fantabulous linkup! Have a wonderful day.

Question of the day: Are you a baker or Cooker? In our household Chris does the baking and I do most of the cooking.

~Alyssa

Rhubarbra would be Proud.

Rhubarb

It’s Rhubarb Season…..And last year (or maybe 2 years ago) Chris and I went to a rhubarb festival where we got to meet the famous rhubarbra. And boy let me tell you, she would approve of the recipe I am about to share.

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yayy!

And when life gives you rhubarb one MUST make copious amount of gluten-free baked goods stuffed with rhubarb and varying accomponying fruits. First on the list is rhubarb muffins! They are not too sweet and perfectly cinnamon-y!

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I must not tell lies, so I do admit that Chris is the mastermind behind these AWESOME muffins. So thank him and make lots of muffins.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 3/4 cup  sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3  tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp  cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  •  8 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 cups -diced rhubarb
  • 1 cup diced fresh strawberries
  • dash of cinnamon and 2 spoonfuls sugar

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Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° and grease muffin tins.
  2. Combine dry ingredients: flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Mix together until fully combined.
  3. In kitchen-aid bowl place yogurt, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. You can also whisk ingredients by hand, if you are into that.
  4. Set the kitchen-aid to low and slowly add dry ingredients to wet mixture.
  5. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in rhubarb and strawberries.
  6. Divide batter into muffin tin, it should make about 12 muffins.
  7. Sprinkle top of batter  with cinnamon and sugar mixture (dash of cinnamon and 2 spoonfuls sugar mixed together)
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until muffins turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

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**Insider scoop: If you are not going to consume the whole batch within the day I would freeze the leftovers and then simply pop them in the toaster oven to capture the freshly baked essence.

Question: What is your favorite type of muffin? Back in my childhood days we would frequent this bakery that sold strawberry cream cheese muffins with a pocket of cream cheese in the middle. They were SOO good. Too bad the bakery no longer exists…and they aren’t gluten-free either.

WIAW from the Husbands Point of View

So I decided to switch things up a bit this week, to add a little pizzazz to your Wednesday. I will be walking you through yesterdays eats while my wonderful husband is providing some (semi-truthful…just kidding) commentary. You’re in for a wild ride today. So buckle up and follow along. Ok it’s not that crazy, but still, get excited.

Also my writing is in black, and Chris’s writing will be in red. Now you are fully prepared.

IMG_3682And I’m getting back into the blogosphere! It has been awhile, but my lovely wife of over 6 MONTHS now, asked if I wanted to write a post about WIAW. Obviously, any time she gives me a chance to make some snide remarks about her, I’ll do it. And it is especially enjoyable to do so with a platform such as her blog. 

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Anyway, I couple things about what is to follow. First, I’m not totally sure of what she eats during the day unless she tells me (even then, you’ve got to take what she says with a grain of salt…but not literally…Alyssa puts the kibosh on adding salt to things). Second, this will be my interpretation of what she eats. Ok, moving on.

Breakfast: The usual oatmeal with peaches and strawberries eaten at my desk. Why mess with a winning combination?

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One thing I’ve noticed, is that there is always a “current obsession.” These last couple weeks have been peaches and iced coffee. I mean, I can’t totally complain because I find both of those items absolutely delicious. I know that coming up pretty quick the next “current obsession” will be strawberries and probably raspberries. But much more importantly, come the end of the summer and into fall we get into apple season. I’m sure there will be several blog posts about those bad boys. Alyssa is ultra obsessed with apples. And we will be going to many an apple orchard during this obsession. It’s probably Alyssa’s favorite time of year. Not to mention that right around the corner is also pumpkin season. She certainly falls into that trap every fall.

Am snack: homemade granola bar and black raspberry yogurt diluted with plain greek yogurt (or else it is too sweet).

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Another thing I know is that Alyssa will also tend to consume oats in some way, shape or form during the day. I’ve been really into steel cut oats lately, which we had Saturday morning. But Alyssa also just made some granola bars that have oats. We had oatmeal for breakfast Tuesday morning (topped with peaches and strawberries). We had overnight oats for breakfast Monday morning. I’m fairly certain oats will always be a mainstay.

Lunch: Cheesey chicken and broccoli leftovers, plus a taco salad! The dressing is salsa, greek yogurt, and a pinch of taco seasoning (the secret, salty ingredient).

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Side note: Alyssa probably had a taco salad for lunch (another usual). And because I’m around this week and not traveling for work, meat was consumed for dinner. I won’t focus on what else we had because veggies are just so boring compared to meat.

PM snack: Peach! Oh and some almonds, pretzels, and dark chocolate that I have been refilling.

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Finally, I’ve noticed recently that she takes this little jar with her to work all the time. Seeing it at face value, you would think “oh, that looks like a delicious snack” as it consists of some plain almonds, dark chocolate covered almonds, and pretzels. However, I began noticing that this little jar tends to come home with just the plain almonds sitting at the bottom. And then the next day she fills it back up again with dark chocolate covered almonds and more pretzels. I find it quite peculiar that there always seems to be the same number of plain almonds every day and that there is always a base layer of said plain almonds. She thinks she’s being all sneaky, but I’m onto her. What a rascal.

Dinner: Roasted vegetables, plus spaghetti made with gluten-free butternut squash noodles purchased at the farmers market topped with my father-in-law’s homemade meat sauce.

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Dessert: Chocolate chunks from Trader Joes.

Hope you enjoyed the post! Have a good 4th of July weekend!

-Chris

As always thanks to Jenn from Peasandcrayons for hosting!

~Alyssa