Monthly Archives: August 2013

Friday Finds – GameDay Edition


College football season is here, and D is beyond excited. 🙂  We’ll be able to watch the games on TV and cook some tailgate-ish food here in CA. But it’s just not the same as sippin’ on a coldie and eating BBQ in Stillwater.

Kayla and D tailgate 2011

The tailgate themed menu this week is slightly influenced by my birthday. My parents sent me an ice cream maker for my birthday, so I have to break that in. 🙂


Here’s the line -up. You’ll see recipes and pictures in upcoming posts.

Pretzels with Loaded Queso

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

My Mom’s Chocolate Sheet Cake (made by D, for my birthday, yay!)

Friday Finds

Best Big 12 college game day attire. Go Pokes!

Basic black tee, great scarf, jeans, flats and a pop of orange in the bag. If you can't wear orange you can bring it in this way. "Orange!" by lagu on Polyvore

If you have an early kickoff, these would make for a delicious game day breakfast.

Orange Sweet Rolls by Lemon Sugar

I love the polka dots on this pair of shorts. Cute for anything, really.

Caslon® Print Stretch Cotton Shorts

Hahahaha. . . oh man, these napkins got me giggling.

We Interrupt This Marriage Cocktail Napkins

Pretty necklace you can wear all season. They have a lot of southern states.

Oklahoma Necklace - Sterling Silver

Southern Living’s Tailgate Sipper looks perfect for a Stillwater game day.

Tailgate Sipper Recipe

Magnetic bottle opener. Neat idea.


I love these earrings, and everything else she has in her etsy shop.

13 DIY outdoor games. I love the Shishkaball Game.

group of people playing shishkaball

Have a great weekend! Go Pokes! 🙂


Chewy Cranberry Oat Bars


I don’t know about you all, but I love breakfast. I am most definitely not one of those people that can just skip over it as if weren’t there for a purpose. Coffee and breakfast, then we can talk. 🙂

It seems like most people like the idea of something quick and easy to eat on the go, which makes sense. D’s day starts at about 5:30 so he grabs his breakfast to eat at the office, proclaiming “it’s too early to eat.” Rather than having him buy his breakfast at work, I try to have something on hand for him. It used to be these butter and sugar packed little granola bars, but he said he wanted something different and lighter. I have tried a few recipes and altered them to his taste, but no dice. Until now.

Chewy Cranberry Oat Bars have done the trick. They aren’t sugar or fat free, but there’s no butter and the they’re full of oats! Win.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together 1 1/4 c. flour, 1/4 c. ground flax seed, 4 c. oats, and 3/4 c. each sugar and brown sugar. To that, stir in 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp salt, and 2/3 c. craisins. I used Cherry craisins and they were really good. Use whatever dried fruit you have!

DSC03045 DSC03046

In a separate mixing bowl, add 4 eggs, 1/2 c. canola oil, 1/2 c. applesauce, and a scant TBSP vanilla. Whisk together and add to the dry ingredients.

DSC03047 DSC03048

 Now mix it all together, and add to a greased 13×9 baking dish. I used 2 pie pans, as you can see below, because I wanted to cut them into wedges. Either way!

DSC03049 (1)

Once you have the dough evenly spread into the pan(s), bake in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes, or until the edges are starting to brown.


Cool completely and enjoy! If you aren’t going to eat them right away, you can wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the fridge or freezer.

DSC03058 DSC03066 DSC03064

Chewy Cranberry Oat Bars

1 1/4 c. flour

1/4 c. ground flax seed

4 c. oats

3/4 c. sugar

3/4 c. brown sugar

1 1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

2/3 c. craisins

4 eggs

1/2 c. applesauce

1/2 c. canola oil

1 scant TBSP vanilla


1. Add the first 8 ingredients to a large mixing bowl, and stir together.

2. In a separate bowl, mix the last 4 ingredients together, and then add to the dry ingredients.

3. Once the mixture is combined, add to a greased 13×9 pan or 2 greased pie pans. Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the bars are set.

Homemade Vanilla Syrup


(picture source)

My sophomore year in college I started getting interested in health and fitness, largely attributed to a little weight gain. I mean, an all you can eat meal plan, no sleep, too much sleep, etc…sheesh! Losing weight and getting healthy was a slow process I established by setting small goals along the way. I’ve kicked a ton of bad habits, but one habit that was hanging on until recently was artificial sweeteners, sucralose to be specific. I found myself using it so often, mainly in coffee. I’d use a huge scoop of sucralose, and then a tablespoon of syrup, sweetened by (drumrolllllll, please!) SUCRALOSE! 😉  I know, horrible. It can totally wreck your GI tract, screw with your metabolism and confuse your body. Here recently, I threw it all out.

After a few conversations and research, I decided it is totally NOT worth it. And I really don’t miss it. I am totally fine with scaling back on quantities, and consuming real sugar. The body appreciates it, too. So, if you’re still hooked on artificial sweeteners, check out these links below, and see if you change your mind. I’m not saying what’s best for me is best for everyone. . .make your own, educated decision. 🙂

Two things to keep in mind concerning your diet are eating natural things in moderation. If your great grandma wouldn’t recognize it, chances are it’s iffy. 🙂

So, now that I don’t get to use my Sugar-Free coffee syrup, I decided to whip up my own batch of the real stuff. Let me tell ya, if I would have had this recipe before now, I would have kicked those sweeteners a looooong time ago. This stuff is serious.

It takes about 3 steps and 4 ingredients. So easy!

Take 1 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup UNPACKED brown sugar, 1-2 TBSP good vanilla, and 1 generous cup water. Throw all of that into a small saucepan and stir it up.


    DSC03006 DSC03005


Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Once boiling, turn to low and let simmer for about 15 minutes.


Once the liquid has reduced by about a third, remove from heat and let cool. That’s it! If you put it in unique bottles and jars, it would make a great homemade Christmas gift. Put in a basket with some coffee and a cute mug. . .easy, easy!

Homemade Vanilla Syrup

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup unpacked brown sugar

1-2 TBSP good vanilla

1 generous cup water

1. Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool!. 🙂

Turkey Meatballs & Summer Squash


If you need to make sure your tear ducts are still working, this video will surely do the job. Anyone who knows me well, knows that this video pulls extra hard on my heartstrings. Grab a hanky!,,20728828,00.html

I did the Countdown Workout for the second time today, and my results were the EXACT same. I’m not upset with this, just really surprised. I thought there would be at least a small difference. In due time, I suppose! 😉


Last time D’s family visited, his dad made meatballs and summer squash, all wrapped up in one delicious casserole type dish. It was very, very good and I have been wanting to recreate it. I watched him make his version, and then applied a few “lighter” options to my version.


Start by prepping your veggies. I diced 2 yellow squash, 1 zucchini, 1 medium sweet onion (reserve 1/2 cup for later), and 2 cups sliced mushrooms (not pictured).

DSC02866 DSC02868

Now heat about 2 TBSP olive oil to a heavy pan and saute the veggies over high heat. Once you achieve a good sear, add a splash of red wine. Once the cooked off, turn heat down to medium and saute for only a minute or two. Set aside.

DSC02890 DSC02894

DSC02897 DSC02899

Meanwhile, take reserved 1/2 cup onion, 2 TBSP chopped chives, 1 TBSP fresh oregano, and 1 tsp each of garlic powder, salt, dried basil and Italian seasoning and add to a bowl. Feel free to alter the herbs to your taste!

DSC02875 DSC02871

DSC02870 DSC02883

To the herbs and spices, add 1.25 lbs of ground meat. My father-in-law used beef and sausage, and it was great. I used Italian ground turkey to save a little fat and calories. It worked fine. 🙂 Then add 1 egg, 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, 1/3 cup Parmesan, about 1 TBSP olive oil, 1/4 cup milk (not pictured) and pepper to taste. Mix together lightly.

DSC02884 DSC02885

DSC02886  DSC02889

DSC02888 DSC02887

The next part is pretty important to the meatballs coming out correctly. Form the mixture into balls about 2 inches in size, being very careful not to press too firmly. You want them to be as loose as possible. Personally, I would rather have a tender result at the cost of one or two falling apart. 🙂 They don’t have to be perfect. Over medium high heat, add just enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a skillet. Once heated, add the meatballs, moving around so that they are browned on all sides.



Once they have browned, remove them from the skillet and let rest while you finish the next steps.


Take one jar of your favorite marinara sauce. You could definitely make your own, as my father in law did. . . or you can buy it. Add about 1 cup of roughly chopped fresh spinach. For extra richness, add a couple tablespoons of heave whippin’ cream or half and half to the sauce. Give it all a whirl.

DSC02902 DSC02903 DSC02904

All that is left is the assembling! I used a 9×9 baking dish, sprayed it liberally, and placed the meatballs on the bottom.



Spread the sauteed veggies across the top of the meatballs, and then evenly distribute the sauce over the top of that.

DSC02909 DSC02910

Top the whole thing with Parmesan and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs. You’re all done!


You can either bake this puppy right away, or foil it up and freeze or refrigerate it until needed. We opted for the immediate baking option.


Bake at 400°F for about 45 minutes, or until mixture is bubbly and the meatballs are cooked through.


Eat it as a meal by itself, or serve with spaghetti or toasted garlic bread. Enjoy! 🙂


Turkey Meatballs & Summer Squash

2 yellow squash, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

1 medium sweet onion, diced

2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP chive. chopped

1 TBSP fresh oregano, chopped

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp dried basil

1.25 lb Italian ground turkey

1 egg 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1/3 cup Parmesean

1/4 cup milk

1 TBSP olive oil

pepper to taste

1 jar marinara sauce

1 cup fresh baby spinach, chopped

2 TBSP whipping cream or half and half

1. Heat olive oil in a heavy pan over high heat. Add yellow squash, zucchini, onion, and mushrooms. Once seared, add a splash of wine and cook off. Reduce heat and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, take the next 12 ingredients (chives through pepper) and add them to a large mixing bowl. Mix together lightly. Form into 2 inch balls, as loose as possible. Now, add enough vegetable oil to just cover the bottom of a skillet over meduim high heat. Once heated, add the meatballs and brown on all sides. Once browned remove from pan and let rest.

3. In a separate medium sized bowl, add the marinara sauce, spinach and cream. Mix together.

4. To assemble, spray a 9×9 inch baking dish with non stick and add meatballs. Next, add the sauteed veggies and cover it all with the sauce mixture. Top with Parmesan and bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and the meatballs are cooked through. Remove from the oven and let rest, covered, for about 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Move It Monday + Vegas Pics


Oh, Monday. You come with a list of things to do, don’t you? For us, grocery shopping is at the top of that list. I know most people aren’t too fond of this chore, but if I’m not in a hurry, I actually enjoy it. It’s a chance to explore new options and brainstorm new meals.

Do you enjoy or dread going to the store? 

Here is a look at my workout line up this week.


Morning Run – 3 miles


5 minute warm up

Countdown Routine (Total Rounds) Trying to shave time off of this workout compared to last week.


2 mile run

Core Circuit (detailed below)


Morning Run – 3 miles

Medicine Ball Circuit (see below)


OFF (my birthday!)


Active Rest (hike, walk, etc. . .)

25 minutes Yoga


Morning Run – 5 miles


Core Circuit

Seated Oblique Twists  (I used a 10 lb medicine ball) – 50 taps

V -Ups – 20

Bicycle Crunches – 50

Crunches -30

Scissors – 30

*Do each exercise back to back, with no rest. Once you complete each exercise, rest and repeat 2 times.

Medicine Ball Circuit

Squat Pull Through (if you can’t throw at first, just focus on one fluid movement, without letting go of the ball)

Push Ups

Lunge w/ Oblique Twist 

Sit Up with Ball Overhead


Glute Bridge

*Do each exercise for 45 seconds, back to back. Rest at the end of the circuit, then repeat 3 times. Keep track of how many reps you get for each exercise, and try to improve on that each time. 🙂

Vegas Pictures

Julie and I walked around the Bellagio on Saturday, and stumbled the Jean Philippe Patisserre store. We bought a couple chocolate covered strawberries, which were pretty good (the white chocolate in particular), but the star of the show was this chocolate fountain. Unfortunately it was behind glass, otherwise we would have had our heads under it in a hurry. I can’t remember exactly, but there was something like a TON of chocolate flowing through this 27 foot high fountain!




Also in the Bellagio, there was this ceiling full of blown glass. So pretty.


In between the chocolate shop and the blown glass ceiling, there was an indoor garden. The flowers were so pretty.





Here we are on the strip. 🙂 (pardon the iPhone pic)

Vegas kayla and D

Have a great day! 🙂

Friday Finds + Vegas Bound


We made it to Friday! WooHoo!! 🙂

We’ve been planning to go to Vegas for a while now, and it has finally arrived! I’ve only been to Vegas once, and I am excited about making it twice! We’re going with our friends Julie and Rob. They’re getting married this coming spring, which we are super stoked about. 🙂

Julie Adam Rob Kayla

Julie and I tend to have a good time when we are together. Usually it involves a stiff drink or two, live music, and corndogs.

Me Julie Corndog Me and Julie bach party

And really, Vegas won’t be that different. I imagine we’ll find a couple stiff drinks, and if we see a good looking corndog, we’ll probably go ahead and get one. 😉

Here are some things from around the web I found this week. Hope you like them! 

Great cutting board for a hostess or wedding gift. This cute little esty shop will make whichever state you need.

AHeirloom's Oklahoma State Shaped Cutting Board

Cute DIY gift basket for a newly engaged gal pal.

Homemade Engagement Gift Basket

Warm Apple Pie drink? Count me in. This would make a great cold weather drink. . .perfect for a fall tailgate!

11-21-12 Angry Orchard Cider

I’ve actually made these Strawberry Lemonade Bars. Perfect summer treat!

strawberry lemonade bar recipe

Great quote. I think being from the Midwest makes me extra fond of this quote.

Looks like work.

I love these jeans for the fall. The price? Not so much! 😉

Current/Elliott 'The Ankle Skinny' Jeans (Borough Destroy Wash)

Aren’t these stamps pretty? They’re vintage seed packets. I bought a book at the post office this week.

I love this quilt pattern. Might try this one…eventually. 🙂

The best slightly pink lip color. Stila’s Isabelle.

Color Balm Lipstick

A Texas Hill Country trip with a list of the top things to do.

4. Sleep in a Garden

My new favorite shirt.  hahahahaha.

Good Game (I Hate You)

I love this watch for the fall.

Best new album.

Hope you all have a great weekend! 🙂

Skillet Cornbread


Whew! It warmed up quickly this morning! Here are the results from today’s workout. My plan is to keep it up, and see how much time I can shave off. 🙂


The other day I was watching the Food Network, which is a cardinal sin when you are hungry, and saw a soup recipe. I didn’t really want soup, but it made me think of all the things that go hand in hand with it. Ya know, scones, breads, carb,carb, carb. . . .So I decided to go with Skillet Cornbread. Growing up, I always remember my dad making cornbread from scratch. We would usually have it with ham and beans and things of the sort, but my favorite way is with all of theses guys.


Understanding this is usually a cold weather meal, and that its 100°+ here, I decided to whip up a batch. 😉 I don’t have the recipe I grew up on, so I combined what I like about a few recipes and went with it. 🙂


Start by taking 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup of AP flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp baking powder and mixing it in a medium sized bowl.

DSC02695 (1) DSC02697 (1) DSC02698 (1) DSC02699 (1) DSC02700 (1) DSC02704 (1)

I used this course ground cornmeal, which gave the cornbread a bit of a chew, ya know? So if that’s not your thing, stick with a finer ground meal.


Add 1 beaten egg, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 TBSP honey, 1/4 cup sour cream, and 2 TBSP of melted butter to the flour/cornmeal mixture.

DSC02706 (1) DSC02708 (1) DSC02711 (1) DSC02717 DSC02718 (1) DSC02719 (1)

Melt 2 TBSP of butter in a cast iron skillet over high heat.  As soon as it’s melted, add the cornbread batter, and place into a 400° oven. If you want a thicker cornbread, you can use an 8 inch cast iron skillet, for thinner, use a 10 inch.

DSC02715 (1) DSC02720 (1)

DSC02721 (1)

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes depending on the cast iron size. You want a toothpick to come out clean, and the cornbread to be golden brown on top.

DSC02724 (1)


Now butter and jelly that puppy and there ya have it. 🙂

DSC02728 (1)

Skillet Cornbread

1 c. cornmeal

1 c. AP flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 egg, beaten

1 c. buttermilk

1 TBSP honey

1/4 c. sour cream

4 TBSP butter (2 tbsp melted)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Add the first 4 ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl and mix together. Add one beaten egg, buttermilk, honey, sour cream, and 2 TBSP melted butter to the bowl. Mix together.

2. In a cast iron skillet, melt 2 TBSP butter over high heat until very hot. Pour batter into skillet and bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on skillet size), or until a toothpick comes out and it is golden brown.