Monday, April 30, 2018

5-Ingredient Fudgey Butter Balls

I can’t stop making these protein balls! They’re so darn delicious and SO EASY to make. They seriously come together in, like, 5 minutes!

These protein balls were inspired by my love of chocolate and hitting my macros goals for the day. I’m definitely not a stickler for “the numbers,” but these babies clock in as a well-balanced, macro-friendly treat and, bonus, they’re so easy to make – just whip up a batch when the craving strikes!

Fudgy Butter Balls

  • 2 tbsp (28g) butter
  • 1 scoop (30g) chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  1. In a sauce pan on medium heat, melt butter and honey and then stir in chocolate protein powder and sea salt. Remove from heat and roll batter into 4 balls. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating.

I used SFH chocolate, but any chocolate-flavored protein powder will work.

Macros per ball: P 5 C 7 F 6

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Dear Mark: Coffee Questions

High Low High 26

Good morning, friends! Happy Monday to you!

As you probably remember, I love a good weekend High Low High blog post. They share both the high and low highlights from it. I always like to focus on the positive side of things, so there’s typically more highs than lows! 🙂 With that, here’s how our weekend went. And, of course, I’d love to hear about your weekend too, so feel free to share some highs and lows in the comment section below!

HIGH: Date night at Novara! Mal and I had such a nice time, and the food and drinks were delicious!

Dirty vodka martini with blue cheese and gorgonzola-stuffed olives

Truffle Parmesan Fries

Zucca Salad – roasted butternut squash, gorgonzola, dried cherries, baby kale, and bacon shallot vinaigrette

Affogato made with sea salt caramel gelato and espresso

Related: Remember when Tiffani Thiessen made her signature affogato for me? I always think of her when I have this dessert! 🙂

HIGH: An impromptu visit with our friends Marisa and Jeff. We stopped by their house after dinner to say hi!

HIGH: Saturday “gym day” followed by iced coffee from Coffee Shack. 

LOW: No donuts. Quinn got an Atlas Bar at the gym, and Mal and I went out the night before and we had plans to go out again later that night, so we passed. Next time!

HIGH: Having a helper for our weekly grocery shopping trip! Quinn was the “list guy.”

HIGH: Enjoying the sunshine! Spring has finally sprung at the end of April!

HIGH: Celebratory dinner and drinks for Marisa’s birthday at Crossing 9’s. It was the first really nice day in months, so the place was crazy busy, but fun at the same time. It made me so excited for summer! 🙂

HIGH: Sleeping until 7:42 AM on Sunday morning! It was easily the latest I’ve slept in months!

LOW: Falling asleep on the couch later that afternoon and not getting anything done. Ugh, naps are so annoying. Apparently, getting so much sleep the night before just made me want to sleep more?

HIGH: An awesome prep day, which left me especially excited for the week ahead. I’ll fill you guys in on the change I made, but I’m excited!

On the menu this week:

  • Mustard Chicken Thighs with Creamy Garlic Spaghetti Squash
  • Sheet Pan Shrimp & Veggies
  • Blue Cheese Turkey Burgers with French Fries & Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
  • Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  • Chicken Ole with Roasted Broccoli & Rice

Can you spot the pug in the photo above?

Question of the Day

Your turn! Please share a high low high from your weekend! 

P.S. There’s only one week to get my CNC leggings! Use code carrotsncake at checkout for 10% off! And be sure to enter my (new) giveaway on Instagram to win 1 of 5 pairs up for grabs! 🙂

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Adventures In The Arts

Mazen and I went to Hillsborough for a relaxing weekend with Grammie and Pea. (We left Thomas home for some me time and a huge garage overhaul!) Our trip had a few main goals: for my dad and me to attend a show and to see Grammie’s art on display.

A few months ago my dad, who likes every kind of music except country, asked me if I wanted to join him for a Nashville songwriter showcase at the Durham Performing Arts Center. I didn’t hesitate to say yes! Grammie took Mazen out on a date, and dad and I started ours with an early dinner at Antonio’s in downtown Hillsborough.

We shared this roasted vegetable starter as our “salad” course.


And I had a half portion of house-made fettuccini with a bolognese sauce for dinner. It was great!!

Before we left town, we went to a few of the art galleries open for Last Friday, including one where Grammie was a featured artist!

The dinosaur on the Hillsborough Riverwalk is my favorite!

She and Mazen were greeting visitors and enjoying the kids arts table.

Then dad and I departed for Durham.

Going to the DPAC made me wish we lived in a bigger city. I would love to go see some of these major Broadway shows, and I’m going to look up some of the performances at our high school and UVA to see if there are any coming up soon. We saw a lot of theater growing up and I miss it!

There was no photography inside the theater, but our show was great. We heard nine of Nashville’s finest sing the songs that they wrote that went on to become number-one hits. Songs like “Drink  On It,” “The Climb,” “A Little More Country Than That,” “All The Pretty Girls,” “Heads Carolina, Tales California,” and “Live Like You Were Dying.” My dad only knew one song, but I think he might like country a little bit more now!

We got home pretty late to find that Mazen had JUST gone to sleep. He was up at 6:30 the next morning and mom had to be up early for the farmer’s market, so we were all quite sleep deprived the next day! Luckily, we all fit in short afternoon naps.

Many things in the “new house” are new: the kitchen, the bathrooms, the bedding, but some things never change, like dad’s coffee preference and pot from the 80s. I accepted a cup of Folgers with an open mind, but gosh it was awful! It tasted like a coffee substitute beverage.

Breakfast was simple:

Followed by second breakfast – the last tablespoon in the jar.

We showered and dressed and headed to the farmer’s market where mom was. She sold 10 paintings! You can learn more about her artwork here. Each painting has a story.

Mazen “bought” this one for his room. The bird had decided to change the color of his feathers and is having trouble choosing a color.

After the market we went to Cameron Park, the elementary school where I started kindergarten 30 years ago (!), to meet my friend Becca, who was in my first grade class and has been a great friend ever since!

She brought her three girls (her oldest is almost taller than me!) and Mazen had a great time with them at the playground. The same dirt I played on when I was his age!

We walked home and had a picnic lunch on my parents’ porch.

There happen to be twin five-year-old boys and a seven-year-old girl who live right next door to my parents, so Mazen, who is not the least bit shy, went over and played with them for a few hours. He was thrilled and we were so thankful to the kids parents, who were also thrilled to have a new dynamic to add excitement to their Saturday. We could all sit on the porch and supervise.

Mazen came home later in the afternoon, exhausted, and we relaxed with some necessary screen time on the couch : )

Finally we set out for an early dinner downtown at Radius Pizza.

I had the above salad, which was so good with that truffle dressing, and shared this pizza with dad.

Afterwards, we went to West Hillsborough to try out Whit’s Custard that my friend Tiffany recommended. The place was happening!

Whit’s was kind of like a cross between Kohr Bros and Coldstone, and you could select any number of mixins to put in your base. I got the Bourbon Praline Pecan custard with heath bar and butterscotch! OMG.

We were asleep by 9pm and enjoyed 10 glorious hours before a 7am wake-up. I’m banking my sleep between now and October!

First thing in the morning, I set out on a run in search of coffee. I took a 1.5 mile route to get to Cup A Joe, the cutest coffee shop serving a delicious Ethiopian coffee! Delicious.

I sipped it on my walk home, which took me by the house I grew up in. I’d say my parents are 60% moved into the new house and are mostly sleeping there. The old house is unofficially on the market if anyone wants to buy an 185-year-old historic home in a charming southern town! We all love and miss the house, but I am very very happy to be sleeping at the new one. I promised them I would come visit more after the move now that they have adequate air conditioning, good shower water pressure, a modern kitchen, and mattresses from this century :  )

It comes with the matching playhouse from our childhood! (Admittedly, both houses are showing their age.)

Something from my childhood not showing its age is this toast press! My mom used to press smiley faces into our toast when we were little. We played some Monster Mash too. (I am still really good at it :mrgreen: )

I brought home two muffins from Cup A Joe and we shared these with bacon and strawberries.

We said goodbye to Hillsborough and G+P and hit the road to Virginia.

In the spirit of #keepingitreal, Mazen begged me to stop at McDonald’s for lunch. Pre-having-kids, I would have packed a sandwich or just had a late lunch when I got home, but as his mom, I want nothing more than to see this child smile from ear to ear. So, stop we did! (We have a rule that we only go to fast food on car trips, not making it any kind of regular habit.)

I had the Southwest salad, which was actually pretty darn good! I loved the black bean and corn mix on top, and the lettuce was a mix of romaine, mixed greens, and spinach and was better than some airport salads I’ve had in the past. Just sayin’! (Yes, I stole a few of Mazen’s fries.)

Once home, we were so happy to see Thomas and Gus! Thomas took Mazen to play putt-putt while I unpacked and wrote this blog post. Mazen got a hole-in-one on the first hole!

Hope you were able to get outside and enjoy the spring weather where you live!

from Kath Eats Real Food

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Weekend Link Love — Edition 501

4/22: Fitness & Eats + Why I’m Cutting Back on CrossFit

Hi, guys!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed a bit less CrossFit in my Stories. I know. It’s a big change for me. CrossFit is so, so, so fun, and I would do it everyday if my body could handle it. But, sadly, it cannot. So, I’ve decided to cut back and deal with some pretty bad muscle imbalances (due to scoliosis) and nagging injuries (due to old age). I recently found OPEX South Shore, a local gym that creates customized fitness plans, and we’ve decide to partner up to address these issues.

Even though CrossFit is a wonderful, well-rounded functional fitness workout, it’s not tailored to individuals and their needs. Basically, what’s written on the whiteboard is what I do – whether it’s good or bad for my scoliosis. However, in recent months (since going to physical therapy for my back), I’ve paid a lot more attention to the movements and what I’m doing in class (scaling, modifications), but I really need a more individual approach if I want things to improve.

Side note: The photo above actually makes my spine look pretty straight, but my scoliosis is quite severe. Around this time last year, I had an assessment done with a local chiropractor. He took x-rays and my mid-back curvature is 30% and Cobb angle is 42%, which, according the chiropractor, would need surgery if I didn’t “get away with” everything that I do. He works out with me at CrossFit and said he’s really surprised that I can do so much considering what I’m dealing with physically. Anyway…

A little backstory on OPEX… I initially heard about them after my friends Marisa and Jeff did an InBody assessment with them at the Lululemon in Hingham. (FYI: OPEX is there once a month offering free assessments.) They said it was really cool and explained how InBody is one of the more accurate measurements of body fat % as well as identifying muscle imbalances, which, of course, immediately caught my attention.

In recent years, my muscle imbalances have gotten worse and worse. It’s likely a combination of old age, CrossFit, running, not stretching, pregnancy, sitting at a computer all day, and a whole bunch of other factors. But, at the end of the day, it’s not getting any better – and the last thing I want to happen is for it to get worse. In the last year or so, I’ve also had a lot more annoying injuries (hip, back, calf), which are very likely related, so it’s time to deal with them.

Last week, I had my fitness assessment at OPEX, which was three 60-minute sessions and much more comprehensive than other ones I’ve done in the past. We tested all sorts of strength movements (squat, pull/push, overhead), blending, flexibility, and cardio capacity in order to establish a starting point for my personal fitness level. Plus, my coach wants to get the full picture with regard to my muscle imbalances. Let’s just say, I’m quite the case study with all sorts of weird active and inactive muscles!

So, there’s life after CrossFit, and I’m excited to get started and find a fitness regimen that truly works for my body. I’ll still pop into CrossFit once or twice a week (I can’t miss Saturday “gym days”!), but the majority of my workouts will be at OPEX. Keep a look out for updates in the coming weeks!


Monday – CrossFit

Tuesday – Fitness Assessment (part 1) at OPEX 

Wednesday: Rest 

Thursday: Fitness Assessment (part 2) at OPEX

Friday: Fitness Assessment (part 3) at OPEX

Saturday: CrossFit


Atlas Bars – I think I already gave these bars a shout out on CNC, but here’s another one! They’re made locally in Duxbury (but you can get them on Amazon), and they’re frickin’ delicious! I love that they’re made from simple ingredients and high in protein. And rumor has it there’s a new peanut butter flavor – obviously, I need to try it ASAP!

Chocolate Protein Balls – So damn good! I feel like these babies need their own recipe post!

Great shortcut for my One-Pan BBQ Chicken – Instead of chopping up bacon, use cubed pancetta!

Afternoon snacks don’t have to be boring! I recently started eating smaller versions of my lunch as a snack to keep me full until dinnertime. It works out well because it’s typically much more nutritious and satisfying than what I typically reach for. On the snack menu: Arugula topped with ground turkey, orange ginger fermented carrots from Farmhouse Culture and Annie’s horseradish mustard. Mmm, so many awesome flavors and textures!

Seeds on seeds – Loving this easy breakfast of tahini on toast with sunflower seeds!

Zucca Salad from Novara – Listen to this combo: roasted butternut squash, gorgonzola, dried cherries, baby kale, and bacon shallot vinaigrette! It was so delicious and definitely a combo that I want to recreate at home!

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