Healthy Whole Wheat Strawberry Chia Oat Muffins

Although it’s technically spring, Boston hasn’t caught up with the rest of the world yet, and still thinks it should be snowing. When I woke up to a cold house and a fridge in dire need of restocking, I knew I had to make some kind of hot breakfast item with whatever I had left so I didn’t have to leave the house.

We always buy a carton of strawberries for the week, and we still had a decent number left, but only in okay shape. Combine those with the oats and flour I keep on hand, a bit of almond milk and leftover yogurt, and voila! Some deliciously moist and not-too-unhealthy breakfast muffins.

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I forgot to put it in the picture title, but I added some chia seeds to the batter for extra protein. I am in love with chia seeds, but sadly my husband does not feel the same. He thinks they have a strange texture, and in liquids they do expand and remind me somewhat of slightly crunchy tapioca. I usually put them in my yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast, but if I bake them in something like pancakes or muffins, it disguises the texture and passes husband muster.

I’ve been experimenting with whole wheat flour recipes for baked goods, and this is the first one where I used no regular white flour at all, and still liked the texture! I’m really excited at how these turned out, and definitely would make again.

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For the muffins, Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, line a muffin pan with baking cups, or grease with kitchen spray. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Chop the strawberries.

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For wet ingredients, first mix greek yogurt and almond milk together until smooth. Add the vanilla and chia seeds, then the egg and coconut oil until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing until just combined. The batter should be wet but not runny. If too dry, add a splash more of almond milk. Then fold in the strawberries.

2015-03-21 10.19.23Once combined, scoop into the muffin cups so that they are just to the to the top. Here is where I like to add a secret ingredient. I sprinkle the top of each muffin with some raw sugar crystals. I use Sugar in the Raw Turbinado Sugar. It gives the muffins a nice sweet crackle and sparkle when they come out of the oven, just that extra something.

Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean or the tops are golden brown.

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If you used muffin cups, let the muffins cool for a few minutes before trying to take the papers off, otherwise they will stick badly to the paper. I ate these straight out of the oven with jam, then snacked on one later after they were totally cool. They were just as delicious and moist as when they were hot out of the oven!

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Whole Wheat Strawberry Chia Oat Muffins:

  • 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Quick Oats
  • 1 TBSP Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like it, i used 1/4)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 3/4 cup Almond Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 TBSP Chia seeds
  • 3 TBSP Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries

Makes 12 muffins.

For 1 muffin:

  • Calories: 152
  • Total Far: 5g
  • Total Carb: 25g
    • Dietary Fiber: 2g
    • Sugars: 14g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Vitamin C: 13%
  • Calcium: 6%
  • Iron: 4%

Cross-Over Knitted Headband: Free Pattern

This weekend is House of Cards binge weekend, and I’m already spending more time than is recommended in front of the TV. It’s also snowing (again) outside, and as much as people tell me spring is just around the corner, I’m still in the mood for cozy knits, hot tea, and soup.

And so, for the millionth time, I’m making an earwarmer/headband to keep toasty on my long commutes. In fact, it’s my commutes that gave me the idea for this cross-over turban style headband, since I’ve seen it worn by so many stylish ladies on the subway that I wanted one myself.

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I had some extra yarn left over from the last hat I made, and three House of Cards episodes later, I whipped up this headband. It’s fully reversible and mostly very easy, the only tricky part is getting the cross-over, but I’ll do my best to explain. For a slightly thicker version shown in blue, use the number of stitches in parentheses.

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  • 3 Size 8 Double Pointed Needles
  • Lion Brand Yarns Heartland in Black Canyon

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Cast On 24 stitches on one DPN (28 for a slightly thicker headband).

Row 1: Slip 1 knitwise *K2, P2* Repeat from star to last 3 sts, K3.

Row 2: Slip 1 Purlwise *P2, K2* Repeat from star to last 3 sts, P3.

Work in Rows 1-2 for a rib pattern until the band measures half of your head, for me that was 9.5 inches. At this point, you’re ready to work the cross-over.

Cross-over: Work in pattern for 12(14) sts then turn work, leaving 12(14) unworked sts on one DPN and use a third DPN to work those first 12(14) sts in pattern in the opposite direction to end. Next row, turn and work the same 12(14) sts again in pattern, so you are back in the middle of the work, and that half of your headband is now one row longer than the other half. This longer section will be crossed over. Next, (and this is the tricky part) cross the longer 12(14) stitch section over the shorter section, being careful not to twist, and transfer the the sts, starting with the last stitch opposite the yarn tail, onto the DPN containing the other 12(14) sts, such that the yarn is on the end of the DPN instead of the middle.

Next Row: Continue to work in pattern straight across the twist, taking care not to twist the the work further. Continue in pattern until the headband fits your head, for me, another 9.5 inches. The headband will stretch, so I usually make it a little tight: about 1 inch shorter than the true diameter of my head.

For the cast off, there are several ways finish. You can simply cast off and then sew the ends together, or you can try this alternative method which casts off and binds the ends together in one.

Cast Off: Use your third DPN to pick up 24 (28) stitches at the finished end of your headband, to which you will join the end you’re working. Put the ends together and hold the needles together in your left hand as normal, except you have two needles instead of one. Start your cast off by knitting through both the first stitch on your active needle and the stitch on the second needle containing the picked up stitches, so that you are knitting both together as one. Continue this way and cast off as normal, breaking yarn and weaving in ends.

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I could make this in so many different colors and patterns, and different thicknesses too. I know spring is just around the corner, but from here it sure still feels like winter! So until the snow stops falling, the binge watching and knitting cycle will continue. Happy Sunday!

Fuzzy Crochet Pillow Cover DIY

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With the snow making it difficult to go anywhere (even down my porch stairs) and a winter seeming like it will never end, I took a critical eye to the odds and ends of fabric and yarn I have laying around and tried to think of something to DIY.

When I was first getting interested in sewing, I was making pillow throw covers like crazy, mostly because they were square shaped and did a lot to brighten up a room. Fast forward five years (or more??) and I still have the same floral fabric covered pillows gracing my couch in severe need of a makeover.

Recently, I got a bunch of fuzzy chenille yarn that I thought would be great for some kind of fuzzy home accessory, like a pillow or throw blanket. The yarn didn’t have much stretch unfortunately, so after knitting a few rows I found it pretty difficult to work with. I decided to get out my hardly used crochet hooks and give that a go. I’m not the biggest crocheter, but I settled on crocheting a removable slip cover for one of my couch pillows.

While it soon became apparent that I didn’t have enough yarn to crochet all the way around the whole pillow, I dug up some fat quarters I had picked up ages ago at the fabric store, and it happened to be just the right size to fill in the back of the pillow. Here’s how it came out:

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As you can see, I added buttons to one edge, so the slipcover is completely removable. The black and white ikat fabric gives it some graphic boldness that stands out against the boring khaki that is our couch. A short tutorial is below.

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1. I began by chaining 55 loops (approximate width of my pillow) and then single crochet and double crochet rows until I had a square the approximate size of the pillow I wanted to cover. Any size hook works for this, but I used an I/9-5.5mm.

2. Next, I pinned the fabric to my crochet square, making sure my desired pillow fit inside first.

3. I sewed 3 of the 4 edges of the crochet piece to the fabric, then continued sewing along the last edge of the fabric to leave a flap that will be the opening for my pillow to fit inside and then fold over to close.

4. I found some buttons that matched the color scheme of the fabric/yarn and positioned four equally spaced along the fabric, then hand-sewed them in place.

5. Next, I single crocheted down the exposed edge of the cover, single crocheting a loop when I approached a button, so that the loops would hold the buttons in place and close the edge over the pillow i was about to put inside.

6. Finishing up, I put the pillow inside and looped all the buttons closed!

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I love combining fabric and knits, and I think this was a great starting project to get more comfortable with my new sewing machine. I also don’t crochet that often, so it was fun to do something different! Since the snow won’t stop coming either, I’m going to have to think of many more DIY projects to do so the cabin fever doesn’t set in.

What’s your favorite indoor activity?

Easy Reversible Unisex Beanie Pattern

With chilly January already here, it’s nice to have a couple warm hats in heavy rotation. I took a look at the ones I wear most, and I realized they are often the most simple, in muted colors that can be paired with almost anything in my closet. I am almost always in the mood to make hats, and while I have more than I can count hanging around the house, my husband had precious few he could just grab and go. That seemed like enough of an excuse for me to cook up another pattern.

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The great things about this hat are that it’s reversible, can be made in almost any color with medium to chunky yarn. It can be customized by adding a pom-pom to the top (or two!) and even made with stripes by alternating contrasting colors (of the same weight yarn) for each 6-row panel of checkerboard stitch. The possibilities are endless!


1 Skein Lion Brand Yarns Heartland in Black Canyon*

*alternative: any 5z/142g medium weight yarn of approximately 251yds

1 pair of size US 10 (6.00mm) double pointed needles, or equivalent circular needle (12 inch)

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CO= cast on

K2tog= knit two together

P2tog= purl two together

Stitch Guide: Checkerboard Stitch

Rows 1-3: K2, P2

Row 4-6: P2, K2

Repeat Rows 1-6 for pattern


CO 76 Stitches (19 stitches on 4 dpn’s) using the Long Tail Cast On method (Note: if using a circular needle, joining the ends might be tight, but it will fit).

Rows 1-5:  *K1P1,* repeat from * until end (Rib stitch). Continue for 5 rows or until work is 1 inch from CO

Next Row: Begin Checkerboard Stitch

Repeat Rows 1-6 of Checkerboard Pattern six times, or until work measures 8 inches from CO


Row 1: *K2tog, P2tog,* Repeat from * until end (38 sts remaining)

Row 2: *K1, P1,* Repeat from * to end

Row 3: *K2tog,* Repeat from * to end (19 sts remaining)

Row 4: *K2tog* K1. Repeat from * to end (10 sts remaining)

Row 5: Knit. Break yarn and draw through remaining stitches, tie off and weave in ends

I steal his hat to wear once in a while…

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Lemon Currant Scone Recipe

In the mornings when I’m feeling spry and I have time, I thoroughly enjoy making a decadent breakfast. This flies in the face of the healthy eating I try to do during the week, but there is something about weekends that just warrants a little extra fun. I put the coffee on and get cookin…with whatever I still have lying around the refrigerator before the weekly shopping trip. This morning I had some cream, a lemon, one single serving of plain Chobani yogurt, and a few eggs. Hmmm…Scones, anyone?

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These scones came out so delicious and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness and crunch, that both my husband and I marveled at my culinary success. I can follow a recipe just fine, but this one was one of my own design that wasn’t expected to turn out as delicious as it did. I simply had to share.

2015-01-17 10.57.43I ate mine with estate made honey, hot from the oven. What’s your favorite weekend brunch food?

Lemon Currant Scones:

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 6 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani 0%)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 8 TBSP butter, chilled
  • 1/2-1 cup Dried Currants
  • 2-4 TBSP light cream

Additional tools: parchment paper or baking mat, pastry cutter (optional).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. First, mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder) and zest the lemon into the mixture. Then in a separate bowl, mix the yogurt, egg, vanilla, and lemon juice. Cube the butter by cutting into small pieces with a sharp knife. I heard you can grate frozen butter or use a food processor to do this for you, I do it the old fashioned way. Then using a pastry cutter, cut the butter cubes into the dry mixture until it has a crumbly texture to it. You can also use your fingers to break up the butter until crumbly, but this might warm up the butter which will make your dough tough.

Finally, pour the wet ingredients along with the dried currants (or any dried fruit of choice) and fold in to mix. Here I eyeballed how much dried fruit I wanted, and this can be adjusted to taste. Avoid over-mixing, but allow a pliable dough to form. If your dough is too dry or the flour won’t mix in, add a few tablespoons of chilled cream a little at a time until the dough is knead-able: form it into a large ball.

Flatten the dough ball onto a baking sheet lined with Parchment Paper, so it forms a disc about an inch high. Then use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the dough into triangles. If you have a scone pan, you can skip that step. Bake for 20-25 minutes on the middle rack until golden brown. Eat hot from the oven!

Servings: 6

  • Calories: 401
  • Carbs: 44g
  • Total Fat: 18g
  • Protein: 9g

A Retrospective: My Top Wedding Planning Tips

Fresh from crossing the threshold from fiance to Mrs in 2014, I’m looking forward to my first year as married woman in 2015 and it’s safe to say things look a little different from here. Going from knowing absolutely nothing about weddings, to having planned and had my own (ten years in the making), it’s crazy how different I feel about it now! I was so completely overwhelmed when I started, that I was ready to give up and elope several times. But boy am I glad we stuck it out and had a great big party to celebrate! It was worth it.

10649856_10102958486236693_1545313371434746882_nHere is my perspective on the process from start to finish, from a wedding newbie starting from scratch, getting married in California and planning from Boston.

Overwhelmed: Where to Start? How about The Dress. I know it’s seems like a strange place to begin, how can you figure out what to wear if you literally have no other details? Well, it’s one of the only things you can do without a date. Most dresses can be altered to add or remove sleeves, for example, if you switch the time of year you get married. It’s also a way to ease in to the wedding world without spending money or making a big commitment, since most salons allow you to try on lots of dresses for free without purchasing right away, or at all.


Find a Venue before you pick a Date. We went through the process of picking our ideal season, best dates and times of year, but when we started searching for venues, that all went out the window. We found the ideal place: a historic walled garden in the heart of downtown old town Monterey, CA: gorgeous, affordable, central: booked two years in advance. They had ONE DATE left for the entire year: August 9th, which at the time, was over a year away. It was the place, we took it. That was after we told most of our friends we would get married in the spring. Oh well! The bottom line: most venues book so far ahead or have seasonal restrictions, that sometimes compromising when you can get married will smooth the planning process.

Invite only as many people as you can feed. It sounds weird, but it’s not a good idea to invite more people, and expect a certain number of “No’s.” Set an early deadline for RSVP’s so you can have a good idea of headcount well before the wedding, and then invite more people as a second tier if you have less than desired. Being underspent is much less of a shock than overestimating.


Have one thing that inspires you. For us, it was our cake. I posted about struggling to find a theme and a color scheme for our wedding ages ago, and how we saw a picture of a cake that gave us the inspiration to start planning. We decided to give that picture to the wonderful ladies at Just Cake and she did an excellent job replicating the original design and preserving our thematic inspiration.


Seriously consider a Wedding Coordinator. I thought it would be a waste of money, with a hefty pricetag and not much value. I decided to hire a coordinator for “Day of” services when it became apparent that planning from afar I would need some boots on the ground with experience. I used Yelp to find Patty Speirs of Every Last Detail. For those unsure of what “Day of” services entail, Patty actually began coordinating two months in advance to get everything organized, interfaced with all my vendors to coordinate set up and clean up, directed the rehearsal, timed the walking down the aisle and the flow of the day, and so many more things that I would never have thought of doing. It might be different for someone else with a lot of wedding experience, but for me, I was able to enjoy the day and be worry-free: a priceless experience.

The best planning resources.

  1. Google Drive: We kept all our spreadsheets here: guest lists, research on florists and venues, made it easy to access from anywhere and plan whenever I could regardless of whether I was on a phone or computer. Not only that, many vendors emailed us documents, and it was much easier to add them directly to a Drive folder, rather than printing everything out.
  2. Here Comes the Guide: Although this is only relevant for brides planning a California, Chicago, Hawaii, or DC wedding, it’s the most comprehensive resource for venues, vendors, pricing, etc, that I found that isn’t totally overwhelming and not user-friendly. It put together details about venues that I didn’t even know I should be thinking about, but having those things itemized gave me the outline of a mental checklist to keep in mind when I visited places in person.
  3. Evernote. I use my iPhone a lot, and this tool was the best way to keep checklists organized, updated, and synced across my computer, phone, and tablet. When something struck me I could just write it down immediately, and it would be in one place, and still everywhere I needed it. It came in most useful toward the homestretch, when there were so many tiny details to think about.
  4. Pinterest. While there is an epidemic or Pinterest-perfect wedding wishes and cliches out there, it’s still a good aggregate of styles, colors, ideas, and DIY’s. On Pinterest I was able to find some wonderful ideas that I made my own, such as the aforementioned cake. I also found my invitation vendor by browsing Pinterest: Elli, which is a unique collective of designers who make customizable wedding stationery so gorgeous, I wish they did more than just weddings!

If you’re planning a wedding, good luck! I’m looking forward to NOT having to plan anymore, and just revel in memories of a happy day!

Venue: Historic Memory Gardens, Monterey, CA

Catering: Grapes of Wrath Catering

Photography: Michael Keel Photography

Cake: Just Cake

Flowers: Kate Healey of Big Sur Flowers

DJ: RockBottom DJ

Wedding Planning: Patty Speirs of Every Last Detail


Healthy Weekend Brunch: Honey Quinoa Pancakes

I absolutely love experimenting with pancake recipes on a lazy weekend morning. Aside from waffles and anything with eggs, pancakes are probably my favorite breakfast food to both make and eat! I have shared a few other pancake recipes before, like Cherry Blueberry Chia Pancakes, and Chocolate Banana Protein Pancakes, but these are my favorite so far because they aren’t frilly with lots of add-ins (which you can do for any pancake, pretty much), they are basic and hearty and can be a good building block for lots of future deliciousness! The point of making these this weekend was to add a sweet breakfast counterpart to the fresh tart raspberries we got in our farm share this week.

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Unlike a lot of quinoa pancake recipes out there (I had no idea this was already a thing!) this one isn’t hardcore fitness-y carb-less gluten-free vegan (etc!) healthy. This is more about incorporating healthy twists into everyday food, rather than making sweeping changes. To make this recipe gluten free or vegan is pretty easy, just subbing the flour, using an egg substitute, and an oil instead of butter. My *husband* (I can say that now!) is lactose intolerant so we don’t drink milk, so this recipe uses Almond Milk, my favorite variety being an unsweetened Coconut Almond blend.

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  • 1 cup flour
  • 3-5 Tbsp Sugar (I used 5, but for a less sweet pancake, use 3)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I used Coconut Almond Milk)
  • 1 cup cooked Quinoa (1/2 cup dry + 1 cup water)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

First, I cooked 1/2 cup dry quinoa and 1 cup water on the stove-top for 15 minutes. Bringing the water to a boil, I added the quinoa and lowered it to a simmer, lid on, for ten minutes. Then I uncovered the quinoa for the last five minutes. This was just to ensure that the quinoa wasn’t too watery, but not so dry that the bottom became crusty. While it was cooking I mixed all the dry ingredients in one bowl, then the wet ingredients (except the honey) in a separate bowl.

When the quinoa looks about finished, mix in the honey. Then mix it together with the wet ingredients before pouring in with the dry ingredients. Mix until combined, then cook in a hot skillet with melted butter: flip, and enjoy! We ate ours with the fresh raspberries and tart homemade plum jam.

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