eat the cupcake.

This is Part VII of the “31 Days of Healthy Living” series.

You know…

If being a Registered Dietitian ever gets old…

If I ever go through some midlife crisis, desperately needing a change…

It’s okay.

I have a Plan B.

I’ll just move to the city and make an awesome living by selling cupcakes.  Easy Peasy.

Maybe it’s a little ironic that  two of my greatest passions in life are preparing healthy foods and baking cupcakes.

And maybe it’s a little ironic that I’m talking about buttery, chocolatey things during a “healthy living” series.

But then again.

Maybe it’s not.

My philosophy on health and food still stand firm, after all.

It goes along with what Michael Pollan so simply stated in his book.  “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly Plants.”

(I really wish I had said that first.)

I’d like to add to this famous quote a finishing line. “And when in doubt, eat the cupcake.”

In other words.

Find the balance in your life.

Eat mostly wholesome foods.  Lots of vegetables.  Plenty of greens and grains.

And then find the wiggle room for a cupcake now and then.

Embrace life.

Don’t let fear stand in the way of your dreams.

Be active.  Move.  Dance.

Sing at the top of your lungs.

Cry if you have to.

Try not to get hung up on hard-fast rules of what you can and can’t have.

And don’t feel that by saying “no” to your favorite foods all the time, that you’re actually being really, really good.

“Eat Food.  Not Too Much.  Mostly Plants.”

And when in doubt, eat the cupcake. 

HAPPY 54th BIRTHDAY, MOM!  You are the best and I thank you for being such an encouragement in my life!!

Love and cupcakes,


QUESTION: If you had to make a career change today, what would your new “dream job” be?  I’d be the owner and operator of a quaint little cafe shop.  With cooking and healthy living classes on the weekends.  😀


that little last bit of birthday.

My birthday has felt a little like a non-stop celebration for the past few days.

First, there was the indulgence at the Cheesecake Factory.

Followed by hiking Mt. Cannon with the family in New Hampshire.

And then yesterday, this lovely duo came over for an autumn inspired dinner, for that little last bit of birthday.

Oh gosh.

Three days of delicious food, being outdoors and enjoying the people I love most.  What a weekend.

But, apparently, birthdays can be exhausting too.  And this has nothing to do with Sunday’s hike (well, maybe a little.)  Which is why I decided to keep last night’s dinner perfectly simple.  Yes.  Simple, warming, hearty, relaxed and friendly.

I put together a simple cheese plate for some pre-walk munching.

I love pre-dinner walks almost as much as I love morning runs.

The day was chilling down when we arrived back home, and there were bowls of steamy vegetable soup and homemade honey whole wheat bread waiting for everyone (thanks to mom’s well-advanced preparation!)

And hot apple crisp with freshly whipped cream for dessert.

And then, as tradition would have it, Dad bought me a dogfish punkin ale for that very little last bit of birthday celebration.

Thanks to everyone for a fabulous birthday.  I am so blessed. 😀

Apple Crisp–moderated from the original recipe as seen in Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

This will quickly become your go-to apple crisp.  It’s a perfect way to use up those tart but delicious cortland apples which are absolutely wonderful right now.  I like to eat mine hot with a dollop of fresh cream, but others feel strongly about serving with vanilla ice cream.  You really can’t go wrong with either choice. Enjoy!!

  • 4-6 cups peeled, sliced tart apples (about 6-7 medium apples)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, softened
  1. Heat oven to 375.  Arrange apples in square pan, 8x8x2 inches, which has been coated in cooking spray.  Mix remaining ingredients.  Sprinkle over apples.
  2. Bake until topping is golden brown and apples are tender, 30-40 minutes.  Serve warm with cream or ice cream.
QUESTION: What is your dessert of choice?

A Hike in the Whites.

Thank you all so very much for the Happy Birthday wishes!!  You guys are the absolute greatest. 😀

Yesterday’s hike turned out more than fabulous.

It was one of those perfect New England fall days.

The morning air was crisp and cool, softened lightly with summer’s lingering warm breeze and sun.  There were leaves zig-zagging across the air with a comical sort of ease.  There were silent morning bikers, fellow hikers with their big goofy dogs, and the smells of pine and dirt and leaves.

Instantly, I felt peace.  Instantly, I felt home.

One of my life goals is to achieve and conquer each of the forty eight 4,000ft. mountains of NH.  It feels a little overwhelming, a little out of reach, but both my Dad and my brother have accomplished it, so I’m determined that I can to.

(My brother also completed the Appalachian Trail, which I’ll forever be in awe of!)

Climbing Mt. Cannon has made this the 11th.  A long ways to go, but I’m enjoying each step of progression.  The views at the top were absolutely breathtaking, and I’m so glad that I could enjoy such a fabulous birthday experience with the family. 😀

The hike was a toughy (i.e., very steep!) but the views completely made it worthwhile. 😀

When we made it down to the base of the mountain, we were all starving for food, and so we hit the local pizza shop.  Nothing beats a salty slice of pizza and an all-you-can-eat fresh salad buffet after a long day of hiking. 😉

My 24th birthday was unbelievably delicious and fun.

Yes.  The absolute, most very best.

QUESTION: Favorite autumn activity?

what I love about October.

You know what I love about October?

Besides the chilly mornings and warm afternoons.

Besides the dramatic change of seasons.  The dramatic change and pops of color.

Besides the (wonderful) valid excuse to eat oatmeal for breakfast and for dinner.  To warm up with, you know.

Besides being able to wear jeans and a cozy hoodie and a pair of sneakers for an afternoon walk.

Besides walking through crunchy leaves and feeling intoxicated by the delicious smells of pine trees and leaves.

Besides apple picking and farm stands and squash and all of those other deliciously wonderful things.


Besides of all that.

You know what I love about October?  (Hint: It has something to do with October 9.)

What can I say?  I like my birthdays.  Especially when they involve chocolate cheesecake mixed with chocolate cake and chocolate frosting and chocolate chips and chocolate syrup.

Not that I like chocolate, mind you.  At all.  Obviously.

My parents are such a blessing in my life (not just because of the cheesecake, although that was a definite perk..haha!)  I appreciate and love you guys more than you’ll ever know!  Thanks so much for a fun night out. 😀


I’m a little ahead of myself.  My actual birthday is really not until tomorrow, but I’ll be hiking in the White Mountains, so I figured I’d post pictures now before I’m all covered in sweat and dirt…ha.  I can’t wait to get up there for some October hiking.  The autumn months of New England are the best months to be outdoors.

On Monday, my sister and brother in law are coming over for yet another birthday celebration.  I’m honestly feeling a little like a spoiled birthday girl in this moment.  And.  I’m kind of liking it. 😉

QUESTION: How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

birthdays, ice-cream and fuzzy heads.

Happy 28th Birthday, Nicole!

(Somehow, we girls all turned up to Nicole’s party wearing purple, purple and more purple.  This was not planned! :mrgreen: )

Such sillies!  I absolutely adore these gals!!

Know what else I love?

Well.  Ha!  Besides all this lovin’ going on?


Yes.  I really do love everything about them.

And traditions.  Like having Swiss cheese burgers with sauteed mushrooms every (single) year, for as long as any of us can remember.


And pasta salads.  Can’t forget that now, can we?

Okay.  But really, aside from all the food…

…I love the simple joy of celebrating another year of life.

Another day.  Another moment.  Another breath.

Yes, that’s just it.  I love the celebration of life.

…and fuzzy heads, too.  But that’s besides the point.

Oh.  And icecream.  Did I fail to mention that?

Yet another tradition is that we have icecream sundaes on Nicole’s birthday.  Every.  Single.  Year.

Are you seeing why I love traditions?

From coconut to coconut M&M’s to crushed sugar cones and beyond.

But, like I said.  It’s really not about that.  It’s about the celebration of life and family that I love so much.  Well.  And fuzzy heads.

The rest of it?  Well.  It’s just the cherry on the icecream.


QUESTION: What is your most memorable birthday?