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SXSW Guide & Playlist

Festival season is upon us! So many awesome music and entertainment festivals coming up – starting with one of my all time favorites, SXSW (aka South by Southwest). I get a lot of questions about shows and which festivals I recommend, so I thought it would be fun to start by doing a breakdown of SXSW and my “pro tips”.

SXSW is a massive festival/conference filled with music, networking, and inspiration in Austin, Texas! This year’s event includes expanded access for all badge types with a ton of new opportunities for learning, networking, and discovery. There are a ton of different way’s to experience SXSW and there’s a ton of information online. I highly recommend starting by browsing Pinterest. There are tons of tips, recaps & ideas. But where do you begin?

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Hot Date: Quick, Cheap & Easy Fried Rice

Easy Fried Rice

So it’s not a huge surprise that I’m all about simplifying recipes. It’s not that I’m even lazy (ok sometimes I am), it’s that I don’t have the time or energy to go to 4 different grocery stores, scour the nooks and crannies of a farmer’s market for a locally sourced herb, or spend 2 hours mincing and pureeing ingredients. On the other hand, a lot of “quick” recipes and frozen foods aren’t the greatest for you. The other day I was having a major craving for PF Chang’s Fried Rice. I had a few options: drive 20 minutes to PF Chang’s and spend $$$ on some Fried Rice, go to the grocery store and buy something frozen that had a laundry list of weird ingredients and intense levels of sodium, or make some myself! 

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Hungry Girl’s Club: 5 Ingredient Mini Brownie Bite Delights

Brownie RecipeYou’ve probably eaten a brownie or two in your lifetime. Everyone has a preference: gooey, chewy, oozy, soft, and so on. You may or may not already know this, but cocoa powder is actually cocoa liquor  stripped of fat. So when you bake with it, you have to add your own “fat and sweetness” to your concoction. That’s a fun little science lesson for you.

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Healthy Girl’s Guide: Protein Shake Muffins


I don’t know about you, but I get HANGRY after I workout. Like I get home and start barreling through the fridge looking for any carbs to shove in my face.

Normally, I’m not ready for my actual breakfast/lunch until about an hour after. But what you eat after hitting the gym is the most important food you eat all day. Muscles store excess energy in the form of glycogen and protein and, when you work out, the body burns fuel from your pre-workout meal, then it breaks down glycogen stored in muscles. Within a few hours of working out, muscle protein drops and muscles begin to break down. However, within a 45-minute window, your body is the most responsive with absorbing carbohydrates and protein.The main goal is to get those carbohydrates and protein back into your body. I’m going to note here: I’m not a dietician or a personal trainer. BUT, this works for me. I live a pretty healthy lifestyle, watch what I eat, workout regularly & splurge on pizza every once in a while.

That being said, protein shakes are my best friend. I recently stumbled upon Svelte Protein Shakes. Not only are they delish, but they’re also GF, Vegan & Organic! They also only contain 6 grams of sugar which is awesome. A lot of protein shakes are loaded with sugar, which kind of defeats the purpose. 

Anywho, the other day I was making muffins for the holidays and came up with a genius (self diagnosed) idea: add my protein shake to my muffin recipe! Basically, I swapped out the water & added a vanilla protein shake. I also used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) or medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).  MCTs are smaller and more easily digested by your body, so they do not get stored as fat!

These muffins are super easy because they use the box mix of your choice. But they’re extra special because they have the magical protein your body needs after a workout! I bring one with me and leave it in the car so I have a snack on my drive home from the gym!

If you’re vegan & looking for an egg substitute, I recommend using either 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds or 2 Tablespoons Baking Soda + 2 Tablespoons of White Vinegar.

You can use any muffin mix, even Gluten Free! 

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Lazy Girl’s Guide: Silk Nog Pancakes

Silk Nog Pancake Recipe

There was a long period of time (the majority of my life), where I didn’t “get” eggnog. It sounded gross seemed like such a weird concept. 

So what is eggnog? It’s basically milk thickened with eggs & sweetened with sugar. You can also add vanilla, liquor, etc. In concept, that sounds kind of gross. Wrong. It’s delicious. It tastes like sweet, creamy, Christmas in a glass. Sadly, I don’t drink milk. Weird, right? No, it just makes me feel sick. So, anytime you see me drinking coffee it’s normally Soy or Almond Milk. That being said, it’s rare I can enjoy a glass of eggnog without being totally wrecked. Until now…because Silk just released a line of Nogs. That’s right, you can now get Original Nog (Soy), Almond Nog & Almond Nog Pumpkin Spice. Dairy Free and Delicious!

So you can obviously drink nog by itself and be totally set. OR… you can step your holiday baking up a notch and substitute the nog of your choice into a recipe! 

I kicked my pancake game up by making SUPER simple, super tasty Nog Pancakes! All you need are 3 Ingredients: Silk Nog, Bisquick & an Egg.

This recipe is perfect for an easy holiday breakfast, or if you’re just in the mood for a warm, toasty breakfast! Even better, you can make a single serving or multiply it for more people. That’s right, SINGLE SERVING & only 3 INGREDIENTS!

For one person, mix 1 cup of Bisquick, 1/2 cup of Silk Nog (I went with Original, but you can use Almond or Pumpkin Spice too) & 1 egg. This will make 2 large pancakes or 3 medium sized. If you want to make more for friends/family, just multiply the measurements by the number of people.  Mix all of the ingredients well, until all f the clumps are gone. 

Heat a small to medium sized non stick pan or griddle over medium heat. Pour your batter into the pan. When you see the bubbles start popping in the batter, you’re ready to flip! Then heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute (or until cooked through). I recommend serving with whipped cream or maple syrup!

Silk Nog Pancakes

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk . The opinions and text are all mine.

How To Not Ruin Thanksgiving / A Recipe Guide

Ahh it’s that time of year… the holidays are coming!

The weather is cooling down, stores are starting to sell holiday flavored beverages, people are arguing over Starbucks cups, Christmas Trees are being sold ridiculously early… I LOVE IT. Minus the whole insanity over the Starbucks cup. I mean, c’mon… IT’S A CUP. 

I’m currently taking a break from the insanity that is my work day & just lit the most amazing new candle. In case you’re wondering, it’s a Voluspa Goji Tarocco Orange  scent. I don’t know what that means, but it smells like cranberry sauce cooking in my office and I love it. I decided to start prepping for Thanksgiving (crazy, I’m not planning the day before) and created a super nifty Thanksgiving Recipe Pinterest Board. Feel free to browse it for some awesome recipes I found. I’ll be adding more over the next week in case you’re looking for inspiration.

Whether you’re in charge of pulling off a whole spread for your family and friends or were  delegated a plate to bring, I’ve got you covered. Here are my TOP PICKS for Thanksgiving this year. I plan on trying these recipes out and devouring them in a couple of weeks! 

Honeycrisp Apple Sangria


 Because let’s be real… I’ll probably have a cocktail or four to start the day off right.

Bacon Wrapped Tater Tot Bombs & Slow Cooker Spinach Dip

IMG_5293editSpinach Dip

 Don’t think I forgot about appetizers. I’ll definitely have a a cheese plate, some chips & salsa and a few new recipes on hand. You have to start the day expanding your stomach to prepare for the main event, duh.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce


 The fact that I can throw a bunch of ingredients into a crock pot and come back 8 hours later to a masterpiece is a selling point. You could easily make this the day before too.

Green Bean Casserole

Green-Bean-Casserole-2-smCover vegetables in creamy sauce and fried onions? SOLD!

Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes 

Garlic-Parmesan-Mashed-Potatoes-and-gravy-1I’ve got my mashed potato recipe pretty dialed in (and I might share it with you soon), but these look pretty darn tasty. I might have to double up on my mashers.

Pumpkin Bread Rolls


 Try to tell me these aren’t the cutest rolls you’ve ever seen. 

Maple Glazed Turkey with Bacon

Maple-Glazed-Turkey-with-Bacon-and-Sage-Butter-Thanksgiving-Recipe-by-Five-Heart-Home_700pxHorizNo explanation needed. Just take that in for a second.

Candied Sweet Potato Casserole

sweet-potato-casserole-7Hold the phone… this is served with dinner? So you’re saying I get dessert during dinner? Done and done.

Salted Caramel Apple Snickers Cake

Salted Caramel Apple Snickers CakeObviously I’ve got dessert covered, but I had to share this. It looks INSANE. Maybe, just maybe… I’ll incorporate some of her ideas into a new Revenge Bakery recipe!? 

Lazy Girl’s Guide: One Pot Lasagna Soup

ONE POT Lasagna Soup

This past week has been insane. I’m FINALLY feeling better after a nasty flu. It literally made me feel like I’d been shot with a tranq dart. You know, like Will Ferrell in Old School?

I’m so excited and grateful for all of the support I’ve gotten during the last Cookie Cake sales. The Loaded Caramel Pumpkin Spice Cookie CakesΒ sold out and now it’s time to get bakin!

In the meantime, it’s finally feeling like winter in San Diego. Meaning it’s been under 60 degrees. We actually got something called rain (that’s what it’s called right?) a few days ago! It immediately put me into nesting/hibernation mode. And if there’s one thing that takes cozy time to the next level, it’s soup.

I Β made one of my all time favorite soups this week and wanted to share it with you because:

1. It’s delicious

2. It’s a one pot meal… meaning it’s SUPER easy to make

3. It’s a healthier/lighter take on one of my fave meals… LASAGNA!

Alright, so what’ s Lasagna Soup you’re asking yourself. Well, it’s like a deconstructed slice of lasagna in a bowl… but in soup form. It almost tastes like pizza to be honest.

It’s also really to adjust to different dietary restrictions and preferences. You can make it vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, or low calorie.

Here’s what you need:

– Tomato Pasta Sauce, 24 oz jar (I chose a roasted garlic onion one, but pick whichever one sounds good or is on sale)
– Italian Sausage, about a pound (I used Jennie-O Spicy Italian Turkey Sausage, but you can use ground beef, pork Italian sausage, vegetables or a mock meat… whatever you like)
– Chicken Broth, 32 oz (I went with low sodium, you can also use vegetable broth)
– Lasagna Noodles, 4-6 (You can also use wheat or gluten free)
– Cheese (I used Ricotta, Skim Mozzarella and Parmesan)
– Sourdough Crips (I bought mine, but you could make them, serve it with bread or leave it out for a lighter option)

Throw your meat into a large pot. Over high heat, cook thoroughly. If you’re using sausage in casings, you’ll want to remove them. Be sure to use a spatula or spoon to break up the meat into crumbles.

After the meat has cooked, add your pasta sauce & chicken broth. Lower the heat to medium high. Break up your lasagna noodles into small bite sized pieces & throw them into the pot. I suggest using 4 – 6. The less you use, the lower calorie the dish will be.

Put a lid on the pot and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the noodles are soft.

To serve: Garnish with the cheese or cheeses of your choice. I recommend a tablespoon of Ricotta because it gives it the creamy texture & flavor of lasagna. I also added about a tablespoon of mozzarella & parmesan. If you’re looking for some extra substance, Β serve it with sourdough crisps or bread for dipping.

Easy Lasagna Soup

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Live Life to it’s Fullest Soyrizo

Breakfast BurritoAs the great Mario Batali once said,  “You have to live life to its full chorizo.” 

I’m not going to waste your time with any small talk this morning. I’m tired and hungry and am trying to give myself a pep talk to go to the gym.

Breakfast, as many of you may already know… improves memory and concentration! Eating a healthy, substantial breakfast also helps improve your metabolism and can help you maintain/lose weight. Since your metabolism slows down when you’re asleep, eating a healthy breakfast not only jump starts your day, but your metabolism!

So where am I going with all of this? I eat an egg every morning. Eggs can get kind of boring though. Especially when I’m trying to keep it light and avoid a bunch of cheesy goodness. One of my FAVORITE breakfast ingredients is chorizo. Sadly, chorizo can be kind of greasy and heavy. So during the week, I usually swap my chorizo out with (drumroll please)… SOYRIZO! To be honest, it tastes amazing. If I made you breakfast and didn’t tell you I was using a soy based “meat”, you would have no idea. I don’t eat it because I don’t eat meat (because I love me some meat), but I love the taste and that it’s a lighter option. 

One great thing about this recipe, is that it’s easy to increase quantities. The basic recipe is for one, but the more eggs you add, the more people you can feed. Or, you can make a few ahead of time and freeze them (just pop it into the microwave for a quick breakfast). You can also serve the scramble as is, no tortilla if you’re watching your carbs.

On that note… it’s time for me to eat my burrito and get my day started!
Soyrizo ScrambleSoyrizo Burrito

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Call Me Basic: Skinny Pumpkin Spice Granola

Mmm... Pumpkin SpiceSummer is coming to an end, which basically means the summer heat is just getting started here in San Diego. It’s been so ridiculously hot that I have been steering clear of the oven and parking myself underneath the air conditioning vent. 

Unless you live under a rock, you’re probably aware of the Pumpkin Spice frenzy taking over menus, stores & Pinterest feeds everywhere. Oddly enough, I learned recently that while Pumpkin Spice is ‘all the rage’, no one buys actual pumpkins anymore! Apparently everyone just buys the pie filling or pre-flavored/scented products now! I have to admit, I’m guilty too! I don’t buy pumpkins because they end up rotting and filled with fruit flies (gross). Not to mention I don’t really want to slave over a giant pumpkin, trying to cut it open with one of my semi-sharp bread knives. 

So for all you Pumpkin Spice nuts, I came up with a super easy (and wait for it… HEALTHY) Pumpkin Spice Granola recipe! 

That’s right… SKINNY PUMPKIN SPICE GRANOLA! I’m actually eating it as I type… and there are little granola flakes getting stuck in my keyboard. Mmm.

Here’s the breakdown: You only need 8 ingredients and the recipe is vegan and potentially gluten free (if you pick up some gf oats). I don’t really care about things being vegan or gf, because I’ll eat all the meats, cheeses & bread in the world… but for those who have dietary restrictions, eat your heart out!

Pumpkin Spice Granola - Ingredients 1

Alright, the first step is super easy. You’re just going to combine all of your dry ingredients in a big bowl. Mix em all up. Done.

Pumpkin Spice Granola - Ingredients 2Then… you’re going to combine all your ‘sticky’ ingredients in a sauce pan. Heat them up over low to medium heat until they’re all combined and warm. Then, pour the sauce over the dry ingredients and stir it all up.

I recommend using 2 baking sheets, that way everything cooks evenly. Spread the granola mixture out on your sheets and bake at 340 F for about 25 – 30 minutes. You should also rotate the pans halfway through so everything cooks evenly.

Pumpkin Spice Granola!Pull them out, take a giant breath in and smell that pumpkin spiciness. 

Let it all cool and then store in an airtight container. If you want to look extra hipster, go the Pinterest route and store them in some mason jars. Even better… make a few batches and give them to your friends! 

Delish Pumpkin Spice Granola

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