Pumpkin Roll + Hotel Gym Heaven

Exercise while traveling is always a little tough, but I’ve utilized the wonderful gym at my hotel for a few treadmill and weight sessions. Some of my favorite places to find new, fun workouts are from other fitness bloggers that I follow. This morning I took a treadmill workout from PBFingers website, and it definitely got my heart rate up and left me lookin’ like a sweaty mess.

The treadmill run I followed went like this

40-minute-treadmill-workout[1]

If you’re in need of inspiration for cardio, strength, or circuit workouts, I highly recommend PBFingers blog for that!

This lovely spread awaited me after I finished my run and weights workout…

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If you can’t tell, the stuff at the end of the table is a tray of cool cloths with cucumber slices. Am I in heaven?

While I have really enjoyed this week, I’m so excited to go back home and spend the weekend with friends and family.

Now for the good stuff…

A couple of weeks ago I saw a picture of a delicious and impressive looking dessert in a magazine, and mentioned to Derek’s mom how mouth-watering and pretty the dish looked, thinking this recipe was probably way out of my league, ability wise. You can imagine how excited I was when she told me she used to make pumpkin rolls every year, and would be glad to bake one with me one day soon. Since we’ve all been busy the past couple of weeks, we jumped at the opportunity of having a day without many plans on Saturday, and she invited me over to create this delectable treat!

Pumpkin Roll

For the Roll:

Beat 3 eggs on high for 5 minutes.  Add 1 cup of sugar gradually

Stir in 2/3 cups of canned pumpkin, and 1 tsp lemon juice.

Add to the mixture:

¾ cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp salt

Pour pumpkin batter into a 13×20 pan that has been heavily greased and floured. Top with ½ cup of chopped pecans, and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

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Prepare a kitchen towel with powdered sugar. Turn the baked sheet of pumpkin upside down onto towel and roll up and cool approximately 15 minutes in the fridge.

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For the Filling: Beat 1 cup powdered sugar, 6 oz. cream cheese, 4 tbsp. butter and ½ tsp. vanilla until smooth and creamy.

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Remove roll from’ fridge. Unroll onto flat surgace, and spread on filling. Re-roll and return to fridge to cool. Prior to serving, remove and slice!

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Not only was this dessert seasonal and mouth-wateringly delicious, I think it presents itself as a pretty impressive looking treat as well.

Happy Friday and happy fall, y’all!

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Sweet Potato Nachos Recipe

Hey friends Happy Hump Day! Tuesday was a long one for me, that started with hitting the snooze button instead of heading out for a morning run. I was a little disappointed in myself with the lack of discipline I had, but it ended up being for the best as I was able to run after work and attend a CXWorx class. My typical runs lately have been even paced and long, but since I was crunched for time yesterday, I completed an interval run that looked a bit like this:

Work out May 25

My plan was to complete the entire run, but I cut it short after the 30 minute mark because I was pressed for time!

Other than that, the day was all work and no play, and I know I will be worn out by the time the weekend rolls around!

I didn’t have time to cook on Tuesday and so we all had leftovers for dinner, as well as a giant salad filled with apples, grapes, almonds, and goat cheese. Not very fall-ish of us, but still delicious….

 

salad but I have a tasty recipe to share with you from Monday evening. We made ours with chicken, but the meat can easily be left out for a vegetarian friendly meal!  It goes a little bit like this:

Sweet Potato Nachos

Ingredients

4 sweet potatoes

2 chicken baked or grilled chicken breasts, cut into cubes

1/2 orange, red or yellow onion, sliced

1/2 cup reduced fat crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup reduced fat spicy pepper jack cheese, shredded (I used Cabot Jalapeno Light)

1 cup diced tomatoes

1/2 cup diced scallions,

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tbsp pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp vegetable oil

cooking spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°. Cut sweet potatoes in half length-wise, and place cut side down on cutting board. Cut sweet potatoes into wedges – about 6 wedges per 1/2 sweet potato.

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Combine sweet potato wedges, vegetable oil, garlic powder, pepper and red pepper in a large bowl, and toss to coat sweet potatoes. Spray a baking sheet/baking dish (or 2) with cooking spray, and bake wedges in a single layer for 15-18 minutes.

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Remove trays from oven, and top sweet potatoes with scallions, tomatoes, pepper strips, and cubed chicken breasts, if using, and return to oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven once more, and top with cheeses. Continue baking for 2 minutes, remove from oven, and serve immediately.

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If y’all try it out, let me know what you think!

Today I’m excited to get together with several friends for dinner – nothing like a mid-week wine, girlfriends, and food treat!

Berry Baked Oatmeal

Good Morning, friends! Happy Saturday! I hope you all had a fabulous Friday – I had the day off so mine was certainly nice. I spent the day at home with my parents, and all of us had the day off… What a perfect day for a special breakfast! Since we all love any kind of oatmeal (steel cut, overnight, you  name it…) I decided to make a baked oatmeal dish. Here is how it came together:

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup rolled oats (you can use any kind you like)

1  egg white

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons cinnamon

4 large strawberries, sliced

2/3 cup blueberries

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup sugar free maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix oats, baking soda, walnuts and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine almond milk, egg, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Stir until incorporated, and then fold into the dry mixture. Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray and pour half of the oatmeal mixture into the dish. Scatter in the blueberries, and pour remaining oatmeal mixture atop. Top it all with sliced strawberries and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown!

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I followed breakfast up with some serious procrastination, a 4 mile run that went like this:

super sweaty interval run

and finally some studying for both school and CPA. Once late afternoon rolled around, I went to a few stores with my mom to consider different dinnerware to register – she loves this part (who am I kidding, she loves every part) of wedding planning.

The rest of my night was spent with friends, dogs, and picking Derek up from the airport after he was in Dallas all week – I certainly was glad to see his sweet face! I don’t have much on the agenda today, which means I get to go with the flow and enjoy whatever comes up.. I love these kind of Saturdays!

Anyone have fun plans?

Have you ever made baked oatmeal and have a recipe you’d like to share with me?

Biscotti

One of my favorite confections has to be biscotti. Maybe it was because the word isn’t in English, but I was always too intimidated to try to make my own biscotti (Note: the language barrier in this case had no bearing on the difficulty of this recipe. I wish I could say the same for cannoli and French macarons, but I had no such luck there)…Until last summer, when I found myself in a 6 week post-graduation boredom-fest and attempted to cook everything under the sun. I stumbled upon a family recipe book and followed the instructions of a very distant zia (aunt) of mine.. What came out of the oven that afternoon was my favorite dessert I’ve ever baked. The name of this treat is actually pretty interesting, as it tells you what to do in the baking process. Biscotti is simply the plural for the Italian word biscotto which means “twice-cooked”. This is exactly what you do to the cookie – bake it twice!

Several batches and tweaks later, I came up with my own spin on the recipe. In case you’re interested, here it is!

Almond Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 1 & 2/3 cups of whole natural almonds
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 1 cup superfine sugar plus 1 tbsp for sprinkling on top of the loaves [I’ve also used a natural substitute, like Truvia, for half of the required sugar. 1/2 cup of sugar is equivalent to 12 packets of Truvia or 84 grams. http://truvia.com/recipes/conversion_chart ]
  • 2 eggs [ I’ve also had success with 1 egg and 2 egg whites ]
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract

[Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper]

Coarsely chop the almonds into uneven pieces. (I put mine in a doubled-up gallon size Ziploc and hit them with the back of the ice cream scooper.. There’s definitely not an easier way, right?)

Mix flour, sugar (or substitute), baking powder, cinnamon, and chopped almonds in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla extract until incorporated, and slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Use your hands to completely mix together to form a firm dough.

On your covered cookie sheets, divide the dough into 2 long, thick, “loaf” shapes (about 2 inches wide each). Sprinkle each with a pinch of sugar or brown sugar, then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden and firm.

Remove the loaves from the oven and let cool for several minutes. Reduce oven heat to 320 degrees F. Cut the loaves into 1/2-inch slices, and place the biscotti cut-side down on the cookie sheets. Bake for a remaining 15-20 minutes until dry and crunchy. Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!