Category Archives: Baking

Blood Work, Parties and Pictures…

My pain level has decreased significantly since my last post, and while I’m not 100% better, I feel well enough to exercise again and do the things I usually do.

My weekend started with friends and colleagues at a work party Friday night when I went to the Sizzling Summer Soiree, our biggest fundraiser of the year. We’ve been looking forward to it for months, and finally being there felt like a huge success.

Michael and MeMy boyfriend, Michael, was my date for the event (obviously,) and we arrived early with a car load of sushi that had been donated for the event. When we arrived he went to work as if he had been a part of the team forever. I love that about him. He’s incredibly intelligent, bright and successful, but when a job needs to be done he gets it done. No job is beneath him because he values everyone, which is such an attractive characteristic.

He already knows the folks I work with because we’re all friends, and they’ve known him since before we were really dating. The cool thing is that he would have worked just as hard or strangers. His parents definitely raised him right. Swoon.

Stacie and KenlieStacie, who has become one of our aforementioned close friends, worked tirelessly to make this event happen. I know others did too, but I saw the work she did first-hand. We definitely all breathed a sigh of relief as we saw the event come together, then she and I took our first selfie. Seriously, we’ve had some great times together, yet we had never taken a picture? We’ve talked about that a few times.  Aren’t we cute?!

After we took our first one we took a few more with our friends and awesome co-workers. (Why not?! We were all feeling snazzy without our ponytails and gym clothes. Haha We were only missing Haley, who looked gorgeous and sparkly from head to toe! )

YMCA Friends

Michael even took one of us that was not a selfie. Who doesn’t love a good group photo?

The Cannery New Orleans

Following the party Saturday and Sunday were the quietest days I’ve had in quite a while. Michael flew out of town for work early that morning and landed as I was waking up for the day (at 7:30 am) while I ran errands around town before returning home. I typically fill my weekends with activities and events,  but I chose to take a much needed rest from all the things.

I did some writing, cooking, reading, baking and shopping. I also watched Hillary and Kaine as she announced him as her VP and  picked up a ring that I had resized. (More on the ring later.)

I had such a quiet and relaxing weekend that I almost felt guilty about it, then I was reminded that sometimes I need that. I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled lifestyle tomorrow, but it felt good to have some rest after the last few weeks. I can’t say that I’ve been busier than usual, but I do have to say that everything feels more tiring and challenging when I don’t feel well.

Thankfully, I’m on the mend. I’m seeing my doctor again on Tuesday, and I hope to have a lot of questions answered pertaining to weight-loss surgery.

Oh, and my blood work came back normal. They tested my A1C (Yay! No diabetes,) thyroid, cholesterol and a long list of other things, and it all looked fine apart from my weight and blood pressure. (Both are higher than they should be, but I’m working on it.) I figured I was probably okay when I didn’t hear back from them immediately, but it’s comforting to know  that I’m alright for the most part anyway.





Friend Makin’ Mondays: Cooking Habits

Why do the weekends always seem to go by so quickly?  It’s Monday again, and you know what that means, right? It’s time for FMM!

(Update:  I’m not sure why this post didn’t appear on my blog last night.  I thought I clicked publish when I finished. Sorry for the late start!)

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Cooking Habits


1. What is your favorite meal to prepare at home?  Right now my favorites are Caesar salads with chicken and egg white omelets.

2. Do you like to experiment in the kitchen, or do you prefer to stick to the basics?  I like to experiment.  I’m more inclined to bake than cook, but I’m not afraid to throw things together.  Sometimes that works out well.

3. What is your favorite cookbook? Hmmm…Hungry Girl has some great recipes!  I also love and believe that Gina should publish a cookbook.

4. Do you have any tricks to share that help you reach your fruits and veggies goal for the day?  I eat salads that are filled with veggies and not a lot of other stuff.  My lunch today will consist of 6 cups of romaine, a serving of cucumbers, grape tomatoes and 28g of light Caesar dressing.  I also put one to two cups of spinach or kale in my smoothies when I make them.

5. What’s the most interesting thing you made last week?  I made pretty cupcakes for my friends and classmates.  I’m pretty proud of myself for eating a mini cupcake as opposed to eating more of them.  They were boxed up and sealed as soon as they were made so they weren’t as tempting.  =)

Vanilla tie-dye, Peanut Butter Cup and Oreo...

6. How often do you watch cooking shows on TV?  I don’t really do that.  It usually just gives me cravings so why bother?

7. When you’re hungry, where are you most likely to look first? The refrigerator, or the pantry? The fridge…

8. List a few healthy staples that can always be found in your kitchen.  I always have chicken breast in the freezer.  I usually have frozen strawberries, fresh spinach and romaine and skim milk.  I usually always have bananas, peanut butter and eggs too.

9. Are you motivated to cook at home even when you’re eating alone?  Not as much as if I’m cooking for two, but I’m single so it has to happen anyway.  I’m going to make cooking and eating at home my goal for the month of May.

10.  How often do you try new recipes? I can go without doing it for weeks then suddenly feel inspired to do it three nights in a row.  I can safely say that I try several new recipes per year.  I’d like to try more.


A Guest Post About Cupcakes? Yes, Please…

Well, what can I say?  Spilling my guts in  yesterday’s post and your comments on that post led me to workout harder than I have in weeks, and brought the reason that I blog (now) front and center – support and accountability from people here who genuinely care about my well-being.  I appreciate that more than I could ever convey in words.  And it also spurred a big change that I’ll share more about tomorrow.

I need a little time to start practicing what I’m about to preach (to myself, anyway) so I’m thankful for this guest post by my pal, Alyssa from!  If you know me at all then you know I love cupcakes (too much.)   And you may also know that I love featuring awesome bloggers on my own blog so this post is a win-win.

When Alyssa share the subject of her guest post with me, you can probably guess that I couldn’t wait to see the recipe.  Now here it is for all of us to try. I do have to mention that I do not drink sodas – diet or regular – ever.  I’m going to think about what I’m willing to do or what else could work for me, but that’s the beauty of trial and error.  I wonder if mine will be as pretty as hers!   Take a few minutes to check out the post, and say hi to Alyssa if you don’t know her.  She’s awesome so welcome her, okay?


Hi everybody! I’m Alyssa from the Double Chin Diary. I’m on a quest to lose 50 pounds without losing my sense of humor, which is hard given my fondness of baking, movie theatre popcorn, and lying on the couch in my pajamas. I started reading Kenlie’s inspiring posts in 2011 and have even had the honor of meeting her in person! I’m thrilled to be here today.


As someone who’s perpetually on and off Weight Watchers or some other “plan”, I know there are times when you’d do something crazy for a cupcake – but you don’t, because a yummy, normal cupcake is at least 8 points, and if you’re like me, 8 points is like a MEAL! My grandmother used to follow Weight Watchers way back in the day, and she’s had this recipe in her toolkit for a long time. The best part is that it’s completely customizable, meaning you can use any type of cake mix or any flavor of diet soda. My ultimate favor combination is diet orange soda with sugar free orange jello because it’s like a creamsicle cake. I used lemon lime soda and jello this time, since I was making these for a St. Patrick’s Day Party and wanted to make something green. Oh yeah – and did I mention that they’re only FOUR POINTS EACH?!


Ingredients you need: (A measly four things! FOUR things!!! And you don’t even need to measure! This is easier than nuking a LeanCuisine – no peeling back the corner of the film here!)


For the cupcakes:

1 Box of Cake Mix, any flavor except “Butter Golden” or “Golden Butter”

1 Can of Diet Soda (12 ounces, any flavor)


For the topping:

1 Box of Sugar Free Jello Powder, any flavor (generic is fine)

1 Tub of Defrosted Light or Fat Free Cool Whip (generic is fine – I’m a frugalista, too!)


Steps to take:


1)      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Do a little booty dance, cuz you’re makin’ cupcakes!

2)      Dump the cupcake mix into a large bowl. Pour in the soda, slowly. Don’t panic – foaming is normal.


3)      Mix with a whisk until it’s mostly lump free.

4)      Pour the batter into a lined muffin pan. You want to fill the liner about ¾ full.


5)      Bake for 18 – 22 minutes, depending on your oven. My oven is snarky and likes to challenge me, so mine baked for 22 minutes and were still a little underdone.

6)      Test the cupcakes for doneness by touching them with your finger. The cupcake will be done when it springs back. Don’t worry if they’re a little sticky – the texture of these is slightly more moist and spongy than normal cake.


7)      Let the cupcakes cool.

8)      The next part is like MAGIC! If you’re like me and hate doing dishes, you’ll be happy to know you can do this next part in the tub the cool whip came in. Just take off the lid and dump the packet of jello powder into the tub. (If you want a milder taste, use ½ the packet. I like intense flavors so I use the whole thing.) Stir gently until all crystals are dissolved. The texture will be like normal cool whip at first, but in about 5 minutes, the gelatin will really thicken it up.


9)      Once the cool whip has thickened (it should look like the photo below) and your cupcakes are cool, use a butter knife or piping bag to ice two tablespoons of topping onto the cupcake.


10)  Voila! Rock on with your bad self. You just made 4 point cupcakes! (3 points if you don’t want topping!) Feel free to brag, and more importantly, share this recipe with your friends. (Or bring them to a party! This recipe makes 18 cupcakes!)


For Love and Cupcakes

Living in New York and traveling regularly has allowed me to sample some of the best cupcakes on earth!  Cupcakes and I have a long, complicated (well, not really so complicated) past that has usually involved me indulging in too many calories.

But during my last trip to NY I realized that my love for cupcakes has taken a serious turn.  I’d be lying if I said that these photos didn’t make me smile, but they no longer perpetuate cravings that feel nearly impossible to control, and that is so cool!

You can click on the picture to make it bigger if you feel like torturing yourself....

I think it’s okay to love cupcakes, and I think it’s okay that my heart flutters at the thought of having a 44 calorie red velvet from Baked by Melissa next week.   But it’s nice to feel like I can take it or leave it.

Has your taste changed over time?  Have you had any life-long cravings that subsided over time?  If so, will you tell me about them?

Fundraising Questions

My mind is swirling with things that are unrelated to weight-loss, but today is weigh-in day so it will be on my mind at some point.  I’m just busy with a variety of things, including this event that’s happening for my uncle on October 30th.

Aunt Janice and I are organizing a charity bake sale for  Uncle Wesley which will be held at the fundraiser that my family is hosting next week, and I don’t have much experience in this so I’m asking for your advice.  I know that many of you have experience with these things so I’m going to share my questions, and I’d love for you to weigh in with what you know.  The first group of questions is related to the bake sale, and the second set will be about the fundraiser.

Bake Sale…

1. How much should we charge for a dozen sugar cookies like the ones I made last week?  They’re about 3 inches in diameter.

Yep..I'm showing you again...

2. How much should we charge for bigger, single cookies? Should that even be an option?

3. How should we package the dozens?  I know that I can use clear bags for the single cookies like the ones in picture below, but I’d like to keep my costs as low as possible so I can maximize the money that will be donated to Uncle W.

4. How much should I charge for cupcakes? I plan to bake homemade inside out German Chocolate minis and regulars with homemade cream cheese frosting.

And now about the fundraiser…

I guess I don’t really have questions about this because it seems pretty simple.  We’re having a spaghetti dinner, and we’re trying to find food and monetary donations which will become my job in the coming days.  I’m going to speak to the pastor of a large church in town hoping that he’ll allow me to invite his congregation to the benefit so wish me luck with that.

What’s on your mind today?



I Know It’s October, But…

The last couple of days have been great, and I’m officially excited about Fall.  It’s my favorite season because of the crisp mornings, the array of squashes found at the supermarket (love every kind of squash I’ve ever tasted) and college football.  And at this time of year, I start preparing for the holidays.

I went to Hobby Lobby and Bed, Bath and Beyond today with Mom yesterday, and they already had Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations all over.  And I love it, and Mom loves it too.  (Sorry, Kelly..ha)

I love the holidays, and I also love the anticipation that starts building for me in October.  I love cheesy movies, baking cookies and making candy and Christmas music.  Yes, I realize that it’s October, but it’s who I am. =)  Tomorrow, after our trip to the gym, Mom and I plan to venture out to explore other stores with Christmas displays.  See? I come by it honestly. 😉

Christmas 2008 at Macy's on 34th St, NYC

I bake sugar cookies (among other things) every year, but sugar cookies are one of my favorites because I like decorating them more than I like eating them.  I can pass by cookies on the counter without feeling the need to eat them though it’s harder for me to pass up cupcakes.

This year, I’m trying new recipes for cookie frosting because somewhere along the line, I lost my favorite.  I found one today that is very similar, and it seemed to work though it still needs to be adjusted a little.  I want my cookies to look and taste great before the benefit that my family is hosting for my Uncle Wesley at the end of the month.

My latest frosting attempt...It needs work. 😉

I was out of icing bags so I used ziploc bags. Ha...

I typically bake sweet treats and make candy over the holidays, but this year it’s starting early.  I plan to share them at a benefit at the end of the month so it’s important to create a plan of attack before the parties begin.  I wrote about it during my first year of weight-loss, and I think it’s important to remember what worked so I can do it again.  Here’s an excerpt from a post I wrote in December of 2009:

Over Thanksgiving I learned that I could eat things that I enjoy without gaining weight, and I plan to do that again over the Christmas holidays. Baking, making homemade candy and fudge and parties can be challenging though I try to remind myself that the next bite will taste like the last. And so far, it has worked for me.

This is really good advice to give to myself because it applies everyday, and in the past, I’ve proven that it works. And now it’s time to prove it to myself again.  I’m a firm believer in living life and enjoying it, obviously.  But I also know that it’s important to remember that I have goals if I want to achieve them, and I do.  I made great strides (including solid losses on the scale) in September, and I’m going to stop letting one week define how I feel about my progress.

So while it’s only mid-October, it’s never too early to start preparing mentally.  I’m working on a list of things that I can do to make it through the holidays without a hitch, and I’ll share that list in detail at some point later.  Until then, I’m going to keep trying to perfect my recipes and remind myself that each healthy decision I make will lead to a longer, healthier, holiday-filled life.


Worth It? Sometimes…

If you follow me on twitter then you know that I was pretty excited about baking a cherry cheesecake as requested by Mountain Man for his birthday. I brought it over last night though we didn’t get around to eating it. Perhaps he enjoyed some for breakfast this morning? Ha..

I had never baked a cheesecake before so I practiced during the week, and it is undoubtedly worth the points once in a while. Each slice was valued at 11 PointsPlus which is a bit extreme so using ounces I measured half of a piece for 5 PointsPlus, and that left me feeling satisfied.

The first one I made cracked, but it was delicious! I baked the second one in water so it didn’t crack (awesome) though I can only hope it tastes as good as the first one.

First attempt…

Second attempt..I forgot to take a picture with the cherries on top before putting it in his fridge.

My cheesecakes were flawed, but I feel proud of myself for trying something new. And once again, I have to thank Kelly for the recipe! 🙂 I shared the first one with friends and received a marriage proposal upon sight. It must be good, right? ha

I hope everyone is enjoying their Friday! I weighed at noon, and I lost 3.6 pounds last week. Yay! Tonight I’m headed to the hockey game with a guy who better be full of cheesecake when I see him. 😉

What are your weekend plans?! Also, to those of you participating in the Twelve Days swap, the deadline for shipping was today! Have you done it yet? Don’t forget to communicate with your partners!

Enjoy the weekend friends!

Trying New Things….

A few weeks ago, I was in Connecticut with my friend, Christine, and we found a Wilton baking pan in the shape of a lamb. It was quite a find at only $5.99, and I knew I had to buy it because my niece’s first birthday (which is coming up in a couple of weeks) will feature lots of lambs…probably some monkeys too.

I bought her this lamb shortly after she was born, and she seems to love it which makes me very happy. 🙂 I love to bake so I decided to give this 3-D cake a try. And while it’s far from perfect, with a little improvement I think it could be pretty cute. 🙂

Obviously, cake decorating is new for me. I enjoy decorating cookies, but I’m hardly a pro. Does anyone have a suggestion for the face? I plan to put green coconut on the platter to make it look as though the lamb is laying on grass, but I’m not sure what to do about the face. hehe

I’ll try this again over the weekend because I thinkmy boyfriend’s nieces will love it. I hope to improve on it by then. 😉 This is just another reminder that things that are worth while often require extra effort.

I cannot wait to see my adorable little niece. I miss her everyday. And I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of my family just as much…:) I’m looking forward to shopping and baking with my sister, eating onion rings with my brother-in-law and bugging my parents to “Party Off The Pounds” with Richard Simmons and me. I’m also looking forward to walks through scenic Colorado and just being there with my family. It’s going to be a great week even if we have to buy a cake with a lamb on it. 😉