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Girls Night In + Healthy Veggie Dinner

Almost a year ago to the day, I took one of the best vacations of my life so far (what I justified as a “graduation present” to myself). As a country-lovin’ girl with a fascination for small town charm, rural areas, east coast beaches and southern accents, I excitedly planned a roadtrip through North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. I still think about that trip at least once a week.

Dawsons Creek | Wilmington, NC | Stronglikemycoffee.com

I’m bringing it up again because my mom and I finally started to save all of our pictures from the trip and put them into a scrapbook. We had started our day with a sprints/HIIT workout during sunrise, and after work I had a strength training/plyometrics workout with our trainer for Boise Elite Running. Suffice it to say, I earned my glass of Riesling, which I think heightened my sense of nostalgia over this trip. I may have ended the night by creating a new Pinterest board planning my next southern road-trip (now to decide: autumn or spring?!).

Road Trip Southern Style on Stronglikemycoffee.com

My mom and I planned a girls night to make dinner together, rent a redbox movie, and hang out together. The low-key girls night without workouts, errands, or social stuff was so refreshing since most nights here have been go-go-go. When the sun is out til 10pm, it’s hard to stay home. But then it makes the rare nights with movies and pajamas so much more appreciated! :)

Girls Night In Blog Post Stronglikemycoffee.com

We knew we wanted a healthy dinner so that we could splurge. The most difficult decision: wine or ice cream?!

Roasted Veggie Tray for Girls Night In Stronglikemycoffee.com

One of my all-time favorite meals is roasted root vegetables, no matter what time of year. Chopping up the butternut squash is so time-consuming (and slightly dangerous for my fingers) but so worth it. The rest is just chopping up sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots, onions, apples, brussels sprouts and whatever else you want to throw on the pan. We mix the veggies with a little bit of olive oil and some marjoram spice, garlic and pepper. Roasted at 425 degrees for 50-ish minutes and they come out so warm, caramelized and flavorful. My mouth is watering!

Roasted Veggie Dinner Stronglikemycoffee.com

Have you seen Hello, My Name is Doris? We LOVE Sally Field, especially from the old show Brothers & Sisters. This wasn’t my favorite movie but it was still cute. Some parts were so awkward that it was painful to watch, where you just cringe for the main character. I’d give it a 6.5 out of 10 stars, so we had to add an episode of Friends before we went to bed to end the night on a funny note. :)

Girls Night Blog Post Stronglikemycoffee.com

Nothing super special about our leisure girls night in but sometimes it’s just what you need. Especially when we’re balancing out such adventurous weekends…..cliff jumping and paddle-boarding are on the agenda for the upcoming weekends. We are living more in Idaho than we did in 20 years in California!

Girls Night In Blog Stronglikemycoffee.com

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be meeting a friend I made through the running club in a nearby town for a trail run before work. I love driving when it’s so quiet out and running through the sunrise. The first five minutes after the early alarm clock goes off are the worst but thankfully a pot of coffee is waiting for me. And the feeling after a good run through nature is indescribable; you just have to experience it for yourself.

Hope you have some fun plans this weekend & I’ll catch ya back here Monday!

Saturday Night + Dark Chocolate Avocado Cookies

My Saturday evening was a low-key night at home. Sometimes, when the weekend comes around I am ready to dress up and go out with friends. Other times I’m so ready to spend time at home in comfy clothes and messy hair. Last night was one of the latter. It was a perfect compilation of making a healthy veggie-filled dinner, sipping on Sprout’s coffee, listening to new music (Echosmith’s album obsession), watching the latest Grey’s Anatomy episode, reading some of 50 Shades of Grey (more on that further down) and spontaneously creating a vegan-ish, gluten-free, and (most importantly) super-chocolately dessert.

My Saturday Night In (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

Last weekend was full of craziness; next weekend I have all sorts of fun plans. So I really didn’t mind a casual Saturday night at home this weekend. It was so relaxing :)

My lowkey Saturday Night (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Before last night, I hadn’t watched any television shows (including the news or Sports Center *gasp*) in over two weeks. Too busy playing catch-up from missing a week of school due to my internship! But now that I’m getting back on schedule, I had the series finale of Parenthood and the return of Grey’s Anatomy waiting for me in my Hulu queue.

In between though, I was struck with inspiration to raid my kitchen cupboards and create something for dessert that was still semi-healthy. Also….Sprout’s had avocados on sale this week so I bought 5. Then all 5 proceeded to ripen at the same exact time. This is my alternative to guacamole:

Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies made with avocado recipe and blog post (stronglikemycoffee.com)That adorable mug is from one of my best friends, Miss Chelsea! It is too perfect for me. (Chelsea and I are no strangers to baking with avocados, either!)

Chocolate Avocado Cookies:

Makes 20 soft cookies

Healthy Chocolate Avocado Cookie Recipe (stronglikemycoffee.com)

  • “meat” of 1 very ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup stevia (or substitute regular sugar)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup Chobani Greek yogurt (0% fat, plain flavor)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tps. vanilla
  • 1 Tbs. instant coffee granules
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (ground oats)
  • splash of almond milk (approx. 3 Tbs)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Mix the avocado, stevia, and sugar with a mixer until smooth.

3. Add in the yogurt, egg, and vanilla.

4. In a small bowl, combine oat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and coffee granules. Add this dry mixture to the wet mixture. Stir to combine.

5. Add in almond milk as needed to thin out the batter.

6. Use a spoon to place batter on baking sheets. **Note: this batter will not flatten out or expand, so the “shape” it goes on the pan is the shape it will come out in.

7. Top cookie dough with chocolate chips. Bake for 10 minutes, and allow to cool before enjoying with a steaming mug of delicious coffee or a cold glass of milk. Sharing is highly recommended.

Chocolate Avocado Cookies (stronglikemycoffee.com)The recipe really was just an experiment, and thank goodness it turned out. My roommate and I polished off that place seconds after this photo was captured ;)

Now on to my reading material…. I love to read. My book shelves at home are completely filled with novels I’ve read but can’t bare to get rid of, mostly fiction. When I received a book for Christmas that I had already read, I decided to exchange it for 50 Shades of Grey and finally see what all of the hype is about.

Saturday night readingGuys…… the writing style and the conversations between the characters are so weak, it ruins my interest in the plot! I know this book has millions of fans and maybe it improves? I wanted to finish reading the book before the movie comes out next week but honestly, I’d rather just read some blog posts instead :)

What’s your ideal Saturday night?

Hosting Thanksgiving (I’m still here!)

So that was quite a hiatus…I’ll admit that blogging is not a priority among the senior year scramble. Honestly I haven’t even read some of my favorite blogs in months! (PBFingers and Simply Taralynn withdrawals.)

The semester wraps up in about a week and that little light at the end of the tunnel has me fired up to get back to HOBBIES like reading that stack of books I bought over the summer, trying some of the recipes I pinned, and maybe even updating this little site here and there :) I’m honestly surprised to see that so many of you stuck around during my drought of posting. I missed you!

Back to normal, I’ll recap my *healthified* Thanksgiving. We deviated from tradition this year….my parents came to ME. For my first three years of college, I took the overnight train home for Thanksgiving two weeks before finals. It was always a little hectic and rushed. My new apartment this year is comfortable enough to have guests over (I feel so grown up!) so I invited my parents and Missy to spend the holiday weekend with me.

Before they arrived, I tried to make the apartment as festive as possible. I have an addiction to candles, so I started saving the empty glasses to refill with tea lights and festive fillers. Yay for recycling!

Thanksgiving 2014 decoration collage

I was CONVINCED that I would cook the entire Thanksgiving meal all by myself…….until I realized (or someone pointed out to me) that in order to cook a turkey, one must use their hands to remove the giblets and guts from the inside.

Well that’s not happening.

Next option?

A pre-cooked ham ;) glad we can be flexible! Our meal was rounded out with my lightened-up sweet potato casserole (no marshmallows allowed), roasted broccoli and brussels, and a corn bread stuffing that my parents brought.

Thanksgiving 2014 Dinner

Thanksgiving 2014 TableI’ll admit it isn’t as impressive-looking as last year’s Thanksgiving, but for a first attempt I’d say not bad :) Most important part was spending the day with my family! Aside from a malfunctioning can-opener, we avoided any major catastrophes. What more can you ask for.

I have to say, I was most proud of my bartending skills. I’ve discovered the simple perfection that is sangria this year. An apple cranberry sangria was a perfect afternoon cocktail for my mom and I, but I knew my dad wouldn’t be so appreciative of fruity wine to go with his football game. My mason jars were perfect for the “Fire Jolly Rancher” – sparkling apple cider with Fireball whiskey, over ice sprinkled with brown sugar. It’s a sipper!

Thanksgiving 2014 Cocktails

The night was rounded out by homemade praline pumpkin pie (and coffee, duh) with a good ole’ family movie night.

Obviously we couldn’t be sedentary too long after THAT meal so we took to the trails the next day for a hike in the gorgeous fall weather. I love that my family is as happy going on outdoor explorations as I am. Black Friday has nothing on these views:

Thanksgiving 2014 Sedona

Thanksgiving 2014 Devils Bridge

Hosting Thanksgiving was so much fun, I felt like I was playing “housewife” ;) Until reality kicked in that I have three final presentations, two research papers, and a couple finals exams in these last 7 days of school. But I missed this little online scrapbook. I’ve had so many workouts, recipes, adventures and stories that I’ve “wanted to post” and didn’t have the time. Hopefully I can play catch up over the coming winter break!

So I can’t promise that I’m back with the usual posts, but I can promise that I’m not done forever (though I thought I was for a bit.) And you know I have no shortage of cute Missy pictures: Thanksgiving 2014 MissyAs if there are any that aren’t cute… ;)

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