Cashew Ginger Brown Rice Bowl with Dole Premium Celery Hearts

Dole-Premium-Celery-Hearts-Less-Stringy-Celery-Cashew-Ginger-Brown-Rice-Bowl-1Have you ever made a nice little snack of celery and peanut butter, and then bit into it only to struggle to get an actual bite because strings of celery just wouldn’t break and were stuck in your teeth? Yaaaa, not a fan! That feeling of stringy celery always gave me the heebie jeebies, but luckily Dole has changed my celery fears to cheers! You can now enjoy a special variety of celery that is exclusive to Dole that has a milder flavor, snappier crunch, and less stringy texture. Introducing Dole Premium Celery Hearts!

I love these tender young stalks for snacking because they really are exactly what they say: milder less celery-ish flavor, super easy to snap, break, and crunch, and way less stringy than any other celery I’ve eaten! Another reason I love Dole Premium Celery Hearts? I try not to add additional salt to my recipes, and celery has a natural salty flavor, which is great for Asian dishes, like my Cashew Ginger Brown Rice Bowl below!

I’m starting 2016 off right with a fully balanced Rabbit Food Pyramid approved meal for you guys! It’s pretty crazy that this lunch/dinner meal is a single serving for one person. At first, when you are chopping and prepping, it seems small, but once you add everything together, it’s a pretty awesome sized meal! It’s remarkable how much volume vegetables give to a dish once you add the RFFMBT recommended serving of 2 cups! Heres to a healthy & happy 2016 with tons of fab new Rabbit Food Pyramid approved meals that are totally filling, satisfying, and always tasty!

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Cashew Ginger Brown Rice Bowl with Dole Celery

1/2 cup sliced Dole Premium Celery Hearts
1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup shelled edamame
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp orange juice
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 Tbsp cashews, crushed

1. Cook brown rice ahead of time and measure out 1/2 cup. Set aside in a bowl.
2. Prepare your vegetables: slice the celery, bell pepper, carrot, and chop the onion.
3. Whisk together the rice vinegar, orange juice, and ginger. Transfer the mixture into a saucepan. Add chopped vegetables and edamame to the pan and sauté in the mixture over medium heat until slightly tender.
4. After vegetables have finished cooking, add them to the bowl of brown rice.
5. Top the veggie bowl with crushed cashews. Enjoy.

The Rabbit Food Pyramid Breakdown
Produce: Dole celery, bell pepper, carrot, & onion
Whole Grain: brown rice
Protein: edamame
Plant Based Fat: cashews
Free Extras: rice vinegar, orange juice, &  ginger

Health & Happiness
xo-Catherine

Ch ch ch ch ch ch Cherry Bombs!

Thank you SOOOOOOO much for your love and support on my comeback post, bunnies! I am so overwhelmed and humbled by your positive responses. Believe it or not, I have read every single comment, all 381.

Over years of having this blog, I started to slowly become known as a weight loss success story throughout the internet. Most of you even wrote in your comments that you found my blog on Pinterest because of my before and after photo. Being a health food blogger/weight loss success story, your body becomes a huge source of inspiration for others. And when it starts turning back into that before picture, you start feeling like your credibility and career are on the line. This is exactly what was happening in my head those months while I was away from my blog. I sat at home ashamed for letting myself get back to where I had started, for not maintaining my after image that you all know. I put all of my worth into that silly old after photo. I started turning down speaking engagements and blogger summits because I was embarrassed of what I looked like. I thought that if people met me and I wasn’t “skinny” like my after photo anymore, they would… I don’t know, I don’t even know what I really thought. That they would turn me away? Think less of me? I guess deep down I thought people would think I was a fraud. It took me until now and your incredibly kind words and comments to realize that I’m just human, and like SO MANY OF YOU I struggle with my weight.

When I first started my lifestyle change I thought I had this whole healthy eating thing down and that I would never ever go back to the “old me” —  my after photo, but my friend Kathy (Healthy Happy Life) recently reminded me that “there’s never an after photo.” I got out my phone and had to write this down in my notes because it hit me like a ton of bricks at that moment. We are never an after photo, we are constantly changing. If anything, my after photo is just a snapshot of that moment, a bit of progress, but ultimately a part of my journey, not a final after photo. I placed so much of my worth on that after photo and feel like I missed out on so many HUGE opportunities because I was embarrassed and ashamed of gaining weight back. Now that… that is the only thing I should be ashamed of. I’m proud of myself for writing that last blog post. It feels like a weight was lifted off of my chest and I can finally breathe. So long story short, thank you for being a part of this crazy journey. Thank you for still coming back to my blog even when I didn’t believe in myself. Thank you for laughing and crying with me. Thank you for your inspiring comments. Thank you to everyone who used Taylor Swift lyrics in your previous comments (huge fan!). And thank you for your honesty and for sharing your stories with me and my other readers. YOU inspire me! I’m so excited for 2016 with my bunnies!

In the new year I want to slightly rebrand, take some new “promo” photos, and add in some more lifestyle posts. But first, I want to start the year off by getting back on track with you guys. I am serious about what I said in my last post about getting back on the wagon and I want to lose weight again and do it with you guys —  anyone who wants to join.  I am currently in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for New Years with Matt and my friends Brett and Michael, but when I get home, it’s time to shed our fur coats, bunnies! My thoughts are to start with the Skinny Bunny Cleanse (Skinny Bunny Cleanse Revisited). It’s a 5 day whole food cleanse. No juices, starving, calorie counting, or any of that nonsense. You get to eat actual food! It’s hard to start any lifestyle change or diet, but that’s why we are all going to do this together! Support support support! Each day, or at the end of each week I want to post all of my meals and keep a diary of how I felt throughout the day and how my hunger/energy levels were. We’ve got this!

Today I have a cute NYE snack recipe. It’s inspired by one of my fav blog’s Fashion Lush’s Grape & Chia Poppers. I named these little cuties Ch ch ch ch ch ch Cherry Bombs, and now I can’t stop singing “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways. Oh, and I’ve also included a little DIY for these adorable sparkly pom pom toothpicks.

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Yogurt-Chia-Cherry-Bombs-7 Yogurt-Chia-Cherry-Bombs-8 Yogurt-Chia-Cherry-Bombs-11 Yogurt-Chia-Cherry-Bombs-12Ch ch ch ch ch ch Cherry Bombs!

Frozen pitted dark sweet cherries
Greek yogurt (I used Vanilla)
Chia seeds
Toothpicks

1. Place a toothpick in each frozen cherry.
2. Dip each cherry in Greek yogurt.
3. Dip the Greek yogurt covered cherries in chia seeds.
4. Freeze for a few hours or overnight in a freezer safe container and enjoy as a snack.

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Sparkly Pom Pom Toothpick DIY

Sparkly pom poms
Toothpicks
Glue gun

Place a dot of glue on the top of a toothpick and place the pom pom at the top. Done!

Cat’s Back!

Catherine, are you still blogging anymore?
A question I hear frequently, and am FINALLY getting around to answering!

It’s been quite obvious that I haven’t posted on my blog for the past few months, but I’ve definitely kept up with my social social media platforms. When I started my blog, it started out as a passion project. I loved creating healthy recipes and sharing them with the world. I didn’t expect my blog to become a full blown career, but it did and I absolutely loved it… for the most part.

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My blog became more about just the recipes, it was then the ups and downs of my weight loss, weight gain, and even struggles with depression and body image issues. I’ve never held anything back and always tried to be transparent and real because I felt as if the blogosphere needed someone who didn’t just share all of the rainbows and gumdrops. Sometimes life isn’t perfect and we go through really crappy times and I wanted my blog to be an outlet for anyone going through something similar to be like “yassss, me tooooo! I’m not alone!”

I loved being able to write a post and say “yesterday, I went bridesmaid dress shopping and I had a complete meltdown. Why are the sizes so off? Are they trying to make us feel extra s#%*!y?” and just have someone else relate and understand. But fast forward 4 years and it’s not really like that anymore. There’s actual commenters who come here to write negative things about how I look, tell me that I’m fat, tell me that I’m ugly, tell me that I’m always looking for sympathy, and that no one should trust my recipes because I’m not a representation of what healthy is. It’s a bummer. I get so many amazing comments from readers who have been here since the very beginning who are so positive and uplifting, but wow… It’s amazing how negative comments outweigh the nice ones. Honestly, I got tired of waking up every morning to check comments only to read paragraphs about how I’ve gained weight and how awful I look. As if I didn’t already know I’ve gained weight or talk about it on my blog? I’ve talked about this very candidly. Some of my readers have also wondered why I have stopped posting on YouTube. Well, YouTube is a whole different animal. Every time I get an email from YouTube that I have a new comment on one of my videos, my heart races and Iactually start to panic and wonder what type of mean comment is going to be posted this time. It’s kind of disgusting the things that people say about my appearance. I’ve never been someone who deletes comments. If you’ve ever commented on my blog and said that you hated my recipe, I definitely approved your comment and responded asking what I could do to change it and make it better, but I’m at the point where I cannot handle the comments about me and my physical appearance. I’m a person on the other end of this computer screen. I’m not a team with a Manager, PR person, Community Manager, etc. It’s just me over here making recipes being a human being! Hi!

I’m not talking writing about this asking for anyone’s sympathy. I’m simply telling you why I have been absent on my blog. I just needed some time away from my blog to realize that I really do love blogging. I miss you guys so much! I miss my readers and your comments, I miss hearing about your progress on your own particular journeys, and I’m so excited to be back! Thank you for all of your patience, support, and kind words while I have been patiently away for a little bit! I just can’t get enough of you guys!

Potato-Mountain-Dog


So a little update from while I was away:

  • Unfortunately my beloved Corgi, Teddy passed away two weeks ago on November 7th. He was 14 years old and had terrible arthritis in back and hips. His back legs were completely paralyzed, so he dragged his back legs around to walk. We tried getting him wheels (literally the cutest thing you’ve ever seen) but he didn’t fully understand how to use them. After being on arthritis and pain medicine for over a year, we had to put my beautiful boy down. It was the absolute worst day, and so much harder than I had ever imagined.
  • I did however get a new fur baby in August! An English Bulldog named, Potato. I knew that Teddy wasn’t doing well, so I thought it would be the right time to introduce a new fur family member to the household. He LOVED playing with Teddy, stealing all of his toys, and his fluffy bed! What a little pipsqueak! Having Potato has helped with the healing process of losing Teddy, and I feel very lucky to have him. Matt and I got Potato together, so he spends time at both houses depending on our schedule and if Matt is on tour or if I am at work.
  • Matt and I celebrated our 1 year together.
  • I turned 26 in August.
  • I became the editor of Vans Girls. Instagram // Twitter // Blog
  • I visited Tecate, Mexico, Chicago, IL, Jackson Hole, WY, Yuma, AZ, and Charlotte, NC.
  • Matt and I won two costume contests on Halloween.
  • I visited Matt on Warped Tour.

Matt-and-Potato-Running Matt-and-Potato

So nowwww I feel like it’s time to poll my readers. I’m literally back where I started on the weight loss journey. Sad to say, back at my heaviest weight. Although I don’t feel that I look it… I’m there. I’m thinking of getting back on the wagon 100% and going full force with this whole weight loss thing once again. But in a new way that I haven’t yet done on the blog. See, when I started my blog, I had already lost 80 pounds, and I basically used my blog to show everyone how I did it. I was posting meals that I would eat when I lost weight, and healthy meals that I was currently eating for maintenance as well. But now, I feel like I actually need the support of my bunnies to do this again! So what do you guys think? Do I take a starting point photo, post it, and then post my full day of Rabbit Food meals every day? It sounds scary, but maybe this is what I need to hold myself accountable, and maybe this is what some of you guys need to get back on track too? So many QUESTION MARKS!!!??? In the back of my mind I just know that this will open my blog up to even more criticism from mean people, but at the same time I just need to get over it because this is the internet and there’s just no way around it. And honestly, I really want to get back on track and feel better. And that’s what really matters!

Love you little bunnies and miss you so much!
xo-Catherine

Dole Banana Power Pops

I have been working with Dole for over three years now, and I am so honored to be an official Dole ambassador for 2015! I’m also really excited to announce the launch of Dole’s “Get Up and Grow!” campaign and tour! All of my bunnies know that I am a huge advocate for “eating more rabbit food” and getting as many fruits and vegetables into your diet as possible. You’ve seen me hide spinach in everything from smoothies to brownies and it’s no secret that I love introducing my readers to healthier options. That’s why I’m so excited for Dole’s “Get Up and Grow!” campaign and initiative to directly challenge the public to adopt a healthier daily routine including eating more fresh fruits and vegetables!

The Dole “Get Up and Grow” tour caravans are making roughly 480 stops at supermarkets and special events throughout the U.S. and Canada this summer that you won’t want to miss!

“Multiple colorful Get Up and Grow! Tour caravans with rolling kitchens will deliver innovative new recipes, product samples, a do-it-yourself smoothie bar, free giveaways for the whole family and other activities specifically created to showcase the fun, flavor and preparation possibilities of fresh fruit and vegetables and a plant-based diet. Visitors can also present a grocery receipt showing a qualifying level of DOLE® fresh purchase to receive a limited-edition, commemorative Get Up and Grow! item.

The new recipes available for sampling range from the Banana and Blue, Breakfast Smoothie, Power Punch Smoothie and Spinach-Avocado Hummus to the Grilled Banana Parfait, Southwestern Gazpacho, Caesar’s Bounty Salad and Charred Summer Salad, which Dole has proclaimed 2015’s “Official Salad of Summer.”

Dole-Get-Up-and-Grow-Tour-2015Take the Pledge Today & View Tour Dates and Info!

I’m really into snacks, they literally make the world go round. My absolute worst snack attacks usually hit at about 3pm and midnight (I know, it’s so bad) and although I try to avoid the midnight snacking by sipping on herbal tea, the midday hunger is unavoidable. 3pm is that awkward time in-between lunch and dinner when you don’t want to eat something heavy and spoil your dinner, but you need something to give you energy and nourish your brain and body to get you through the next few hours. This is when Banana Power Pops are the perfect little energizing snack. Natural sugars and potassium from bananas, antioxidants and caffeine from dark chocolate, and nourishing plant based fats from the nut and seed toppings make a winning combo to power you up and give you a dose energy! They also make a great cool treat during the hot summer when kept in the freezer!

Power snack or dessert? You decide!

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Dole Banana Power Pops

1 Dole Banana
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or vegan chocolate chips
Toppings: shredded coconut, sliced almonds, chia seeds, raisins, oats.
Lollipop Sticks

1. Peel and slice banana into half inch thick slices.
2. Melt chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat.
3. Place a lollipop stick in each banana slice.
4. Dip each banana slice one by one into dark chocolate and sprinkle with desired topping.
5. Place dipped banana slices on wax paper and place in the freezer until hardened. Enjoy cold.

Dole-Get-Up-and-Grow-Ambassador-Facebook-ChatI am hosting a Facebook chat this Thursday, June 11 at 5pm PDT (8pm EST!) on the Dole Facebook page! Make sure to stop by, chat, and ask me questions!

Health & Happiness
xo-Catherine

Single Serving Vegan Mini Donuts

Happy NATIONAL DONUT DAY!!!

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Sorry for the lack of posts recently. The past couple of weeks have been busier than the holiday season for me! A few weeks ago I started a new job at Vans doing their social media! It has been the most fun job and I LOVE my social media team. They are a group of some of the most hard working, dedicated, and creative individuals and it’s so fun to get to work alongside them. It’s really amazing that this blog has opened up so many opportunities for me, and one being my new job in social media. Right now I’m trying to balance my new job and creating new content for my blog, and I think I’m figuring this out haha. Thanks for being patient with me and continuing to pop in and read! Your support means the world to me!

Sooooo, today is National Donut Day and of course I had to make a single serving of donuts for my little bunnies! These donuts are vegan and made from whole wheat flour and have a maple almond icing which is naturally colored with beet juice (trust me you cannot taste it!). A little bit of beet juice goes a long way (just like food coloring) so you don’t need too much.
As I was making the batter for my mini donuts, I realized that I didn’t have a donut pan to bake them in. I would usually go to the store and buy something like this, but I was like wait a second… If I don’t have a donut baking pan, then not a lot of people do haha! So instead of buying one, I made my own! I took a mini cupcake/muffin tin and rolled up aluminum foil and placed it in the center of each muffin tin so that the donuts would bake with a hole! Call it ghetto or call me a genius… up to you!!!

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Vegan Mini Donuts
Serves 1

1/4 tsp ground flaxseed + 1/2 tsp water
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
heaping 1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch cinnamon
pinch salt
1/8 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

Maple Almond Icing
1 Tbsp almond butter
1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
splash of unsweetened almond milk
(optional) 1/4-1/2 tsp beet juice for color

Vegan Sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine ground flaxseed and water in a small dish and set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt).
4. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients (apple cider vinegar, vanilla, almond milk) and the flaxseed mixture.
5. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until evenly combined.
6. Pour the donut batter into a mini donut pan generously sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. If you don’t have a donut pan, you can use a mini muffin tin and place rolled up aluminum foil in the center. Generously coat the muffin tin and aluminum foil centers with nonstick cooking spray (do not skip this step).
7. Place the donut batter in a Ziploc bag and cut the tip (like a pastry bag) to evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tins around the aluminum foil centers.
8. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes.
9. Remove donut from the oven and let cool.
10. While the donuts are cooling, mix the icing ingredients. Mix almond butter and maple syrup together and add a splash of almond milk until desired consistency is reached. For pink icing, add 1/4 tsp of beet juice (natural food coloring).
11. Remove donuts from muffin tin and push the aluminum foil centers through each donut until donut hole is exposed.
12. Drizzle each donut with icing and add sprinkles.

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