A Post-Grad's Attempt at a Healthy, Joyful, and Blissfully Sweet Life

Friday, June 22, 2012


hello friends!

i'm going to let you into a secret place in the mall.

this is a secret store in the wide open, where you will most often find people walking into with lust in their eyes and leaving with tears, because who can justify spending that much money on one truffle?

unless, of course, it's free...

i'm talking about Godiva, the most delicious store in the mall. 

they have soooo many tempting options but at not so tempting prices.  HOWEVER! here's the secret:

you can sign up as a Godiva Chocolate Rewards member, and get a free chocolate every month.

i KNOW. it's awesome. and i try to take advantage of it every month. which is why, as i was driving to my parents' house last night, i realized that i wouldn't be near a Godiva until next month-my free june chocolate was about to expire!

in a fit of what i am convinced was divine inspiration, i changed my route and got off the highway, taking a quick detour to the mall.

and let me tell you-am i glad i did!  they had all their ice cream flavors out for the summer, which i've never tried before.  i debated over which one to get, but with the help of a very friendly worker there i decided to go with the pecan caramel sundae one. it was beyond amazing.

this delicious little bit of bliss was FREE!
now go run/drive/fly/horseback ride over to the nearest Godiva store and join their rewards club so you can get free chocolate too!

stay cool in this weather!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Beautiful Day for a Picnic.

hey friends!

so this past weekend luke and i went to my hometown to visit my parents.

and because i was absolutely itching to get into a kitchen.  i had been staying at my college to finish up some courses, and they put me in a dorm with NO KITCHEN.

the kitchen, friends, is my place of peace. it is where i end up, even unpurposefully, when i am stressed/sad/bored...to bake means to relax in my world.  and i hadn't been able to bake in weeks! i'm surprised i lasted that long, honestly.

anyway, i spent the week leading up to going home planning out everything i would bake.  i found some wonderful recipes on one of my favorite blogs, My Little Celebration, (which you should totally check out. the writter, dana, seems like a doll) and got excited!

Our first morning home, I immediately got to work.  Banana oat pancakes were on the menu, and I'm so glad they were-they came out delicious!  I don't know about you, but pancakes always seem too unhealthy for me to enjoy.  All that fat and sugar?! But not these-these were vegan, gf, and sugar free as well!  And filling, let me tell you.  It was a great way to start the morning.

Banana Oat Pancakes in all their glory
 I served them with a side of fruit salad, because is there a better dish than that?! I am highly doubtful.

nom nom nom
  It was a delightful breakfast, indeed.

i had a picnic planned for luke and i to go on, because it's summer-why not?!  We spent the whole morning/afternoon preparing our meal.  Luke is great help in the kitchen-he's got some legit fruit cutting skills!

at the park, we unloaded our food and dug in. There was more fruit salad...

along with an actual salad.  In it was spinach, chicken, feta cheese, strawberries, blueberries, walnuts, apple slices,  and raisons.  YUM!  i just love berries in my salads, do you?  the berries actually provided enough juice that there wasn't a need for dressing-which is good, because i forgot to bring some i totally planned...the weather was actually a bit windy, so the spinach began to blow away.  it got awkward.  but other than that it was good!

yummy and delicious ;)
 Cheese and crackers also made an appearance, as did these little guys...

three little cupcakes...sitting on my doorstep
 Vegan/gf sweet potato blondies, baked in mini muffin tins. Oh yes i did. they were SO good.  the spices and the sweet potato flavor came together and almost tasted like a carrot cake, and the little bursts of dark chocolate chips that i added just made them all that much better. which chocolate always does. i topped each with a walnut and called them perfect.

Luke was very satisfied by the meal as well.  he said all the flavors went great together. i must say, i agree...

happy and well fed. like i like him!
 after eating, we layed down in the grass and goofed off.  some silly pictures resulted...

our picnic table
 we eventually got up and played some frisbee, one of luke's favorite things.  i must admit, i'm pretty bad.  i had some good jump-in-the-air-and-catch moments though!

The next day we went to newport, which was beautiful.  i just love walking around the streets and going in all the shops.  not to mention the ocean and boats being right there! this was actually luke's first time visiting, so i had a lot of fun showing him around.

one of my favorite parts?

free fro-yo.

yes, free.

if there is one craving i constantly have in life, it's ice cream.  fro-yo is even better, because it is slightly healthier for you...and by slightly i mean significantly.

a new fro-yo store, Orange Leaf, caught my eye and so we went inside.  luke pointed out the irony in the name (orange leaf, pinkberry...) while i simply drooled looking at all the frozen yogurt options and tempting toppings.  just as i was about to leave (or sell my soul to the store, which ever), a worker came up and asked if we wanted to try a sample? 

yes. yes we did.

she gave us five-yes, FIVE-little cups which we could pour the fro-yo into.  i immediately lost all dignity and loaded up each cup with "samples." luke watched in embarassment...though he wasn't really surprised.  actually, i'm surprised he still is willing to be seen in public with me if there is a hint of free dessert anywhere...

a PERFECT swirl. am i right?!
 I loved the coffee/cookies and cream and chocolate/peanut butter combos the best.  i don't think i stopped saying "YUM!!" the entire time in the store.

and then we promptly left.

without buying anything.

rude? hey-she gave us the cups...

well that was a LONG post, but i hope you enjoyed!

Hello, Friends!

my name is julia, and i have been wanting to start a blog for a while.  i follow a few other bloggers, and just love reading about their days and what they have been baking.  it may sound weird, but i call them my friends in some way.  i would love for you to join me as i have joined them.

this blog will be a documention of my baking adventures, as i just LOVE to bake.  i am a vegan/gluten free baker, out to show the world that yes, you can have your cake and eat it too-cupcakes can be healthy, it's true!  i will explain more about my views on vegan/gluten free (or as i call it "gluten liberation") in future posts.

i will also write about my running. i  am a pretty dedicated runner, and am currently training for a half marathon in august.  i find running to be a great way to stay healthy and also booth the endorphins!  yay being happy AND healthy!

as i haunt cafe after cafe, writing and sharing with you what delicious delights i have found, i hope you to infuse every blog post with joy and passion.  for, is there really a life worth living that doesn't have those ingredients?

i think not.

now go eat a cupcake and be merry.