Healthy Halloween!

Happy Howl-o-ween! I think this is the first time in my entire life that I’m not really celebrating this spooky holiday. I feels kind of weird, I mean ever since I can remember I’ve dressed up and gone out asking for candy, then as I “grew up” the candy turned to booze. Now maybe I’m really getting old?

Nah, we’re just headed to Franklin County Cider Days to meet up with some stellar cider makers, taste their products, and learn all about cider making! It’s hard to celebrate Halloween when you’re just driving around. I do have on some nice orange and black Halloween socks though!

So I’m going to make it a quick post today. You’re going to be eating a whole bunch of yummy candy, so might as well get a workout in if ya can. This one is only 12 minutes! It can be done on your lunch break! But man it really seems like the minutes draaag on because you are working hard! So pop over to the gym quick and get a sweat on before you cram your face with caramels.

Spooky Burpee Workout!

10 single arm snatches with a 15-30 pound dumbbell
10 burpees 

As many rounds as possible for 12 minutes.

That’s it!

I completed ten rounds with a 30 pound dumbbell.

Here are some healthier ways to celebrate Halloween, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Healthy Halloween Treats- The Mummy pizzas are so darn cute.

Great Halloween recipes- the Slime smoothies, too funny!

Healthy Peanut Butter Cups- Ohh my god, yum.

Healthy Mummy Tray - More mummys!!

Now I will leave you with a throwback to last Halloween.

Mrs. Frizzle Halloween Costume    Mrs. Frizzle

” Take Chances, Make Mistakes, Get Messy!! “

Cake Batter Protein Bars

Throw Back Thursday! I’m using this theme to feature old posts that were written years ago on this blog. I’m constantly looking up recipes on my blog when I know I’ve posted them, but can’t remember the exact recipe. It’s awesome, kind of like my own personal online cook book. And I don’t have to be in my own kitchen to read it, I can be anywhere! Some of the recipes are old and I have found new and better ingredients or ways to make them. Most of the time I will remake the recipe and take more photos and update any changes that are needed to recipes. This Cake Batter protein bar recipe has been one that I’ve made over and over and haven’t found the need to change. I have been trying to update my posts to include printable recipe cards-instead of a recipe on an image, and easier to read step by step directions. I might use the Throw Back Thursday theme to show you guys an updated version of these older posts, because sometimes really good recipes just get lost in the archives.

I am constantly searching for a protein bar that has three main requirements. High protein, low calorie, and LOW SUGAR. I hate how so many protein bars are trying to pass as healthy and nutritious and they are laden with sugar and even worse…chemicals! It’s gross. I’m going to do a protein bar comparison soon. Really the best option is to make your own at home. It’s easier to find natural, no sugar, no chemical protein powders that can be combined with other healthy, real food ingredients to create a truly nutritious and healthy protein bar. Here is one of my favorite recipes.


Cake Batter Protein Bars

YUM, a protein bar that tastes like cake, yes please! I’ve talked about the nasty additives that are usually included in store bought protein bars. It is very hard to find a high protein bar that is not high in sugar and preservatives. These bars are so easy, you don’t even have to turn on the oven, and they taste awesome!

Cake Batter Protein Bars

Prep Time: 12 minutes

Cake Batter Protein Bars


  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup crispy cereal
  • dash salt
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 3 tsp sunflower butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate nibs

How it's Done:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl add all wet ingredients and mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper. Pour mixture into the pan. If it is too sticky add a bit more oat flour. Press down firmly with fingers. Place in fridge until chilled.
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*If you don’t have oat flour, it’s easy to make! Just grind some steel cut or old fashioned oats in a food processor until they are a flour-like texture.

These bars would also taste fantastic with coconut shavings on top or chocolate chips added in (of course!) You can substitute peanut butter, or almond butter for the sunflower seed butter, but I think that would make them taste less like cake batter. Cashew butter is also a great idea! If you want a gluten-free option the oat flour can be changed to gluten-free oat flour, or almond flour.

P1090574I store these in the fridge for up to a week, and just grab one when I’m headed to the gym. You can also keep them in the freezer and they will thaw by the time you have finished your workout. Enjoy!

 Food Babe has a great article about choosing natural protein powders. When looking for a protein powder, I make sure it is GMO-free, no sugar is added, and there are no unnatural chemicals added. It is harder to find one with all of these requirements, and you definitely pay a higher price, but I think it is one thing worth splurging on.

Here are some of my favorites:

Plant Source

Vega One Nutritional Shake: This is an all-in-one protein shake. It has all natural ingredients and protein from only plant sources (which is what I prefer). It has all non-GMO ingredients and is sweetened with stevia. Their natural flavor has 123 calories for a 15 gram of protein serving and 2 grams of sugar.

Whey Protein

Tera’s Organic Whey Protein: This protein has a very short (4 item) list of ingredients. It is sweetened with organic stevia, and has only 2grams of sugar per serving. It also only has 110 calories per 20 grams of protein and the ingredients are sourced from sustainable environments.

SFH Pure Protein: This is another whey protein powder from free-range cows milk. It only has three ingredients and is 130 calories for 25 grams of protein serving. It is sweetened with natural stevia as well.

None of these powders have any artificial colors or flavors which is also very important to me.

Do you use a protein powder? What do you look for? What is your favorite brand?

I’m working on a chocolate coconut protein bar recipe, coming soon!

Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe

It’s Monday again, jeez it’s ridiculous how fast the weekends fly by! I have an awesome recipe to share with you today! Even though I have dabbled a bit in the pumpkin recipes, apples have always been my favorite Fall fruit! And we just spent the entire weekend pressing 1600 pounds of apples into cider, so I had a few extra. Here’s a snapshot of the pressing operation! It is quite the machine.

Rack and Cloth Apple Press

I’m sharing an apple crisp recipe today, but it’s not just any old regular crisp, it’s healthy! It has no butter, flour, or refined sugar. It can easily be made gluten-free or paleo. It’s honestly healthy enough to eat for breakfast! (I may or may not be eating it as I type this…) It has a delicious sweet flavor even without tons of butter and sugar!

Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe

It’s also really easy to make. I did everything right in one bowl. If you want to make this a paleo dessert leave out the oats and add an extra 2/3 almond flour. Gluten-free oats can be substituted for the rolled oats to make the apple crisp gluten-free.

Healthy Apple Crisp

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

1 hour

Healthy Apple Crisp


  • 6-7 medium sized apples
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons apple syrup
  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3 Tablespoons walnuts
  • 3 Tablespoons pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

How it's Done:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel, core, and chop the apples and place in a large bowl.
  3. Pour lemon juice and apple syrup over top and toss to mix.
  4. Lightly coat the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish with coconut oil or butter.
  5. Spread apple mixture in the baking dish.
  6. In a bowl mix almond flour, rolled oats, cinnamon and the nuts together.
  7. Add in the vanilla and honey. Use a fork or your hands to gently incorporate the wet ingredients, it should form a crumbly mixture.
  8. Pour the crumbly mixture on top of the apples.
  9. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the apples are soft.
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If you don’t have apple syrup, you can make it from fresh apple cider using this recipe! You also might be apple to find apple molasses or apple syrup at some health food stores or farm stands. If you don’t have any, maple syrup, honey, or any type of sweetener can be substituted. I have only tried honey so far, so I would love to hear what else works well with this recipe! I’m sure the almond flour can also be substituted with other types of flour, but I have never tried that. I have accidentally left it out of the recipe, and it actually turned out alright- the topping was just a little sticky.

Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe

Yum, delicious! Hopefully Monday isn’t too bad- and if it is, find some apples and bake one of these up! Enjoy apples while they are in season!

Throw Back Thursday: Studying Abroad Tips

Blue Mountains, AustraliaHappy throw back Thursday! In honor of looking back I am going back to that time I studied abroad in Australia my junior year (woaa throw back)! Also, sorry it’s a bit of a lengthy post! The other day I somehow remembered that I had started a travel blog while I was studying abroad and literally hadn’t looked at it/remembered it existed until two days ago. I had created it on blogger, and it still exists! , how clever.

I studied abroad spring of 2011, and was in Townsville, Australia for about 6 months. It was the first time I had taken an international flight, and the first time traveling by myself for that long. It was the most incredible experience. I met amazing people who I still keep in touch with today, and made amazing memories. My first recommendation to anyone going away to college is to take the chance to study abroad if you can, it was one of the best experiences of my life.

I thought it would be fun to include my original reaction and blog write-up of my first experience scuba diving. This was March of 2011, I had been in Australia for about 3 months and decided to get my open water certification over a weekend on an island a ferry ride away. It was an intense weekend, and I was exhausted but exhilarated afterward, and my love of breathing underwater began!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

SCUBA Certification!

 After some minor bumps in the road, (doctors not showing up for my appointment, buses breaking down and a lab that ran until 9pm) I finally set out to Maggie Island to meet up with the rest of the folks who were enrolled in the Open water scuba certification course. The ferry landed on Maggie around 11pm and I went straight to bed in the ten bed hostel that smelled like old people and hamsters, or an old person who owned hamsters…but thats fine.
We woke up at the crack of dawn, well 7:30, which I consider the crack of dawn, and walked down to the dive shop. We sat through 3 or 4 hours of boring videos and lectures. After lunch we came back to do pool work. This was the first time I was going to be able to breathe underwater! The pool work was much easier than I was expecting. I almost freaked out when people told me I was going to have to take off my mask and then empty the water from it. Good thing they didn’t tell me I’d have to take out my regulator and throw it behind me while sitting on the bottom of the pool, I would have jumped right back on the ferry. Surprisingly the skills did require quite a bit of concentration but weren’t that difficult overall. Around 5:30 we headed back to the hostel grabbed some extremely overpriced food and then literally passed out in bed around 8:30 ( I don’t think I have gone to bed that early since 4th grade).

   The next morning we did a few pool skills then headed right to the ocean for our first open water dive! I was extremely excited, but very nervous. I still couldn’t grasp the concept of being able to breathe under the ocean, to sit on the ocean floor and be totally fine, freaked me right out. But as soon as we made our decent to the bottom of the ocean I was in awe. It was the most amazing and miraculous thing I have ever experienced. Watching the surface of the water and sunlight above me as I sank down to the sand is indescribable. Being able to breathe underwater is the most fascinating sensation. Our fist dive was just for fun and to get us to explore the bay. There were really neat corals and schools of fish, I saw a sting ray and jelly fish as well. The coral was really amazing to look at so close up. I wish I could have brought my camera but the visibility wasnt the best because of good ‘ol cyclone Yasi.

    The next day we had two open water dives planned, one was supposed to be to the ship wreck. The weather turned out to be really crappy and we decided not to go to the wreck. The waves were taller than me and I thought I was going to be sea sick when we were at the surface, it was a rough swim out to deep water.

       We did a total of four open water dives in Alma Bay that were a total of 2 hours and 25 minutes underwater. After taking the written exam I am now a certified open water diver! I can’t wait to get to dive again, it is the most amazing experience. :)Open Water Scuba Diving Course

It’s so funny to read something that I wrote 3 years ago and see how much I have forgotten about the experience. I can’t believe I was that freaked out! (and that I thought 7:30 was the crack of dawn, haha) I remember feeling exhausted both physically and mentally after that weekend, but also just being so incredibly excited. All of the little details get lost with time.

I have also gotten a TON of questions from people about studying abroad and I thought I would cover some of them. Some of these came from a study abroad student forum, others were from Cornell students and some are just from talking to people.Studying Abroad Tips

1. What was the greatest thing you learned about the country, the culture or yourself while abroad?

     I definitely learned how to be much more independent, I didn’t know any one else that was going to James Cook University, or even the entire country, so I had to meet all new people. It was overwhelming at first, but I think I am a much more outgoing person because of it. Also, Australians are so friendly, I loved that. I learned so much while abroad, I don’t think I could fit it all!

2. Would you recommend studying abroad to other students?  Why or why not?

I definitely recommend this program to other students, it was an amazing experience and so different from the experience at Cornell. I think the two complement one another.

…to add to that now that I have graduated. Studying abroad is a great way to have a break from your regular college program. You have a completely new setting, brand new classmates and professors, and it really gives you a new way of approaching courses and your entire degree program, in a good way. It makes you a more diverse and well-round person, in my opinion. I mean it’s pretty cool to be plopped in a country you know little about with literally no one and nothing familiar, I find this exciting, some people would find it terrifying. No which type of person you are.

3. How did you afford studying abroad? What money-saving tips do you suggest?

        Cornell had an amazing abroad program that allowed you to pay your regular tuition rate for a bunch of different international schools all over the world. James Cook actually wasn’t on their original list, but I ended up talking to a bunch of different helpful people and we worked out a similar situation. The pre-departure instructors at Cornell abroad were so helpful figuring out a budget and suggesting scholarships and other money-saving tips. 

Australia is very expensive, I think it is extremely useful to know this before you even leave the U.S. It is a good idea to look up what banks have affiliations in the country you’re going to so that you can avoid large fees for taking out money from your account of exchange rate fees. It is also a good idea to have a credit card that doesn’t charge international fees. Also, just get your priorities straight, I knew I wanted to get scuba certified, but that’s pretty expensive. I saved money by not buying lunches and alcohol all the time (wine/goon is cheapest!) and we ended up getting a group rate because of the number of us taking the same scuba course at the same place. Talk to other students, ask how they’re saving money! All Most college kids are poor.

4. What are the program’s academic strengths or weaknesses?

  Their marine biology program was amazing, the classes were diverse and coverage a wide array of topics throughout the semester. The classes were hands on and engaging. I learned so much and we took multiple field trips to reinforce what we learned in the classroom.

5. Comment on any differences in the way classes are taught, study habits, library use, examination, grading, etc.

Grading was very different, class participation and homework were not considered. Most of my classes had finals that were worth 60-70% of my grade. The rest of the course grade was based on a few lab reports or a midterm….honestly compared to Cornell it was much, well, easier. The classes were incredibly interesting and I loved the hands on learning, but the workload was considerably less. Let’s just say we could miss a few classes here and there if we had to  wanted to go to the beach. Shh don’t tell!Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands

Whitehaven Beach/Most beautiful beach in the World. Whitsunday Islands, Australia

6. What is your advice to students thinking of studying abroad?

If you know you like the challenge of traveling, new places, and adventures, just make it happen. There are a million reasons to talk yourself out of it, but I promise it is so incredibly worth it (did I already say that?!). Also, don’t pack too much, research the climate of where you’re going and bring a suitcase or two, you will thank yourself so much when you don’t have to lug 8 different bags around 6 different airports and then have to find a way to make it to campus, yikes.

Did you study abroad? What is your advice? Do you have any other questions about studying abroad?

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