Key Lime Coconut Energy Balls & Upping my Photography Game


Monday, ready or not here it is! Let me try to distract you from your to-do list a bit…

I took a photography class in high school. I lasted about one day before we had to start measuring things and doing math and I said, “whoa whoa whoa…nope”. I swapped the class out for ceramics (math, measuring, science and I were not friends at the time).

I deeply regret that swap.

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Beer, Cheese, and Nutrition Education

Hi there. I can officially put a check mark by Milwaukee on my travel list.


This is the view from my hotel window.

I definitely enjoyed the trip more than I anticipated. When I first arrived in Milwaukee Saturday night I debated whether I wanted to go out for a glass of wine or go for a run to explore the city. Clearly, the run won out. I know this is “Up Early With Amy” and all but I have a new found love for running at dusk when the sun is setting. Especially along lake Michigan.


I had no idea Milwaukee, a city in the midwest could have such a beachy feel. With the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan it is definitely a city on the water.


The Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) conference I attended began Sunday morning. There were some great sessions that I plan to share more about in future posts.


For now I’ll just give an overview of  my three favorite sessions…

  • Evaluating and Communicating Emerging Science

o   In this session leaders in the fields of food addiction and MSG research discussed some emerging science on the topics and then dietitians that work to communicate complicated science spoke of the importance of proper dissemination of information to the public. Heavy but important stuff!

  • Evidenced Based Practice in the Dynamic Field of Nutrition Education and Behavior

o   This session was lead by some inspiring organizations working to create measurable health and wellness interventions for underprivileged high schools throughout the country.

  • Food Policy and Health: Global Perspectives-Local Actions

o   This session began on a global scale highlighting current ecological and economic challenges in our food system and particularly on vulnerable populations.  Some of these issues included: urbanization, food security, over population, and climate change. Then the talk moved to a slightly less depressing vibe highlighting local interactions and models in the Milwaukee area that were making an impact on the local food system and community as a whole. For example, the growth  of Farmers markets  and acceptance of SNAP benefits at Farmers’ Markets, establishment of an active food council, and urban gardens in place of foreclosed homes! Inspiring stuff!!

All the work and research my fellow nutrition colleagues were doing to make an impact was very inspiring and I am eager to get back and share it with my organization and see how we can use some of the research in our programming at the University of Maryland Extension.


In case you were wondering… I didn’t spend my whole time in this new city in a lecture hall. I also. Explored the local food scene.

Which included a lot of…


Fresh local cheeses.


and beer :)

I also manged to eat some healthy food along the way…IMG_2862 IMG_2875

And just to make sure we didn’t miss out on the beeer scene my co-workers and I toured LakeFront Brewery.  IMG_2878 IMG_2879I spent each morning running around the city…and snapping pics on my phone!

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I also manged to check the public market off my bucket list.

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The market was full of fresh cheeses, local coffee, fresh local produce, candy, baked goods, and fun kitchen gadgets. I checked out the market on my last day and ended up with an iced Chi tea latte and some local cheddar cheese for my dad !



IMG_2891I’m feeling pretty satisfied with my learning and my eats and I’m about ready to be home!

Peanut (PB2) Chicken

Happy Friday…


I’m going to start the weekend off with some honesty…. I have a confession.I gave groupon my credit card number & I bought 6 1-pound jars of PB2.


PB2 Jars



If you have no clue what I’m talking about….PB2 is powdered peanut butter.


Basically, oils are extracted from peanuts in a chemical free process to form a powder. It’s so popular because when the powder is mixed with water it makes a product similar to peanut butter without most of the fat. I love to use it in recipes and eat it by the spoonful but it doesn’t take the place of peanut butter in my life :) (nothing will). The fat in peanut butter is primarily an unsaturated healthy fat that leaves you satisfied, helps remove bad cholesterol (LDL), and provides essential fatty acids your body cannot make on its own. Don’t worry I think there’s room for both peanut butter and PB2 in this world…we can all be friends. You can read more about PB2 here if you are interested! You may even remember PB2 from my Chia Seed Pudding Recipe.  When you have 6 1-pound jars of PB2 you have to get creative.

Which brings me to my recipe today:

Peanut (PB2) Chicken!



I found this gem of a recipe on the PB2 website…only this is my own variation. Mainly because I discovered tomato paste and tomato puree are two different things….who knew? Anyway, I bought paste instead of puree and it worked out just fine. DSC00967

I ended up using 1 chicken breast, 1 cup tomato paste, 2 Tbsp honey, 3/4 cup PB2, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp curry, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1 Tbsp olive oil (to cook the chicken on the skillet), salt and pepper to taste.


I mixed the orange juice,PB2,  curry, ground ginger, soy sauce, honey, and tomato paste in a large bowl and set it a side. DSC00969


Then I cooked my chicken on the skillet.


The original recipe has you heating the chicken for only a few minutes than adding the sauce. I did that and the sauce burned pretty easily (could be the difference between the paste and puree??)…luckily I had extra sauce so I finished cooking the chicken and then replaced the burnt sauce with some fresh sauce and turned the stove top to low and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes.

During that time (& about 10 more minutes to be real) I made veggies :) DSC00972

Then I poured my wine and dinner was complete :) DSC00974

I forgot to mention I also added chick peas…because I love them.


You can check out the orignal recipe from the website here


Just remember… tomato paste and tomato puree are not the same thing and be careful about adding the sauce too soon on the skillet…I learned what my smoke detector  sounds like :( .

But it was worth it in the end. The sauce is soo good and because I only made one chicken breast I plan to use the left over sauce on an Asian inspired salad. Stay tuned!

~Happy Friday!!!!


Cauliflower Pizza and My Little-Big Sister

Alright, I teased you with my Cauliflower Pizza pictures on my Facebook page a week ago. Sorry about that. My sister Molly and I made this aweome recipe on our bucket list and I never shared. Don’t worry I’m sharing it today. Just a week late….no big deal.


The story behind this veggie pizza creation:

Molly and I miss each other since I moved out. Molly and I love veggies. Molly and I love pizza. Molly and I love making food. So naturally Molly and I wanted to try and make cauliflower pizza together! We used this recipe from a blog we’ve both been loving lately called Run Eat Repeat.



We also took selfies.. please ignore our after the gym look because they gym happened before the pizza!

…Only I had last minute anxiety about it and tried to pull out when I was driving home from work. Molly wasn’t having it. I tried to convince her I didn’t have the right kitchen equipment and it would make too much of a mess in my new apartment. She “told me” we were making it….and we did. In case you’re wondering Molly is my little sister that sometimes acts like my big sister.


It was a lot easier than I thought….and definitely worth any mess we made. …(insert Molly’s I told you so) I thought we needed a food processor (don’t have one of those yet) to grind the cauliflower but Molly searched many food blogs and discovered we really just needed a cheese grater which she brought from home.



While I preheated the oven (to 400 degrees) Molly did the grating. We added veggies that the recipe above didn’t include because I add veggies to everything. I stirfryed kale, pepper, mushrooms, onions, and garlic while Molly did the hard part of actually making the cauliflower pizza crust.



She mixed eggs, part-skim shreeded cheese, the shredded califlower, Italian seasoning, and garlic together.






We followed the recipe and baked it on 400 degrees for 20 minutes and BOOM! We had pizza crsut :)



Next we added our pizza sauce, cheese, and veggies! Then we put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes until the cheese had melted and we were starving.

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So moral of the story…listen to Molly :) LOVE YOU!!


“Having a sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of. You know whatever you do, they’ll still be there.”

Bean Burrito Dinna Success!

Tonight my dinner was SO YUMMY it earned itself a post!

Sometimes when I’m trying to plan out my meals a couple days ahead of time it’s easier to work frozen meals into the schedule. Tonight I was planning to have a Kashi Black Bean meal with some brussels sprouts…

BUT THEN as I was driving home from my evening spin class I had a moment. I was like “Amy you really don’t want boxed food tonight stop being lazy and make your own bean burrito”. I think my endorphines were still going. So yes I talk to myself and yes I did just that :)

Here’s the results:


  • 1/4 cup fat free refried beans
  • 1/4 cup chick peas
  • 1 Tbsp Gucamole
  • 1 light baby bell cheese wheel
  • 1 smart choice tortilla
  • 2 mushrooms
  • fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp fresh salsa
  • lime juice.. lots of it!

bean burrito 3

bean burrito 2

Oh and I topped the burrito with hot sauce but that was really just me trying to be artsy!

bean burrito 1

I just tossed it all togehter, wrapped it in tin foil and stuck in the oven on 400 for 10 minutes to melt the cheese and warm it up! It was SO good. You know that feeling you get when your really excited to eat something? Well I got that and there’s no way it would have come from boxed food! Tonight was such a success :)

Question: what’s your easy go-to dinner?