Spring Jelly Bean Trail Mix

Jelly beans.  Just like last year, I find jelly beans difficult to come up with a recipe for.  Last year, I made Chocolate Pretzel Jelly Bean Bites and White Chocolate Raspberry Jelly Bean Bark.  While both combinations were unique and good, this year’s Spring Jelly Bean Trail Mix blows them both out of the water!  I made this over the weekend and keep sneaking my hand into the bag for a bite.  Or two.  Or twelve.  Everything in the mix compliments each other so perfectly, and it’s sure to please since there is a little of everything.  Sweet and salty.  Chewy and crunchy.

spring jelly bean trial mix recipe

Colorful and pretty, too!  So let me tell you something funny about these eggs.  As I’ve mentioned before, my toddler William LOVES playing in his kitchen.  While we have a few different Melissa & Doug food sets, what he loves best is “real” stuff from the kitchen like oven mitts, measuring spoons, and egg cartons.  Well, I was out and about yesterday running errands and of course all stores right now are stocked for Easter.  We don’t celebrate Easter, but I thought the plastic eggs would be PERFECT for William to play with to fill his egg cartons.  Then, as I was assembling the mix, I realized they would also serve as the perfect prop!  Double win!  Here’s the “recipe.”  (Literally, just combine six foods together!) Check it out:

Spring Jelly Bean Trail Mix

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Brach’s tiny jelly bird eggs
  • 1 cup Branch’s speckled jelly bird eggs
  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts, lightly salted
  • 2 cups popcorn
  • 2 cups pretzels (minis or sticks)
  • 2 cups mini Nilla wafers

Combine all ingredients together.  Set out to enjoy or store in an air tight container.

brachs spring jelly bean trail mix

This recipe was developed for SimpleRecipes.club on behalf of Brach’s.  Simple Recipes not only has tons of free… simple recipes… but also daily coupons!

This was the first time I tried Brach’s speckled jelly bird eggs.  They are, hands down, my absolute favorite jelly beans.  Most likely, I won’t ever buy any other kind.  Particularly, the blue and the pink ones.  Yes, I pick them out of the bag.

While William is still a bit too young, I know my niece and nephews would love putting this trail mix together.  It’s different than traditional trail mix, but perfect for spring.  Obviously, there’s no chocolate in it, but that’s ok for spring, summer, and the warmer months. You don’t have to worry about it melting.  Even if you make it with the kids or intend on serving it to the kids, be ware: this stuff is addicting for everyone, adults included!

spring jelly bean trail mix

What ingredients are a MUST to include in trail mix for you?

 

Let’s have coffee…

Let’s have coffee… shall we?  Grab a cup of joe (or tea or water or whatever strikes your fancy), sit down, and we can catch up about our weekend happenings.  Coffee was the theme of the weekend, it seemed, and my little guy even wanted to get in on the action!  He kept grabbing momma’s cup, saying, “Coffee!”

drink coffee march16

I let him pretend without actually tasting the good stuff!  He’s got to wait quite a bit longer for the real thing.

My spring break began on Friday.  I kicked it off with hosting a play date with my co-workers and their babes in the morning.  William and I hung out the rest of the day before going to visit his best bud, Wolfie, for dinner on Friday evening.

wolfie mar16

They were both holding Shabbat candles and we were singing Shabbat Shalom which is why William was so excited every time we said, “Hey!”

Saturday began with a coffee date with William at Starbucks.  I enjoyed a mocha, while William had a blueberry muffin and water.

starbucks

Cutest little Starbucks date ever.

Later on Saturday, I went to check out the True Runner Spring Gear-Up event.  I’d never been in the store before, but was impressed at the great selection of shoes and apparel.  I actually ended up buying a pair of CALIA (Carrie Underwood) capris that are just gorgeous!  And of course I had to take part in the #WhyIRun photobooth fun.

whyirun

Yeah, I run for my sanity, yet haven’t been running lately… So, maybe that’s why I’ve been feeling a little cray?  (Oy, did I just say cray?!)  Actually, I am hoping to get in a couple of runs this week during my spring break!

William and I went to my grandparents’ house on Saturday night.  Whenever I mention Mama and Papa, William immediately starts talking about pool and hitting the balls in the pocket.  First, he takes out the mini pool table, but eventually goes into the pool room to stand on a bench and reach the big pool table.

mama papa pool mar16

He’s seriously such a coordinated toddler!  It won’t be long before Papa puts a golf club in his hands!  Mama had William talking up a storm the whole night.  We were laughing because some of his language is still indecipherable, so after a long sentence / paragraph of him talking, we can catch the last few words.  Like I said before, his speech is exploding and he’s able to say more and more everyday!

linking up with katie and erin for my marvelous weekend snapshots

I received a MASSIVE delivery recently from Influenster.  Influenster is a community where you review products, take surveys, and provide feedback.  They send you surveys to see if you’re eligible for certain campaigns, and if you are, you get sent whatever box it is.  Then, you’re asked to complete a survey about the product.  You can work to earn a “badge” by completing different tasks, as many or as few as you’d like.  Typical tasks include sharing on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest.  Sometimes tasks involve writing a review on a certain website, blogging, or vlogging.  Like I said, they’re all optional, so no pressure.  And the best part? Anyone can sign up! Not just bloggers! I’ve had several of my friends sign up.  (Sign up HERE if you’d like! It is a referral link and I get “points” for people joining.)  So the best box I’ve ever gotten from Influenster? THIS:

keurig influenster

Seriously, how amazing?!  I am so excited to be able to make coffee at home now, and the flavors they sent are awesome, too!  There is a breakfast blend, dark magic, and caramel vanilla creme.  They also sent a “My K-cup,” so I can use regular ground coffee if I run out of K-cups.  Totally stoked and definitely the best box I’ve received from Influenster!

Speaking of coffee, Sunday morning started with some coffee, as well.  (Check out the first picture in this post.)  We met my grandpa Poppy out for breakfast!  Some of my earliest memories with Poppy are of him taking me and my siblings out to breakfast at a local deli, so taking William out to breakfast with him was just as fun as I remembered when I was younger.

poppy march16

Everyone is SO happy!!!  I love cooking breakfast daily, but there is something extra special about going out to breakfast, especially with your baby and his great-grandpa and cousins!

As you may know, Sunday was the first official day of spring.  St. Louis welcomed spring by SNOWING!

snow march16

Boo, snow.  Luckily, it didn’t stick and we should have warmer temperatures later this week.  Let’s hope… I want to get out there and run!

Are you a coffee drinker? Do you go out or make it at home?

True Runner Spring Gear-Up Event

This post is sponsored by Vocalpoint and True Runner.  All opinions are my own.

Celebrate rising temperatures and the start of running season with True Runner as they are hosting their annual Spring Gear-Up event on Saturday, March 19th and Sunday, March 20th!

true runner

This couldn’t be any better timing for me.  I’ve only gotten in a handful of runs since the weather has been decent.  I’m more than ready to kick-off this running season with people who are just as excited as me.

The event begins at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 19th and Sunday, March 20th at their Brentwood location.  True Runner and HOKA ONE ONE are hosting a FREE Fun Run Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.  Meet at the store for a 4-5 mile group run demoing the latest running shoes from HOKA.  All paces and abilities are welcome.

Fun Run

What will be at the True Runner Spring Gear-Up Event?

  • Photo booth
  • Face painting
  • Price wheel
  • Nutrition sampling
  • Brand reps

Spin-to-Win Cropped

You’ll be able to spin the wheel for a chance to win prizes from top brands.  Brand reps will be on-site offering product expertise and demos.  You’re encouraged to share your picture from the photo booth and your “Why I Run” story on social media for a chance to win great prizes!

SGU Collage

And the best part?  I’ll be there! 😉

While it’s a two day event, I’m planning on going on Saturday morning.  But who knows, I may just have so much fun and come back for more on Sunday!

true runner

True Runner carries a range of shoes, apparel, and gear to support your running needs and help you achieve your needs.  It’s created for runners, by runners.  They get it.  It’s more than just a specialty running store, it’s a community.  I hope to see LOTS of you on Saturday!

For more details about the True Runner Spring Gear-Up Event, click HERE.

Has your running season started yet?  Did it ever end?  Already signed up for any races?

Cucumber Crab Bites | Easy Appetizer

Put your hands in the air if you like sushi!  [Stands up, waves hands wildly, shouting, “Me! Me!”]  I love sushi.  However, I’ve never made it, nor do I have a real desire to attempt it.  It seems way too labor intensive for a short return, although incredibly delicious.  I’d probably spend an hour creating a roll that takes me four seconds to shove in my mouth.  Yeah, I’ll just enjoy my sushi out at restaurants or for take out.

So when I picked up Crab Classic at the grocery store, the first thought that came to mind was SUSHI!  And then I remembered my aforementioned thoughts about the reality of actually trying to make sushi and decided, instead, to think about what ingredients I love best paired with crab in sushi.  Well, that’s easy.  Avocado.  Cream cheese.  Cucumber.  Because any roll that includes those is sure to be a winner.  Topped with some sweet chili sauce?  Oh yeah, now we’re talkin’!

cucumber crab bites

Easiest appetizer (or Sunday afternoon snack) ever.  The cucumber crab bites are actually a lot like sushi… without the intense labor or the rice, which is a win in most people’s book.  You’ve even got to cram the whole bite in your mouth, just like sushi, because it’s too hard to just eat half of or take a bite.  Or maybe that’s just me.  Very ladylike, I know.

So here’s the deal with how to “make” these delicious little cucumber crab bites.  You slice a cucumber.  You give each slice a shmear of cream cheese.  You add a hunk of crab.  You add a bit of avocado.  And you pour a dollop of sweet chili sauce on top.  Eat.  Repeat.

cucumber crab bites appetizer

What’s this Crab Classic that so wonderfully sat on top of my cucumber bites? Crab Classic is the #1 surimi seafood brand nationally, made from wild Alaskan Pollock and King Crab meat. It is also gluten-free, fat-free and certified by the American Heart Association as heart healthy. Besides that, Crab Classic is also certified by the MSC as a sustainably sourced seafood.

Crab Classic comes in a variety of different forms including flakes, chunks, legs, shreds, and single servings, though my grocery store was limited and just had chunks.

crab classic

The legs would have been perfect for a roll-up type thing I made with the same ingredients as the cucumber crab bites just wrapped up in lettuce.

crab rollup

And not nearly as dainty or pretty. 😉

cucumber crab bites recipe

Have you ever made your own sushi?  What must-have ingredients would you pair with crab?

Disclaimer: I received coupons for Crab Classic free of charge.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

the best

As you’ve all seen, I take a million photos of William.  Probably more than a million.  Possibly a million at one time.  Usually I text my sister Stephanie half a million at once and demand she chooses which of the [almost identical] pictures are the best.  She calls me needy, then tells me.  Anyway, some days I feel like I can’t quite capture the moment as beautifully as I would have liked.  Well, this weekend was not one of them.  I feel like I caught the most amazing moments on camera.

Our weekend began with a sleepover with Audrey.  They are too cute together.  Audrey is like his little momma and he listens to her so well.  Sure, there are times he pulls her hair and steals her toys, and Audrey acts like a typical four year old.  But most of the time, I sit back and watch them play together.  Audrey has the best imagination I’ve ever seen, and she’s definitely teaching William how to use his!  My parent educator actually commented on what a great job William does with imaginative play!

Saturday morning was the sweetest with plenty of cuddles, kisses, and stories.

audrey kisses mar16

I told them I wanted to get a picture of them, so they climbed up on the couch.  As if on cue, Audrey wrapped her arm around William.  They were smiling and giggling as I was snapping away.  Audrey leaned in for a kiss as William had the biggest grin on his face and I caught it on camera!

We ended up watching my sister’s dog, Ellie, for a night.  William loves Zoey, but he really loves Ellie.  I think it’s because she tolerates him a lot more than Zoey and lets him lean on her and hug her.  When I gave the dogs dinner, Zoey scarfed hers down in no time flat, as usual.  However, Ellie is a lot more finicky and wasn’t eating.  I sat down and poured a few pebbles out of the bowl.  William plopped right down next to me and started feeding Ellie her food, one pebble at a time!

feeding ellie mar16

The whole time, William was saying, “Here you go, Ellie!  Take a bite!  Yum!  Yum!”  Seriously, too cute.  And yes, he does have on just one sock.  And yes, that is the most perfect long curl hanging down!  Perfect shot.

linking up with katie and erin

On Saturday, we went to a friend’s birthday party.  It was at a place with several bounce houses and arcade games.  William LOVED playing basketball, no surprise there!  I set him on top of it since he could hardly reach the game from the ground.  He made quite a few baskets!

basketball mar16

Nice shot, short stuff!

And one last perfect shot of the weekend – fixing the door handle.  This is funny for several reasons, but here I’ll just reiterate William’s love of using real screwdrivers and fixing things.  I had to readjust a few door handles at my house, and of course William was right there behind me doing his part.

fixing door mar16

There is just something so beautiful about black and white pictures!

What was the best part of your weekend?

one more month

Yesterday was March 10.  Do you know what’s significant about that date?  William turned 23 months.  THAT MEANS HE IS TWO IN EXACTLY ONE MONTH!!! How did this happen?  Where did time go?  How is my baby almost two already?!?!

That means in one more month I will officially stop counting his age in months.  (Though my little brother tells me I should have stopped this a year ago.)  That means in one more month, he’s not a baby anymore.  That means in one more month, he’s not even one anymore.  In one more month, William will be two!

23 months

I seriously cannot believe it and do not have words right now.  How old does he look in that picture?  It’s like he grew up over night.  He does seem to get bigger and smarter by the day, but two?!  Two is like a real little boy.  Sometimes he sees his old baby toys in the basement (bouncer, excersaucer, etc.) and he will point to it and say, “Baby,” since I’ve told him that’s what he used to play in when he was a baby.  Then he points to himself and says, “Baby.”  Yes, William.  You’re still a baby.  My baby.  Always and forever.

Argh.  Anyway, we do have some fun plans for the weekend.  They include a sleepover with Audrey, a birthday party for one of William’s friends, a play date, meeting one of my best friend’s new baby, and more.  For now, I’m going to soak up this next month while my baby is still one.

Mommas, tell me what to expect during the “twos!”  What’s everyone doing this weekend?

35 Coconut Flour Recipes

Coconut flour is not an easy thing to bake or cook with.  It’s not one of those flours that you can swap regular flour for in recipes without putting some thought into it.  It’s really dense and requires more liquid which can totally throw a recipe off if you’re unsure how to adjust.  I’ve made my fair share of coconut flour pancakes that have completely fallen apart or have been way too dry to consume.

However, coconut flour is extremely healthy, so it’s worth learning how to use it.  For one thing, it’s free from wheat and other grains making it perfect for people who eat gluten-free, low-carb, or paleo.  Also, it’s high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats.  So, how might you bake or cook with it in the kitchen?  Well, I’ve got 35 Coconut Flour Recipes from FitFluential Ambassadors coming at you!

35 coconut flour recipes

35 Coconut Flour Recipes

lemon-bars-photograph

healthy-simple-red-velvet-pancakes-social-800x420

There ya have it.  Something for everyone.  Sweet.  Savory.  Strange.  (Some might say.)  If you’re a big ol’ coconut hater, don’t swear off coconut flour forever quite yet.  Coconut flour actually has a really mild taste, so there’s a good chance you may not even taste the coconut in some recipes.  I do recommend you take a look at these though, as there are tons of delicious ways to incorporate coconut flour into your meals!

Do you cook or bake with coconut flour? 

catching up

Oh hey there!  I’d say now is a good time for catching up, wouldn’t you?  I’m sharing just a few tidbits from life lately.  I’m trying my darnedest to blog Monday through Friday, but that just hasn’t been happening lately.  As always, you can follow me on Instagram at itzlinz for more regular updates. :)

The weekend was fun.  (Aren’t they all??)  Friday night included a trivia night where I actually knew more answers than I usually do.  Saturday started with a play date with one of William’s girlfriends, Emily (my best friend’s daughter).  We actually went to their house so I could “rehearse” with Emily’s dad, Andy.  He was in a lip syncing contest and needed a girl to walk on stage and shake it with him for a small portion of his performance.  I was happy to help and the evening was a blast!

diana 16

Diana and me from Saturday night

Andy absolutely killed it!  He did a few Michael Jackson songs, and if there were real awards, he would have totally won.  He had the outfits and the moves – definitely the most talented of the bunch that performed!

And don’t mind my orange hand in that photo above.  Yikes!  I got a spray tan on Thursday night since I would be on stage with bright lights in a dress and wanted a little bit of a color.  This was my first time getting a spray tan and it turned out great… except for my hands!  Oops.  Thankfully, it’s beginning to fade now.

Sunday included many errands around town.  Real exciting places like Bed Bath and Beyond, Costco, and Trader Joe’s.  But you know I had the cutest little bear shopper with me!

trader joe's bear

Totally cheesing it up!  The photo is actually from a TJ’s trip from earlier in the week.  We like to go a couple of times each week.  Also because I’m the worst meal planner ever.

Last night we went to my parents’ house for an impromptu dinner.  Since the weather was so nice, lots of time was spent outdoors.

audrey march16

These two.  Love.

Jacob was climbing a tree behind them, and once William saw, he had to try!

yaya tree march16

Yaya was there to help!

We had a casual pizza and salad night for dinner.  William wanted to climb on Pops’ lap after asking for several bites of pizza.  Then, he took Pops’ fork and started eating his salad, too!

pops dinner march16

It was so funny to see him eat salad!  He was totally digging in!  Now only if he’d eat all his vegetables like that all the time…

Catch me up! What’s been new with you lately?

Honey Ginger Quinoa Fruit Salad Recipe

This Honey Ginger Quinoa Fruit Salad Recipe is absolutely perfect to make at the beginning of the week to have on hand for a healthy breakfast or snack. It’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser for brunch with family and friends.  The flavors are unique and provide a new twist on a traditional fruit salad.  It will satisfy a sweet tooth and keep you full as it’s packed with protein.

Fruit salad.  Good stuff.  Quinoa fruit salad.  Alright, that sounds healthy.  That’s what you’re thinking, right?  Quinoa is very healthy for you as it contains all nine essential amino acids making it a complete protein.  But let’s be real.  It’s pretty bland.  You’ve really got to spruce up quinoa or add it to a flavorful dish.  I’ve heard people say time and time again that they don’t like quinoa.  Friends, you’re doing it wrong!  The sauce for this honey ginger quinoa fruit salad will completely change your minds about quinoa.  And if you’re already a fan of quinoa, this will be your new favorite way to eat it.

honey ginger quinoa fruit salad recipe

You can make this over the weekend when you have time to wash and cut all the fruit and eat it throughout the week.  Or you can make it the morning when you are hosting brunch.  I’m telling you, this honey ginger quinoa fruit salad is awesome!  It’s not just any fruit salad, and it’s not like any quinoa fruit salad you’ve ever had.  It makes a large amount, so it’s definitely worth the prep time.

Honey Ginger Quinoa Fruit Salad Recipe

adapted from Fresh Thyme

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups sliced strawberries
  • 3 cups cubed pineapple
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup honey + 1/4 cup honey (separated)
  • 3 tsp orange zest
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • 3 in piece ginger, grated
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil.  Add quinoa.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer over medium-low until quinoa is tender and water has absorbed (about 15 minutes).
  2. In a small saucepan, heat 1/3 cup honey, orange zest, orange juice, and ginger over medium-low heat until honey has liquefied.
  3. Transfer cooked quinoa to large bowl.  Pour honey ginger mixture over quinoa and toss to coat.
  4. Add strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, blackberries, almonds, and dried coconut flakes to quinoa and gently toss.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, vanilla, and 1/4 cup of honey.
  6. Place quinoa salad in serving bowls and top with dollops of yogurt mixture.

I garnished with additional almond slivers and dried coconut flakes.  Other options for garnish include chopped fresh mint or cacao nibs.

honey ginger quinoa fruit salad

I received an email on Monday morning asking if I could be available to do a cooking demonstration the following morning on a local news station.  I was able to take a half personal day from school, and I was excited for my first tv appearance.  After William was asleep, I went to Fresh Thyme for the first time.  Fresh Thyme reminds me of a local farmer’s market that got turned into a grocery store.  They had lots of great deals on their produce and had a large selection of organic products, as well as an extensive bulk section. I purchased the ingredients I needed for my honey ginger quinoa fruit salad, and I got to work washing, cutting, and prepping all the ingredients.

Bright and early, I went to get my hair and makeup done.  (Hey, for my first tv appearance, you better believe I was going to make sure everything was on point!)  I took my haul to the news station and was welcomed by one of the producers.  Immediately, I went to work setting up the counter.

great day stl itzlinz

I was on Great Day St. Louis with host Laura Hettiger.  Check out my cooking demonstration of the honey ginger quinoa fruit salad segment below.

KMOV.com

I had so much fun sharing the recipe!  My parents were watching William, and they snapped this adorable photo of him watching his momma do her thing on tv!

tv

Have you ever made or tried a quinoa fruit salad before?  Another great thing about the recipe is that it can easily be tweaked based on what you have in your kitchen.  Feel free to play around with different fruits, nuts, and seeds!

believe in yourself

Today’s post is just a quick reminder to believe in yourself.  It’s amazing how far you can come when you stick with something and believe in yourself.  I started blogging over four years ago.  I never imagined blogging would take me where it has today.  Today I embark on a new journey.

Follow my adventure on Instagram (@itzlinz).

My very first blog header was a compilation of three photos – one being me doing a split jump at the top of the hill.  And while we didn’t recreate it perfectly during our last family Sunday dinner, it was impromptu and it was perfect just how it was.

split jump jacob

Check out the height my little nephew Jacob got!  His form is not too shabby either.  He’s always been willing to do what I’m doing – split jumps, yoga, handstands, you name it.  I love how eager he is to try something new.  To believe in himself.

handstand jacob

So today that’s what I’m doing.  I’m believing in myself.  And you should, too.

Do you see my little William running up the hill as fast as he can to get in on the action?? That’s my boy!!  He’ll be going upside down with me in no time!!