Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 30 and #53... and #54...

Yeah, I'm not kidding. Guilty as charged. This weekend was a BIG baking weekend. A big weekend in weight loss, too. My brother's 20th birthday was last night, and of course, I needed to bake something in honor of the momentous occasion. On top of that, with all of the dieting taking place, I have been literally searching out any excuse to bake for others. Just being in my kitchen element, surrounded by butter and sugar, seems to make me feel a little more normal, since my diet of strictly protein and vegetables ISN'T.

In regards to the diet, this week has been an emotional yo-yo. After baking that GORGEOUS rainbow birthday cake last weekend for Papa Baird, I went ahead and let myself sneak a little piece- under Mothers Baird's INSISTING of course- and it was exactly what I needed. So colorful, soft, and just the little bit of sweet something I needed to take my mind off of the dieting. Nervously stepping on the scale the following morning, I was pleased to see I hadn't gained any weight... no no no, the weight gain happened THE FOLLOWING morning. You have no idea what a slap in the face it was to see my weight go back up to 137.2. It actually hurt my feelings. To make matters even worse, I managed to plateau this entire week, for no good reason! I took it very personally, smacking myself upside the head for even thinking it would've been all right to try that cake. Thankfully, this morning, I am at 135.4... my smallest I have been in YEARS. I'm thinking the plateau was due to the fact that for about two weeks I wasn't able to make it to the gym, whether it was due to traveling OR the weather. With that being said, the gym is becoming PRIORITY #1. Let's take a look at my goals-

Initial weight: 146.6 pounds
Current weight: 135.4
Weight loss: 11.2 pounds
Weight left to go until initial goal: 0.4 pounds

Whoo hoo! This feels pretty good, although I am NOT celebrating until I hit 135 flat. It is then I will buy myself a treat. For now, I am NOT resting easy. Who knows when I'll run into another plateau? I'll keep you updated when that goal actually happens! Yay!!

Now let's get to the real reason you're reading this blog. Recipe #53 and #54. The first is for my brother. I offered to make him dessert, but my mom really enjoys making us/buying us something tasty for our actual birthday treat- instead, I asked if he'd want me to make him breakfast the following morning to eat before going to work. After looking through my Pinterest (where there are TONS of DELICIOUS choices), he asked for something I had been eager to make for weeks- Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake. Yum... two of my favorite things combined into one treat: breakfast AND cake.

This recipe (with the spoonful I had allowed myself to try) is GOOOOD. The top of the cake gets all nice and crusty, the inside is moist, and the blueberries... oh goodness, my diet is making it so hard to be good.

#53: Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake (as found on


½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
7/8 cup* + 1 tablespoon sugar** (
* 7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons and ** This 1 tablespoon is for sprinkling on top)
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.
    - All right, true confession time. I was NOT able to finish this cake before my brother left for work for a variety of reasons. The first was, I woke up at 6:30 thinking I could have the breakfast ready before his 8 o'clock shift. Bad move. First of all, I wasn't officially up until 6:40 (it's Saturday morning, give me a break!), and on top of that, it took me a solid 15 minutes to FIND our lemon "zester" (it was literally RIGHT in front of me the entire time. Yup. Solid work). 
    - P.S. Have I mentioned my beef with lemon zest? All of the work just to get the skin off of a lemon, and then you just leave the large lemon on the counter to rot. I am DETERMINED to cut it up and use it in water this weekend, mark my words!


2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt (all of this in separate bowls! That's three bowls!)
3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries (Alternate half of the flour mixture into the batter, then 1/4 a cup of buttermilk. Alternate until all the flour and buttermilk is gone, mix, and then fold in the blueberries).
4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving [My cake took about 45-47 minutes in the oven, take note!]
There you have it. I wish I could have a big, old slice. Look at this, perfection in a pan!

Now, recipe #54 came to be for a variety of reasons. First of all, last week, one of my friends and I decided that we needed to run cookies to a couple of other girls we know because we quickly realized that their birthdays were both last month, and we did NOTHING to recognize this. Michelle volunteered to go get them cards, and I of course stepped up to the plate to bake (... and I will admit, it was half out of selfish reasons. I just really wanted to bake, GOSH!). On top of that, I also needed to bake for my students, because I had promised them that if they met their goals in our winter M.A.P. science test, I would bring them a treat. With that being said, I needed to do something festive for the birthday girls, as well as kid-friendly. I found a FUN recipe...
I love all things cake batter. After making cake batter blondies for Mothers Baird back in October, I kept finding other "cake batter" recipes I wanted to try- cake batter pancakes, cake batter rice krispie treats, cake batter cake pops, cake batter truffles, and finally this one.
#54: Cake Batter Pudding Cookies (as found at love this BLOG!)
1 1/2 sticks (or 3/4 cup) butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 (3.4 oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2-1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
*Note- the pictures will show a doubled recipe, since I needed to make 30 cookies for the kids, plus extras for the girls.
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Stir together flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together. Add in pudding package and cake mix and beat until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add flour mixture slowly until well incorporated.

3. Mix in sprinkles. Roll into 1" balls and place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes.
    - Used an entire bottle of sprinkles between two batches of these cookies, and I really don't think that was enough. Also, I ended up keeping my cookies in the oven for about 15 minutes, because the middles were definitely not done at the suggested time.

There you have it! Another simple cookie recipe brought to you by your's truly. Now, I have to tell you though, I let myself try one of these cookies (*gasp* but what about your diet?!), and I was slightly disappointed. On the blog I pulled this from, the women who had commented on the recipe said it was "So delicious!" and "One of the best they've tasted!" LIES. It's good, don't get me wrong... but it's basically just a fluffier sugar cookie. That's it. I was hoping for this ooey, gooey pudding-like cookie, but instead I literally just got your run of the mill, could've-probably-bought-this-in-the-store-for-a lot-less-money-and-saved-a lot-of-time sugar cookie. Oh well, my kids will really enjoy it, I'm just worried about letting down the women I baked for...

Hi, welcome to every school teacher's nightmare- baking for 30+ students.

You cookies, you disappoint me so!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day 23 AND Recipe #52...

I know, I know, I know. I am a bizarre dieter. I seriously can't stay away from the baking though. Especially after the weekend the Tri-Cities is having. The snow began on Tuesday night, and it dumped and dumped through Friday afternoon, ending with a nice coating of ice supplied by a solid two days or so of freezing rain. Kennewick was literally shut down- I was slightly amazed that we were even told to go to school on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday I didn't dare venture outside the house, since I HATE winter driving, and highways were being closed around the area due to ice. Yeah, no thanks. With that being said, it had been quite a while since I had managed to make it to the gym (not since the Tuesday before I left for Provo), so I was really nervous about my weight. I have great news though- like, jump-up-and-down-you're-so-excited kind of news... I am, as of today, 136.6 pounds! I am at my lowest weight since I initially lost all of that weight way back right after I had moved back from Pullman. That feels pretty darn good, especially considering I only have 1.6 pounds left to go before I hit my initial goal! Holy cow! And in only 23 days, I am pumped!

I am a little nervous about hitting a plateau now, since this is where I plateaued last time. My diet was a little different though- I was spending a lot of time counting calories, and I would literally starve myself for a day so I'd be able to go out with my friends at night and eat whatever I wanted without thinking about it. Probably not the best decision. The diet is getting harder and harder to follow though- my parents' house is just full of WAY TOO good food. The worst was when my mom and I made a less than satisfying fajita salad on Thursday night, and my brother, bless his heart, decided to take out corn chips and start dipping them into our salsa right in front of me. I literally cried watching him.

I've gone ahead and put some fun little treats in place for myself when I do reach certain weight goals. When I hit 135 flat, I am going to go ahead and purchase a couple of bikinis I'm taking with me to Hawaii this summer. When I hit 130, I am going to purchase a tanning package. And IF I feel crazy enough to attempt 125, I am going to bake a chocolate cake, and Jenna and I are going to eat it all by ourselves. Because we're worth it... and this will all be worth it, when I'm here. Check out my Maui webcam.

Yessss! Cannot wait. On top of all of this, I ALSO went ahead and baked ANOTHER project. I found a really fun looking DIET recipe on Pinterest that I wanted to try, but I scrapped that idea when I decided I couldn't charge into the Bairds' home with diet food in hand. There'd be a mutiny for sure. Instead, I took the technique behind the pinterest recipe, and made my own cake using ingredients from the store. So, no, before you even judge, this is NOT a homemade recipe, but the amount of effort it took should made this a valid entry in my baking challenge.

#52: Birthday Rainbow Cake (as inspired by


*One package of white cake mix (I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic white, because it was on sale)
     - Using this mix, I had to also use 1 cup of water, 1/3 a cup of oil, and three eggs.
*2 cans of any sort of frosting you might like (I used Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy Rainbow Chip. It was hard to decide between this and the funfetti Pillsbury frosting, but I realized I prefer my sprinkles to already be incorporated into my frosting)
*Food coloring (I used Betty Crocker Classic gel food colors- the woman on the blog said the gel works better than the drops. Fair enough)


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While it is heating, mix the batter, water, oil, and eggs together (the cake mix box says to mix the batter with an electric mixer for 2 minutes)

2. After mixing the batter, split it equally among six bowls.
     - The blog said to be very precise. I chose not to be, and my two cakes ended up being uneven. No big deal, I frosted them when all was said and done, so it doesn't LOOK bad. Anyways, I started out scooping a 1/2 cup of batter into each bowl, then a 1/4, and then I ended up eyeballing the rest to try to make it all even.

3. Dye each bowl a different color of the rainbow according to the directions on the gel colors box.
    - Welcome to my messy nightmare.

4. Grease up two 9-inch circle pans. Pour half of the first color of batter into the pan. In this case I used red. Then I poured in half of the orange over that, alternating the colors, ending in purple. In the other pan, I started with purple and ended with red. I spread the batter out in the pans evenly, and this is what they looked like-

Isn't that cool? I just wish I could EAT IT later.

5. Place both of the pans in the oven and then bake it according to the directions of the cake mix. For me, it was 27 minutes, which was wonderful for the centers, but turned the tops a kind of off brown color. Oops. I blame it on my parents new, wonderful convection oven.

And this is the final result- after allowing the cakes to cool, I spread frosting between the two cakes, and then put frosting all over. It looks adorable... now here's hoping it tastes good! I'll keep you updated...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 19 and Recipe #51...

No, you didn't read that wrong. I took on quite a task this weekend, and I came out rather victorious, if I do say so myself. I traveled to Provo, Utah to visit my sweetheart, and if you know me well at all, you know the two things I crave most about Utah (other than Mr. Baird, of course) is their superior shopping AND... the food. SO MUCH FOOD. Seriously, whenever people ask me how I could EVER like visiting that state, my reply is always, "Oh man, you gotta try the food." There are so many stinkin' choices, I plan my vacation around the places Stephen and I are going to eat at. Which explains the weight gain.

Needless to say, I was pretty nervous about heading down there. We were both still on the Cruise stage of the Dukan, which clearly states we are only allowed to eat protein and vegetables, so curbing our "foodie" side was going to be a challenge. Not only that, but I had also told Paul, Stephen's wonderful roommate, that I was going to bake in honor of his 24th birthday.

The end result? As of today I am- 140.4 pounds. Quite an accomplishment, if I do say so myself! The only downside was on the Thursday morning before my trip, I was at 139.6... so I did manage to gain a little back. It COULDN'T have been that trip to Zupa's that I swore up and down to Stephen that I would never mention to anyone... but we couldn't help ourselves. We were SO GOOD all weekend though, sticking to strictly grilled meats, steamed veggies, and salads, so the GIANT bowl of lobster bisque I had was well earned... right? Either way, I don't regret it. That soup is my anti-drug. Let's look at my goals-

Initial goal weight- 135 pounds
Starting weight- 146.6 pounds
Weight loss since 12/29/2011- 6.2 pounds
Weight loss to go- 5.4 pounds

WAHOO! Half way there in less than three weeks... not bad. Now, let's enjoy looking at my biggest vice-

... miss you already

Now, I did manage to ALSO create an epic dessert for Paul, without really eating any of it. That was scary, serving the birthday boy a treat I hadn't been able to taste check before placing it in front of him. I had originally wanted to make him a GIGANTIC, really delicious looking cake I had found on Pinterest, since I was DYING to make something HUGE... but Stephen quickly reminded me that if there was a ton of food lying around, we'd be more tempted to eat it. I went ahead and created another quick recipe off of Pinterest, and it is crack in dessert form. I only had one bite, but that is what I was able to figure out from it, THAT GOOD. Ladies and gents, I bring to you not only a weight loss update, but a dessert...

#51: Baked S'mores (as found on


1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla 
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (approximately 7 full graham crackers)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 or 3 super-sized (5 oz.) chocolate bars (e.g. Hershey’s)
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (not melted marshmallows)


1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom of **8 by 8 or 11 by 7. 
     - Boys will be boys, and naturally their apartment did not have either of these things. I ended up using a round 9-inch bake pan, and greased it up with a little canola oil. You do what you can with what you have, right?

2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. 
Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined. 
4. Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place chocolate bars over dough. Two 5 oz. Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly [for 8 by 8] side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer. [use 3 Hershey's for 11 by 7 pan]
    - Lovely lady, but she is wordy. I ended up using two and a half bars for my s'mores. The rest were sitting on the kitchen table, mockingly starring at me. Daring me to eat them. Curse you, Hershey's.
5. Spread marshmallow fluff evenly over the chocolate layer.
6. Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the creme. This is most easily done by putting the second half of the dough in a gallon size freezer bag. Use your palms or rolling pin to flatten it out, and then use scissors to cut down both long sides of the bag, so it will open up book-style. Open it up carefully, and the dough will stick on one side of the bag. Then place the bag, dough side down, on the other three layers. From there peel the bag up and carefully spread the dough where it is uneven.
    - Completely unnecessary step. I just rolled my sleeves up, gathered the rest of the dough in the bowl, and spread it across the s'mores. Yes, it was sticky, but I put my big girl panties on and dealt with it, you know? 
7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely or almost completely for the melty factor before cutting into bars. 

Hard to watch people eat multiple pieces of this. Even harder to look at this picture now.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 10: We're Cruisin' Now...

Phase 1 is complete, onto phase 2. Thank goodness phase 1 was only three days because let me tell you, it is HARD to stick to strictly protein. I was seriously craving celery sticks like crazy. Something, ANYTHING crunchy would've sufficed. Phase 2 of the Dukan is what is known as the Cruise Phase, which is the phase in which the last portion of your "serious" weight loss is supposed to occur. As of right now, I am at a flat 142 pounds, meaning over the course of the last ten days, I have lost a total of 4.6 pounds. Pretty good, if you ask me. 

Phase 2 is very similar to phase one, with the exception that I now get to incorporate non-starchy vegetables into my diet. YES! I seriously can't wait. Today I got to have egg whites with salt, pepper, hot sauce, and PARSLEY! I can't tell you how amazing it was to have something GREEN on my plate! I am concerned with the slowed down weight loss I know is going to come in this phase- basically, the goal of this section of the Dukan is to drop you down to your weight loss goal BEFORE you are able to move on to phase three. Meaning, you are STUCK eating just protein and vegetables until you are motivated enough to shed all the weight you want to shed. Now, if that doesn't make you want to move your BUTT to the gym, I don't know what will. PLEASE, do NOT let me get discouraged! I only have seven pounds to go before I hit my initial goal (although if it doesn't take long I may push myself to go further), but I'm worried that my lack of food choices are going to get me down. 

Working out has been big fun. Last week I was able to get to the gym 4 times, and so far this week I've been three, so I have remained fairly consistent. Having Jenna around as a gym buddy has been a big help. Yesterday we did cardio for around thirty minutes, then did some weight training and it was just what I needed. My thighs are SORE today. On top of that, I have the BEST zumba instructor EVER. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to Roberto...

And no, I'm not in the video. My greatest wish is to be in a video with him... once I'm a little more coordinated.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 8: Attaaaaaaack!!

All right, yesterday the cleanse officially ended, and I am pleased to announce I have lost *drumroll* ... only 2 pounds! Yes, that's right, although I definitely suppose I shouldn't complain about 2 pounds in a week. Now, let me come clean- I cheated, A LOT. At one point, I had actually lost a total of nearly four pounds, but I definitely sabotaged myself with New Years Eve dinner at Anthony's, New Years Day festivities, and my "final" meal at Texas Roadhouse with Nichelle and David. The cleanse itself wasn't bad at all- Downing 60 ounces of water wasn't difficult, if you are used to drinking a fairly good amount of water a day. I think the strangest part was the first time I could actually SMELL the cleanse coming out of my pores while I was working out. But I digress...

With the end of my cleanse came the beginning of my actual diet, and like I said, I had researched these diets for quite sometime. I finally decided that the best for me was the Dukan diet... have you heard about it? Evidently it's the healthy alternative to Atkins, and the diet that Kate Middleton used to prepare for her wedding. You had me at Kate Middleton. The diet is broken up into four parts, with the first phase known as the "Attack" phase. You begin this particular diet eating only lean protein, with the length of the phase depending on how much weight you wish to lose. As I had made a goal of losing ten pounds or so, the diet stated that I would have to be in the attack phase for a total of three days. Not so bad, right?

Well, to be honest, it's day two of three, and I want to die. Seriously. There aren't a lot of really excellent lean protein options available out there. My food choices have consisted of grilled chicken, Greek yogurt, fat free cottage cheese (plain, mind you... bleck)... and that's about it. I was lucky enough to still have some protein meal shakes and bars around my house, but they don't help much. For instance, here is today's meal plan:

Breakfast- Protein bar
Morning snack- Protein shake
Lunch- 6 ounce Greek yogurt
Afternoon snack- I TRIED to suck down some cottage cheese, but I ended up giving in to eating half another protein bar. I'm bad.
Dinner- Grilled chicken breast

Yup, that's it. Not fantastic. I will tell you I have already dropped an additional 2 pounds, for a total of 4 pounds in 9 days. So I am currently at 142.6 pounds. Tomorrow is my last day of the "Attack" phase, so I'll have to get back to you and let you know how many total pounds I lost after attacking my weight. Now, the worst thing out of all of this? I received a KitchenAid stand alone mixer as a late Christmas gift. Yup. That is pure, unadulterated torture. Do you all have any idea how badly I want to hook it up and bake a cake? Ugh. Hate life right now.


... more grilled chicken? *sigh*

I am eating the largest chocolate cake I can when this is all said and done.