A Few on Friday

Hey hey!  How are things? 

Hope they're awesome. 

Anyone want to give this a try?  I often attempt things like this but then laze out and never finish them. Maybe I'll have more luck with this one!  Read more about it here!  Join me.  It could be fun.  If you're on instagram, I'm laurammccaleb.  Give me a follow!
I might need to go to exclamation point rehab!

Here's a Friday funny mental picture for you...

My co-dependent self often worries if Big Browne is suffering from a slight bit of depression since he doesn't get to roam the streets anymore.  Then, I remind my self that A) living in our house is probably better than living under our house and that B) Akita's enjoy being part of a family and actually do much better living inside and that C) Akita's are kind of aloof so he's not depressed, he's just ignoring me.  

With all of this being said, I take him on several walks a day to ensure his happiness. Sometimes, these are cardio in nature.  Most of the time, he sniffs and pees and meanders.  All of the time, these outings end with the two of us in a stand off, me wanting to go one direction (home), him wanting to go another direction (down just one more street.)  These usually go down at an intersection.  He stands there, smiling, tail slowly wagging, reminding me that he's the one that weighs 113 pounds.  

I walk to him, give him a few encouraging words and a pat on the head, and try again.  This generally does not work and at this point, people are starting to stare.  

I then scream "BIG BROWNE COME!" and then sometimes "BB, AQUI!"

(BB is short for Big Brown, Aqui is Spanish for "here" and a play on the word Akita.  I have a lot of spare time on my hands, y'all.)

People are now starting to point and wonder who is going to win.

In an attempt to reclaim my spot as pack leader, I walk to him, but him in a bear hug of sorts and attempt to scoot him out of the middle of the intersection.  It's at this point that he usually pops that tail up, grins and goes into a trot along beside me.  Well, a trot-ish walk.  A sloooow trot-ish walk. 

He also doesn't appear to be bothered by the rain and looked at me like I was insane when I was ready to go in on Thursday morning.  

Oh, Big Browne.  You kill me.

You know what else kill me? 

How excited I am about 300 Oaks this year!  Chickey is coming to town to run the race, as are my good friends Emily and Brian.  Emily and I have been friends since we were in elementary school and lived together for most of college.  If you would have told me 10 years ago that we would be running in a 10K together I would have told you that you were absolutely insane.  We did a lot of things as roommates, engaging in healthy activies was not one of them.  

Except for that time that we took karate together at Delta State.    

I'm a green stripe.  

Don't mess with me.

Stop laughing.  

Me, I can't really laugh.  Why?  Because I have a big 'ole crick in my neck.  This means I have to limit my movement as much as possible.  I'm doing a lot of twisting at the waist, belly button in and core pulled tight.  It's my ab work for today. 

My ab work yesterday consisted of the power yoga dvd.  For 15 minutes of the 34 minute DVD, Big Browne joined me on the mat.  The sun salutations appeared to concern him. 

OK, I'll stop talking about the dog now. 

I'll just post pictures of dog treats that I may or may not make this weekend. 
find it here

  find it here

Happy day, friends!  Make it a good one!



Recent Shenanigans

Hey!  It's Thursday!  Let's look at some pics. 

Here's me and the mister in the lot before the Phish show.  I'll forever keep this one in a frame in our house when we have kids to remind them that their parents are, in fact, awesome. 
Here's one of Brandon and Brian, my BF Emily's husband . I was glad they had each other as they kind acted as side kicks for each other.  And they carried the cooler. And they allowed Emily and I to get a good visit.  And Brian ensured us that the larger than life storm cloud that appeared to be headed straight for us was in fact going the other way.  He's a farmer.  He knows these things.
Here's a shot of the jumbo tron during the show.  Our seats were pretty good.  However, I'd forgotten my eye classes which led to a fair amount of straining on my part. PTL for that screen!

Towards later part of the show, Brandon and I spotted a gathering of our friends by a beer stand (typical) and decided to dance/stand/visit with them.  This led to some good group noodling.   
Oh Phish.  I'm glad I can cross you off my bucket list and I can not wait to go back!  Next time, however, I'm not missing out on some sort of hippy wrap sandwich in the lot. 

You know who doesn't like hippy wrap sandwiches?  This girl.  She does however, where a chocolate cake hat well.  That's saying something.
 Here's a group of all the sisters before Dad's birthday dinner at Lusco's!  Good looking bunch, eh?
 Way to go Chickey for making this photo collage!  Get it, sister! Check out those v-is-for-victory arms dad is throwing up after that amazing candle blow out!
 Here's a shot of Chickey and JMJ.  They were watching a video on the youtube about a young women that looses her wig after flying to high on a swing set. 

"It's to high, Jurlissa."  So from now on, Chickey will also be known as "Jurlissa."
 And here are me and B again...traveling to the Lusco's.  It's a special place for us, we had our first date there and have celebrated many a momentous occasion there.  Good times.  Good times.  Good man, good man.
Let's wrap this up with something so cute it will make your head spin.  Alex and MK met Big Browne for the first time over the weekend. Alex was pretty jazzed and even made my mom pretend like she was Big Browne when Alex called her with her shoe.  (Kids.  Heck yeah.).

Upon meeting Mr. Browne, Alex immediately announced she was ready to go. Seemed a little concerned about his size and the fact that he kind of looks like a lion.  However, I got in the floor with them and she was able to see that he really is a sweet baby boy and nothing to be afraid of.  Towards the end of the visit he even started to paw at her which is BB speak for "Hey.  I think you're awesome.  Got any ham?" 

She spent the next while hugging him and petting him and telling him all about her dog, Carter.  BB may or may not have attempted to stalk and subsequently eat Carter when we went outside.  PTL for leashes always being involved in every situation.

I know this picture is blurry but I freaking love it! 
Happy Thursday people!  Hope you enjoyed this little photo dump. 


Southwestern Black Bean Soup

Sometimes, you just need some soup.  Sunday was one of those sometimes for me.  

The weekend had been one of complete and total excess.  The Phish show on Friday, Lusco's with the family on Saturday, a Sunday afternoon migraine that required Cool Ranch Doritos.  REQUIRED.  For real.  

There's something very centering about the process of making a pot of soup, especially after a weekend of excess.  I've found that it really helps me to mentally prepare for the upcoming week and slide myself back into acting right.  This soup was light-hearty, which means that it was comforting and substantial with out being fatty and excessive.

It's like you trick yourself back into being healthy.  Love some trickery.  Well, not really.  I hate trickery, shenanigans and tomfoolery.  BUT.  I love soup and embrace whatever it takes to get me back in the swang of things.  
Southwestern Black Bean Soup
adapted from Day in the Country

7 oz smoked turkey sausage, sliced thin
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp garlic, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped small
2 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups chicken broth
2 tbl fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbl lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste

In a small-ish skillet, warm the sausage.  Set aside. 

In a medium sauce pan, cook the onions in the olive oil until salt.  Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, peppers to onions and stir constantly.  Add the broth and the black beans. Bring to a simmer and cook for about fifteen minutes.  

With a large fork (or potato masher if you've got one), smash up some of the black beans.  Stir in the cilantro and the lime juice; adjust seasonings.  Cook on medium low for about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Serving size 1 cup (makes five)
Points plus 5


Cookbook Club :: Mango Corn and Black Bean Salad


It's good stuff, y'all.  You should start one.  Seriously.  Good stuff.  

While I was to busy stuffing my face to snap pictures of everything, here are a few shots that I did get.  

Pretty zinnias + some crazy something or other growing in my front yard.   
Vino! On elephant napkins!  Perfection.  Oh and PS?  Those wine to go glasses are absolutely where it's at.  Head on over to the Viking Store and pick some up.  
A mango chutney dip.  Apps.  Always a good thing. 
Mango Chutney dip is almost gone.  Bring on the guac!  This guac had mayonnaise in it.  Keep it weird, Prime Meridian.  Keep it weird. 
Here's my dish.  I had salad and went the way of a mango, black bean and corn situation.  This is almost the same dish I shared with you fine folks last week but not quite.  This one was so good!  I had it for lunch the next day, too, and was not disappointed.  
In additional to these fine dishes there, there was chicken and pasta and tomato pie (oh my!). Don't forget the strawberry pie and the specialty cocktail.  The name of the specialty cocktail escapes me at this time but I can tell you that it was pretty much just bourbon and lemon.  Ginny, the maker of said cocktail, described it perfectly when she said "it doesn't sneak up on you, that's for sure!  You know exactly what you are drinking." 

True that, girl.  True that.  

And now...the salad!

Black Bean and Mango Salad
from Prime Meridian

1 package of dry Italian dressing mix
16 oz canned black beans, drained and rinsed
10 oz frozen corn, thawed
1 cup chopped mango (I just used one mango)
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper, red
1/3 cup chopped purple onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup lime juice

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate.  

I hate I didn't get the serving size on this one!  It would be a perfect WW situation.  Oh, well.  Win some, loose some.  


Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

Sometimes, I mess with a good thing.  I try to fix things that aren't broken.  

Sometimes it doesn't work.  Like that time that I made homemade Reeses' Eggs.  HELLO.  Why?  They were messy, time consuming and tasted like I was getting after a box of powdered sugar with a spoon.  I mean, that's not always a bad thing but wasn't exactly what I was looking for.

On the other hand, sometimes messing with a good thing can lead to some seriously awesome results.  Liiiike making funfetti cupcakes from scratch.  Hey there, awesome.  First introduced to me by Chickey, a box of funfetti cake mix is almost always is sitting in my cubbard.   

Which probably isn't a good thing, but whatever.  

Brandon asked me to make a little something special to thank the people that helped to ensure that Big Browne became the first four legged member of our family.  I perused my Pinterest "Sweets" board looking for something that was fun and festive, once I saw these cupcakes I knew that they 
had to happen.

 I wish I was one of those people that could just make things like cupcakes without the worry that I would accidentally eat them all.  Well.  I haven't ever eaten an entire batch of cupcakes but it could happen.  This is why I only make things like this if there is some sort of special occasion and I have to give them to someone else.  

What better to reason to celebrate than the acquisition of an Akita?

Sweet boy.  Sweet huge, wolf like, eats six cups of food a day boy.   

Eeeeeeee.  Things have gotten real.

But back to the cupcakes.  These are a little extra effort but completely worth it!  They didn't have your normal cupcake consistancy.  Nope.  It was an interesting mix between a cupcake and a butter cookie.  Have you ever had a butter cookie?  Pegs makes them from time to time and they are nothing short of one of the most amazing things on earth. 

Another good thing about this cupcake situation is that you probably have most of the ingredients already.  

Come on people.  There is no reason for you not to make them right this very minute.  Do it.   You wont regret it.  Well.  Unless you eat more than four.  You might regret that.  I'm not saying this from experience.  I just had one.  But I would imagine that if you ate four, you would regret it.  

Carry on.  
Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter 
1 cup suger
2 eggs
1 tbl vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup of sprinkles plus more for topping (I like those hard round ones!)

Vanilla Buttercream

2 sticks of butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbl vanilla extract
1 tbl milk, if needed

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.  

In another bowl combine the flour and baking powder.  Add half of this mixture to the butter and sugar and combine well.  Add the milk.  Add the rest of the flour and combine. 

Pour into cupcake pans (lined with liners), about 2/3 full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until done.  Allow to cool.

To make the frosting, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla.  If it's to thick, add some milk.    

Once the cupcakes are cooled, frost.  Sprinkle extra sprinkles on top.  

Makes 12 cupcakes
13 pp each (eek!) (worth it!)


A Few on Friday

The following things are facts:

:: He is a precious angel baby face. 
:: I am suuuuuuuuper excited about the Phish concert this weekend.  Like multiple u's excited.  We are in section 204.  Or 204.  Or something.  I can't even talk about it anymore.  And I'm scared I'm going to forget the tickets!  Someone text me and tell me not to forget the tickets... 
::I really really really want to eat this:
You can find the recipe here.  Why do I love such fatty-boom-ba-lattie food?  Who knows.  Who. Knows.  Let's all set a date to make this, shall we? 

:: I'm going to miss my daily trip to McDonalds for coffee.  You see, my keurig bit the dust and I've been waiting on this trip to Birmingham to get a new one.  We have wedding credit and a gift certificate.  Oh, and I'm cheap.  While I'm looking forward to being able to brew in the comfort of my own home, I've bonded with the gal that gives me my change and have enjoyed spying on the old men while they gossip and I wait in line.  The things we get used to doing. 

::  My dad turned 60 yesterday.  SIXTY.  That is old but awesome.  Here is a photo of me and him and Chickey and Jen.
You like that picture of a picture, huh?  I have all kinds of family jewels stashed on my shutterfly account.  I like to look at them randomly when I'm bored.  Check it....bangs.  Mom claims they were "Just so easy!" to maintain.  Yeah.  It's all fun and games until you have to grow them out.

That is all.

Have a great weekend!!  You guys rock!



Mango, Quinoa and Black Beans

Still with the qunioa.  

Did you know that this is my third meal that I've gotten out of uno bag of quinoa.  Upon purchasing this bag of qunioa, I was pretty horrified at how much at costs.  However...it's cool now.  It's gone a long way.  In fact, we can probably get about 2 more out of it.  Probably. We'll see.  

I'm sure you'll be waiting with breath that is bated to see how it goes.  

Maybe I'll make breakfast quinoa.  Who knows.  It might get crazy up in here.

So.  This quinoa recipe was directly taken from Skinny Taste.  Get it, Gina!  It's a great recipe...perfect as a side or a snack.  The flavors are real sassy when put together.  AND it features a mango.  This was my first mango experience and I'm proud to admit that it was a positive one. 
Southwestern Black Bean, Qunioa and Mango Medley

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup frozen corn (thawed)
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup mango, chopped
1/4 cup of red onion, chopped small
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
juice from one medium lemon or lime
1 1/2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground tumeric

Combine the beans, quinoa, corn, bell pepper, mango, onion, cilantro and jalapeno in a large bowl.  

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili powder and tumeric.  

Pour the dressing over the vegetables.  

Serving size 1 cup (makes about 6 servings)
Points plus 3 


Turkey, Goat Cheese and Avacado Sandwich

Y'all.  This is serious.  

Like serious serious.  

Good serious, not scary serious. 

Almost as serious as this case of writers block I've still got.  Ugh.  Whatever.  A sandwich this serious makes everything OK.  Or at least most things OK.  

This sandwich, Instagram, a cool August.  These three things together make most things OK.

For real, y'all.  

The writers block continues. 

Ummmmm.  I got nothing.  

Except this sandwich.  

Which means...I got everything.   
Turkey Goat Cheese and Avocado Sandwich

2 slices of white bread (mine came from Mockingbird Bakery!)
2 oz guacamole
1 slice of deli turkey
1/2 oz of semi soft goat cheese

Spray each slice of bread with some spray butter.  Add the ingredents and grill it up in a pan.  

Heck yeah!

Makes one sandwich
Points plus 7


French Bread Pizza

Lets talk easy, cheap and fast.

And tasty, cheesy and crunchy.  


Never mind.  I can't think of any other adjectives to describe this meal.  Or at least any other adjectives that can be neatly sectioned off into groups of three. 

But I can say this:  this pizza is good stuff.  Good stuff indeed, people.  You should make it! 

Duuuuude.  Can you tell I'm having some sort of writers block?  I'm having some sort of writers block.  

Let's face it.  Coming up with adjectives in groups of three is not my best work.  

At least there's pizza.  Pizza makes everything perfect.  

In additional to my writers block, I'm afraid I've been bitten by some sort of alliteration bug.  

Lord, help us all.  Help us all.       
French Bread Pizza

16 oz french bread
1 cup of pizza sauce
1 cup of part skim mozzarella
40 turkey pepperonis
chopped red onions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut french bread horizontally.  Spread pizza sauce evenly on each piece of bread.  Divide the onions, turkey pepperonis and cheese over each piece.  

Bake until cheese is melted and bread is crusty, about 15 minutes. Cut each piece in half. 

Serving size 1/4 of pizza
Points plus 13    


Pasta with Basil, Goat Cheese and Tomatoes

Goat cheese, oh how I love thee!  

Let me count the ways...  

You make pizza perfect, salads sassy and my noodles not stink. 

But seriously.  Let's be honest.  I've never met a cheese I didn't like.  Which probably explains a lot.  

Liiiiiike why I have a muffin top.  And why running is less of a hobby and more of a necessity.  And why I'm patiently waiting for it to be socially acceptable to wear yoga pants at all times and in all situations. 

But I digress.  Goat cheese is above and beyond awesome.  It took this last minute supper idea above and beyond and kept me from accidentally face planting into a container of Ben and Jerry's.  

Because that's what happens to me when I'm left unsatisfied by supper...        
Pasta with Basil, Goat Cheese and Tomatoes 

2 oz uncooked whole wheat pasta, cooked and drained
1 oz semi soft goat cheese
grape tomatos, sliced
1 tsp olive oil
fresh basil, chopped
kosher salt and pepper

Combine all of the ingredients.  Easy as that!

Makes 1 serving
Points plus 9


A Few on Friday

Sooooo.  If you aren't doing anything.  You should click here, enter your email address and sign up for this fabric give away.  This is one of my favorite sites and I really really really need a fat quarter bundle of this fabric.  But wait!  If you win, you have to give it to me. Thems the rules. 
Another thing you can do if you aren't doing anything is check out Rich Kids of Instagram.  I know, I know...websites that promote this type of tomfoolery are what's wrong with our world today.  I get it.  I tell myself that this is fascinating social research. I'm putting it on my google reader only until it starts to make me nauseous.  Which probably wont be to long. 

But really.  Using the hashtag "wealth" is one of the more disgusting/amazing/fascinating/ridiculous things ever.  Would you agree?

Y'all. Nauseous is a really hard word to spell.

OK and now I'm starting to have this thought:

"Laura Merrill. How would you feel if someone devoted a site to making fun of you?  You probably wouldn't feel good."

Quite the moral delimma. 

Deciding on whether or not this is going to be good stuff is not a delimma.
Riase your hand if you still freaking LOVE Girl Talk with all of your heart.  Mine's up.  Way up.  Run to it often. Ran to it this morning.   

Will probably also being running to this over the next week. It's the download from the Wednesday night Phish show in Long Beach, CA.  Why did I pick that show to download? Well.  Because people seemed to be really fired up about it. And by people, I mean the people that are on the intense email chain that I'm a part of preparing for next weekend. And by intense I mean whoa.  

Pardon me whilst I noodle dance.

Why don't you join me?  

No?  Fine.  

OK so what else?  

I'm trying to will fall to come early by wearing boots to work.  It didn't work Thursday.  All it did was leave me with some darn sweaty feet and a moderate level of anxiety.  I've got them on today with high hopes.  We shall see.

Speaking of boots...this is the fall I purchase Frye boots.  And booties.  I've been anti-booties for a while but think I'm going to give them a go this year.  A friend of mine posted a pair for sale at her store on Instagram recently and I think they are the ones for me .  

But I can't prove it to you because I don't have a picture of them.  Or a brand name.  Or really any information on them at all. 

Well, I'm off to eat my yogurt and start my day!  Happy Friday to you all.  I hope you love today with all of your heart....  


Tight Squeeze

Hey, where's Big Browne? 

Oh, there you are!
Chilling under the house, huh?  Nice and cool under there I bet.
 Come on out, buddy!
Tight squeeze....
There you go!  

I'm going to write a children's book one day and it's going to start out like this:

Once upon a time, there was a 113 pound Akita that lived under a house. 

I don't have the rest yet.  Not quite sure how this story will end!  I do, however, feel confident that this Big (Browne) Man will be ok where ever he lands.  He seems to be pretty good at taking care of himself.  

Whatever happens, though, we McCalebs have learned that we are for sure ready for a pup!  Or a 7 year old dog.  Or something.     


Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad

Oh my. It's still hot.  Even with this "cold front"...still a little warm.  But that's not shocking.  It's expected.  It'll be hot on into fall, I reckon'. 

Let's look on the bright side!  Hot weather = cool food.  Liiiiike SALADS!  Look at that pretty green.... 
Gotta take a minute to thank my girl Mary Neff for posting this salad last week.  You can go read about it here.  After she wrote about it, I couldn't stop thinking about it.  It just sounded so good.  AND she said it was filling.  Good and filling....my kind of salad.  Obsessive thought time. 

I made just a few adjustments to help out on the point situation.  If you fancy, throw some crushed up tortilla chips up in there.  And use real mayonnaise.  Get crazy people.  CRAZY

Few food related situations are as disappointing as eating a delicious meal and being starving a little bit later.  

That's not happening with this green dream.  It's got lots of what weight watchers calls "power foods." Foods that are nutritionally dense AND filling.  That just means that they are good for you.  

If any of you have filling and delicious salad ideas, now is not the time to keep them to yourself.  
Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad
adapted from A Charming Day

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 head of green leaf lettuce, chopped (pretty much the whole thing, depending on the size of your bowl!)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup of canned corn, drained
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
7 cherry tomatoes, sliced
a handful of green onions
2 avocados, chopped

1/3 cup of light mayo
1/2 cup of fat free greek yogurt
1 tbl ranch seasoning
1 tbl taco seasoning

Combine all of the salad ingredient in a really really big bowl.  Combine the dressing ingredients in a smaller bow.  Add the dressing to the salad.  Mix it all up good. 

Say, "YEE HAW!"

Serving size 1 heaping cup (makes about 11 servings)
Points plus 5 


Share Your Good!

Oh, today.  What's with today?  It's one of those days.  Around every corner there's something.  Something sad.  Something frustrating.  Something making you want to throw your hands in the air and scream:


Sorry, Mom.  "Heck" just wouldn't have had the same affect.  

Do you have those days?  Surely you do.  Please.  Tell me you do.  

On my drive home from work, my mind wandered to a daily meditation that I read recently.  It talked about being grateful.  Not just grateful for the good times but being grateful for all times.  Even the times when you want to throw things at people.  And stomp.  And make personal insults.   

It's true.  Gratitude isn't conditional.  It can't just happen when things are going my way.  It has to happen all the time.  Being grateful for all lessons and all times and all things is some pretty powerful stuff.  It's eye opening, for realz.  

While practicing my gratitude (through gritted teeth, I must admit), I'm going to open my eyes to the good around me. Liiiiiiike:

-  I purchased a really expensive book from Amazon.  Then I realized it was the wrong book.  It came in today.  I can return it!  Woo!

-  Touch of Gray was the first song on deck when I turned on Pandora.  I will get by!  Woo!

So.  I'm going to continue to jam out to the Dead, clean my floors, unload my dishwasher, go eat a burger with my husband, do that stupid yoga video and get over myself.  

YOU are going to help me with that last part.  Tell me.  What good has happened to you today?  What has restored your faith in humanity, given  you hope or at the very least, made you feel less annoyed than you felt yesterday?

Put some good energy out in the world people!  Hit me up in the comments! 

Seriously.  Love  you readers, who ever you are, more than cheese grits.   

"When you think everything is someone else's fault, you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy."

 - The Dalai Lama  

I just got burned by the Dalai Lama.   


Trail Mix

According to Facebook, summer is over and school has started back.  

Alls I know is that summer can go on with it's hot self.  Since I work year round, have a wonky car a/c and am prone to heat rash...I don't have much for summer.  Bring on the fall!  

Fur some of you, however, the end of fall might mean the start of homework, soccer practice and lunch packing.  If that's something that is stressful for you...let me help.  

Two words:  TRAIL MIX.    

Dump it in a bag, toss it in your purse, feed it to your kids when everyone is starting to get hangry.  I made this to take to the Sunflower River Blues festival in hopes that it would keep me from face planting into a funnel cake.
While I was able to keep away from the funnel cakes, I was not strong enough to avoid the corn dogs.  But seriously, y'all, why would you want to avoid the corn dogs at a music festival?  They slather them with mustard and it is ridiculous.  

Ridiculously awesome.  

Happy snacking!   
Easy Trail Mix
adapted from Skinny Taste

2/3 cup diced dried mango
2/3 cup dried cherries
2/3 cup dried blueberries
1 cup unsalted almonds
1 cup unsalted pistachios
1 cup chocolate covered raisins

Combine all ingredients, store it in a zip lock, go on with your bad self.  

Serving size 1/4 cup
Points plus 4 


Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Squares

Hey.  Sup.  I have something for you.
It's a portable snack / breakfast / treat / situation.  

You see, I never eat my breakfast at home.  Who has time for that?  Not me, that's for sure.  

It's for this reason that I'm always hunting for an easy yet portable breakfast idea.  Some of my favorites are: oatmeal, breakfast burritos, yogurt, veggie sausage patties.  Did I also mention that it needs to be filling?  Well, it does.  My appetite rivals that of a buffalo in the mornings and who wants to start of their day being hangry?  Not me, that's (again) for sure.  

So.  Enter these little bars of goodness.  Packed with oats, peanut butter, a banana.  That's something, right?  I mean it's full of more armored calories rather than empty calories, right? Where is my nutrition teacher when I need her?  

I really should have taken those case studies a little more seriously.  

Oh, well.  

Get your bar on!  
Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Squares
from Gingerbread Bagels

1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 large mashed banana
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix together the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Add in the vanilla, milk and egg. Combine. 

Pour in a lightly sprayed 8x8 baking pan.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Cut into nine equal squares.

Serving size 1 square (makes 9)
Points plus 4