Summer Vacation Reading

I can’t believe I read four books in July! I wanted to share my book reviews early in case people are planning August vacations and looking for summer vacation reading ideas.

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This month I read The Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, The Vacationers by Emma Straub, Summer House With Swimming Pool by Herman Koch, and All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr,  Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews | 6 Comments

Entertaining With New Blue Diamond Almonds Flavors

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

I’ve been a fan of Blue Diamond Almonds long before they invited me to be a Tastemaker. Their 100 calorie packs are a staple in my “snack drawer” at work, and I usually take several packages of almonds in my travel bag for healthy snacking on the go.

Blue Diamond Almonds

While the basic roasted, salted flavor has been my favorite, there are new Blue Diamond Almonds flavors that are really fun for entertaining.

I am not generally a big fan of coconut, but I do love the Toasted Coconut Blue Diamond Almonds. 

Blue Diamond Almonds - Toasted Coconut

They are slightly sweet, and go perfectly with a glass of sangria on the patio! 


Another new flavor is Rosemary and Black Pepper. 

Blue Diamond Almonds Rosemary and Black Pepper

 These are great to munch on while dinner is cooking on the grill.

Kebabs On The GrillOr to make a meal out of a bowl of gazpacho.


They have other “bold” flavors including Honey Dijon, Lime ‘n Chili, and Salt ‘n Vinegar, and fruit flavors like Strawberry and Blueberry (which was a big hit with my friends at work).

 What is your favorite nut to snack on?

What flavor almonds would you like to try? 


Posted in Food, Product Reviews | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Five Things Friday – Things I’m Loving

Today’s Friday Five topic (Friday Favorites) is really broad, but I’m taking it pretty narrow and sharing five things I’m loving right now–this week even. 

5 Things I'm Loving

1. The Weather. It may be cliché, but I just can’t resist raving about our weather. This forecast is unheard of for mid-July in Washington D.C. It makes me want to run every day, and spend as much time outside as possible. (I’m even writing this out on our patio!)

July 19 Weather Forecast

2. Having my son around. My son has been home all summer, but some weeks his social life is busier than others. This week he’s been home for at least part of most evenings, and I am doing my best to soak up every moment I can without annoying him too much. 

3.  Looking forward to seeing my daughter. This may be stretching my “right now” theme, but my daughter is coming to visit next week and I am getting so excited to see her! I’m hoping to take some time off from work, although I’m sure I could work in the morning and she’d never know–between her college student schedule and jet lag she usually sleeps in. :-)    

4. Chobani Oats. I hadn’t heard of these before I saw them in the grocery store. It looks like Chobani has caught on to the overnight oats craze and now has a yogurt with steel cut oats blended in. I wasn’t sure about the banana maple flavor, so I only picked up two, but I wish I had stocked up. The banana flavor is pretty mild, the sweetness of the maple syrup is a nice change from the fruit-on-the-bottom flavors, and I love the texture of the steel cut oats.

Chobani Oats

5. Gazpacho. My Mom has been overwhelmed by the bounty of her garden, and gave me more tomatoes, cucumbers and green peppers than I knew what to do with–until I found a great gazpacho recipe. I’ll save the details for my recipe post next week, but it’s delicious. This week the Washington Post had a recipe for Watermelon-Tomato Gazpacho that I might try this weekend, if I can find some good basil. 

Check out other Friday Favorites in the Friday Five link up sponsored by Eat Pray Run DCMar on the Run and You Signed Up for What!

Have you seen the Chobani Oats? 

Do you like gazpacho?

Posted in Food, Life | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Healthy Banana Bread Recipes Roundup

Bananas are one of my grocery store staples, and while my husband usually eats one every day, every few weeks we end up with overripe bananas that are destined for banana bread. Since I make banana bread so frequently, I thought I would put together a collection of my favorite healthy banana bread recipes. 

banana bread recipes

I usually make what I call My Husband’s Favorite Banana Bread. 

Banana Bread

(click picture for recipe page)

I’ve modified the recipe further so it’s nearly fat-free (using applesauce instead of butter)–see the recipe below.

Another favorite banana bread variation is this pumpkin banana bread. 

Pumpkin Banan Bread

(click picture for recipe page)

This weekend I took my updated banana bread recipe, used it to make muffins,
and added streusel topping leftover from my blueberry crisp.

Banana Bread Muffins

 I used half the batter to make blueberry banana bread mini muffins.

Blueberry Banana Muffins

They were so moist I was afraid they’d get moldy, but they were gone by the next day! :-)

If you like to bake with protein powder, you also will want to check out my recipe for chocolate chip banana bread muffins made with vanilla protein powder.

Here are some other banana bread recipes you will want to try:

Healthy Banana Bread
Serves 12
A nearly fat-free banana bread recipe made with whole wheat flour and applesauce.
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
  1. 3-4 overripe bananas
  2. 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (or 1 single-serving tub)
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 tsp vanilla
  5. 3/4 cup sugar
  6. 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  7. 1 tsp baking powder
  8. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  1. Preheat over to 350F.
  2. Prepare muffin pans or loaf pans with cooking spray.
  3. Mash bananas in large bowl.
  4. Add applesauce, egg, and vanilla and mix well.
  5. Add sugar and mix until incorporated.
  6. Gradually add flour, baking powder, and baking soda, and stir until thoroughly blended.
  7. Spoon into loaf pan(s).
  8. Bake at 350F until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.
  9. (20 min for muffins, 30-35 minutes for small loaves, 45 minutes for large loaf)
Running With Perseverance
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When Should I Run? OutSider App Review

Around here, our weather changes as often as … the weather. OK, maybe that analogy won’t work because it’s not an analogy, but if you live in the mid-Atlantic region, you know what I mean. In the winter, our high temperatures may vary by 20 degrees on a given day. In the summer, we generally bounce from the mid-to upper-80s to the lower- to mid-90s, but that’s only part of the story. If the humidity is low, a 90 degree day can feel nice, but if the humidity is high, even early morning temperatures in the low 70s can feel oppressive.


Our unpredictable weather makes planning my weekly workouts a real guessing game–when should I run? when should I opt for an air conditioned spinning class? when am I mostly likely to survive a track workout? That’s why I was so excited to hear about a new free app by the people behind the Weather Channel®. I know I’m not the only runner who obsesses about the weather, so I figured others would be interested in an OutSider app review (right now it’s only available for  the iPhone). Continue reading

Posted in Fitness, Product Reviews | Tagged , | 7 Comments