Call for Christmas DITL

We’re back from a wonderful time in Washington,  a bit sick and feeling wiped out from a long day of travel, but it was worth it. We feel so lucky to be able to spend so much time with our families each year.

I’m working on my Christmas DITL post, and if you did one (I know Caitlin did) please comment below or email me with the link! At the bottom of my post I’ll include a link to your blog and a picture from your day so readers can explore different Christmas celebration traditions via our stories.

Look at that bedhead!

Mom, dad, Shay/Dan, other family… T1 misses you already. XOXOXO

Caramel Apple Cake

We hosted dessert night for our fellow Mormon business school students and their families. It was inspired by dessert nights we used to have with some of the Mormons families at Company X, and it was awesome. Something like 10 couples and 12 kids all in our apartment living room at one time. Toys were broken, way too much dessert was eaten, and the only rule was to bring something sweet (or savory) when you showed up.

I decided to make this caramel apple cake, as seen on Pinterest of course, but made a few changes that I think are worth following. The apple spiral pattern on top? I’m pretty sure that was lying dormant in my brain somewhere based on this very old post by Orangette. She arranges food so beautifully. I think the holes in top look a little bit funny, but don’t skip out on them. They really help the caramel soak in, and none of my guests knew this was a whole wheat flour dessert.

Whole Wheat Caramel Apple Cake

Adapted from Lick the Bowl Good

Apple Cake:
1 1/2 100% whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil (or other neutral oil, like Grapeseed)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups finely chopped apples

Caramel Glaze:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
8 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Use a stick of butter to prepare and grease your pan.
Mix together the dry ingredients. Flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl use a mixer to beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the oil and vanilla and beat on high until mixed well. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just mixed. Add in the apple chunks and mix until apple chunks are combined well.
Pour batter into pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. It will be difficult to tell when it’s done, because it is so dark. Make sure you don’t overcook it!
Poke holes in the top of your cake with a wooden spoon to allow caramel to soak all the way through (very essential with the 100% whole wheat flour). While the cake cools, prepare your caramel glaze.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan on medium heat, add in the brown sugar and vanilla. Cook until combined, and then spoon in the heavy cream. Simmer for 2-3 minutes at a gentle boil.

Pour the glaze on top of the cake. Let cool for about 30 minutes, but serve warm. Would be delicious with a spoon of ice cream on the side. (I will do that next time.)

Review: Real Moms Love to Eat

When I attended Power of Moms earlier this year Beth was our host, and she asked me if I would be willing to review her book, due out in January, titled Real Moms Love to Eat.  It sounded interesting, and I liked the things she said in her presentation at the retreat, so I agreed.

I feel the book can be summed up with this quote from the book:

Your food affair shouldn’t be a one-night stand or gluttonous binge… Instead it can become a lovely, long-term, balanced, nurturing-because-it’s-rational relationship.

I’ve spoken in the past about books like Intuitive Eating and When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies, and I felt like Beth took some of those similar principles, added in a touch of a green/localganic approach, and broke it all down into a plan that goes about 3 months and should help you shape your approach your food and leave you feeling a whole lot better about yourself in the process.

It’s a book broken down into three parts: during the first six weeks you’ll spend time of thinking about what you like/dislike and focusing on subtle changes, then four weeks of making larger lifestyle changes related to food, and  the third section is a 3-week meal plan with recipes. Each week you focus on doing five things, which helps create an easy transition. This time of year, all of us are moaning and groaning about how much we overate over the holidays and how THIS IS THE YEAR that we are going to finally make lasting changes. As I read this book for the review, after yet another day filled with baking cookies and eating candy delivered by the neighbors, I kept thinking how appropriate this book is for me. I think maybe it might be something some of you are looking for as well?

A few of my favorite weekly assignments:

Make a list of your 10 favorite foods (at this moment).

Eliminate processed foods and create excitement with gourmet salts.

Make a list of dysfunctional foods you crave. Replace those foods (she includes lots of suggestions and advice here).

A chapter on going raw. (Something I’d be interested in trying during the summer.)

Progression from drink 4 glasses of water, to 5, to 6, to 7, to 8, to thinking about the kind of container you are drinking it out of.

How to get your family to help in the kitchen.

Tips for going out to eat and navigating the buffet.

Easing into vegetarian eating.



Written in conversational style -I like this b/c she’s a real woman (with three boys) sharing what works for her.

I like that it forces you to do a lot of thinking and analyzing about your own preferences. What do you actually like? How can you incorporate those things into your life?

An entire page breaking down different types of salt! Great resource.

I want to print out the pages on the different reasons behind cravings (and how to deal with them) and hang them in my kitchen.

The last section has a meal plan I would actually follow! All whole, real foods. Everything isn’t necessarily “in season” but during the winter months I shop at the grocery store and buy out-of-season anyway, so this is a good time to give it a try.

Excited about recipes like Balsamic Broccoli Salad, Eric the Trainer’s Protein Bomb (a new way to eat tuna that doesn’t involve mayo!), Energy Kale Salad, Butternut Squash Quinoa, Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa (a possible breakfast for the baby?),  Tasty Chilly Lemon-Shew Cookies, Foolproof Lentil and Barley Soup, Pancetta Pea Soup… And I’ll stop there before I list everything :)


Dislike the pushing of products that I know are sponsors of her book/tour without disclosing the connection. Maybe the connections were forged after the book was written? I don’t know, I guess it’s best to take specific branded product recommendations with a grain of salt.

Probably the thing I disliked the most was what I considered to be the overuse of adjectives. I don’t talk this way or write this way, and it’s not something I personally like. It won’t turn me off from working through the book, but it does break up the flow of the text for me.

Some name dropping throughout.


Overall, I liked the book. It seems like it could be the answer to the plateau I’m experiencing, and I plan to begin the program with the New Year to see if it can jump-start my stalled weight loss.  The Real Moms Love to Eat website has a blog, as well as some book reviews from other bloggers. If you’d like to join me, I plan to start the program on January 3rd, the day the book comes out. You can pre-order here, and Beth actually gives away one free copy each week. I’ll be talking about my progress on the That Weight Loss Challenge Facebook Group. Based on the reading I did for this review I started drinking more water each day, and my lips aren’t as dry and I feel better overall. That’s why I want to do the program from start to finish, because I think Beth has created a program that will subtly nudge me toward the small changes I know I should make, but haven’t figured out how to stick with.

 *Beth kindly provided me with a pre-copy of her book, pictured above, for this review.