Little things [that make me happy]

Happy Tuesday, y’all! I thought I would take a little time this morning to focus on some of those little things that make me smile (and hopefully some of them will make you smile, too!).

No matter how today turns out, I know that at least it started out awesome, because I had this to eat for breakfast:

No, it’s not a jar of sunflower butter- but rather, overnight oats IN a nearly empty sunflower butter jar. I know that this is nothing new, and people all over the blogosphere post photos of overnight oats all the time- but it is a big deal for me. I usually have about 10 jars of open nut butter in my fridge at all times, so it takes forever to get to the bottom of one. I have forced myself not to buy any new jars until I get down to at least 3. Right now I have 4 open jars left, including a jar of Golden Pea Butter (YUM!), Cinnamon Sunflower butter, Better’N peanut butter (which has about one spoonful left in it! Yes!), and some freshly ground almond butter from Whole Foods (my favorite nut butter of all time).

The overnight oats are even better when topped off with a little bit of lemon-blueberry protein muffin (coconut/buckwheat flour, egg whites, lemon extract, vanilla stevia, baking powder, pumpkin puree, frozen blueberries= 60 calories of goodness).

I also noticed as I was taking this photo that my nails are finally at the perfect length! I don’t like them any longer than this (and I certainly don’t like them shorter).

Of course, now that I have pointed that out, they will probably all break. But at least for today- you all can see that I WAS able to grow them out! It was one of February’s goals, but better late than never, right?

And check out that reddish mark on my wrist. That’s a running injury from 3 years ago. I was training for the B’more 1/2 Marathon and face planted running downhill at about 5 in the morning. I have about 4 scars from that fall- and that’s one of them. It’s weird that I rolled my wrists over when I fell…


Rewind to before breakfast, what also made my morning great:

That’s the ungodly hour that I got to the gym to teach spin class this morning- notice how warm it was at 4:58 am! Love it! And the average MPG I’m getting on this tank of gas so far makes me pretty happy too. Have I mentioned before how much I love my car? (and just to add, spin class was awesome this morning, as usual. LOVE my Tuesday group!)


Let’s rewind a little bit more:

I got my REI dividend yesterday! YES! I spent quite a bit at various REI stores throughout the country in 2011 (including stores in Colorado, Washington and Oregon this summer- and in Maryland, too, of course). Greg’s was actually about twice as much as mine- he boughta lot of stuff last year. Being an REI member is great- you only pay a one-time fee (I think it was $25) and you get a dividend back each year based on how much you spend. You can use the dividend as store creditor get it back in cash (but I always choose store credit!).


Ever since I discovered that baking tofu is the way to go (thanks to Laura), I am a tofu-baking machine! I finally tried out an original recipe last night that pretty much knocked my socks off. I wanted to make an Italian seasoned tofu that would go well with pasta and roasted veggies. I pressed the tofu the day before and then marinated it (in the Tofu Xpress, which comes with a handy lid for marinating!).

The marinade consisted of tomato puree, extra virgin olive oil, italian herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, parsley), garlic, pepper, red pepper flake, salt, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and nutritional yeast. I can’t tell you specific amounts, because I just kind of threw stuff together.

I let it marinate overnight and then spread the tofu cubes onto a baking sheet

Baked at 400 for about 20 minutes, flipping over halfway through, and voila!

PERFECTLY BAKED TOFU. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. And the flavor? Incredible. I placed the baked tofu on top of a bowl of spelt pasta, roasted zuchhini, eggplant, peppers, mushroom and onions, and a little marinara sauce.

Another happy thing about this tofu? I’ve got leftovers for lunch. Oh yeah.


Here’s something else that makes me laugh, always.

Lance and Jackson playing

Unfortunately I can’t imbed videos onto my blog anymore unless I pay for some upgrade (yet another reason why I need to get my butt in gear and move to self-hosting!!), but if you click on the link, you’ll see a little video of my boys playing last night. They LOVE to play tug, and when you grab the toy out of one of their mouths, their mouth quivers (and sometimes they just chomp the air- which kills me!). You can see a little bit of that in the video. (If you’re not into cute dog videos, you can skip it. But seriously, if you’re not into cute dog videos- what is wrong with you!?)


And just so you know:

This is a shirt that one of my students is wearing today. I had to do a double take. And then I laughed. Ahhh, kids.


Two more things: I want to make granola after work today. Anyone have a great recipe to share?

And lastly- please go check out my guest post (about my story of becoming a group exercise instructor) on Annette’s blog. And if you’re not familiar with her blog, then start reading it- she’s great!

Have a rockin’ Tuesday!


33 Comments on “Little things [that make me happy]”

  1. artificiallybalanced says:

    what is wrong with me that i am obsessssed with “butters” (PB, almond, cashew, etc) but when I tried sunflower butter i was notttt feelin’ it? it’s been awhile so i bought another one on iherb that i will try this weekend so maybe i will feel differently.. do you think it resembles the consistency/taste of Better’n PB at all? I love that stuff and I kind of think it resembled it, but not as good.. i could also be crazy, just sayin’. Loving your students tshirt, i had to do a double take! 🙂

    • Lauren says:

      Oh man, sunflower butter is the sooo good! What brand did you have? Sunbutter is great – try that kind! I don’t think it tastes like better n pb at all….

  2. 1) Can you send me the recipe / exact amounts in the lemon-blueberry protein muffin? That sounds sooooooooooo yummy!
    2) That baked tofu looks really good. I once bought a thing of tofu thinking I would cook it into something wonderful… but it just stayed in the fridge untouched until it expired. Sad!! I will try your italian method. What is a Tofu Xpress?
    3) Awesome gas mileage! What kind of car do you have/love?

    • Lauren says:

      1. 1/2 heaping T coconut flour, 1/2 Heaping T buckwheat flour (or other flour equalling 1.5 T total), 2T liquid egg whites, 1tsp pumpkin purée, 1/2 tsp baking powder, splash of almond milk, vanilla and lemon extract and stevia to taste. Oh, and mix a few blueberries in. Mix in a tiny bowl or mug and nuke for 2 minutes.
      2. Tofu Xpress is the best tofu press ever.
      3. I have a Subaru Outback. I really DO belong in Colorado, right? 🙂

  3. Corrie Anne says:

    It got cold again in Colorado!! 😦 This morning my husband and I were discussing in the car whether we’d ever be able to move back to freezing Minnesota (where all our family lives). I claim that it’s cold 275 days a year there! Serious!!!

    I love place that give you money bonuses to spend!!! It’s so fun!! I get bonuses from J.Crew, and I can never wait to spend it. And I always spend more… which, of course, is why they do it!!!

    I HAVE to watch that video of your dogs when I get home. It won’t let you post video!? Move to self-hosting and teach me how!! Lol.

  4. Overnight oats is a jar makes me happier than anything else. 🙂 Especially when that jar is Biscoff.

    I’m so glad the baked tofu bug has bitten you! Now I have to try your recipe. Why am I out of tofu right now?!

    P.S. Can you ask your student where she got that shirt? LOL!

    • Lauren says:

      I have never trid Biscofff…. I’m scared to buy it (because I’d eat the whole jar!)
      She made it online… I can’t remember the site, but she said you can also make them on Vista Print ( and I only remember that name because they have commercials on Pandora constantly)

  5. Life's a Bowl says:

    Oh em gee, my heart melts for OIAJ… If only I had a jar for every day of the week 😛 Haha, I too would have done a double take if one of my students was wearing that shirt!

    • Lauren says:

      Glad you “get it.” 🙂 I’ve often been tempted to empty out a jar and put the nut butter into another container so I wouldn’t have to wait!

  6. I tried making overnight oats for the very first time on Saturday and learned an important lesson. Steel cut oats don’t work. But I ate it anyway and if you don’t count the fact that I had to chew the oats, it was good.

  7. Have you seen this video of 2 goldens playing a keyboard?
    I am all about the freshly-ground almond and peanut butter from WFM! And the dogs love it when I finish a container since they get it before it goes in recycling!

  8. cottercrunch says:

    i just broke a nail of perfect length. i hate that. Keep yours going, you can do it!! hehe.

  9. Emily says:

    I just found your blog and I’m loving it! I’m new to the yoga/ health food world, but you are making is seem a lot less daunting!


  10. I never baked tofu in my life…and apparently I’m really missing something. Will try this tonight after training for sure!

  11. Parita says:

    You’ve got all kinds of yuminess going on today! Baked tofu is so awesome – it works in every dish imaginable (at least I think so)!

  12. megan w. says:

    Julie from has lots of good granola recipes! your dogs are so beautiful! 🙂

  13. Tina says:

    Definitely sounded like an awesome day! Although having to be ready to work out at 5am sounds insane to me. Haha! You rock it!

  14. Gil says:

    Did you know you can make individual portions of stove-top granola in under 5 minutes? (I may or may not have timed myself this morning so I could share.) I love homemade granola, but I always feel like it takes forever in the oven and burns super easily….BUT on the stove, it turns out great, and you can always have it fresh with whatever “flavors” you are feeling.
    I just toast 1/2c of oats in a non stick pan (occasionally I spritz in some oil, but its not too important) on medium heat, stirring maybe once or twice over 3 minutes. (Any nuts/seeds can go in at this stage.)
    Then reduce the heat a little and stir in a generous tsp of honey, a dash of salt, and any dried fruits and spices…stir until it kind of “dries” and looks like granola….maybe a minute. I usually eat it warm, but if you let it cool it gets that granola “clumpiness”. Ive also had success with molasses and maple syrup in place of honey…and often if I want it a little sweeter, I’ll stir some sweetener when I add the honey…and thats it! So good, so fast, and no burning!

  15. I’m still too paranoid to do OIAJ….but I LOVE that sunflower seed butter! Can’t wait till Boulder’s Trader Joe opens!

    • Lauren says:

      Do it!! I pref mine with cottage cheese though- not yogurt.
      That is so great that Boulder is getting a TJs. Ha, that was the only downside of moving your there- not having a TJs. Problem solved!

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