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Fall and Winter Sweet Treats

I’ve decided to kick my butt back into gear (you know, the eating-somewhat-healthily-and-working-out-somewhat-regularly gear, not the sit-around-and-eat-bonbons one) and today I did a “Fit Test” for the Insanity workout.  It revealed quite a bit to me:

  1. I have no, I repeat, no upper body strength.  I’m not even sure how I’ve managed to get all those cupcakes to my mouth lately;
  2. Henry is quite unsure about seeing me work out at home.  And by unsure, I mostly mean that he is very sure that he lives only to run around snapping at my ankles like a little frenzied and grey-striped shark;
  3. “Work out” or “workout”?  Help me!;  and
  4. I have no idea how I am going to do an actual Insanity 60-minute work out (workout?) when the 20-minute fit test left me gasping for oxygen and cursing the gods/my thighs.

Wish me luck!  Also feel free to harass me here, on Twitter, or on Facebook.  Really.  I could use the motivation, accountability, and heckling.  I’ve just gotten so used to not exercising that I need to work to make it a habit again.

Also, I really miss green monsters and need to go buy a lot of bananas and spinach!

So in the name of good health, I decided to round up a few of my favorite fall and winter inspired sweet treats!

This blog is all about balance, after all.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

I don’t think I need to explain these.

Ginger Chocolate Chip Biscotti

To me, nothing says the holidays like relaxing with a cup of coffee or tea and something special to dip in it.  These biscotti have the spicy bite of ginger rounded out with sweet chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip and Red Wine Cookies

Chocolate chips and red wine.  Cookies.  I think you get it.

Cinnamon Sugar Almond Butter

I think it’s safe to say this is my favorite almond butter recipe.  Sweet, slightly salty, and the perfect cinnamon spice flavor for toast, oatmeal, green monsters, sandwiches…spoonfuls straight from the jar (let’s be real).

Vanilla and Chocolate Homemade Marshmallows

These are soft, sweet, and perfect for dropping into hot chocolate or coffee.  They also make a very cute gift–and you could easily make peppermint flavored ones for even better holiday gifts!

Walnut and Almond Rocha (or Peppermint Rocha) 

This is definitely my favorite gift to make for Christmas.  The rocha tastes buttery, the chocolate is smooth, and the salty-sweet combination is to die for.  You can make it as festive as you like with the toppings–peppermint, sprinkles, and nuts have been my go-to choices.  Dress ’em up in cute bakery bags and they beg to be given away.

Cranberry Flaxseed Scones

I can’t finish out this list without something cranberry.  This recipe was the first one that got my blog featured by WordPress, and I went from having about 10 views a day to something like 190.  I almost had a heart attack when I saw how many people read the blog that day.  Funny how things have continued to change so much a few years later.  And these scones are still fabulous.

Having blogged for a few years now has made me realize how many recipes I’ve made, proclaimed great, and then quickly forgotten.  Doing this round-up was a nice reminder of things I would like to revisit.  Are there any other round-up ideas out there?  I’d be happy to go into the archives!

These pictures also make me miss the deck in our old place, where I’d manage to get bright pictures even when the sun was setting at 5:00 pm.

I’ve been working on a project for a friend making a Dr. Seuss-themed baby shower cake for her.  I’ve never prided myself on my cake decorating skills (in fact, I have none to speak of) but I am having a ton of fun learning.  I made fondant this fast weekend (recipe to come soon), and surprised myself at how much fun I had re-creating some characters for the top of the cake.  Here are some of my first attempts (mistakes and all):

Cool, huh?  So much easier than I expected!

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  1. Krista

    Work out is the verb, as in “I’m going to go work out at the gym.”
    Workout is the noun, as in “I had a really good workout today but now I’m sore.
    Don’t ask me how excited I was to answer that question.

    1. Susan Sunde

      Two thumbs up for you, Krista!

  2. Hillary

    Those biscotti sound incredible!! I totally want to make them for the holidays!!

  3. Hannah

    Thanks Krista! I didn’t know that either. Love you Dr. Seuss characters Lauren!

  4. Julie

    This is such a great post! A) I agree with how difficult Insanity is-for a few weeks last year I really pushed myself to do it and boy did everything hurt. I think I’m going to get back into it now that it’s winter and I can’t bike anywhere…but damn I’m scared-Insanity is tough! But I think you can do it! You’re gonna feel great afterward!
    B) I love love love all the recipes you posted. Everything looks magnificent. I don’t think I’ll be able to leave my kitchen for years now.

  5. Nuts about food

    I think those fondant figures are AMAZING! Who knew you had such artistic skills? I agree, I sometimes randomly happen upon a recipe in my archives I had totally forgotten about that was actually pretty great. Round ups are always a good idea.

  6. Amanda@AnUnlikelyDietitian

    I cannot believe those are your “first attempts” – they are amaze.

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thanks :)

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