Wine Bottle Birthday Cake

Wine Bottle Cake

I made this cake for one of my husband’s coworkers. It was her birthday and she loves wine. This cake was perfect for her.

This was an easy cake to make.

The wine box is a red velvet cake with buttercream icing. I sugar glued brown fondant panels to the side of the cake. Shaved white chocolate was placed around the bottle to give it a straw appearance. The wine bottle is made of gum paste and the label is made of fondant. I let the gum paste bottle and fondant panels dry out overnight. This made it easier to decorate.

I learned how to make this cake from My Cake School. Melissa is the amazing cake decorator that runs the site and tutorials. It is $30 a year to become a member and you get access to all of her video tutorials, forums and recipes. The membership is absolutely worth the money spent. I have learned so much from Melissa and her website.

Birthday cakeBirthday cakeBirthday cake

Do you drink wine? If so, what is your favorite type of wine? What is your least favorite?

---I love wine. Lately, I have been drinking mostly chardonnay and malbec wines. Shiraz is my least favorite; it is too spicy for my taste.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Faux Ice Cream

 

I love ice cream. Seriously, I could eat it every day. Unfortunately, eating ice cream every day would cause my weight to creep up and that is not an option.

This faux ice cream has healthy fats, protein, fiber and is only 247 calories.  

Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Faux Ice Cream

I know the name is a mouth full, but I promise it is delicious.

Ingredients:

1 large frozen banana ~110 calories

2/3 milk (I use skim, but you can substitute whatever milk you prefer.) ~57 calories

1 tsp peanut butter (I use a natural peanut butter.) ~30 calories

1/2 scoop of chocolate protein powder (Biotest Metabolic Drive Low Carb is my favorite. It is pricy, but delicious.) ~ 50 calories

Directions:

Mix the protein powder in the milk then add all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust the ingredient amounts to suit your taste.

PBChoProIceCream framed

Enjoy.

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What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Quick Burn Workout

 

The quick burn workout consist of the HIIT concept, but without any rest. I usually keep this workout under 9 minutes. This is a great workout when you want to torch extra calories quickly.

Below is an example of a 4 minute quick burn workout:

Set your interval timer for 8 rounds and 2 intervals, both 15 seconds.Quick Burn Timer framed

Complete as many reps as you can while maintaining proper technique and repeat the exercises until your timer ends.

-Squat jumps

-Mountain climbers

 

I typically complete this workout with an HIIT workout or before a run.

This is a killer workout.

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Do you have a quick workout that burns a lot of calories?

Unprocessed vs. Processed

Happy Monday.

I had an awesome run this past weekend. It was absolutely beautiful and warm outside. I love running when the weather is perfect.

I increased my distance by half a mile. I’m now running 7 miles, 3 days a week. I’ve been considering breaking my runs into a long run, a moderate run and a short speed run. I try not to think too much about running, but it might help improve my time and distance.

……

For the next few weeks, I thought I would go into detail each of the tips, 7 tips for balancing your meals, I listed last week. The first tip is to focus on eating more unprocessed foods.

What is an unprocessed food?

An unprocessed food is any food that has not been altered from their natural state. Fresh produce and meat are considered unprocessed.

What is a processed food?

A processed food is any food that has been altered from their natural (plant or animal) state for preserving, fortifying and/or convenience. Please keep in mind that a processed food does not mean an unhealthy food, although most are unhealthy. Frozen fruits and vegetables are considered a minimally processed food. Chips, cereal bars and creamed corn are also processed foods.

Unprocessed-vs-Processed-Ph

Items with * are minimally processed, but best overall choice.

Unprocessed Minimally Processed Processed
Apple Applesauce Apple Juice
Peach Frozen Peach Canned Peach in Syrup
Steel Cut Oatmeal* Rolled Oatmeal Instant Oatmeal
Corn on the Cob Frozen Corn Canned Creamed Corn
Spinach Bagged Spinach Frozen Buttered Spinach
Pastured Eggs Eggs Fortified with Omega 3 Egg Beaters
Grass Fed Beef Grain Fed Beef Roast Beef Deli Meat
Whole Chicken Skinless Boneless Chicken Breast Chicken Nuggets
Cream Fat Free Half and Half Coffee Creamer
Whole Plain Yogurt* Fat Free Flavored Yogurt Yogurt Smoothie Drinks

This is a small list, but I hope you get the idea. Choose mostly unprocessed foods and the rest minimally processed foods.

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Do you have a hard time eating mostly unprocessed foods?

Workout of the Week

I thought I would share this week’s workout plan.

Workout of the Week Strip

Monday: HIIT & Quick Burn

Tuesday: 10 Minute Burpee Challenge

Wednesday: HIIT & Speed Run

Thursday: Off

Friday: 7 miles Run & Family Walk

Saturday: 7 miles Run & Family Walk

Sunday: Off & Family Walk

For the most part I am able to stick to my planned workouts, although sometimes life gets in the way.

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Are you able to stick to your workout plans or does life sometimes get in your way?

Why I Run

I love running.

I never run for a purpose other than to run. I do not run races or set huge running goals. I do not run to lose weight. The only goals I set for a run is to run a certain length and try to beat my previous time.

Many people do not understand this. They think it is a waste of time unless I am training for a race or trying to lose weight. I think it is a great way to spend an hour.

I do not use a jogging stroller. I fear my kids would drive me crazy and my run would have to be shortened. When I’m out there, it is my time.Running Shoes

So why do I run? I run because I enjoy it. I enjoy pushing my body past its comfortable limits. I enjoy the solitude. I am able to think clearly and creatively during my runs. I feel stronger and healthy. I run to be me and only me, not mommy or wife or daughter or sister or friend. I run because I’m good at it. I’m not fast or run many miles and the great thing is I do not feel the need to do either one.

I guess I have found my purpose for running.

Why do you run?

Are You Overfeeding Your Toddler

Infants and toddlers have an amazing ability to self-regulate their food intake to match their needs. They don’t overeat. It is only when parents and caregivers push them to eat more food or when they are given huge portion sizes that they overeat.

Losing the ability to self-regulate will often lead to eating beyond fullness and weight gain as children and adults.

Try not to worry about how much they eat and instead focus on what they are eating. Offer your toddler a variety of unprocessed whole foods and add fruits and vegetables to all meals. Then allow them to eat what they want without pressure. I’m not saying it is easy. In fact, it is frustrating and worrisome as a parent. Just trust in knowing that they will eat as much as they want and need.

One way to ensure they are eating as much as they want, is to give them a small serving of their meal and allow them to come back for more. This is a great way to teach them how to have a healthy relationship with food.

If you are not sure what the correct serving size your toddler should be eating, follow the Tablespoon strategy. The Tablespoon strategy is 1 tablespoon per year of age or a ¼ of an adult serving size. For a 1-2 year old you would offer…

· Grains: 1/4-1/2 slice of bread or 1/4-1/2 cup of pasta or cereal

· Dairy: 1/4-1/2 cup of milk, yogurt or cheese

· Vegetables: 1-2 tablespoons

· Fruits: 1-2 tablespoons

· Protein: 1-2 tablespoons

As you see toddlers do not require much food. Realizing just how much toddlers need should hopefully make you feel less frustrated and more at ease.

Snack Idea

This is a picture of the twins' snack today. I served them cheerios, banana and veggie cheddar sticks. I like to offer them a fruit and/or vegetable at every meal, hoping they will at least take a bite. My daughter did not eat her fruit; she ate 1/2 of her vegetables and all of her cheerios. My son devoured his fruit and ate about 3/4 of the vegetables and cheerios.

Now I just need to figure out how to stop my children from dropping their food onto the floor. Any tips?

Quick and Easy Ice Cream Cake

Happy Wednesday!

Today’s post is all about cake.

Every year for my husband’s birthday, I would buy him a cake from Baskin-Robbins. He loves ice cream cake. This year I decided to make one.

Here are the ingredients you will need.

Ice Cream Cake Ingredients copy

  • 1 half gallon Vanilla Bean ice cream
  • 1/4 half gallon Vanilla Bean ice cream
  • Cool Whip
  • 10 Oreos cookies crushed in a Ziplock bag
  • Hot Fudge topping
  • 1 half of a 9” torted (one layer cake cut in half horizontally) chocolate cake
  • 9” springform pan
  • Vegetable oil or Pam

Lightly grease a 9” springform pan with vegetable oil or Pam. Place the cake into the pan.

Cake in Pan copy

Next spread half of the crushed cookies on top of the cake and pour just enough hot fudge syrup to spread evenly over the cookies. I heated the syrup in the microwave according to the directions on the bottle to make it easier to spread. Then top the hot fudge with the remaining cookies.

Cookies Cake in Pan copy

Next you will add the soften ice cream to the pan. I let the ice cream soften on the kitchen counter until it was soft enough to spread. Put the cake in the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm a little before adding the icing layer.

Ice Cream Cake in Pan

I wanted the cake to have a light icing, so I mixed about a 1/4 of a second container of soften ice cream with equal amount of soften cool whip. Spread the icing mixture on top of the cake. Place the cake in the freezer for about 5 hours.

Before serving the cake, I attached a Happy Birthday banner to the lollipop sticks with tape and removed the springform pan. If you have difficulty removing the pan, place a warm towel to the sides of the pan.

My husband gave me about a minute to snap a picture before slicing into the cake.

Finished Cake1 copy

Sliced Cake

Delicious!!!

This cake was quick and easy to make. The great thing about this cake, is that you can mix and match your flavors. If you do not like cake, replace it with a thin layer of crushed cookies and top with soften ice cream. Then continue to follow the recipe. You can also use a different size springform pan or even use a pie dish. Trust me, you cannot mess up this cake.

Enjoy.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Workout

What and Why HIIT?

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a short workout, usually 20 minutes or less, that involves alternating an intense burst of exercise with a short rest time. What makes HIIT a great calorie burner is the after burn effect or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) .Your metabolism takes up to 24 hours to get back to pre-workout state while burning mostly fat. If you want a big impact on your weight and endurance, add steady state cardio workouts to your HIIT workouts.

For these workouts, you will need an interval timer.

Interval Timer

Below is an example of a 14 minute workout:

Set your interval timer for 14 rounds and 2 intervals, 10 second rest and 50 second active.

  • 10 seconds rest
  • 50 seconds burpees with push ups
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 50 seconds jumping lunges
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 50 seconds dips
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 50 seconds mountain climbers
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 50 seconds jump squats
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 50 seconds crunches
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 50 seconds high knees

Repeat exercises 1 more time. Complete as many reps as you can while maintaining proper technique. This workout is all about speed. It is difficult, but absolutely worth it.

If you’re not sure you can handle the full 14 minute workout, try it for 7 minutes. Set your timer for 7 rounds and 2 intervals, 10 second rest and 50 second active.

If you’re interested in more HIIT workouts, check out bodyrock.tv. This site is awesome and has a ton of workouts videos.

Have you ever tried HIIT workouts?

-I love them. I also run sprints using timed intervals during my shorter runs.

7 Tips for Balancing Your Meals

I had every intention to run outside today, but it never happened. Instead I got on the computer and 3 hours later it was time to wake up the babies from their nap. UGH. I hate when this happens. I did get some things accomplished, but most of my time was spent on Pinterest. It is addicting; I love it.

BB Pinterest

I thought I would share strategies for a great eating plan. For me a healthy balanced plan must include three things: easy to follow, delicious healthy foods and it cannot be too strict.

The following tips meet all three aspects:

1. Focus on eating more unprocessed foods

2. Eat every 3 hours, roughly 6 small meals/snacks a day

3. Consume healthy fats

4. Eat a complete lean protein at every meal

5. Eat veggies at every meal and fruits at several meals

6. Limit carbohydrates to your morning and early afternoon meals (not including fruits/vegetables and this is determined on if I’m trying to lose weight)

7. Do not drink your calories (even fruit juice). The only caloric drink I will have is a protein drink and every so often skim milk or unsweetened almond milk.

These are the strategies I use when balancing my meals. Some days life gets in the way and I am unable to meet my goal. Having a plan and being mindful of the foods you eat is better than trying to make healthy decisions when famished.

Do you have any tips to balancing a meal?

Are you on Pinterest?

My Thoughts on Baking and Decorating Cakes

I recently discovered a passion for making and decorating cakes. I have been making cakes for six months now and I’m hooked. I do not bake with fat free ingredients or sugar substitutes. It is not my thing. I have tried recipes in the past that cut out oil for applesauce and sugar for Splenda and it just wasn’t the same. If I’m going to eat cake, I want it to be the real deal. And since I’m clearing the air about my full fat and full sugar cakes, I might as well confess that I use buttercream icing and my fondant is made of marshmallows and powder sugar. I believe you can have a balanced healthy diet and eat cake too.

And since I am being completely honest, I do not eat slices of the cakes I make. I actually give my cakes away. My husband takes them to work to be shared by his coworkers. We keep birthdays and special occasion cakes.

I still eat some of the cakes even though I give them away. I level every cake before filling, stacking and crumb coating with buttercream icing. I keep the cake scraps from leveling and about 2 tablespoons of buttercream icing and eat most of it over the following few days. If I didn’t give my cakes away, I would literally eat it all. I am not joking. If there is cake, or any other sweets, in the house I lose all self-control.

My mother-in-law sends my favorite chocolate covered pretzels (Gardners) for my birthday and Christmas and has to send my husband a box because I do not share. The sad thing is I usually end up eating most of his box.

White Ruffle bb

This is the first cake I made using fondant. I was breastfeeding at the time, so it took me a couple days to finish the ruffles. By the time we were able to eat the cake it was a little stale. I was focused on making it look perfect that I missed out on it actually tasting great. Lesson learned. I would rather have a great tasting cake with decorating flaws than a perfectly decorated cake that tasted bad.

Are there any foods you keep out of your house for fear of eating the entire container in one sitting?

The Workout Plan that Works

For the majority of my life, I have been active by running and lifting weights. Since the birth of my twins, I have continued being active, but in a different way.

Once the doctor gave me the okay to start working out I began to do what I had always done, run. For me running + taking care of newborn twins + breastfeeding did not mix. I remember my last run while I was breastfeeding; it was tragic and slightly traumatizing. After that awful run, I knew I had to take a break from running. It just wasn’t working out.

I still had the pregnancy weight I needed to lose. All I have ever known was in order for my body to lose weight I had to run 6+ miles 5-6 days a week and honestly I just did not have the time. I began researching the internet for quick weight loss workouts and found information on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT is a short workout, usually 20 minutes or less, that involves a repeat of an intense burst of exercise followed by a short rest time. I had read research studies about the benefits and its effectiveness for weight loss, but had never tried it. I found my solution through bodyrock.tv. It had everything I was looking for, quick workouts and promised weight loss.

My first workout was torture. Here I was able to run 13 miles, yet a short 16 minute HIIT workout kicked my behind. I remember I could only complete 8 regular push-ups before finishing on my knees in 50 seconds. Now I’m able to complete more than 30 regular push-ups in 50 seconds. I also lost all of my pre-pregnancy weight and an additional 15 pounds.

The best thing about these workouts, besides the weight loss, is it doesn’t require any equipment only a $20 interval timer.

Interval Timer Journal

Now that I’m not breastfeeding, I have added several runs to my weekly workouts. I have finally found a workout regimen that is balanced and works.

In a later post, I will breakdown my HIIT workouts.

Are there any workouts you swear by to lose unwanted weight?

-HIIT helped me lose my pre-pregnancy weight. Running and HIIT has helped me maintain my weight loss.

Valentine’s Day isn't Complete Without Candy

Happy Valentine’s Day.

I’m not much of a Valentine’s Day person. I don’t care for flowers and I definitely do not like going out to eat on Valentine’s Day. It is insane out there. When my kids are older, my husband and I will make the day about them. It is more fun that way.

The one thing I like about Valentine’s Day is baking and decorating a cake.

Valentines Kit Kat Cake 3

This is a Valentine’s Day cake I made last week. It is a vanilla chocolate chip cake with pink buttercream icing, white chocolate Kit Kat bars and topped with M&Ms. The cake was fun and easy to make. If you make this cake, take off the M&Ms before cutting or they will go everywhere.

Valentines Kit Kat Cake

Enjoy.

Balancing My Meals Using the 85/15 Rule

In 2010, I was pregnant with twins, a girl and boy. This was my first pregnancy and all I wanted was to deliver healthy babies. I was nervous the babies and I wouldn’t gain enough weight so I started eating more calorically dense foods. The babies were delivered at a healthy weight and I was 59.5 pounds heavier. Yikes. I gained a little more than I wanted.

Luckily, I was able to get the weight off. When the babies were 6 months old, I had lost all of my pregnancy weight and an additional 10 pounds. My twins are now 16 months old and I am 15 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. I was able to lose the weight by a combination of balancing my food intake, working out and breastfeeding.

There are several aspects that go into balancing my meals, but the main one is to eat 85/15 on most days. This means 85% of my meals for the day are healthy and 15% are more indulgences. Some days my intake might be 80/20 and other days 90/10.

85% looks like:

-Slow cooked oatmeal mixed with cinnamon and banana with a vanilla protein drink.

- An ounce of raw almonds and two handfuls of raw carrots.

-Romaine and spinach salad with diced hardboiled egg and a greek yogurt.

- Low fat string cheese and an apple.

-Lean turkey burger on whole grain bread, grilled zucchini and small spinach salad.

Carrots Almonds

15% looks like:

-Two chocolate covered pretzels with my morning coffee.

-Full fat cheese on my burger.

-Small bowl of vanilla bean ice cream with chocolate sauce.

Choco Pretzel Coffee(I ate the other pretzel.)

I never feel like I’m on a diet when I eat by this rule. I do not feel bad if I have a piece of chocolate or a slice of cheese. On days when I eat more 80/20 meals, I will usually follow with a day or two of 90/10 meals. Eating by this rule helped me lose my pregnancy weight without feeling deprived. However, if you are eating a balanced diet and have hit a plateau in your weight loss, you might need to have more 90/10 days.

Everything in life requires a balance of some sort. Finding strategies to balance it all will lead to a happier and healthier you.

Do you have any rules or strategies balancing your food intake?

-I have several strategies I use to balance my meals, but the 85/15 is the main one.

Welcome to Balancing Bites

Hi, my name is Shauna and welcome to Balancing Bites. I am a wife, a stay at home mom to twin babies and a Registered Dietitian. Balancing Bites is a blog about how to balance the foods we enjoy while living a healthy and fit life. This is where I will share my struggles to balance my food intake, including cake and wine, staying fit and trying to figure out mommyhood without losing my mind. Well, there is a good chance I’ll lose my mind, but at least it will be entertaining.

I hope you enjoy.

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