I’m back from Denver and not ready to come down from that vacation high. I realized after typing that last sentence that it was a fantastic pun. Hah.

In all seriousness, our trip to Utah and Denver was a raging success. Besides one near-death experience hiking and getting stuck at 10,000 feet in a outrageous ice/snow storm, things were incredibly awesome. There were so many places that I wanted to stop and eat at, or mountains I wanted to hike; I wish I was able to get all of it in. I do want to give a huge thanks for all of your fabulous recommendations over on Instagram. I’ll be definitely doing an AK guide to Denver SOON!

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My mom used to grow zucchini in her garden in Minnesota. She was the type of nonchalant gardener who allowed the zucchini to grow large enough to become the size of your arm. I actually never minded when the zucchini got that big because then I could stuff it with goodness and make batches upon batches of baked goodies.

Sadly I’m no longer as close to my mom since she lives in Minnesota (soon Utah!). This year I wasn’t expecting to get any free zucchini and figured I’d have to pick some up at the local’s farmer’s market. Turns out that Tony’s mom grew zucchini in her garden and so she kindly has been supplying me with all the zucchini I could ever dream of. I still have three left and have already baked three batches of muffins and two loaves of bread. Perhaps it’s time for a little something savory? Oh la la.

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It was a beautiful weekend, wasn’t it?

On Saturday I met up with Tony’s family and attended his Grandmother’s 95th birthday party. You guys, she’s amazing! She still lives on her own, cooks for herself and is in great health. Over the past year, I’ve gotten fairly close with her; probably because I bring her all the treats I make and she just so happens to love cookies as much as I do. This makes me happy, of course. I actually baked the nutella-stuffed chocolate chip beauties for her party; it always blows my mind how much people truly love those cookies.

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Remember when I mentioned that I was going to try be a little bit healthier when it came to food choices? Well I’ve been pretty dedicated… so far anyway. Eating better and enjoying more refined sugar sweets made with wholesome ingredients has made me feel incredible, lighter and maybe a little bit leaner. Isn’t it funny how even the smallest changes in your food choices can make a BIG difference? I think so.

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Healthy carrot cake muffins for breakfast thanks to this nutritious recipe packed with whole grains and healthy fats.

Healthy muffins! That taste like carrot cake! Oh, I think this might just be a dream come true.

Truth be told, carrot cake gets me every single time. I fell in love with it a few years ago and my craving for cake has quadrupled since then. I can’t get over the spices, flavor, and that thick-n-creamy cream cheese frosting that pairs so wonderfully with the cake. I’m not sure it gets better.

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Do you guys have any city crushes? You know cities that you totally fall in love with from the moment you arrive. I have a few on my list including San Diego, Chicago and now… Kansas City!

I attended a conference in KC over the weekend and quickly developed a crush on the quaint little city that’s bursting with vegan bakeries, scrumptious food and beautiful parks. The fall foliage and sunny 70 degree weather made it even more loveable. I will do a recap soon of all of my bakery and restaurant visits along with more info on the conference fun.

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Tony is here (Minnesota) visiting me before we head out to Chicago for a few weeks. He is going to help me look for apartments so that I can potentially make a move to the windy city! I’m beyond excited, but I really need to find a great spot with a nice kitchen, so fingers crossed.

Since I know that I’ll be gone from my kitchen for a few weeks, I need to get caught up on recipe development. That means that piles of cookies, ALL THE THINGS pumpkin and of course, lots of muffins.

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Over the past three months, I’ve been on a real fruit obsession. Fruit smoothies, shakes, muffins and jams galore! If you remember, I even put blueberries in a cookie (OMG so good!).

One fruit I’m absolutely in love with are the organic braeburn apples from Trader Joe’s. They’re one of my favorite healthy snacks especially when dipped in peanut butter or vanilla greek yogurt. I feel so lucky when I find them because they have the sweetest flavor and best crunchy texture. Lord knows I’m already excited for apple season so I can bake up my famous apple crisp and warm up some hearts.

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These pumpkin chocolate chip protein oat muffins are absolutely delicious! They’re made with a scoop of protein powder and greek yogurt to provide extra protein. Plus no refined sugars added and they’re gluten free!

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