Friday Faves 2.2

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Hi friends! Happy Friday! How are you? I hope you’ve had a wonderful week. It’s been a bit of a wild one over here. I had to get my first mammogram after a potentially concerning spot showed up on my last ultrasound – it was NOT a picnic, but I’m extremely thankful for good results. Aaaand Liv broke her finger! We’re headed to ortho today but I’m hoping she’ll just have to splint it for a little while.

What do you have going on this weekend? We’re headed to a military event and are going to do a family hike in between the festivities. The weather has been a DREAM this week, so we’re taking advantage of it. I hope you have a fun and lovely weekend ahead, too.

(Played hooky on Monday and went to the gem show with madre!)

It’s time for the weekly Friday Faves party! Here’s where I share some of my favorite finds from the week and around the web. I always love to hear about your faves, too, so please shout out something you’re loving in the comments section below.

Friday Faves 2.2


Second ear piercings! Liv has been wanting to get her second piercing for a while, so we told her she could go for it. We picked up one of her friends to join us (for moral support), and headed to Rowan, the new piercing spot at La Encantada. All of the earrings are hypoallergenic, and all of the piercers are registered nurses. It was very cute and Instgrammable.

Liv asked me if I would go first, so I said yolo and got my second piercings done. (I originally had them done in elementary school but let them close.)

It didn’t hurt at all – I was shocked!!

Our “afters”:

I can’t b

The Most Perfect Moist Chocolate Cake [+Video]

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The Most Perfect Moist Chocolate Cake [+Video]

A big, tall slice of three layered chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Each layer is frosted with thick chocolate frosting and the slice is sitting on a white dessert plate.

Homemade Chocolate Cake like this is not easy to find. This is the Most Perfect Moist Chocolate Cake recipe, and that’s coming from an obsessed cake tester!

Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe with Chocolate Frosting

You all know how I work. It’s why we have the best Traeger Ribs, Buttermilk Pancakes and Banana Bread recipes among a gazillion others. I get all sucked into finding the best of the best for a specific recipe and I can’t let it go until I’ve achieved it.

And friends, I’ve discovered which chocolate cake is best. If you’re needing chocolate cake for a birthday or a family celebration, you just step right up.  (Who am I kidding, just make it because you are surviving the crazy these days.)

Everyone I know loves a moist chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, but no one has great luck with a homemade chocolate cake without just using a cake mix. I am crazy giddy to share all of my secrets!

Don’t go crazy, but this is a chocolate cake recipe without butter. That’s for a very specific reason. As much as I thought that butter would be all the difference in flavor, it just wasn’t the truth. The flavor didn’t count enough for how much the cake lacked moisture.

Apparently butter doesn’t make cakes moister, which makes sense. Butter has a high water content that evaporates as steam in the baking process so it can’t keep the moisture like an oil can. If you really want to use butter you can, just use equal amounts or half and half, but all oil did lead to a better chocolate layer cake!

Homemade Chocolate Cake Ingredients

As I already mentioned, the moistness of this homemade chocolate cake is thanks in part to the oil used in the batter. Our other secret? Buttermilk! Yep, this is a buttermilk chocolate cake.

Any time a recipe calls for buttermilk, it makes me think it’s going to be a fancy recipe. But in reality, this chocolate cake from scratch couldn’t be simpler to make.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this moist chocolate cake recipe:

  1. All-Purpose Flour: I’ve tested all sorts of flours but had the worst luck in a chocolate cake with cake flour.
  2. Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder: Do not use dutch-process cocoa powder, but opt for an unsweetened cocoa powder, which will give a better rise. Try Hershey’s or a similar brand just in the grocery store. Not crazy trip to a gourmet store needed.
  3. Espresso Powder: Espresso powder is optional, but listen, as one who does not drink coffee for religious reasons I really do believe this makes a difference in the chocolate flavor.
  4. Baking Soda Baking Powder: Yes, use both!!! I’ve tried many baking powd

Blueberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

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This creamy, rich blueberry ice cream is filled with chunks of dark chocolate that will melt in your mouth. Oh, my friends, make this. You won’t regret it – and I’m willing to bet that you’ll fall in love with it at first bite. I know I did.

This creamy blueberry ice cream with dark chocolate chunks has been my weakness for the past couple of years. I haven’t been keeping it a secret from you, but up until recently, I haven’t had the recipe. I’m beyond excited to finally be sharing it with you.

Best Ever Blueberry Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks - get the recipe at

When I tell you that this ice cream is absolutely divine, you can take that to the bank. I first tried this ice cream at Rusconi’s American Kitchen when we lived in Arizona.

Rusconi’s has been my favorite date night restaurant, girls’ night restaurant, happy hour, and special occasion destination for a while now – and I still make a reservation for dinner there every single time I’m back in the valley.

The selection of ice cream on their dessert menu varies according to what the chef has made that day and I always cross my fingers that this flavor will be available when we’re there.

Blueberry Ice Cream

The first time we heard about this ice cream, the couple sitting at the table next to us was asking the waiter if there was any blueberry ice cream available. They ordered a pint to take home and then leaned over to us and told us about it.

They grinned at us as they apologized for taking the last of it home with them and told us that we simply had to try it the next time we were at Rusconi’s.

You can bet that this ice cream lover ordered a scoop of blueberry ice cream to try the next time we ate there. I may have sighed with happiness at the first bite, and the second bite, and every bite down to the very last bite.

From then on, this ice cream has been my favorite ending to every meal at Rusconi’s and I am disappointed when it is not available.

Pecan pie protein oatmeal

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Hey hey! How are you? Now that we’ve finally made it through what felt like an extra-long and slow January, I found myself thinking about to the holidays. Do you miss them already as much as I do?

Time really seems to fly between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I always find myself wishing I had taken more time to slow down and enjoy the season, although I’m not sure if it even would’ve possible! Which brings me back to this post. Amid all the holiday scrambling, I’m always especially grateful for a quick, easy, and healthy meal… like tasty pecan pie oatmeal that’s practically bursting with pecan pie flavor.

Pecan Pie Protein Oatmeal

The few days leading up to a big holiday, I tend to take it a little easier on the indulgent food. This usually has a lot to do with the fact that I’m too busy scrambling around before the festivities to make anything truly exciting. I try to focus on protein and produce (eat like a PRO!) with more simple eats that I can quickly put together. It’s usually a lot of scrambled eggs, soups, smoothies, oatmeal and salads.

That doesn’t mean that it’s totally boring. A great example: this pecan pie protein oatmeal. It has the flavor and texture of delectable pecan pie baked oatmeal, but comes together much quicker!

Pecan pie protein oatmeal! A super healthy and delicious fall breakfast option. Whipped egg whites give it extra protein and top with the sweet pecan topping.

I’ve made this a few times over the last few weeks. It’s packed with protein, the texture is amazing (I’ll tell you my secret trick!), and it has the perfect amount of pie-like sweetness on top. Not to mention it makes meal prep a breeze!

So here’s why these oats have been so awesome lately:

Soaked oats

a little soaking action overnight.

Regular ol’ rolled oats have been feeling extra grainy/chewy lately, so I started soaking them overnight before cooking. I just cover them in water and let them sit overnight, then rinse and drain before boiling.

It makes the texture super soft, fluffy and creamy. They taste the same way restaurant oats taste, which are usually loaded with milk and butter in the cooking process.

Pecan pie protein oatmeal

Another bonus from soaking: it makes them easier to digest. I was listening to The Model Health Show (<— fave podcast if you haven’t checked it out!) and one of the speakers was discussing lectins and how they can make certain plant-based foods more inflammatory. Lectins are the plant’s protective response to keep predators or humans from eating it, and can cause inflammation in the body. Soaking, fermenting, and pressure cooking are all effective ways to reduce lectins.

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151: Gut health with Hannah Aylward

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So excited to have Hannah on the podcast and we’re chatting about gut health.

Here’s what we discuss:

– Tips for optimal gut health

– Food sensitvities

– Eating for optimal digestion

and more!

 151: Gut health with Hannah Aylward

Here’s a bit more about Hannah and her background:

Hannah Aylward is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, gut health specialist, and the founder of HAN, her functional nutrition practice taking a root cause approach to repairing the gut for real. After struggling with her own chronic digestive issues for years, Hannah dove headfirst into the latest in gut health research, seeking answers to her bloating, food sensitivities, and pain. With her science-backed formula, Hannah has overcome her own digestive issues and helped hundreds of other women around the world do the same.

Today Hannah leads her all-women team of functional practitioners who have served over 500 clients globally. HAN’s mission is to help clients transform their gut health and overcome their never-ending digestive issues with functional nutrition, targeted supplementation, and advanced lab work. Now referred by doctors across the U.S., HAN’s signature and highly sought-after Healin’ Guts + Shakin’ Butts Program has brought her clients life-changing results such as getting off of thyroid medication and antidepressants, reversing lifelong food sensitivities, healing leaky gut and brain fog, weight loss, and much more!

Connect with her on Instagram and check out her website.

More resources from this episode:

Join us for Fit Team! This is my online fitness community and you can try it free for 7 days.

I love love love the meals from Sakara LifeUse this link and the code XOGINAH for 20% off their meal delivery and clean boutique items. This is something I do once a month as a lil treat to myself and the meals are always showstoppers.

If any of my fellow health professional friends are looking for another way to help their clients, I highly recommend IHP. You can also use this information to heal yourself and then go one to heal others, which I think is a beautiful mission. You can absolutely join if you don’t currently work in the health or fitness indu