BFY Swap: Greek Yogurt Pancakes

I like to consider myself a fairly healthy eater, but it’s not always without compromise. Life is meant to be LIVED after all. I am always trying to find “better for you” (BFY) swaps for our meals and breakfast is no exception.

A few weeks ago, Scott and I were craving pancakes, but I was also craving a healthy twist. I had heard of using greek yogurt in pancakes for the extra boost of protein and after some trusty googling (it’s a word), I came across this recipe from Everyday Belle.

For 8 mini pancakes (my preference) – or four big ones, all you need is:

  • One cup of your favorite greek yogurt
  • One egg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • (Optional) Blueberries, chocolate chips, bananas, Nutella…whatever!

Full disclosure: The Happy Egg Co. is a client of my company’s. I was in no way compensated to write this post, I am just a huge, huge believer in the brand. For real.

Here’s how easy it is…

  1. Mix greek yogurt with one egg. You can even do this IN the greek yogurt container if you wanted to save on cleanup. This time, I did it in a bowl.


2. Mix the baking soda and flour together. For this, you’ll need a separate bowl. I know…bummer.


3. Now dump everything in to one bowl and mix it all together. But not too much! Just until combined. (I never know why they say that, I just do what I’m told when it comes to pancakes.)

4. Throw in some berries. Or whatever your heart desires.


5. Spoon the mixture on to a greased griddle. I used Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray…and instead of a spoon, I used a ladle. Yep.


6. Flip the pancakes when they start to bubble on the edges. Or if you’re like me, just check a bunch of times until you get the hang of it.


Does this count as “golden brown?” Or is this bordering on burnt?

7. Enjoy! No, I didn’t eat a stack this high to myself and yes, I should have drizzled some syrup over them before taking this picture. But you get the gist!


And there you have it! A weekend (or weekday!) breakfast you can feel slightly better about.


Dog Lovers Need Not Apply

Tomorrow is Bella’s one year “adopt-a-versary.” Some days it feels like we’ve had her our whole lives and other days it feels like we just picked her up. Either way, it’s been quite a year and we couldn’t love her more.

Greeting puppy Bella after a long day at work.

Greeting puppy Bella after a long day at work.

Let me be clear, Bella is a wonderful dog. Her tail practically wags off her little body every time we walk in the door. She loves to cuddle up next to us as night, is scarily good at “stay,” walks well off leash and has a very sweet/sensitive side that can’t tolerate so much as a raised voice in our house before she’s licking our faces in to reconciliation.

My entire life I’ve considered myself a “dog lover.” I thought I was a pro, maybe even dog whisperer status. Man, was I wrong.

Over the course of this past year she’s taught us a lot. Perhaps the best lesson…dog lovers need not apply. What dogs really need is an advocate: someone to understand their best interests as a dog and not as a four-legged human.

Scott and I both grew up with Golden Retrievers – in other words, attention-loving, happy-go-lucky bundles of love. The kind of dog you forget is just that…a dog. Bella is a bundle of love too, but the kind of love you have to earn. That was honestly a hard pill to swallow for us, but the most rewarding one at the same time.

Bella is not comfortable around new people and mainly shows her discomfort with an “alarm bark.” We joke that she thinks she is a celebrity – she’s allowed to look at you, but if you stare at her too long, she’s calling security (which is herself). She has never bitten anyone, or even come close. In fact, she skipped the mouthy puppy stage all together and takes treats so gently that you’d think she has no teeth at all. Needless to say, we have spent the better part of the last year taking her to “shy dog” classes, meeting with a private trainer, and otherwise working hard to desensitize her (associate scary strangers with treats and praise). We are by no means experts, but we have learned quite a lot over the past year from Bella:

  • Not every dog craves human attention 24/7. Bella is happiest just hanging with her “pack,” keeping a close eye on everyone and coming around for pets or cuddles when she really, really needs it. Trust me, it makes every cuddle mean more than you can imagine.
  • Always ask a dog’s human if you can pet the dog first. Not every dog enjoys a staring contest, even if you’re talking in your cutest, sweetest, high-pitched voice. Ask the human first and if they say yes, crouch down to the dogs level without being too over-bearing (approach from the side/don’t come in too strong). Give the dog five seconds to show interest in saying hi – and if it’s just not happening…
  • Don’t take it personally! This is especially where the “dog lovers need not apply” comes in. Dogs don’t care if you love dogs or “I swear! Every dog usually loves me!” Not all dogs are the same. Would you keep trying to hold your friend’s baby if he’s screaming crying and reaching for his mom or dad? No. How frustrating is it that this is a universally understood point for babies, but if a dog doesn’t like someone right away it’s unacceptable?
  • “No touch, no talk, no eye contact.” If you really want a shy dog to trust you, you have to put in the effort. It’s really not that much effort either, just play a little hard to get and respect their boundaries.
  • Be your dog’s best advocate. Whether your dog has known issues or not, learn your dog’s signals and never force them in to a situation they are uncomfortable with. Dogs have very few outward ways of communicating – and the more you suppress their warning signals (a bark or even a low growl), the faster they will jump to what they know – a bite.
  • Be compassionate when you see someone struggling with their dog. Put yourself in their shoes – you likely don’t know the whole story. I used to shake my head at out of control dogs, but now, I can’t help but silently applaud their owner for not making the “easy” choice to simply have a backyard dog – one that sits forgotten in the yard because its family didn’t want to put in a little work.

Bella has a long way to go before she’s truly comfortable with just any new person. She’s never going to be a Golden Retriever, though, and that’s ok. Even though it’s frustrating that most people don’t understand what we are going through, we see it as a blessing. If just one person learns something from her, Bella’s done her job.

Happy adopt-a-versary, Bella – thanks for driving us to drink. Kidding!


Check out Chateau La Paws – wine that supports shelter dogs!


Our journey to dog-parenthood

If you know my husband and me, you know Bella – our beloved puppy. This weekend, she turns one (at least we think so). Her story, and our journey to dog-parenthood, definitely wasn’t all roses – but we’re so thankful to have her here.

I looooooooove dogs. My childhood dog, Jessi, (a golden retriever) lived to be 14 years old and was my pride and joy. I cried in to her fur many teenage angst-y nights, taught her to do “math,” watched her sprint around the backyard so hard she blew out both her knees (pretty much unbeknownst to her). Her only real “friend” was Scott’s golden retriever.


After she passed away while I was in college I dreamed of getting my own dog. Everyone around me knew how much I wanted one. We would dog sit for friends just to pretend we had one (free dog sitting!). Finally, in June of last year – after two years of searching for the perfect place – we finally found it. A two bedroom house with a HUGE backyard…perfect for a dog!

We told ourselves we’d wait a couple of months before adopting a dog – we lasted three weeks. In our quest to meet as many dogs as we could to decide what we were looking for – we stumbled upon Reese. She was a 12-week-old Australian Shepherd mix. Sweet, mellow and cute as could be. We brought her home and as expected, it was the happiest day of our lives!


Unfortunately, our happiness didn’t last long. About a week after we brought Reese home we noticed she had a full-body twitch that wouldn’t go away. It turned out to be distemper, a deadly disease for most dogs. One that can be prevented with routine vaccinations – but hers came too late. We had to put our first puppy to sleep at only four months of age. It was one of the darkest times of our entire relationship.

As strange as it sounded, we knew the only way to heal the hole in our hearts was to rescue another dog. They say, “for every dog you rescue, two dogs are saved. The one you bring home and the one who takes its spot at the shelter.” So we started looking.

I always wanted a mutt. We came across Bella’s picture and she was about as “mutt” as they come. No one seemed to know how big she would get, or what breed she was…all they knew was that she and her nine siblings were found in downtown LA amongst a pile of trash. A homeless man was trying to sell them for $10 each. Luckily, a wonderful volunteer from Bullies and Buddies bought him out.


Bella and her brother were originally adopted together, we found out. Their original owners then promptly returned them – completely underestimating the amount of work it takes to raise a puppy – much less two puppies. Then, they had the nerve to call and ask for her brother back, but not Bella. They didn’t bond with her, they said.


Truth be told, we came to meet her brother at first. We fell in love with both of them – and couldn’t decide who we wanted more. We asked the rescue to choose for us. “It’d help us out if you took her…she’ll be harder to find a home for.” Turns out, black (or dark) dogs are statistically harder to adopt out. Decision made. Bella Reese was our dog!


We’ve had her for seven months now and it’s hard to imagine what life would be like without her. She makes us laugh, fills our heart with so much love, and makes our family complete. Raising a puppy (especially one with separation and stranger anxiety…more on that later) is hard work, but it’s all worth it for her. Since her start wasn’t exactly well-documented, May 25th was deemed as her birthday. So, this weekend we celebrate Bella’s first trip around the sun…and what a trip it’s been!

Happy Birthday, Bella Reese! Thank you for making our family complete again.

Left: Bella Reese, August 2014; Right: Bella Reese, May 2015

Left: Bella Reese, August 2014  Right: Bella Reese May 2015

My wedding bouquet - no roses in sight!

So, what do I have against roses?

Nothing, really! Roses are beautiful, they smell nice, they come in an array of colors all appropriate for different occasions. But maybe life isn’t always “coming up roses.” For me. I prefer to think of life as “coming up wildflowers” – a life full of perfectly imperfect moments all strung together to create my very own version of perfection…and I’m excited to have you along for the ride!
My wedding bouquet - no roses in sight!

My wedding bouquet – no roses in sight! (Photo Credit: Brandon Kidd Photography)