The Lone Bunny

Man, being across the country from your loved ones on Easter Sunday really blows! However, I listened to my mother: I kept busy, and counted each of my blessings. I spent the majority of my day at the farmer’s market and at the grocery store. I did however, take a break to get some fresh air and physical activity (a MUST during the holidays with all the yummy candy and treats we find ourselves giving in to a little too much ;))

Isn't it breathtaking?

About mid-day, after some cleaning, and planting my new flowers from the farmer’s market, I slipped on my hiking shoes, hopped in my car, and drove a few short miles to the bottom of Fryman Canyon. Located right in Studio City, Fryman is a great hike for just about anyone. The main trail is a little tough to start, but levels out a little more-so for an easy hike the rest of the way up. For the more adventurous, there are a few side trails which I discovered today, with intermittent steep inclines. It made getting to the top even more of an accomplishment! It was great to get some sunshine while appreciating the beauty of nature on this day.

Afterwards I hit up Farmboy to pick up a few things I had forgotten to create my healthy Easter Dinner for the Lone Bunny (myself :)). At first, I thought I may have to give in to a frozen dinner – however, I was determined to make something much more fresh and satisfying. I must say…I almost out-did myself:

Grilled ham & pineapple, Balsamic pasta salad, roasted veggies!

The only thing missing are Mat’s yummy mashed potatoes! The only downer to this, was the convenience I chose in purchasing thick deli ham already cooked, rather than a full uncooked ham (oh well, one less thing I had to prepare).

Pasta Salad:
-1/4 cup whole wheat pasta shells, cooked
– sliced jicama
-diced red and orange peppers
-diced tomatoes
-1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
-A few sprays of EVOO spray
Toss everything together into a container, shake, and allow to cool in the fridge for about an hour or more.

Ham:
-Thick deli ham
-sliced pineapple
Toss ham with pineapple on top onto the grill, or in my case a Foreman, and allow to darken

Roasted Veggies:
 a few spears of asparagus, chopped
-a few chopped cubes of banana squash
-1/2 a zucchini, chopped
-EVOO spray
-garlic seasoning powder (no salt added!)
Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Assemble the veggie mix onto some tinfoil, spray with EVOO spray, and sprinkle seasoning on top. Close the foil and lightly shake. Place in the oven for about 35 minutes.

I have to say, I was very surprised and pleased with the way this turned out! This just goes to show that you CAN make a healthy dinner, void of leftovers.

Next up, it was time to make my mom’s famous Italian Almond Cookies These are a DELIGHT to everyone that has tried them. I, of course, made a few alterations, which made my version a little fluffier, yet still pretty darn good. I am just very thankful they didn’t turn out like the last time I made them.
Side-story: About 5 years ago when my grandfather passed away, it was right around Easter weekend, so my parents were a little preoccupied with the wake and funeral arrangements. I wanted to help out and make my mom’s life a little easier by making everyone’s favorite cookies for her – one less thing she would have to do and worry about. Well…I guess I must have misread the ingredients, because I used baking soda rather than baking powder. oops. The cookies were anything but…in fact, they were more like biscuits. Haha!

This time..they came out MUCH better…not as good as my mom’s, but still good.

The cute plate are compliments of my mom - part of my amazing Easter care-package she sent me 🙂

My Version of Italian Almond Cookies:

-2/3 cup Truvia
– 1/3 cup Vegan Butter, roomtemp
-2 1/3 cups flour
-2 TSP baking powder (don’t make the same SNAFU I did!)
-1 egg
– 3 TBSP Almond Milk
-3 TBSP fresh pineapple juice (I didn’t have any oranges, so I squeezed some pineapple chunks)
-2 TSP almond  extract

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Mix the butter and Truvia together. Add in the egg and whisk  the mixture very well. Stir in half the flour. Add in the milk, extract, juice, and baking powder. Mix together, then slowly add in the rest of the flour.
Spoon and roll dough into small balls, and bake for 15 minutes.
Allow to cool.
Frosting: mix confectioner’s sugar with very little water, and a few drops of food coloring. Dip the tops of each cookie into sugar mixture and allow to cool/dry.

Aside from the icing, these cookies are sugar-free (Truvia is an all-natural sugar substitute — as of right now there are no claims against its use to replace sugar), so go ahead and grab one or two! But remember, they are still cookies, and have little real nutritional value 😉

Today’s lonely Easter is about to be topped off with some Fro-yo to-go from Studio Yogurt ( a new favorite…but still does not beat Humphrey’s in my book), a bowl of popcorn, and the movie Hop (thanks mom!)

Tomorrow: While it is my day off from work, it is the start of 3 of my classes – so you can probably guess what I will attempt to fill my day with. Woohoo! I have a hunch that my procrastination will be at an all-time high, and productivity at an all-time low tomorrow…just a guess :-p

I hope you all have had a fantastic Easter, full of love and wonderful blessings whether alone or with your loved ones. Remember, it is easy to trip up and maybe give in a little too much during any holiday. BUT it is also very easy to make a few alterations here and there to create healthy sides, mains, and desserts to satisfy your body full of taste and nutrients.

What are some fun traditions you always do for Easter? I LOVE the idea of everyone dressed in pastels – reminds me that spring IS here 🙂

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