Healthy Party Snacks

Good morning! This post comes after a number of people emailed me to find out the great recipes behind Colleen’s health-i-fied engagement party snacks… Not only have we been friends since we were 12, but she’s an awesome cook, and a great comedian (and if you want to see a great proposal, check out how her husband proposed to her on stage )


Colleen and I at her Wedding 🙂


Congratulations Shoshana! I’m so unbelievable happy for my good friend Shoshana Davis….mostly for her engagement, but also because now I have one less friend living the happy single life. If only I could get my friends to start having babies then when we all go out I won’t be the only one pretending to still function after 8:00 pm. 🙂  (I have a 18 month old)

I threw Shoshana a “mini-engagement” party after Adam proposed to her here in Arizona, and I am sharing some of my mini-party tricks.

I am a hard-core calorie counter, and when I was in the store searching for mini party foods, I just couldn’t bring myself to have disgusting high calorie full of fat party food at my house! Mostly because if it’s in the house I loose all sense of self control and eat until I look like I’m pregnant again (no joke).

My first trick was to serve vegetables and hummus for two reasons

 1. They are a healthy way to fill up quickly and avoid party snacking binges

 2.  I have no problem with left over vegetables in the house.

My next trick was to serve finger sandwiches, that way I could eat more than one (which I almost always do at a party) without over eating!

Colleen's Tasty Finger Sandwhiches

I start with whole grain bread, the kind we use here at my House is Natures Made Honey Wheat, it is whole grain but not overly grainy and offensive to people not use to eating whole grain food. I also make a few different kinds of sandwiches so everyone has something they’d like to snack on. Here were my choices for Shoshana’s Party

  1.  Light Swiss (using laughing cow cheese)  and turkey
  2. Cucumber and fat free cream cheese (with dill)
  3. Grilled Mini-Paninis, made my using havarti cheese and I Can’t Believe It’s not Butter spray on my George Forman grill.  

 Lastly I needed desert, I thought Carrot Cake cupcakes would be cute, but Carrot Cake although sounds healthy, (carrots, right?), is absolutely the calorie devil from calorie hell.


health-i-fied carrot cake a la Colleen (with hand drawn rings!)

But, I remembered a recipe from my very favorite calorie countress The Hungry Girl! Here is the recipe:

Colleen’s Notes:

You can buy the 15oz can of pumpkin and use half of it.

Pumpkin works great with chocolate cake mix as well!


1 box of carrot cake mix

8 oz  of pure pumpkin


  1. Pre-Heat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place cupcake wrappers in baking tins
  3. Add 8oz of pure pumpkin to the mix (do not add any other ingredients)
  4. Mix the batter until smooth
  5. Bake for 19-21 Minutes


My number one trick is that you NEVER tell anyone that what they are eating is healthy until AFTER they eat it!


PHX – LAX – LAX – LAX – Are we ever leaving LA?

Our flights were re-booked to take us through LAX. We tried everything to fix this, but there were no more direct flights going from PHX to JFK – We even tried reaching out on twitter, but everything was over booked. (Travel tip – when having airline issues, reach out over twitter – the airlines assist twitter handle was a HUGE help) When we landed at LAX, we booked it to our gate, but ended up being re-booked again on a flight leaving the next day at 4:30pm. The airline, was nice enough, and put us up for the night, but we decided to not waste the day, and had a mini-day in LA.

Good Morning LA!

We drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu Pier and walked in the sand, and put our feet in the water. It’s so pretty there!


We tried to get a cup of coffee, but everything was closed, so we headed across the street to the Malibu Inn. I assumed that this was a hotel – with a restaurant, but it’s actually just a restaurant .

doesn't this look like a cheap-o motel?

We walked in and saw that they were shooting some sort of commercial or tv show there, but ignored it and got a table. We were exhausted, wearing the same clothes as the day before (due to our checked luggage already being in New York), and just trying to kill some time so we tried to ignore them looking at us, but clearly our “celebrity” (or stinky day old clothes stench) brought them over and they asked us to be extras on the show Million Dollar Listing on Bravo. So, we said, why not? It’s not every day that you get stuck in LA, and get to be on a national show right? Welcome to Hollywood, indeed! (ps They promised us our scene would not end up being cut. Are we destined to be stars, I think so!)

stinky mc stink star power!

On our way back through the PCH, we grabbed a 20 minute lunch with my friend Michael.  We used to go to yearbook and newspaper camps together in high school, (yes we were those kids) and it was cool to get caught up!

Interesting. A pacemaker is an electronic device like headphones, that can always be used on a plane....

Over 24 hours later, we’re now safely back in NYC. Woohoo! Time to show off the bling and celebrate with our family and friends on this coast! J

Have you ever gotten stuck at an airport?

Bye, Bye, Bye (singing ‘Nsync in my head)

We spent our last morning in AZ, lounging around. We found a cute French café by our hotel and grabbed a yummy breakfast and played in the Butte’s fancy pool. It was the perfect morning for a bit of swimming! Hot, but not yet over 100 degrees at that point!

Essence Cafe in Tempe - Two Thumbs UP!

colorful macaroons!

fresh fruit salad and a piping hot quiche!

Love the pool at the Buttes!


post - swim - with rosey red sunburns!

Next, we headed over to my favorite store … To some, this place is terrifying, but to me, it’s my happy place.

bring it on, ladies!

Last Chance is a one of a kind store buried in a basement of a strip mall Camelback in Phoenix.  Nordstrom has “The Rack” but this is even better.  Think piles of Jimmy Choos, DVF clothes, and Michael Kors bags – for under 100 bucks. The store opens up at 10am, but people start lining up before the sun rises. They read rules before the door opens.  For example, you may not steal from another shoppers cart or you may not purchase more than three (ie only three purses per day) of any item.   You know, stuff that they read before you enter a typical store 😉

I scavenged the store, while Adam sat on a bench – he’s not as big a fan of competitive shopping as I am, as I live for black Friday – and came up with a lot. I got a pair of North Face boots, and Steve Madden Boots for 20 bucks, but my biggest find was a red Longchamp bag. I LOVE these bags, and could not believe my luck. Yes, it might have been dramatic, but I told Adam to guard it with his life as I continued to graze the store. While I got in line to checkout,  I asked A for the time, to which he replied 2:30, already worried that we had a flight to catch I started to panic.  Then from behind us, a lady said, “it’s not 2:30, it’s only 2:05, don’t let him trick you!”,  quickly other women joined in pouncing on my lovely fiance’s attempt to get out of that mad house. Gotta love shopping comraderie!

we took these awesomely cheesy photo booth pics outside Last Chance - My fav store doubles as an arcade. Score!

And we’re off to NYC!

Do you like to bargain shop?

Engagement Celebrations – PAAARRRTTTTY

I have to say, my friends and family really, really went all out with our celebrations. The next morning, we met my parents for brunch at the Talking Stick Resort, and it was fabulous! Champagne toasts, fancy cheeses, and yummy salads (Yes, I’m that easy to please) – made for a great morning.


The Boys!

The Girls!

Remember how I mentioned that A had promised to let me know when he was going to propose, by hinting for me to get my nails done …. Well, he didn’t  want to ruin the surprise (loose lips sink ships) and my nails were blank, so I met some of my favorite girls, Hayley and Carrie, to get them painted. The manicurist at the salon said that I should go with a French manicure because the color chose was too trashy – What do you think? I love it!

Love it! OPI - Girls Just Wanna Play!

From there, we headed to see the Fab Faux back at the Biltmore. Adam’s a musician in the city and knew some of the band members from other groups around the city – so we knew it would be a good time. But, really, doesn’t everyone love a good Beatles Cover band?  We partied with my parents, Carrie, Hayley, and Hayley’s boyfriend (and also musician) Ryan. It was a blast! The show was so much fun! Hayley and I even rushed the stage (ha!) to dance a bit!

Obladai - Oblada - Life goes on - ooooh!

love these guys!

Sunday was jam packed with celebrating. My friends Colleen, Lindsey, Carrie, and their boys threw us a mini-engagement party.  (They make things happen so quickly!) It was a blast! They got me bridal magazines (so intimidating!) and decorated with ring pops. Colleen made lots of healthy, and tasty treats. She’s an expert on that. My favorites were the carrot cake cupcakes (hand decorated with PINK rings!) made with canned pumpkin instead of oil and eggs. They were delish!


such a cute family!

finger sandwiches!health-i-fied carrot cake a la Colleen (with hand drawn rings!)


We were even able to grab a drink with my friend Abby (And former teacher, she was and still is a great mentor – So lucky to now call her a friend!)

I’m curious – Do wedding magazines intimidate anyone else? Or is it just me?