The Blogtastic Survey Results are In…

Happy Monday, Y’all! Hope you’re having a good start to your day and to this beautiful week!

On my end, I’m counting down the days to a vacation, which I’ll tell you more about later in the week.  A vacation celebrating my fabulous (and favorite) sister-in-law Beth.  Click here to read about all of her awesomeness btw…

Do you guys remember completing a

NTTC Blogtastic Survey a few weeks back??  

NTTC Survey

Well, the results are in!  First and foremost, thank you to each of you for taking the time to complete the survey.  It was about 10 questions long… and I’m a little dumbfounded that 130 of you folks took the time to complete it!  Amazing, and THANK YOU!!!

This survey’s timing aligns with a blog redesign that I’m working on right now, and I couldn’t be happier with the results… and the feedback you guys gave me along the way.  Ok, without further ado, let’s go through the results!

NTTC Blogtastic Survey Results | No Thanks to CakeSo many of you out there have been reading for a while, and I just love that!  I feel like the true weight loss action was happening way back in the beginning and in that first year, and I love that so many of you have stuck around through the transition into maintenance.  And, in reality, the transition of NTTC to more of a healthy eating blog than a weight loss blog.

NTTC Blogtastic Survey Results | No Thanks to CakeThe verdict:  An overwhelming number of you guys read NTTC simply by typing in the URL, or clicking on your favorite link.  I spend quite a bit of time on social media, so I just assumed that social media was bringing you guys here… boy, was I wrong!

I will mention that following NTTC on Social Media is a great way to stay in touch.  Even during the weeks where work (and preferably fabulous vacations) has me too busy to blog, you can always stay close to the happenings by checking social media.

If you’re not following me today, click on these links to connect:  Facebook, Instagram (my favorite!), Pinterest, Twitter, Bloglovin, Feedly.

NTTC Blogtastic Survey Results | No Thanks to CakeThe Verdict:  A whopping 84% of you guys who enjoy reading NTTC are reading it because you are actively working to lose weight/get healthier.  WOW!  That’s a big number… but then again, I talk to so many of you guys that are really looking to fuel better with healthier, more nutritious food, at every meal.  Knowing that the goal of so many of you is to get/stay healthy!  This is something that will inspire me in upcoming months to write content that will help you get there/stay there!

NTTC Blogtastic Survey Results | No Thanks to Cake

The Verdict:  Um, can you see me smiling all the way from Colorado??  If you can’t, you should.  I love the fact that you’re choosing healthy recipes and healthy eating as your main reason for clicking on NTTC.  Cooking is a passion of mine, and it’s such a compliment to hear that you’re drooling over my creations.  Most nights, I am too…

NTTC Blogtastic Survey Results | No Thanks to Cake

The Verdict:  Not surprisingly based upon other responses, you guys want to hear more about healthy eating, exercise, and my crazy life… and the giveaways, crafts, product reviews, and shopping are on the other end of the spectrum.  You’re not telling me to STOP talking about the latter… but you’ve definitely indicated what’s your favorite. :)

NTTC Blogtastic Survey Results | No Thanks to Cake

So… I’ll call these my “curiosity questions”… I’m asking first, if you’ve ever made a NTTC recipe, and secondly, if you ever purchased something because I talked about it here on my blog.

Let’s start with the recipes:  I’m mostly just curious here.  I put a lot of time into building beautiful recipes posts.. and I love that 70% of you guys have tried something!  (Hint, hint:  Stop back after you make something and tell me what you think!  I’m always curious, after all… and only post the things I love!)

The product question was more of a toss-up.  There are brands that I work with from time to time, and if I try their product and I sincerely like it, I’ll share it with you guys… but I was wondering about how effective I am at promoting things.  53% is not so bad!

Reality Check: I absolutely promise not to promote things just to promote things.  Only things I like, would buy anyway, and use regularly are featured on NTTC.

Ok… now for the super fun questions.  The ones that were more free-form,  just asking you to leave your comments.  While I can’t post them all… I’ll give you a taste of what I got.

Q7.  I’d love to read about this specific topic:

  • how to keep motivated when all around are munching crisps and biscuits – it is so hard!
  • Healthy restaurants around town. Book recommendations.
  • healthy baking recipes! and burger recipes! I also like hearing about your ups and downs with the weight loss journey.
  • Because I’m new to Jenny Craig I would love more volumizing recipes.
  • Would love to see more truth, honesty, vulnerability! Your life can’t be all rainbows and unicorns–let us see the darker side!
  • Month in review! Always like to see this when it come around!
  • Struggles with body image (I personally struggle with this).
  • I love the inspirational stuff! No, actually, I NEED the inspirational stuff! I still tear up over your letter to your former self. I have shared this blog the most & still do.
  • Loving yourself as you’re losing weight even if you’re not comfortable in your body.
  • Products found at trader joes, new kitchen gadgets, new nail polish colors
  • more fitness updates.
  • up’s and down’s of weight loss; struggles, motivation, etc
  • Everything!!! Recipes are my favorite

This is just a snippet of what came back…  Lots of variety.  Lots of asks for new topics to be covered.  I’ll do my best to work them all in… and I really try to live in a bright shiny place, so struggles yes… dark side, probably not. :)

Q8:  I’m about to renovate my little space on the internet giving it an entirely new look and feel.  Do you have any suggestions to change the site, its look and feel, or how easy it is to find what you’re looking for?

  • Looks great! I’ve made many of your recipes maybe a section for pictures of our creations from you. Also I love seeing before and after pictures of success stories.
  • I know you had done a survey on a new tag line but I’ve never seen it implemented. I think you had a draw for the winner and announced someone too.
  • Past posts give me such a variety of posts. Sometimes I have trouble finding one I’d like to read again. I haven’t found a way to bookmark a specific post, it just takes me back to the most current one.
  • I think it’s pretty easy to navigate as is. I like that you advertise, but you don’t have those annoying pop up advertisements or the embedded advertisements.
  • More videos.
  • The pictures with the recipes are great to follow but I like to print out recipes for my hands-on recipe book. It would be helpful to be able to print the ingredients and how to without pics to keep on one page…. maybe?
  • Having two sidebars (left and right) full of a combination of ads / badges / etc is a little overwhelming.
  • As long as it’s user friendly and attractive I’m in!
  • Keep it fun!!
  • I think it is great the way it is. Excited to see it get better!

Again, this is just a small number of the many responses… and I’m GETTING SO EXCITED about the re-design!  Your comments are pretty consistent… and let me know that Cassie and I are completely on track with the redesign that we’re working on!  Think simple, yet pretty.  Well accessorized, yet modern.  Easy to navigate, yet fun.  That’s what we’re shooting for.  You’ll have to let me know if we hit the mark!  The new site should launch by end of year!

About videosThis is something I struggle with, but I keep hearing more and more that content should be consumable via video… and that readers crave video.  Trying to get myself used to the idea, but you probably know I’ve only posted one vlog (ever)… I’ll keep flexing that muscle and find the right spot for me.  One day, you’ll see videos…

Q8: Please use this space to share any other feedback you might have, including general feedback and topic-related suggestions.

  • Love the pictures. That’s half the fun reading.
  • Love your site- I could not have lost 40 lbs without you and Gina from Skinnytaste! You were my inspiration when I wanted to give up and for that I am forever grateful.
  • Love this site and your commitment to yourself and your readers! Thank you!
  • I really love hearing your stories, sharing your struggles, and being real with your audience. I have been reading after I saw mention on another blog that I would frequent- it is part of my morning ritual to check in with the blog. Keep up the great work.
  • Just started JC and I go through the archives to read about your experiences! IT would be helpful if you occasionally put more links in your posts to past blog posts (Even from 2010-11) for newbies on JC! Love the blog!
  • Keep it coming – you have a very positive outlook, it’s very inspirational!
  • I REALLY like the energy of your blog. You’re upbeat without being annoying, real without being whiny and you’re smart. Don’t lose that!
  • As someone who doesn’t do Jennie Craig, I tend to skip any post regarding it and any recipes you make with that food because it doesn’t pertain to me at all! But, I love to read about your life and other recipes you create. Thanks for your blog!
  • Like the fashion shows, so fun to hear about someone else’s crazy life, it’s like a mini vacation from your own!
  • You remind me so much of my friend Autumn, and I love reading your blog because it makes me feel like I’m hanging with her!
  • Love the pictures of the Denver area and the places you visit – makes the blog feel really intimate and fun! Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us!
  • Your recipes are amazing. I’m not much of a cook, your presentation is easier than following a you tube video. You totally rock in that area!!!

And this is the question that really warmed my heart.  It’s weird, I write 3-4 posts a week, but there are weeks where I truly wonder if anyone is out there reading, if I should keep writing about this little journey I’m on or if it’s time to hang up my keyboard.  Well, you guys blew me away with the responses to this question.  I was simply expecting a little “I don’t like the font at the top of the page.” type of stuff and was instead greeted with virtual hugs from near and far.

Thank you for continuing to visit my little space on the internet.  You continue to amaze me by your kindness, your friendship, and your ability to lift up a virtual stranger when she needs a helping hand!  

It’s hard to believe that I’m about to head into my FIFTH YEAR of blogging at the beginning of November.  I can’t wait to see where we go next… xoxo

Related posts:

Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars

I can’t believe how much I’m loving pumpkin season.  And, it’s incredibly hard to believe that I wasn’t really into pumpkin this time a few years ago…

Sparkly Pumpkins Hobby Lobby | No Thanks to Cake

Self-proclaiming myself “the pickiest human”, by now you shouldn’t be too surprised that I wouldn’t touch that orange fruit until I began my healthy journey.  Now, I’m all over it. And, I think this is the THIRD pumpkin recipe of the season here on NTTC.  Scroll all the way to the bottom of this post to see my pumpkin posts!

And… while you’re at it, take a look at these bad boys!

Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake

I’m sad to report…. there’s nothing healthy about this dessert.  Wait… I did use a can of pumpkin which is rich in Vitamin A, and the condensed milk is fat-free… but nope, not exactly a healthy recipe, friends.  But I promise they are DELICIOUS!!

I made them for a co-worker’s birthday, after he confirmed he liked pumpkin… and the whole team loved them!  PS… You will too!

Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars

From Inside Bru Crew Life

INGREDIENTS

Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake

1 spice cake mix
1 cup pumpkin puree, divided
1 egg
8 oz. mini Oreos
1 (14-oz) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup mini chocolate chips
INSTRUCTIONS
1.  Combine together the cake mix, 1/2 cup pumpkin, and the egg until a soft, sticky dough forms.
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
2.  Spray your hands with non stick spray and press the dough into a 9×13 baking dish that has been sprayed with the spray too.
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
3.  Top the dough with the mini Oreos.  Note:  I couldn’t find a small bag, only the family sized box.  I only used one layer of Oreos, and discarded the rest.
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
4.  Stir together the sweetened condensed milk, the remaining 1/2 cup pumpkin, and cinnamon.
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
5.  Drizzle all over the top of the cake.
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
6.   Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
7.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into 24 squares. Store in a sealed container on the counter.
Gooey Pumpkin Oreo Bars | No Thanks to Cake
Per 1/24th recipe serving:
CAL 205; CARB 29g; FAT 5g; PROT 3g; FIB 1g; WW Points Plus: 5
Divider
Here’s a few more ways to enjoy pumpkin this season!  Click the picture you want to try!
Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes | No Thanks to Cake
Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Muffins | No Thanks to Cake
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles | No Thanks to Cake

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4 Tips for Avoiding Boredom on Your Healthy Eating Plan

If I were a betting lady (which I can be), I’d guess that one of the main reasons that people get off track with their healthy eating plan is that they get bored.

I mean, how many broccoli florets can one girl eat, and for how many days in a row??

Now, I mean no offense to this cute little tree-shaped veggie, but in reality, repetition can get a little boring. I know I’ve experienced it before… and for that reason, I work really hard to make sure that I have variety in my menu.

While I maintain a few staples in my menu, I really try to mix up my weekly meal plans with a variety of foods to keep me both interested and satisfied.

Today, as part of the ProgressOH campaign from Progresso™ Soups, I’m sharing my “Top 4 Tips” to banish boredom while you’re trying to lose weight…

4 Tips to Avoid Boredom on Your Healthy Eating Plan | No Thanks to Cake

1. Vary Your Snacks

There are so many fruits and veggies to choose from, that I never have trouble in this area. A great way to mix up your fruit and vegetable choices are to choose based upon seasons!

Snacks | No Thanks to Cake

For example: Choose cherries in the summer, apples in the fall, and roasted brussels sprouts in the winter. While most fresh produce is available year round, they are extra delicious during their special seasons (and often times, on SALE!)

2. Mix Up Your Main Dishes

I publish two new recipes every single week here on NTTC, and I probably could share even more than that! You see, I try about 2-3 new recipes every week… by design.

It started as a way for me to constantly have great recipe content for you guys here on the blog, but it’s become a creative outlet for this very busy girl and a great way to make sure my menus don’t stall out.

This summer, for example, I was crazy about peppers. Trying all the varieties…..

All the Peppers | No Thanks to Cake

Pictured: Stuffed Poblano Peppers, Pan-Seared Shishito Peppers with Yogurt-Sriracha Dipping Sauce, and Lightened Up Jalapeno Poppers

People often ask where I get my ideas. Well, I find tons of new recipes on the internet (Hello, Pinterest), from my favorite bloggers, and from cookbooks like this one from Skinnytaste.

SkinnyTaste Cookbook | No Thanks to Cake

Get creative! Go International! Experiment with lentils! The sky’s the limit!

3. Keep a Variety of Ready-to-Eat Foods on Hand

On an ideal week, I have time to prepare a fresh meal every night, post lovely blog content, fold laundry, and bake healthy cookies… but in reality, that doesn’t happen that often (Especially the cookie part. Who has time to bake during the week??)

To make sure I’m inspired and creative even on nights when I don’t have time to cook, I make sure I have options in the cupboard and the freezer ready to go at a minute’s notice.

And, with that… I have to introduce you to my new favorite soups. Have you tried Progresso™’s Light soups???

IMG_4717

My favorite soup company offers FORTY different flavors of light soups, clocking in at 100 calories or less per serving.  My favorite flavors are the Light Beef Pot Roast, Light Italian Style Meatball, and Light Savory Beef Barley Vegetable – - Yum!!!

When my friends at Progresso™ reached out to share some of their favorite flavors with me, I couldn’t resist jumping in spoon first!

As part of this campaign, I’ve also fallen in love with the Savory Beef Barley Vegetable, and I’m keeping a spare can of this soup at my desk… for when I can’t leave the office, and I need something warm and filling for lunch. So good, and only 80 calories per serving. Yum-O!

4. Make Your Meals a Production

Regardless of what I’m eating, I always try to make sure that my food is plated up in a pretty way.

Plating Dishes Beautifully | No Thanks to Cake

Pictured: Baked Cauliflower Cakes (L) and Grilled Lime Chicken with Avocado-Corn Salsa (R)

Cooking is truly an art, whether something is coming out of the slow cooker or fresh from the microwave. And… when it’s more appetizing in appearance, I tend to enjoy it more!

Example: When I tried my new Progresso™ soup flavors this week, I made sure that I served them up in style with my pretty Fiestaware dishes. How gorgeous is the yummy Light Chicken Alfredo when it’s dressed up in Fiestaware with a sprinkle of parsley??

Progresso Light Chicken Alfredo Soup | No Thanks to Cake

Speaking of dressing up… My new friends at Progresso™ are hosting a special Progress-Oh! MAKEOVER contest this month! I’ve just finished entering moments ago!

ProgressOH Contest | No Thanks to Cake

Oh yes, you can enter for a chance to win a wardrobe makeover for you and three of your friends, courtesy of Progresso™! Enter the ProgressOh! wardrobe makeover contest at Progresso.com/ProgressOh. Four deserving Progresso fans and three of their friends will each win a $1,000 cash card and a year-long subscription to the POPSUGAR “Must Have Box”

I hope these tips can help you battle boredom every step of the way in your weight loss journey. Adopting them helped me, and can help you too!

What are your tips for avoiding boredom on your healthy eating plan? Share them below in the comments.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Progresso™ through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Progresso™, all opinions are my own.

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Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew

Before we take this post any further… I’ve got some exciting news!  These two are officially off the market, and are engaged!!

Tiffany Alex | No Thanks to Cake

On a somewhat gloomy morning, Alex surprised Tiffany at Union Station along with a group of her closest friends (from near and far, I might add!)  He got down on one knee, expressed his love, and she said… “Of course!” It’s incredible to have a chance to witness something like this.  Interestingly, some tourists went ahead and set up their camera and tripod and video’ed the whole thing, too.

Ahhh… Love.  So nice to see these two have found each other.

So… after brunch and when Denver skies decided to get remarkably gloomy, I came home and filled my crockpot…. with this.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Ca

I’ve written before about Cabbage Rolls being the ultimate “comfort food” in my home.  When the twin towers came crashing down in 2001, I made cabbage rolls in my kitchen at my little apartment in Franklin, TN, while watching the coverage.  It’s warm, filling, and just tastes like a hug…. and most of all, I love them.  Let me also say, they’re saucy and (some may say) stinky… but I think they’re perfect!

The challenge I have is that I don’t always have the time it takes to make the traditional recipe, nor the desire to destroy my kitchen during the process.  So, this year, I’ve made a few different “easy” varieties.   While it still takes a while to cook, the prep time is significantly lower than the traditional, and you still get to enjoy the flavors.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew

Serves 10

INGREDIENTS

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

1/2 head cabbage

1 lb. extra lean ground beef

1/2 cup brown rice

1/2 cup diced onion, more if desired

1 can sauerkraut, drained and rinsed

1 package turkey smoked sausage, diced

1 can tomato juice

salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Saute the beef in a skilled until fully cooked.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Place beef in a food processor and pulse (optional).

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

3.  Place ground beef in the crockpot, along with the diced smoked sausage.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Add onion (extra if desired.)

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Coarse chop your cabbage and add that next.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Add the sauerkraut and the rice, and stir to combine.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

7.  Add the full canister of tomato juice, and stir once again.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

8.  Turn on the slow cooker, and cook on low for 8 hours until the stew is done.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

9.  Once done, dish out 1 cup servings and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Stew | No Thanks to Cake

Per 1 cup serving:

CAL 182; CARB 12g; FAT 7g; PROT 17g; FIB 3g; WW Points Plus: 4

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