Cheetah Girls, Cheetah Sisters!

This past weekend I had a sisters weekend with my 4 sister-in-laws! Kim & I left Provo Friday night & picked up Cheryl in St. George & then we were on our way to Vegas for Britney Spears!!!

We started planning this trip during Christmas time and it was finally happening! We stayed the night at Kelly’s house in Henderson on Friday night & on Saturday we all spent the entire day together – it was so much fun! Obviously we had to make a stop at Home Goods so I can buy some new cake stands! Then Jenn arrived from San Diego & we all went down to the Strip, ate at Shake Shack, tasted a bunch of cokes from around the world & then we got ready at our hotel while watching Crossroads!!

The concert was SOOOO AMAZING!!! Our seats were basically front row & Britney Spears was phenomenal (Check my video down below)! Definitely a show to watch if you are ever planning a trip to Vegas! She definitely Lip synched the entire time but whatever cuz she danced for straight 2 hours hahahaha

It was definitely a great weekend with my sister-in-laws.  I’m grateful that I married into an amazing family. With Steven being the only son in the family, he has learned a ton from his sisters and how to treat women. I love seeing him treat my best friends like if they were his little sisters. During the sisters weekend, we also got wayyyyy lucky with the rain and didn’t get poured on once walking outside! It was a perfect weekend!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

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Life Lately…

A lot has happened this past month and I’d thought I would share what’s been going on with life! So beginning of this month, I got laid off. I won’t say a lot about it – but it was totally unexpected and i really just miss my co workers and working with my best friend Kari every day. It’s weird not having a job.  I’ve had a job ever since I was 16 years old and if I got a new job, I would literally have that weekend off and then start the new job on Monday.  My life has been go go go since I was 16.  I started college 6 DAYS after my high school graduation. I worked 2 jobs while I was at BYU and the day after BYU graduation I moved to NYC to start an internship! I’m not trying to brag or anything, all i’m trying to say is that I’ve never really had a break.

So when I got laid off – Yeah, I cried a little and then went home and Steven was there to comfort me and he just said “well now you have this time to figure out what you want to do next.” & in my mind – I’m like “omg there’s no steady income coming in, you’re still in school, how are we gonna live!?!?” Luckily, we have savings and we are totally fine. But it was so weird not having a regular routine. Every day would be the same – wake up, gym, breakfast, go to work, come home, cook dinner, hang out with Steven, sleep. I even had certain times where I would drink my water!! haha

Anyways – with all the time I had, I started baking more cakes and practicing different techniques, learning how to frost and finally started my own cake insta – @lizzies_bakery! I’m still a way amateur baker / I’m super shy still because there are way more awesome bakers that I follow on my personal instagram! But the thing with cakes and why I love them so much is that I can make something from scratch and decorate it how I want or combine different flavors together and it will be something so delicious! and you know me – I LOVE SWEETS. On my spare time, I would always just be on Pinterest or YouTube reading cake blogs and learning new things that I wanted to actually do. At first it started out as a hobby and now I am actually making a little money off of this little business! So if you need a cake for weddings, birthdays, showers, or a holiday party let me know!!

Being laid off is definitely a trial for me – but I know that Heavenly Father knows that I can do hard things and I know that i can do hard things and overcome these unexpected obstacles that come my way. I also know that blessings come when you are trying to do the right thing – Steven’s cousin Rachel needed a nanny part-time until graduation, which is perfect timing because then I still have time to make cakes in the morning! It also keeps me busy instead of just lounging around in the apartment on social media. Also baby time with Buffy who is the cutest and such a good baby.

If you’re still reading this – here are mine & Steven’s plans for the summer. Since my work said I could go to London and now that I don’t work there anymore our plans had to change. Since there’s no point to stay in Provo and keep paying rent – we are moving at the end of April after Steven’s graduation to Carlsbad, CA and living in Steven’s parent’s home by the beach! We’ll be there till May and middle of June and travel to Europe for 2 1/2-3 weeks and then I’ll drop Steven off in London so he can attend his Oxford University Study abroad! While Steven is on his study abroad, I’ll be in Vegas for a little while and then maybe visit my Dad who just moved to Florida – we will see! But then in August – we have NO CLUE where we’ll be!! So Stay tuned!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson IMG_1669

I love you (x 26)

Today is my husband’s 26th birthday! So here are 26 things I love about Steven Burk Johnson –

  1. Steven is SO passionate about everything!
  2. Steven is a hard worker in everything that he puts his mind to.
  3. I love that Steven loves sports (especially basketball)
  4. I love that Steven lets me be ME and doesn’t judge me when I talk in my baby voice.
  5. I love that Steven is kind to everyone!!
  6. I love that Steven is not a picky eater
  7. I love that Steven is close to his family (One of the reasons why I wanted to marry him)
  8. I love that Steven works so hard in his church callings
  9. I love that Steven likes to set goals
  10. I love that Steven likes to cook with me and cook for me 😉
  11. I love that Steven is the cutest uncle with his nieces & nephews
  12. I love that Steven goes to bed as the same time as me (10PM because i’m an old lady)
  13. I love that even though we are sometimes soooo tired to read scriptures, he reminds us that we need to at least a couple verses before we go to bed.
  14. I love that Steven doesn’t get mad when I knee him in the butt when we are sleeping hahahah
  15. I love that Steven treats my best friends as if she was his little sister he’s trying to protect
  16. I love that Steven pushes me everyday to keep going with my small cake business
  17. I love that Steven is creative and has an entrepreneurial mindset
  18. I love that Steven prays with me every day and night
  19. I love that Steven makes me laugh until my stomach hurts
  20. I love that Steven can “pivot” when things unexpectedly happen to us
  21. I love that Steven is so cuddly 🙂
  22. I love that Steven watches Grey’s Anatomy & How to Get Away With Murder with me
  23. I love that Steven dances with me in our little tiny kitchen
  24. I love it every time Steven sings in the shower
  25. I love that Steven is so loving and will jump at every opportunity to help someone in need
  26. I love that Steven will be my eternal companion forever and ever ❤

So we just got back from a little trip to Moab! A long time ago, Steven told me that he’s never been! I couldn’t believe it because he LOVES hiking. So I booked us a hotel and we were on our way to Moab.

We got to our hotel (Comfort Suites) and it was SO nice.  We were so tired of driving and it was so great to get to a hotel that is so clean and we had a king bed. (FYI we sleep on a queen bed right now and a king makes ALL the difference) The last time we were in a hotel was at our honeymoon and it felt like a 2nd mini honeymoon! We ordered Paradox Pizza and they delivered it to our room and we literally ate pizza in our bed.

Today we went to Arches National Park and ended up buying an annual pass for all the national parks in the United States so that’s pretty cool. We hiked Delicate arch and Landscape arch… so fun!! The hikes were pretty easy (which i love) and it was so fun to see Steven’s face when we got to the arches. Also, the drive is soooo pretty at the park.

I’m grateful that Steven was born 26 years ago! I’m excited to see what this year brings for the both of us and to see where we are. We’ve been talking about our future a lot and we honestly have no clue where we’ll be in 3 months – it’s all a blur to us.  So stay tuned on what we are doing in the next couple of months!! Happy Birthday Steven, I love you!!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

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Milk Bar Birthday Cake

If you’ve ever been to Milk Bar in NYC/Brooklyn, then you know what I’m talking about. They are known for their AMAZING cookies, cakes, pies and just sooo many yummy treats and don’t forget about their cereal milk.

I remember pinning this recipe a LONG time ago but reading the recipe kind of scared me. You need a lot of different ingredients you normally don’t use and I had to buy some stuff on Amazon. Some things that might not sound familiar –

CLEAR Vanilla Extract – This will give you that yummy boxed flavor taste (which is a childhood favorite, am i right?!) You’ll need this ingredient in all 4 of the things you need to make.

Glucose/Glycerin – I searched glucose on amazon and it gave me glycerin from Wilton brand. It basically gives your frosting that perfect white color like the frosting that comes right out of the tub.

Citric Acid – This goes in your frosting (just a pinch) and you can just use a tiny squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Acetate sheets – All of the blogs that I read said you can buy these at any specialty craft or kitchen store. uhhh yeah right! I searched far & wide in utah valley to find these but literally NO ONE had these and all of the employees had NO IDEA what they were! & I didn’t want to spend the $35 on amazon, so I went to Target and bought plastic dividers ($1.79) – cut the folder tab and taped two dividers together. The acetate sheets help you assemble the cake making that perfect 6 inch cake!

So this recipe contains:

  • Birthday Cake
  • Birthday Crumbs
  • Birthday Cake Frosting
  • Milk Soak

I had to buy some equipment off Amazon to make this cake – 6 inch springform pan & 6 inch cake ring. The 6 inch cake ring is key to making perfect circles for your cake.

To make this cake, you really need a kitchen aid and you need patience. You are mixing a lot of fat, oils and sugar together – so all of the ingredients are basically fighting to stay apart. The strength of the kitchen aid helps mix it all together but make sure you pay attention to the minutes you are mixing everything.

I got the full recipe here. It may seem daunting but I made this cake TWICE and both times it took me about total 1 1/2 hours. I made it for my half birthday and one for my good friend Jenn Blosil’s birthday! If you are having any troubles with this cake here is a quick video that I watched for reference to help me get through it!

I also created a new Instagram just for my cakes! Follow me at @lizzies_bakery on Instagram! I’ve been thinking a lot about making cakes and actually selling them to people. I’m definitely going to start out small but if you or you know anyone who needs a cake for a wedding, bridal/baby shower, birthday, etc – let me know!!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

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Sweet Potato (Casserole) CAKE

Hi! So last Saturday I went to my good friend Kenzie Carlston’s bridal shower. At her bridal shower, I tried this AMAZING cake that her sister Courtney made.  Her sister Courtney has a blog on all of her cakes that she makes (go check it out) – here. Kenzie said it was one of her favorite cakes of Courtney’s.  It’s basically a sweet potato casserole in cake form. There’s sweet potatoes in the cake, with crystallized ginger, marshmallow frosting in the middle & a brown sugar buttercream frosting on the outside. I knew i had to try making it because it was SO GOOD.

So after making my almond cake last week, I knew I wanted to get back into baking because I LOVE baking cakes. I told myself that I needed to make one cake a week.  (who knows if that will happen, but I’m going to try!!)

I bought some new things on Amazon that I needed for the recipe – like Crystallized Ginger and a flour sifter (I caved and bought one and totally worth it cuz it makes your cake so much more moist & soft)

As I was making this cake… everything was turning out great.  The cake = perfect, the marshmallow frosting = perfect.. But then I got to the brown sugar buttercream frosting and it was SO RUNNY. I put it in the freezer to get it more stiff, but it was NOT working.  A couple in our ward invited us to dinner and I was like “oh i’ll bring the cake” and the dinner is literally starting in like 2 min as I type so I needed to just frost this cake! It turned out more like a naked cake than a full-frosted buttercream cake.  I still don’t know what I did wrong.. I probably cooked the brown sugar and egg whites too long? IDK.

So this recipe is from Cake by Courtney, you can check it out here. The original recipe that she got it from is right here. Obviously I’m still an amateur at this cake thing, but I love what I’m doing!! & it still tastes yummy. Enjoy! (recipe below)

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LOL on the food photography (google told me to do this!!)

IMG_1308Yield: 8-inch, 4-layer cake

Ingredients

For the Sweet Potato Cake
3 large sweet potatoes (about 900 g)
2 cups (400 g) sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (315 ml) sunflower oil (or vegetable, safflower, canola oil)
2 cups (230 g) cake flour
1 tablespoon (7 g) ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
1 teaspoon (7 g) salt
1 teaspoon (3 g) nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon (1.5 g) ground ginger
2 tablespoons (30 ml) brandy or dark rum (optional – I didn’t use it, but you could also use a imitation flavor)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (120 g) crystallized ginger, chopped

For the Toasted Marshmallow Filling
16 large white marshmallows
1 cup (125 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 cup (227 g / 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 jar (about 200 g) marshmallow cream/fluff

For the Brown Sugar Frosting
5 large egg whites (150 g)
1 1/4 cups (250 g) light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (340 g/ 3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
a few pinches of cinnamon, to taste

For the Candied Pecans (I didn’t make these, I just used some Cinnamon Almonds that I had)
2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons (24 g) brown sugar
1 cup (100g) pecan pieces

Instructions

For the Sweet Potato Cake
1. Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans, dust with flour, tap out excess and set aside.
2. Place the sweet potatoes on a microwave safe plate and pierce them with a fork. Microwave until they are tender (about 7-8 minutes each side). Carefully, remove the skin when cool enough to touch and mash the flesh into a coarse puree.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add the oil and beat on medium until combined. Add the cooled sweet potato puree and mix until combined.
4. Sift dry ingredients together (cake flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and ground ginger) and then add to sweet potato mixture.
5. Mix in brand/dark rum (if using) and vanilla. Gently stir in crystallized ginger.
6. Evenly distribute batter into the prepared pans (weigh them if possible with digital kitchen scale), smooth with a small offset palette knife and place in the center of the middle rack of the oven, about two inches apart. Bake until a knife or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes (mine took 45 minutes).
7. Let pans cool on wire rack 10 minutes, invert cakes onto rack and cool them completely.

For the Toasted Marshmallow Filling
1. Place marshmallows on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place on lower rack of oven, and broil marshmallows until nice and brown on top, about 30-60 seconds. Remove pan from oven and gently turn the marshmallows over, and broil until they are golden brown. (Be sure to keep an eye on them, they burn quickly).
2. In an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and icing sugar on low until blended, about one minute. Add vanilla and mix on medium-high speed for about three minutes.
3. Add marshmallow cream and (cooled) toasted marshmallows, and mix on lowest setting for about one minute.

For the Brown Sugar Frosting
1. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with a paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
2. With the whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). Don’t begin to add the butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, not warm at all.
3. Switch over to the paddle attachment and, with the mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if it curdles, keep mixing and it will come back.) If mixture is too runny, refrigerate for 15-30 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined. Add cinnamon to taste and blend.

For the Candied Pecans
1. Melt the butter in small pan. Mix in brown sugar, and add the pecans. Toss to coat.
2. Cook on medium low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be sure to watch carefully so they don’t burn.
3. Turn out onto parchment paper or aluminum foil and let cool for five minutes, break apart into smaller pieces if using halves.

Assembly
1. Slice both cake layers in half horizontally, so you have four cake layers.
2. Place the first layer on a place, pedestal or cake board cut side up (s0 bottom of the cake layer is touching the plate), and spread about 3/4 cup of the toasted marshmallow filling with a small offset palette knife, leaving 1″ or so around the edge. Sprinkle with a handful of candied pecan pieces.
3. Repeat previous steps until you get to the final cake layer. Place last layer face cake down and chill cake for 30-40 minutes.
4. Frost cake with buttercream and top with a generous handful of candied pecans and crystallized ginger.
5. Finished cake can be kept at room temperature for up to eight hours. Keep refrigerated if longer than 8 hours, but always serve at room temperature (Swiss Buttercream should never be served cold, as it goes back to a cold butter texture).

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

Almond Cake

Hi hi hi!!!! So I decided last week that I want to get back to baking cakes. In the summer, I baked cakes for my bridal shower, my friends bridal shower & for holidays! But, then I had this feeling where I wasn’t good enough compared to the other professional bakers I see on Instagram.  Obviously, I’m not a professional baker but I put my baking tools down and stopped baking cakes until now. As I’m looking at cake recipes to bake, I wonder why am I making these cakes and whose going to eat them?! Now I just don’t care anymore and I’m going to bake whatever I want and when I want for more practice! & if you want to eat my cakes just call me and come over hahaha

Anyways, I’ve been looking at this cake recipe from Molly Yeh since Valentine’s Day and I decided to make her Valentine’s cake that she makesevery year.  I know it’s not Valentine’s anymore and that’s why I titled this “Almond Cake” cuz it’s literally a full blown almond cake.  Steven’s grandma called and we are celebrating Steven’s niece’s birthday tonight so I was like “perfect, this is for Cambri!”

Last night I baked the cakes & today after church I made the whipped topping. This is how it turned out –

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Sorry for all of the photos and I wish I had a prettier background haha! I had a lot of fun making this cake and it was actually quite easy to make.  I used a new ingredient i haven’t used before and that’s almond paste – super yummy and it makes the whole house smell like sweet almond flavor!

Here’s the recipe from this blogger Molly Yeh – let me know if you make this cake!

italian almond cake

10-12 servings
ingredients

cake:

1/2 c flour*

1 tsp baking powder

8 oz almond paste

6 eggs, separated

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

pinch of salt

1/2 c sugar

topping:

1 1/2 c whipping cream

1/2 c powdered sugar

1 tsp almond extract + a few drops of red food coloring or 2 tb creme de almond liqueur

chocolate hearts, marzipan hearts, any other decorations you’d like (or if you were me, find old heart lollipops from Valentine’s Day hahaha)

clues

preheat oven to 350ºf. prepare two 8- or 9-inch or three 6-inch cake pans and set aside.

combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.

beat almond paste and egg yolks until well blended, mix in vanilla and almond extract, and set aside.

in a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. beat in sugar one tablespoon at a time and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture and then gradually fold in the flour mixture. pour batter into prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out clean.

let cool.

for the topping, whip up the whipping cream and add the almond extract and red food coloring or the liqueur.

decorate to your heart’s desire (heh, no pun…) and enjoy!!!!

UPDATE: After cutting the cake up the whip cream frosting was too weak to hold it up Hahahaha  

 
XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

 

My Top 4 HEALTHY Banana Bread Recipes

So these past few weeks I’ve been on a banana bread craze or whatever you call it. So the two things that made this craving happen was 1. Pinterest and 2. a lot of frozen bananas in my freezer! But, obviously I didn’t want to make unhealthy banana bread that takes an hour to bake.  I found all of the healthy banana bread MUFFIN recipes that I could make and here are my top 4.  They are all different kind of healthy recipes… so here you go!

Coconut Flour Banana Bread Muffins

So I bought a huge bag of coconut flour months ago and finally decided to use it. This recipe was less sweet than I thought and it basically asks for my entire egg carton haha. When Steven tried it for the first time he thought it tasted so bland but then the next day he ate all of them! Here is the recipe:

5 Eggs
2 bananas
¼ cup coconut oil or butter (softened)
½ cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
small amount of milk to thin (may not need)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Put all ingredients in medium sized bowl
  3. Using strong whisk or immersion blender (recommend!), mix until smooth and well incorporated. If batter is too thick, add a little milk to thin, but don’t let it get runny at all.
  4. Put into greased muffin tins- i use a ¼ cup measure to make pretty even sized. Batter will be somewhat thick.
  5. Bake for 13-18 minutes until lightly browned and set in middle.

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5 Ingredient Banana Almond Butter Muffins 

This recipe is gluten-free and super easy to make since you can put everything in a blender. These muffins were sweeter than the first ones I made but super grainy because of the almond butter. Also super moist!

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Combine:

1 cup almond butter
2 ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda (I updated this from 1/2 tsp. because I found they raise better)
Optional: I like to add 1/2 tsp. of salt

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Maple-Sweetened Banana Muffins 

I baked with whole wheat flour for the first time and these may have been my favorite.  Super moist and sweet (because of the maple syrup)! These also made more than the recipe entailed so we had a ton for the week! I substituted turbinado sugar with coconut sugar that I have from ALOHA.

INGREDIENTS
⅓ cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup maple syrup or honey
2 eggs, preferably at room temperature
1 cup packed mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
¼ cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top
1¾ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
⅓ cup old-fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 teaspoon turbinado (raw) sugar or coconut sugar, for sprinkling on top

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). If necessary, grease 11 cups of your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and didn’t require any grease).
2. In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil and maple syrup or honey together with a whisk. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in the mashed bananas and milk, followed by the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon.
3. Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. If you’d like to add any additional mix-ins, like nuts, chocolate or dried fruit, fold them in now.
4. Divide the batter evenly between the 11 muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of oats (about 1 tablespoon), followed by a light sprinkling of sugar (about 1 teaspoon). Bake muffins for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
5. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan. Enjoy muffins as is or with a spread of nut butter or regular butter.

healthy-banana-muffins-recipe

Photo by: Cookie + Kate

Greek Yogurt Banana Muffins

These muffins were SUPER fluffy! But not really the healthiest because it has all-purpose flour, granulated sugar but the one thing that’s different is that it has 1 cup of Greek yogurt! So lots of protein!! This one was super moist! Try this one if you don’t have coconut flour, almond butter, etc like the other muffins.

2¼ cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
3 medium bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1 cup plain greek yogurt
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins (regular size, not jumbo, not mini) with baking cups/cupcake wrappers.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a larger bowl cream together butter and sugars. Add mashed bananas, greek yogurt, eggs, and vanilla, and mix well. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips if desired.
3. Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each muffin cup. Bake for 20-15 minutes until tops are lightly golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the muffin tins before removing and allowing to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature, store in airtight container.

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Let me know if you make any of these muffins!! Follow me on my fitness instagram for more healthy recipes @liz_linsanity!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

Valentine’s Day 2016

Valentine’s Day is one of my FAVORITE holidays. I was so excited because it was my year to plan it! My best friend Lindsay and her husband Luke would always switch off because it wouldn’t be fun if just the husband planned it EVERY single year!! So we decided to copy them since Steven planned last year’s V-day.

If you know me… I love planning things ahead of time.  Since Valentine’s was on a Sunday this year, I planned everything on a Saturday. So keep reading to see what we did!

In the morning, I picked up some of our favorite doughnuts from Provo Bakery and ordered the ones that spelled out “I love you.” I definitely surprised Steven because he thought they were just normal assorted doughnuts!!

Steven surprised me with a HUGE 4″ teddy bear, yummy yummy chocolate caramels and the cutest love letter. I know everyone always says “Why is Valentine’s different than any other day with your companion??” Obviously, I love Steven every day but I feel like with holidays like Valentine’s Day you can just go over the top and be as cheesy as you want!

Around 1PM, we went to Steven’s niece’s 5 year old birthday party at a gymnastics gym and it was so fun! So many little 5 year olds jumping around everywhere. After the party, I planned a couples massage at Art of Massage.  It caught my eye a month ago because the couples massage came with a chocolate buffet!! So, we got there and it’s just in a little basement in someone’s house.  We kinda awkwardly waited until the other couple finished but once we got in the massage felt sooooooo great. & the chocolate buffet? HEAVEN.

Obviously, dessert before dinner right? So after the chocolate buffet I had a reservation for us at La Jolla Groves at the Riverwoods! We try not to eat out a ton and when we do we try to go all out. La Jolla Groves was on point that night & we ate everything on our plates haha! Our Valentine’s Day was such a great day. It was relaxing and everything that I planned worked out!

For the real Valentine’s Day – we went to church and then made a TON of sugar cookies to give out to people in our ward. It was difficult making the sugar cookies because the dough was SO STICKY but somehow with lots of flour, we did it!! It was fun running around our apartment complex giving the cookies out 🙂

Until next time everyone… Next year Steven is planning Valentine’s!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

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Happy Birthday Cambri!!!

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We made SO many cookies for people in our ward. So fun though!

Kayla Itsines BBG 1.0 REVIEW!

So if you follow me on my fitness Instagram or Snapchat you probably already know that I just finished Kayla Itsines BBG Guide 1.0! I get really shy sometimes on posting photos of ‘me’ on social media. It’s not that I’m ‘body shy…’ I don’t know or maybe I am!! This was my 2nd time finishing Bikini Body Guide and for some reason this time felt different.

This blog post is all about my thoughts on Kayla Itsines & her workout program. When I first discovered this program, my friend Stormy was telling me all about it when I was living in NYC in the Summer of 2014. She would send me screen shots of the workouts and tell me to do 7 minutes of each circuit & then repeat.. but, for some reason I just did not understand what she meant. So i pushed it aside and forgot all about it.

When I decided to move back to Provo, I immediately was in half marathon training mode for my first Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco! But with running a ton comes burning a lot of calories and I was HUNGRY all the time.  So I ate a lot while I was training. I was so shocked when I gained SO much weight during my training period. Once my race was over, I decided to look into the Kayla Itsines Program and try it out.

I was hooked.

Do three 28 minute circuits Monday, Wednesday and Friday and that’s it? Also incorporate some LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) Cardio and I’m done for the week? It definitely fit into my busy work schedule and I LOVED these work outs. Kayla suggests everyone who does her program to take progress photos every 4 weeks. I accepted her challenge and the results were SO CRAZY!

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I finally started becoming comfortable with my own body and I felt SO GREAT. Obviously every week wasn’t perfect but with the BBG guides, I could always count on another organized week of workouts if I failed the week before. So a year goes by, I finished guide 2.0, took a break, started half marathon training for my 2nd Nike Half Marathon Race and then immediately started BBG 1.0 right after my race.

In the beginning of 1.0, I didn’t really take my eating seriously. I still ate a ton of sweets, sugar, fatty foods but did my BBG workouts every week. EVERYONE knows that “abs are made in the kitchen” and blah blah blah but I wasn’t taking that seriously at all. Winter was coming which meant baggy sweaters, hoodies, and no need for me to wear a swimsuit. My eating habits turned into bad sleeping habits, skipping workouts, etc. Christmas time came and I was on week 10 and I did NOT work out at all during Christmas vacation. Steven and I ate sooooo many sweets that we were literally addicted when we got back to Provo. We were like savages trying to find chocolate ANYWHERE bahahaha Obviously with the new year, my brain automatically switches to a “new year, new me” mentality and when that first monday of 2016 came, I was ready to KILL it at my workouts.

I got back in the gym and started on week 10 all over and went every morning. I made it a routine to set my gym clothes out every night, get up after 2 snooze button taps, drink a big glass of water and go to my car and scrape the ice off of it so I could drive to the gym.  Not going to lie.. it was MISERABLE especially the dumb ice on my car. But, I made it to the gym every morning to do the BBG circuits, LISS, HIIT and rehab (stretching).  By week 12, it became a habit and I was loving the results I was seeing on my own body. I’m sad I didn’t take any photos from the beginning but I did take pics of my results at the end!

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After a series of doing the BBG guides, other workouts, going on whole 30 and half marathon training – it finally clicked well it actually didn’t click.. I just honestly needed to limit myself from my usual donuts, ice cream, cake, and treats!! I’m starting to train my stomach on foods that will help me to not crave sugary foods. I can say 100% that the BBG guides do work if you eat healthy, do the workouts religiously, get good sleep and drink LOTS of water. I’m currently on week 13 of BBG 2.0 and eating 75% Paleo and 15% whatever I want because life is short and sometimes you just need to indulge!! Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for Week 16 progress pics and follow me on my fitness instagram @Liz_linsanity!

XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson

We Love Visitors!!

Last week we had a couple of visitors come visit us here in good ol’ Provo, Utah!! Our first pair of visitors was my friend Lucy Ye & her boyfriend Jerry! I met Lucy while I was interning at Hill Holliday in Boston! Lucy is originally from Boston so while I was out there Summer 2014, she showed me around some of the sites like the best ramen restaurant in Cambridge & Six Flags New England!

Lucy accepted a new job at Square in San Francisco so she made the LONG drive from Boston to SF.  She texted me a pic of her google map showing the route & the line went through Salt Lake City! I immediately texted her and told her YOU HAVE TO COME STAY WITH ME IN PROVO.  I don’t know how they drove so fast but they got to Provo in 3 days… CRAZY. They got to provo really really late and luckily we had their room set up with our handy queen air mattress for them. We let them sleep in and Lucy asks “what’s that donut place you are always posting about?!” UH HI. PROVO BAKERY!!!!!  We obviously had to take them there. After some yummy donuts & driving around downtown Provo showing them Center St, the new Provo City Temple & BYU campus we headed back to our apartment to go night skiing!

We went night skiing up at Sundance Resort & it snowed the day before and it was raining in Provo so there was SO MUCH fresh powder.  I’ve never skied or snowboarded in any fresh powder before.  Granted this was my 2nd time skiing.. haha I’m not the best at skiing but Sundance was so much fun and Steven is a good teacher 😉 We skied mostly greens but our last run was a blue and we did it!! I only fell once! After skiing we were STARVED and Lucy & Jerry have never been to In&Out before so we took them there!!

They decided to stay another night in Provo and while Steven & I had school & work, they went to SLC and visited Temple Square! When we got back we drove to the Midway Ice castles! I’ve never driven through a blizzard and in Provo Canyon I could not see the road in front of me.  It was SO scary! I had my hazard lights on and I went like 15 mph.  It was my first time at the ice castles and it was a ton of fun! Cold, but fun!  Going back home was scary also… sooo much snow! I was driving slow but some other cars passed me super fast and 25 min later they drove in a snow bank… SAD. We are so grateful that we made it home safely.  We loved having Lucy & Jerry stay with us in Provo and we can’t wait to hang out them again soon!

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This past weekend we had my stepsister Dana and her boyfriend Cole come visit us! During Christmas, Dana was talking about how she really wanted to go to Sundance Film Festival end of January and when tickets went on sale, I texted her and asked her if she really wanted to come! Luckily, everything worked out and her & Cole came up Saturday night and met up with us at Tower Theatre in SLC and we watched one of the Shorts Program movies. You never know what you’re going to get at Sundance because nothing is rated hahaha Shorts Program is where they compile 5-6 different short movies into one program. The cool thing about the movie was that all of the directors were there to do a Q&A! It was super cool to be there!

After the movie, we made reservations to Market Street Grill because a ton of my friends RAVE about it. But, I wasn’t a big fan.  It was good food but WAY expensive. We ordered the clam chowder and Steven ordered a fish & chips meal.  Dinner was a good time to catch up with Dana & Cole. It was weird actually having her up here because usually she is up here with our parents for a special occasion or something! After dinner, we drove to Park City to walk on Main St. We literally drove through a blizzard to get there but made it there safely! There were a ton of people because it was a Saturday night.  I think I saw someone famous and I think we looked at each other because he was about to get in a black SUV and all of his body guards were like “you good, man?” But, I didn’t recognize his face hahaha

We had so much fun with Lucy/Jerry & Dana/Cole! I’m grateful for amazing friends and family.  It’s crazy how I interned with Lucy in Boston and a year and a half later she’s here with us in Provo! I try and make an effort to not lose contact with people that I meet because you never know if they need a place to stay on their long drives from the east coast to the west coast!! Sorry for the long post!! Thanks for reading!

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XOXO,

Lizzie Lin Johnson