The Skull Returns

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Hi, friends! Happy Tuesday! I hope your week is off to a fabulous start!

Right now, I’m sitting on the Acela train to New York City for a special trip, which I will tell you all about soon, but, first, let’s recap Monday!


Yesterday morning started bright and early with a healthy breakfast: a brown rice wrap with peanut butter and sliced banana inside and a glass of freshly pressed green juice made with kale, apple, lemon, cucumber, celery, carrot, and ginger. Love. This. Breakfast.

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After breakfast, I headed to Secret Physique for a barre class with Kerrie. That’s right, I recruited my CrossFit buddy for a barre class. And I am happy to report: she liked it! She also did really well and managed to push through the muscle burn””a lot better than I did during my first barre class!



After class, I said goobye to Kerrie and then ran a few quick errands, which included a stop at Whole Foods, which, of course, included a stop by the trail mix bar. I’m a tad obsessed with it lately.


I also swung by Marylou’s for an iced coffee. I’m always a tad obsessed with Marylou’s.

Blogger + iced coffee pic? You bet!

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After running errands, I arrived home to a sad sight on our front steps: wilted plants.

I’m the worst at keeping plants alive. You’d think it would be fairly simple to care for a plant””water, sunlight, you don’t even need to walk it””but I always manage to kill our plants. As soon as I saw these sorry-looking plants, I watered the crap out of them, and, thankfully, they came back to life. Hopefully, Mal will remember to water them while I am away for the next few days. (He’s not great keeping plants alive either.)



A little while later, I made lunch, which was Cheesy Garlic & Herb Brussels Sprouts with Chicken Sausage. I grocery shopped at Trader Joe’s this week, so I made sure to buy some shredded Brussels sprouts, which then went into this super easy and tasty meal (along with some Laughing Cow cheese and chicken sausage).


I love this dish!


A few hours later, I headed to my second acupuncture appointment. This time, the acupuncturist used quite a few more needles, including four in my stomach, which actually sort of hurt””not painful, but a couple of them definitely made me jump. I haven’t noticed any changes in my UC symptoms yet, but I’m going to keep trucking along with appointments.


When I got home from acupuncture, the skull made its return. (If you have no idea what I am talking about, you can read about the skull here.) Mal is quite clever.

So, I walk in the door of my house and immediately hear sports talk radio blaring from the bathroom. I had just talked to Mal on the phone, and he told me he quickly stopped home to change for CrossFit and that he didn’t have time to feed Murphy, so if the pug said he hadn’t eaten dinner yet, he wasn’t lying about it. I knew Mal probably whizzed in and out of the house, so I assumed he probably forgot to shut off the radio. No big deal, so I walked into the bathroom to turn it off. As soon as I opened the door, the skull came crashing down and fell into our bedroom. (Mal had it balancing on the door.) It scared Murphy more than it scared me, but, I have to admit, it was a pretty clever hiding place. Plus 1 for Mal.



Dinner ended up being a bunch of snacks and randomness from the fridge. We had some leftovers after both of our Mother’s Day celebrations this past weekend, so I finished them off and ate some Cheesy Garlic & Herb Brussels Sprouts with Chicken Sausage. I ended the night with a handful of butterscotch chips and some serious pug cuddling on the couch. I’ll be in NYC until Thursday afternoon, so I made sure to get some pug lovin’ in.


Health News & Views

I love a good protein pancake for breakfast. It’s a quick and easy breakfast that is both nutritious and delicious and satisfies me until lunchtime. Long story short, a protein pancake is a great way to start the day!

I have a bunch of recipes for protein pancakes that I make time and time again, but I wanted to mix it up a little, so I asked some of my blog buddies for their favorite recipes. All of them sound delicious and the extra protein and whole ingredients are guaranteed to start your day off on a healthy note!

5 Protein Pancake Recipes from Food and Fitness Bloggers

Questions of the Day

Do you have a green thumb? Yay or nay?

How many living plants do you have in your home right now?

More importantly: Where should I hide the skull next?



  1. Your eats look yummy.

    I’ve been so riddled with bowel and ibs issues (severe) that I’m thinking about the Foodmaps diet (Cassandra Forsythe has said it solved her issues on her blog). Of course, IBD/chrons/colitis are different from ibs…but they all do have some similar threads I think!
    My only issue with the sample meal plan they show for foodmaps is the emphasis on grains…I’m kinda of concerned about a carb-heavy diet for me since I do no cardio and only light occasional bodyweight exercises (my IBS has seriously compromised my ability to exercise). ….but maybe (ironically) that is the thing that will “fix ” me (simple carbs, carbs, carbs). Ugh. So . hard. to. figure. out.

  2. What are the tan-colored trail mix bits? They look delicious! Peanut butter flavor? Coffee flavor? YUM!

  3. Plants commit suicide when they learn that I’ll be tending to them. Honestly, I can even kill a fake plant.
    As for the skull, maybe hide it in the new shed.

  4. I have hydroponic basil in my house right now. Between me forgetting to water it and the cats trying to eat it it doesn’t stand a chance. No green thumb for this lady! Except for when it comes to making green juice!

  5. Your lunch and breakfast look yum! That is a very cleaver way of hiding the skull. I would say you should hide in a case of beer on Thursday for Game 1 against the Rangers. 😉 OR if he wears a Bruins jersey, in the jersey. ha-ha. & that last picture of your pug is adorable!!! 🙂

    Sara 🙂

  6. Haha aww that second picture of Murphy is adorable!!!

    I have an awful green thumb. My boss bought me a planted flower as a thank you for something and when she walked by my desk yesterday, she mentioned it was already almost dead. I told her I was really excited because I almost kept it alive 2 weeks! haha

    Stick with the acupuncture, though! I’ve been going for about two months for my IBS symptoms and I have DEFINITELY noticed an improvement. It took about 6 weeks, but it has helped so much. Even if it’s a placebo thing, I’ll take any help I can get 😉

  7. Whenever I have plants in my possession, I always end up just completely forgetting about them. I’m terrible at remembering to water them.

    The skull in the bathroom reminded me of the one time my friends put a GIGANTIC poster of another friend making a creepy face in their bathroom, so that when someone opened the door it would roll down right in front of them. I don’t know where they got the poster or why they had it, but it was creepy!

  8. Just wanted to say Yay-ish on the green thumb question. I have lots of flowers and perennials outside and most do ok. I’m starting my veggies inside from seed and I’m having a hard time with the tomatoes. I live in Nashua, NH and I came home to wilted flowers yesterday too. There was so much rain over the weekend and it seemed so cool yesterday that I didn’t think I needed to water in the morning. Guess I was wrong!

  9. I am horrible at keeping plants/flowers alive. I always hint to my boyfriend to buy me flower, and when he does, they last or like two days. Ooops!

    We have a cilantro and oregano plant in our house right now – my boyfriend is going through a fresh herbs phase, so we’re making fish tacos with the cilantro tonight.

  10. I want Marylou’s ICED coffee soooooooo bad. And I only had it once 🙁
    I should open my own franchise down here.

  11. I kill all plants…even aloe plants, bamboo and cacti that find me as their new owner. It’s amazing my pets are still alive!
    How did you go about finding this cheaper acupuncturist?
    Have you hidden the skull in the shower behind the curtain or stick it in bed one night if you go to sleep after Mal!

    1. I just searched online for acupuncturists in the area, but you should try “community acupuncture” to see what turns up for cheaper options.

  12. When my husband and I were dating he bought me a plant for my desk for my very first job out of college. He even had it delivered as a surprise. Needless to say, I killed it within a few months and was so embarassed to tell him 🙁 It was a great, thoughtful gift!
    I have 2 plants at home from grandmothers’ funerals and shockingly they’re still alive. My co-workers gave me one for my desk for my birthday this year and it’s just a huge annoyance to me. I find plants demanding! Ain’t nobody got time for that 😉

  13. I totally have a green thumb. I love growing my own veggies, herbs and currently have a lime and orange tree. I had a lemon tree, but that poor thing never stood a chance. I’m still learning what nutrients best help the soil, etc. but it’s something I love doing.

  14. Put the skull in Murphy’s big bag of feed! Next time Mal feeds him, Mr Skull will be waiting 😉

  15. I had a protein pancake today! So good. That skull would have probably caused me to have a heart attack. I have never tried acupuncture, but want to soon!

  16. I got some plants & flowers for our anniversary….and so far so good. But usually I kill ’em too! So sad.

    That was a great hiding place. Hmmmmm. Maybe the shower head? Or the shed?

  17. That last photo of Murphy just kills me! So adorable.

    Hide it in the sock drawer? In his car? Empty pot with the lid on it?

  18. I would say I am somewhere in the middle on having a green thumb. I have a killed a few for sure but I currently have 9 that are surviving. I just bought 3 heirloom tomato plants that I am praying I don’t kill because I really want to eat one!
    That is too funny about the skull, Mal got you good!

  19. My brother has ulcerative colitis. Last summer he had a wicked flare and he started the SCD (diet). It’s VERY strick on the foods he can eat (even has a list of legal foods). I make him “legal” ginger cookies that he adores! The diet has helped him (he’s still on medicine)…maybe it could help you too?

  20. Haha! I love the skull hiding!

    I’m terrible at keeping plants alive. Last year I house sat for someone who took great pride in her plants. I was terrified I was going to kill them, but luckily I managed to keep them going 🙂

  21. I never used to have a green thumb but I’ve got better. I’m pretty hands-off, watering lightly once a week and making sure they seem happy in their spot, picking off dead leaves… I have seven house plants at the moment, and I’ve managed to keep one of them happy and healthy for six years, despite moving house six times!

    I love the skull! Have you tried the laundry basket?

  22. I don’t think I’ve had enough plants in my possession to determine whether or not I have a green thumb. I would love to grow my own herbs and veggies, though! What the heck are those squares in your trail mix? I’m trying my best to identify what’s in them..but I can’t!

    You should hide the skull in Mal’s gym bag, trunk, or backseat. It would be fun if somehow you could get it so when he looked in the rear view mirror, he sees the skull staring back at him

  23. I have 6 plants right now, the seventh just passed away on Sunday. I am semi decent with plants but have a tendency to over waer, which is just as bad!
    Mmmmm…..tonight I’m making your cheesy brussel sprouts and chicken sausage tonight for the first time – pretty excited gotta admit.

  24. omg…that brussels/chicken sausage dish. Insane!! I’m totally trying that out and I have YET to try brussels! Crazy, but true. You dog is adorable and I love the skull prank; too funny. I used to plant flowers in my pots and garden and even purchase a couple hanging ones. Not anymore. I feel with everything else that I do, I just really don’t have time to fit in watering plants. They look so pretty, but I just can’t do it anymore. I waste money and they die. Boo.

  25. How about setting a timer on your phone to go off a certain time of day you usually are home and free and make that your go check the plants time to see if they need a drink? Most plants in a planter need a daily drink.

  26. Plants go to my apartment to die. I gave up a long time ago and started to buy fake plants at the Goodwill store. No one can tell they are fake. I even have a gorgeous fake orchid plant.

    I used to be an acupuncturist so glad to hear you are giving it a try. Most people give up too soon so try and stick with it.

    Have you hidden the skull in the fridge yet?

  27. Aw, Murphy is SO CUTE!!! My hubby and I keep wishing we had a suitable house for a dog (we don’t… we’re in a shoebox apartment with no yard) and I pretty much go all mushy every time I see a dog photo! Love this post. And your blog… this is my first visit and definitely not my last! P.S I’ve given up with plants. I’m not home often enough and the weather is too hot here in Australia. I got a herb planter for Christmas and watered the herbs twice a day, every day… but the hot weather toasted them. Now I get herbs from my organic grocer. Way more expensive but less effort!

  28. Hey Tina! I noticed you went back to the brown rice tortillas from Trader Joe’s. I remember you said you weren’t a fan of them the last time you tried them (I have some in my freezer that I’m not a fan of either), but that you were going to try heating them up. Is that what you did for your banana/peanut butter breakfast? Do you like them any more now? Eventually I’ll have to take mine out of the freezer and give them another try…

  29. So I’m catching up on my CnC reading finally…. as always love the pics of that sweet fur baby of yours.
    2ndly – I am also a professional plant murderer. I’ve killed IVY! If you don’t know, anyone will tell you that you simply cannot kill ivy. Um, they’re so wrong!
    I DO however have ONE living plant (well technically I think it’s still considered a plant) in my home. When I moved in with my husband he had this pathetic looking stumpy thing on his kitchen windowsill. He explained it was bamboo that his niece had given him for luck in his new beginnings. Lucky for him I came around. LOL

    It is actually now like 3 feet tall with tons of branches!!!! I’m so proud.

    Other than that… it’s all dead when I touch it. I’ve killed weeds. Seriously, I planted weeds that I Loved and was told you can’t kill these (I take those words as a challenge I guess?) and yes, they were dead in under 3 weeks. LOL

    Skull – Saran wrap the toilet base so that it hangs almost into the water, put the skull on the saran wrap, close the lid! When he opens it he’ll either … well… never mind. LOL

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