In case you didn’t know, I’m a dietitian. But I’m also a HUMAN and get cravings for not-so-healthy food sometimes. Commence: this weekend’s hunt for the best donut in Denver. To be fair, I hear it’s pretty challenging to bake donuts at altitude. But with Denver being such a foodie town, I figured I would have a hard time deciding which donut shop to try first. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on creative flavor combinations, like Bacon Maple Bar and Arnold Palmer, actual donuts I sampled at VooDoo Doughnuts in Portland once upon a time. I stumbled upon reviews of a place in the Highlands called The Hole, which seemed promising, only to find out that it closed its doors for good in 2011. And readers, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS. From what I gathered, the “go to” donut shop appears to be….Lamar’s???? I’m not a food snob (okay, kind of) but this threw me for a loop. There has GOT to be a better place here so please, please share your favorites if I’m wrong. Despite the fact this chain also has KC locations, Aaron and I decided to satisfy our cravings at the tiny shop…which was sandwiched between a Cricket Wireless and a Check-into-Cash. Still hopeful, we entered only to be greeted by a meager selection of cake donuts (sorry, no) and a decent-looking chocolate glazed donut, which we both halfheartedly selected. And classy as our surroundings, we ate our donuts in the car and got the heck out of there to find somewhere else to pass the time before church.

Enter…Wash Perk.

wash-perk-denverMaybe it was just compared to our previous surroundings, but we certainly found a little piece of heaven here. I have passed by several times and always wanted to drop in. So, Aaron and I grabbed a pair of iced coffees and sat outside to enjoy today’s beautiful weather. The inside atmosphere was equally inviting, and I found myself thinking that Wash Perk might be my new sanctuary-away-from-home where I can write blog posts! Like many Denver establishments, this coffee house has sustainability written all over it. Just pick a cup and fill it up!
reusable-coffee-cups

Speaking of photos, I posted to Instagram for the first time today! I know I’m seriously behind, but better late than never. I should have updated social media icons on my blog later this week. And be sure to check out my new Daily Reads section so you can find out which food, nutrition and lifestyle blogs inspire me. Now on to the rest of my weekend…

Great weather in Denver usually means hiking for the Proctors. We headed up to South Valley Park on Saturday so I could try out my new Tecnica’s, which I got for a steal on The Clymb, a deals site for the outdoor enthusiast. I am endlessly grateful to live near such natural beauty (Colorado, not the shoes. Switching gears again).
tecnica-hiking-shoes-collage

After the day’s hike, we were in the mood for some comfort food. Enjoy my super-easy, no-measurements-required recipe for No-Egg Baked Chicken Parmesan.

no-egg-baked-chicken-parmesanIngredients
FOR THE CHICKEN
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
olive oil spray
Panko bread crumbs
Penzey’s Pasta Sprinkle
parmesan cheese, shredded

FOR THE PASTA
whole wheat, quinoa or brown rice penne
vodka sauce (homemade or store-bought; recipe from the brand I work for, Muir Glen)

Instructions
1. Spray chicken breasts with olive oil. I prefer using high quality olive oil sprayed out of my Misto, a wedding gift I received from my mother-in-law.
2. Combine Panko bread crumbs with Pasta Sprinkle on a large plate. If you don’t have Penzey’s, you can use a combination of basil, oregano and thyme or other Italian spices you love. Coat both sides of the chicken breasts with bread crumbs and lay flat on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Cook until done, approximately 25-30 minutes depending on the size. Flip halfway through and, when you think there’s only a few minutes left, top with shredded cheese. Don’t worry if some spills off onto the foil…crispy cheese is even better!
3. While the chicken is cooking, prepare pasta according to package directions. I used a quinoa/brown rice pasta (don’t remember the brand because I keep it in glass jars). Aaron didn’t even know I used it…but he will when he reads this blog post. :)
4. Drain pasta and stir in desired amount of vodka sauce. Top with chicken (sliced or whole), a little extra sauce and serve.

Seriously easy! I used manchego cheese instead of parmesan this weekend because I had it on hand. Whatever you use, splurge for a high quality cheese and shred it yourself. Trust me.