Posts made in April, 2012

sweat for the cure raffle—win an anytime fitness membership!


Posted on Apr 16, 2012 in Lifestyle

UPDATE: Ticket sales have been extended until Wednesday, April 25, 2012. Get yours now! The odds are in your favor.

As you guys know, breast cancer strikes a really personal chord with my family. My Mom was diagnosed when I was in elementary school and she’s cancer-free today thanks to the advances in research funded by organizations like the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. This summer, my two sisters and I will be walking 39.3 miles in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and we need your support to help put an end to this terrible disease. This week, I’ll be holding an amazing raffle with some of my favorite fitness-related goods to raise money for the cause. So open up those wallets and get ready to literally save lives with your donations! Last time we did this raffle, we raised over $1500 to help the cause, and I’d love to do even more this time around considering the prizes are bigger and better!

Remember, every single dime you donate will go directly to support breast cancer research and help fund programs that provide preventative screenings to women AND you might end up with an awesome prize. Win-win, right?

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

the prizes:

In this raffle, there will be six awesome prizes totaling almost $1000 worth of fitness-y goodness! Each raffle ticket you purchase will give you an opportunity to win. That means if you buy two raffle tickets (and get very lucky) you can win two prizes! You could shell out five bucks and end up with a $500 health club membership. Not a bad deal!

Let’s run through the prizes:

  • (1) One Year Membership to the Anytime Fitness
  • (1) Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS Fitness Watch
  • (1) Pair of Vibram FiveFinger Sprints (size and color of your choice)
  • (2) Classic Klean Kanteen Bottles (size and color of your choice)
  • (1) $50 Lululemon Gift Card

Big thanks to Anytime Fitness for their very, very generous donation! The remainder of the prizes are paid for from the collective funds of me and my two sisters.

the raffle:

To participate in the raffle, we’re going to do it a bit differently this time. One of my sisters had some health problems (resulting in surgery) and hasn’t been able to fundraise the way she wanted. If she doesn’t hit $1800, she doesn’t get to walk with us, and that is not an option. So this time around, you’ll buy virtual “tickets” by donating to her fundraising page. For each $5 donation, you’ll get one ticket. BUT, the more you buy, the more tickets you get for your money, here’s the breakdown:

For $5 get ONE ticket
For $25 get SIX tickets
For $35 get TEN tickets
For $50 get FIFTEEN tickets

If you want to donate a different combination (say $40) I’ll make sure to give you the “best deal” (so for $40, you’d get 11 tickets). When the raffle is over, I’ll take every name from my sister’s donation page, list them in an Excel document the proper number of times (once if you bought one ticket, twice if you bought two, etc.) and then have Babyface use the online random number generator to pick the winners. Once the winners are selected, I’ll shoot you an e-mail with the great news and we’ll get the prize out to you!

You’ll have until Wednesday, April 25th to buy tickets. We’ll do the drawing immediately following raffle close.

Ready? Click the big pink button and go save lives!

official rules and legalese:

To enter you must be 18 or older and a valid U.S. Resident. Winners will be chosen by random drawing from the pool of ticket holders. To be considered for the prize, you must provide a valid email address when donating and must donate only to the Samantha Valbert page. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. No purchase necessary to win. To enter without purchase, please send your name, address, phone number and e-mail address to Only one e-mail entry per household. Raffle sales will close on April 25, 2012 at 11:59pm (EST). The winners will be contacted by email on or before April 27, 2012. If the winners do not claim the prize within seven days, the original winner forfeits the prize and a second random entry will be chosen from the pool. This contest is sponsored by Anytime Fitness of Minneapolis, Cassie Johnston of Indiana, Amanda Coddens of Indiana, and Samantha Valbert of Indiana. Void where prohibited by law.

Thank you so much for your support. You guys are the absolute best! Now let’s make some money for a great cause!

P.S. Can’t play along because money is tight? I totally understand. You can still help though! Tweet, Facebook and post about this raffle on your blog to spread the word. It would mean the WORLD to me.

are you ready to raffle?


Posted on Apr 13, 2012 in Lifestyle

Popping in quickly on this Friday afternoon to tease you with something fun that will be coming up here starting on Monday. Last time we held a raffle on BTHR for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, we raised over $1500 to help fund low- and no-cost mammograms and research to help find a cure. It was such an awesome success, I thought we could do it again, but this time, with even better prizes!

Hope you’ll stop in next week and win yourself some awesome loot (and help saves lives in the process).

A big, huge thanks to my friends at Anytime Fitness for donating the grand prize. Come by Monday and let’s do our part to end cancer! Have an awesome weekend. :)



Posted on Apr 13, 2012 in Career

I am so thankful that you guys make time to stop in here to check out what I have to say. Because of your awesomeness, sometimes I’ll get other opportunities to spew my antics around the internet (and beyond!) for all to see. I figured it was time for another one of my inconsistent, but reoccurring round-ups of other places you’ll find me outside of BTHR.

I’ve been writing for Edible Indy since its first issue last year, but I was able to up my contribution for the Spring 2012 issue, and I couldn’t be happier about it! Not only did my editor include two of my pieces and let me do recipe development, but I also photographed and wrote the cover story. Pretty cool!  It was amazing to walk into the local grocery store and see it on the rack. What wasn’t amazing? Trying to find white asparagus in Indiana in December. Not recommended.

Feel free to check through all of my Edible Indy articles (and make my asparagus recipes, the bisque was killer):

And make sure to keep an eye peeled for me in the Summer 2012 issue!

I’ve been very fortunate to be a frequent contributor over at Anytime Health (the nutrition and fitness community that is run by Anytime Fitness) for the past year. The amazing folks at AH are fantastic to work with and pretty much give me free rein to write about whatever I’m “feeling” at the moment. Plus, it is really nice to know that, just like here at BTHR, my words are going out to folks that are truly interested in what I have to say. Check out a few of my recent posts:

Last, but not least, I was contacted early in the year by the ever awesome Stefanie at SparkPeople asking if I’d be interested in submitting a guest post for the DailySpark blog encouraging people to blog throughout their weight loss journey. I jumped at the chance! I love SparkPeople and it was a great chance to spread the gospel of something I truly believe in—blogging rocks!

So that’s a rundown of my outside-BTHR activities for the past few months. I feel so fortunate that I get to do this fun stuff everyday and actually get paid for it (well, not all of it, but some). If you asked me five years ago if I thought I’d be doing this, I’d laugh in your face, but it’s been an amazing ride so far. I can’t wait to see where else I go.

Have an amazing, sunny, food-filled weekend, friends.

baked homemade pizza rolls


Posted on Apr 12, 2012 in Food

baked homemade pizza rolls
Baked Homemade Pizza Rolls

If you ever find yourself in a Southern Indiana grocery store and see a young couple standing in the frozen novelties section shouting, “I LOVE TOTINO’S PIZZA ROLLS” at one another, stop and introduce yourself because that would be me and my handsome husband.


Hi, we’re dorks.

It all comes from this commercial, which is all kinds of ridiculous and hilarious. And that means it is fair game to turn into a Johnston Household Inside Joke. We scream “I LOVE TOTINO’S PIZZA ROLLS” way more than I feel comfortable admitting.

The scary part about it is that we actually do love Totino’s Pizza Rolls. They are everything that is wrong with the American food system. There is no real nutritional value for the insane amount of calories and fat per serving. And I tried to count the number of ingredients once, but then my brain imploded.

But damn, they are delicious and junkfooderific. Some of my very best slumber parties in middle school were punctuated by the burn of too-hot pizza roll filling on my tongue. Pizza Rolls are little deep-fried nostalgia packets. Delicious and sentimental!

I knew it was only a matter of time before I tried to make my own. I struggled with months trying to figure out how to do the crust/pocket/dough in a way that was delicious, healthy and efficient. I wasn’t about to make my own dough and roll out 40,000 mini squares. Inspiration finally struck when I made baked mozzarella sticks—wonton wrappers! PERFECT.

Wonton wrappers are typically used when frying, but they also bake up beautifully. They get crispy and golden and hold onto filling like a champ. My grocery store (the one where you’ll find me screaming about pizza rolls) sells them in the natural foods cooler near the tofu and other meat substitutes.

For the filling, I went sans-meat—green peppers, onions and garlic, but really, you can use whatever fillings make your heart go pitter-patter. Just make sure you use a good, flavorful sauce and lots of fresh shredded cheese. Shredding fresh is where it’s at for flavor and texture (wood- or cotton-based additives are put in the bagged stuff so it doesn’t stick together).

And yes, we definitely started shouting, “I LOVE JOHNSTON’S PIZZA ROLLS” while consuming these. It’s our bit. We’re gonna go with it. Take it on the road. We’ll make millions!

Baked Homemade Pizza Rolls

by Cassie Johnston

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Makes: 48 rolls


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large green pepper, diced fine
  • 1 small onion, diced fine
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 package wonton wrappers (about 48 wraps)


  1. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add in garlic, green pepper and onion. Cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in marinara and mozzarella.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°.
  3. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange three wonton wrappers along the bottom edge of the sheet. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling into the middle of each wrapper. Using a finger dipped in water, run along the edge of each wrapper and then fold wrapper in half and press down to seal. Continue until baking sheet is filled with pizza rolls (spaced about 1″ apart). Spray tops with cooking spray and bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until rolls are golden and crispy. Repeat process with remaining wraps and filling.
  4. Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving (filling will be hot).
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Do you like pizza rolls?



Posted on Apr 12, 2012 in Lifestyle

1. This cake and these cupcakes are in my freezer. It takes about every ounce of willpower I have to not come home every afternoon and shotgun frozen baked goods into my piehole cakehole.

2. I had really hard time breathing while running on the treadmill this past weekend and it scared the living beejeebees out of me. I had sharp pains in my lungs and started wheezing like it was my job. It wasn’t entirely a surprise. I was diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis and exercise-induced asthma a few years ago and given a rescue inhaler. Since I lost weight and started getting fit, I haven’t had any problems and tossed my inhaler in the trash a while back. It looks like the combo of Tabata sprints, insanely high pollen levels and my extra weight means I might need to get another one. Not excited about that.

3. I’ve been sorely neglecting my to do list this week so I can catch up on episodes of Parenthood on Hulu. OH EM GEE, guys. That show makes me cry every damn episode. I will always and forever love Lorelai.

4. Because of #3, I’m feeling really, crazy overwhelmed. I need another vacation. Or to turn off the damn TV and be productive.

5. I’ve been listening to the 90s Pop station on Pandora almost exclusively lately. Currently playing? “Miami” by Will Smith. OOOH! Now it’s Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch. THIS IS AWESOME.

Want more confessions? You can view all of my confessions posts here.

Do you have any confessions to share?