Thursday, August 25, 2011

DIY Iced Coffee

I have found a new love. Homemade Iced Coffee is delicious, way cheaper than going to Starbucks, Easy, and did I mention DELICIOUS??? This post is simply my method, tips and tricks, and a recipe for an easy Iced Mocha! You need this in your life...lets get started: 

1. Take 1 Cup of Good Quality coffee grounds and place them in a large bowl with 8 Cups of Cold, filtered water. Mix so that all the grounds are wet. Cover and let sit 6-8 hours or overnight. You can easily double or triple this recipe if you drink more coffee and if you have a container large enough to fit all that water! 

2. The following day, place a fine mesh strainer on top of a container and place a couple paper towels in it (you may need someone to help you with this as it is hard to hold the strainer and pour the coffee through). Pour the coffee a little at a time into the strainer and push the grounds with a spatula so that you get all the liquid out without getting any gritty coffee grounds. Now you have a large pitcher of Iced coffee! Keep in the fridge for awhile and make more as needed! 

To make a delicious Iced Mocha- 

Place a couple TBS of chocolate sauce on the bottom of a reusable tumbler. (you can find them at Bed Bath and Beyond for only $3.99) You can add a little simple syrup (if you have it) or a tiny bit of peppermint or coconut extract for a hint of flavor. Add ice until you fill up the cup and then pour your iced coffee over until you have put in the desired amount and fill the rest with milk or 1/2 and 1/2! Then, using the straw, stir it up real good! Its really perfect! 

Chocolate Sauce Recipe I used: (makes about 1 3/4 Cups sauce) 
1 Cup Cold water 
2 TBS Corn Starch 
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder (Dutch Processed) 
2 Cups Sugar 
1/8 tsp Salt 
1/4 tsp Vanilla 
1/2 tsp Baking Soda 

Place water and cornstarch in large saucepan. Mix well and then turn on the heat to medium and add cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Whisk all together and then bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for 5 minutes. During this time, add the baking soda and it will foam up quite a bit (that is why you need a big pot). Just keep stirring for the remainder of the time and then remove from heat and let cool. Keep in the refrigerator in a squeeze bottle for easy dispensing into mochas, chocolate milk or a sauce for desserts or ice cream! 

source: Adapted from Pennies on a Platter! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oatmeal M&M Cookies

Just call me cookie monster, seriously. I love cookies! I love them too much! One of my favorite things to bake is cookies. I love how many varieties of cookies there are and the possibilities are endless. I do have favorite chocolate chip cookie, oatmeal raisin cookie, molasses cookie, and white chocolate cranberry cookie recipes that I always use and usually never stray from, but today I want to share with you a new “experiment” cookie that turned out absolutely delicious! They are soft but a little crunchy on the outside, and perfect for dipping in milk! My secret to a delish soft cookie is do not over bake them!!! If a recipe calls for me to bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, I usually take them out at 10 minutes or when I consider them “ready”. Cookies continue to bake on the pan even after they are taken out of the oven, so if you take a cookie out of the oven when its already too brown, it will more than likely be too crispy! With enough practice, you learn when to take your cookies out of the oven to achieve the taste and texture you want. Cookies are a great dessert to bring to a party- no pan, no utensils, just grab and go kind of thing. They are also great because you can freeze the leftover baked cookies, or even freeze the dough balls to bake any time a cookie craving hits! I usually make a full batch of cookies, bake 10 or less and then freeze the rest of the dough balls to bake at a later time, that way; you don’t have 3 dozen cookies laying around your house you just have to eat up so they “don’t go to waste”. : )

1 Cup shortening
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
A little more than ¾ Cup Brown sugar
A little less than ¾ Cup white sugar
2 ¼ Cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 ¼ Cup Oats
1 Cup M&M’s

Preheat oven to 365 degrees
Cream shortening, eggs, sugars, and vanilla in a bowl of a stand mixer until well mixed. Scrape down sides of the bowl and cream some more. Add in flour, salt, and baking soda and mix until combined. Don’t over mix. Fold in the oats and M&M’s and mix well. At this point, you can drop a bunch of spoonfuls of dough on a separate cookie sheet (ungreased) and flash freeze for about 10 minutes and then transfer frozen dough balls to a plastic freezer bag. With the rest of the dough that you are going to cook now, place on a greased cookie sheet, drop spoonfuls of the dough and bake for 9-10 minutes at 365 degrees until they are barely brown and still look under baked a bit. Like I said before about the time thing, you really have to use judgment here because all different ovens bake differently. Remove from oven and cool on pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Eat a freshly baked cookie right off the pan and enjoy! : )

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Delicious Pad Thai

This is the only Pad Thai Recipe I have ever made and that is okay with me because it tastes so good that I really don't need to try anything else! It has fresh delicious flavors and is completely vegan! I have really been starting to make more vegetarian meals during the week and this is one that is quick and easy to put together and tastes great! Enjoy! This recipe serves 4 so I usually halve the recipe to feed just me and my husband! 

8 oz. Brown Rice Noodles (In Asian food section) 
4 TBS Brown Sugar 
3 TBS Fresh Lime Juice 
4 TBS Soy Sauce 
2 tsp Canola Oil 
3 Scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced 
1 Garlic Clove, minced 
1 Bunch Broccoli, steamed and florets cut 
1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro 
1/4 Cup roasted peanuts

Cook Noodles, Drain 
Whisk Brown Sugar, Lime Juice, and Soy Sauce 
Cook scallions and garlic in heated skillet with canola oil, stir constant until fragrant 
Add Broccoli and noodles and soy sauce mix to the skillet, cook until coated with sauce
Serve topped with cilantro and peanuts. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Amazing At-Home Work Out

Hello! Okay, I know I have been seriously MIA for the, I am back with a great work out post! This work out really gets your blood flowing and your body sweating! All you need is some hand weights, a stability ball, and a space to work out! It took me about 30 minutes to get through and I think this work out is going to go into my rotation of work outs I do weekly! If you do this work out, let me know how you liked it! Exercise give you energy and it really is the perfect way to start the day!!!

Work out:

5 minute warm up (jogging, jumping jacks)
30 walking lunges
1 minute plank hold
30 sec. right plank hold
30 sec. left plank hold
20 plie jumps
15 straight leg deadlifts (use a heavy weight)
20 squats
25 crunches on stability ball
30 walking lunges
15 fire hydrants (each leg)
15 fire hydrants with kick (each leg)
15 rock star jumps
25 stability ball crunches
15 stability ball hamstring curls
15 frog lifts on stability ball (for your booty)
15 each leg donkey kicks with weights
25 crunches on stability ball
30 sec wall sit
50 bicycle crunches

If you are unsure of any of these moves, you can always look them up on youtube for a quick visual! Play some music and set 30 minutes aside for yourself today to do this! You will feel energetic and amazing : )

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Easy Chicken Fajitas

This is a great meal that is fast, easy and great for trying to beat the summer heat! If you are looking for more meals that don't require you to turn your oven on, you are in luck! This meal is delicious and can be cooked on an indoor or outdoor grill, or even a skillet! I served this with a Simple Mexican Rice recipe (will post soon) and it was the perfect meal! The chicken marinates for hours so you can throw it all together the night before or early in the morning to be ready for dinner! Make this amazing meal before the Summer runs out! You will be happy you did! 

1/4 Cup Lime Juice (from fresh limes is best!) 
1/3 Cup Water 
2 T Canola or Vegetable Oil 
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced 
3 tsp Vinegar 
2 tsp Soy Sauce 
1 tsp liquid smoke (found in the BBQ section- I omitted this) 
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp chili powder 
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (I omitted because I had none on hand) 
1/4 tsp pepper 
1/4 tsp onion 

Mix all the ingredients together and place in a bag, place chicken breasts in the marinade and let sit in fridge for at least 4 hours, but preferably longer.  Reserve a little marinade in a separate container to splash on to peppers and onions while cooking. 

You will also need: 
A few chicken breasts (depends on how many people you are serving) 
Peppers ( I used Red and Yellow Bell) 
Toppings of Choice (sour cream, cheese, lettuce) 

Once you are ready to start cooking, Heat a grill or skillet and then cook chicken until done, cut into strips. Coat peppers and onions with EVOO and leftover marinade (if you have any) and grill for a few minutes until lightly charred. Heat tortillas on the grill or in the microwave and enjoy! 

slightly adapted from:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Eating Right and Working out after Vacation!

Well, after taking a week off from working out, lets just say I NEEDED a few good work outs yesterday and today! Also, these last couple days being home I am trying to "cleanse" my body from all the unhealthy foods I ate while on vacation! One of the first things I did after getting home is went grocery shopping and bought tons of fruits and veggies and healthy things to eat this week!  I know you have probably heard this before, but working out really is a love/hate relationship! I love how I feel after, but I hate having to actually do it and I hate the burn I feel while doing it! Sometimes I really just need that extra push to get going and start a workout and then once I am done, I feel so good for getting it done! So yesterday I ended up taking a SPIN class with a few friends and it was just what I needed! A great tough work out that made me sweat it up! It felt great. Today, I am trying something new, Pilates! I have never done a Pilates class, and I know they can be quite expensive, so I found a website online that I really like! You can do all the different Pilates classes right in your living room on your laptop for free! I did the 30 minute Pilates for Beginners video today and I really enjoyed it! I have a feeling my legs will burn tomorrow! After just working out for 2 days after my break, I feel better, have more energy, and don't feel so sluggish! I really need to get back in a routine of working out everyday and working out hard! It really does make my day so much better! Now, I am off to finish up my work out by doing some treadmill intervals and then off to run errands today!  ( The link to Pilates Work outs online)

Here are a few meal ideas if you are trying to detox from a junk food filled weekend or vacation. These foods are really helping me feel better!


  • Kashi Go Lean Cereal with Fat- Free Milk 
  • 2 Slices Whole Wheat Toast with Almond Butter 
  • Whole Wheat Toast with Peanut Butter and Banana and Chia Seeds (optional) 
  • 1 Whole Wheat Slice of Toast with 1 Drippy Egg and a Piece of Fruit 
  • Fruit and Spinach Smoothie
  • Salad- with chopped celery, carrots, cucumber, peppers and light dressing (or homemade!) 
  • Veggie Wrap with Hummus and a Side of Fruit 
  • Fruit and Spinach Smoothie with Protein Powder 
  • A Piece of Trader Joes or Other Naan or Flatbread with Chopped Veggies - drizzle with EVOO, Sprinkle S&P and Cheese and Broil a few minutes 
  • Spinach and Egg White Omelet with a  Greek yogurt and fruit parfait
  • Grilled Chicken Salad with Veggies and Light Dressing 
  • Veggie Stuffed Spaghetti Squash ( Recipe to come) 
  • Homemade Veggie Thin Crust Whole Wheat Pizza 
  • Turkey Burgers with Homemade Whole Wheat Buns and Homemade Baked Fries
Tips for cleansing after a junk food filled weekend or vacation: 
*Eat lots of Veggies, Drink tons of water, No snacking or salty foods for a while until your body feels better, Take Fiber in your water or smoothies, Try to eat as clean as possible and less processed foods! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vanilla Caramel Popcorn

After a week off for vacation, I am back! Sorry to leave you hanging for so long. I wanted to start back up with a tasty snack recipe that I absolutely love! I apologize in advance for everyone who is dying from a heat stroke and won't even dare to turn on your oven to make this, but just bookmark it for cooler weather! 

I tried this caramel corn recipe a few months back and I really enjoyed the results! It was crunchy, sweet and had a really tasty flavor! It makes quite a bit of popcorn, so I suggest you bring it to a party or at least give some of it away so you don’t have it sitting in your cupboards to munch on throughout the day. It is a great snack to have during a movie night or anything like that! I will continue my search for more versions of caramel corn because I absolutely love this snack, but I think this recipe will be my go-to for a fairly simple and delicious version of the treat! Enjoy!

8-10 Cups popcorn, unsalted or salted lightly (about 5-6 TBS of kernels)
1 Cup light brown sugar
1/2 Cup light corn syrup
2 tsp molasses
1TBS butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 TBS vanilla

Pop corn and let cool. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with lightly greased foil. Preheat oven to 250F. Place large bowl in oven to warm while making the caramel.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, molasses and butter; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 250F. You can use a candy thermometer to double check. This will take 2 to 3 minutes.
In the meantime, transfer popcorn to now-warm glass bowl (you may need two bowls so you can thoroughly stir the popcorn)
Remove caramel from the heat and immediately stir in salt, baking soda and vanilla. Pour the mixture over the popcorn, stirring until most of the kernels are coated. Pour popcorn onto baking sheet and spread out into an even layer.
Bake popcorn for 1 hour, stirring (and if necessary, spreading out) every 15-20 minutes.
Let cool and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container