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

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Healthy "Ice Cream"

This recipe is amazing, EASY, fast, and healthy! I don't really know who discovered this, but they are genius! I literally crave ice cream almost every day and I would eat it every day if it was actually good for me, but this "ice cream" recipe IS good for you! The best part about this, is you don't have to feel guilty about getting your ice cream fix! Interested!?!?!? Okay, here is what you need: 

1 1/2 Frozen Bananas (to serve one person) 

ummm.....THAT'S IT!!! okay, well that could be it...but, I like to jazz it up a bit! Basically, when you blend a frozen banana in a food processor or magic bullet for a few minutes, it turns into an ice cream consistency delicious treat! You can add things to the banana to make it more flavorful, my favorite add-ins are peanut butter and a little milk! I have not tried doing this in a blender, so I can not say if it works or not, but go ahead and give it a try if you want! The worst that could happen is you would end up making a banana smoothie...I could live with that! So, what you want to do is make sure your bananas are frozen completely...I buy a bundle of bananas, peel them and freeze them in a freezer bag so I have some on hand at all times. Then, you chop up the frozen banana into smaller pieces(to fit in my magic bullet) and blend until it is the consistency of ice cream- you may have to stop it and scrape down the sides a few times too! I know this method works better in a food processor, so if you have one, USE IT! Like I said before, add in peanut butter, milk, chocolate milk, or whatever your heart desires! This is a great snack to feed to your kids too- just don't tell them it's not really ice cream, they won't know the difference! Enjoy! 

Peanut Butter Banana "Ice Cream" 

I blended a few raspberries in my with banana this time! Added some chocolate drizzle and gobbled it up!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

Homemade fresh baked bread is such a delicious thing to have around your home! Homemade bread is probably one of my favorite things to make and it is just SO much better than store-bought bread! Making yeast breads is a little tricky at first, and I have definitely had my share of "failed attempts", but it is so worth it once you get the hang of it! My bread definitely does not come out perfect every time, but I believe this recipe is just so fool-proof and delicious! I have used homemade bread as a delicious breakfast, topped with jam or peanut butter and I have used it for grilled cheeses- AMAZING! The sandwiches are thick and hearty! You could also use it for french toast, dip it in Olive Oil and Vinegar, or you could slice it and freeze for whenever you want a tasty slice of bread! Bread freezes very well and it tastes practically fresh if frozen properly and thawed! I do love sweet bread like banana, chocolate chip or coconut bread but this whole wheat oatmeal bread is one of my favorite yeast bread recipes! An extra bonus is that while baking this bread your house will smell delicious! 

Makes 1 large loaf 

1 Cup water
1 Cup milk
1 TBS active dry yeast (found by baking powder in baking aisle)
1 TBS honey
2 TBS molasses
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
1 cup rolled oats (not all purpose flour- you can find this next to flours in baking aisle)
4 TBS unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 TBS kosher salt
Additional oats for topping the loaf (optional)


Lightly grease or butter a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
1. Heat the milk and water in a glass measuring cup in the microwave until warm but not too hot, about 115 degrees if you have a thermometer. Combine the water, milk, yeast, honey and molasses in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Let stand 5 minutes until the mixture bubbles, to make sure your yeast is good. If your mixture does not bubble, your yeast is probably not fresh. 
2. Add the flours, oats, melted butter and salt to the mixing bowl with the liquid. Knead for 6 minutes on medium speed.  The dough should climb the dough hook and slap around the sides of the bowl without sticking. If your dough is sticking to the sides too much, add a TBS of flour at a time to get it to not stick. 
3. Cover the bowl with a towel and place in a warm area to rise for an hour, or until doubled in size.  If you are not sure if it is ready, gently poke the dough.  If it springs back, the dough needs to proof longer.  If a dimple remains, it’s ready. (I usually heat my oven to the lowest setting and then place the covered bowl on the counter next to the oven to make sure that it is warm enough to rise)
4. To shape the loaf, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.  Shape into a square, then grab the top and bottom edges and fold together towards the center, meeting the edges in the middle.  Pinch the seam and sides, sealing with your fingers.  Roll the dough back and forth, into an even log and about the size of your bread pan. Gently place the dough into your bread pan, seam side down. Press the dough gently into the corners of the bread pan.
5. Cover the loaf with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.  It will puff up over the edges of the pan.When the loaf is ready to be baked, Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the top of the loaf with water and then sprinkle the oats on top of the bread.  Bake for about 40 minutes, rotating halfway through. The bread is done baking when the crust is dark golden brown. Remove the loaf from the oven and let it cool in the pan on a wire rack. Remove the loaf from the pan and let it cool completely before slicing. After it is cooled completely, you can slice it and place in a freezer bag to use for later use! 

originally from:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sour Cream Biscuits

I had a full container of sour cream left in my fridge and I needed to use it up! I absolutely HATE wasting things that I buy so I always try to use things up before they go bad. I ended up making warm biscuits for a breakfast dish I had to bring to a gathering in the morning and they paired perfectly with homemade jam. Now, I know making biscuits from a Bisquick box is probably faster, but nothing beats homemade biscuits! Another favorite biscuit recipe I have is a buttermilk chive biscuit- also very yummy, but not as versatile because of the addition of chives. (That recipe will be posted soon!) There are endless possibilities when it comes to homemade name a few, biscuits and gravy, egg, bacon cheese sandwiches on biscuits, biscuits and jam, and they always make a nice side to practically any meal. I love to make a big batch a biscuits for us and then freeze most of them so they are ready to take out of the freezer and bake at any time. They taste just as good out of the freezer and baked as they do baked fresh! The last thing I love about this biscuit dough is that you can make the dough the night before, wrap it in plastic wrap in the fridge, and then roll it out and cut the biscuits in the morning for a quick breakfast! I love things I can prepare the night before! I hope you try out these delicious flaky biscuits for yourself and see how you can incorporate them in many meals to come! 

2 Cups Flour 
2 1/2 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda 
1/2 tsp. Salt 
1 TBS. Sugar 
1/2 Cup Butter (chilled or placed in freezer for few minutes) - I use unsalted butter
1 Cup Sour cream ( I used low-fat) 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients and then add butter to the mix and rub together with your fingers or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse sand. (I have a little trick I use...I grate my frozen butter with a cheese grater into the mixture because it makes it SO much easier than trying to do it with your fingers). Stir in the sour cream until the dough starts to come together and then turn over onto a lightly floured surface ans knead with your hands a few times until a ball forms. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is 1/2 inch thick and then with a biscuit cutter or a floured drinking glass, cut the dough into circles and place on baking sheet. (At this point, you could freeze the biscuit dough circles on a baking sheet for a few minutes and then place in a freezer bag to keep in your freezer until ready to be bake from freezer, just a add a few minutes to your baking time) You can re-roll and cut again the dough once. You should get about 10 biscuits, depending on the size of your biscuit cutter. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the biscuits have puffed up and are golden brown. Serve warm! 

recipe slightly adapted from:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Work Out and Cool Down

It has been almost a week since my last post! Sorry, I have been a slightly busy girl this past week! One thing I have had a lot of time for though, is work outs! This weekend has been full of some great work outs! Friday, we went hiking for a total of about 5 miles (up and down a mountain), talk about a great work out! I am still feeling sore from that! On Sunday, my husband and I went for a run around our neighborhood and the lake near our house and it was actually a great work out and I am looking forward to doing that more! Oh, and I have been taking those Gravity classes I talked about in an earlier post- definitely loving those! Now, today's work out is an upper body strength session that took me about 25 minutes. (I got this work out from a book Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salads).   Its broken up into sections, covering Chest, Shoulders, Back, Triceps, and Biceps. This is what I did: 
Dumbbell Bench Press: 10 lbs - 15 reps 
Dumbbell Bench Press: 10 lbs - 15 reps 
Push Ups : On knees - 10 
Seated Overhead Shoulder Press: 8 lbs - 15 reps 
"                                "                : 8 lbs - 15 reps 
Side Lateral Raise: 3 lbs - 15 reps 
"           "              : 3 lbs - 15 reps 
Standing Bent Row: 5 lbs - 15 reps 
"             "             : 5 lbs - 15 reps 
Lat Pull Down- Using rubber bands 
Tricep Push Back- 5 lbs - 15 reps 
"                  "      : 5 lbs - 15 reps 
Dumbbell Extension(Seated) : 8 lbs - 15 reps 
"                  "                       : 8 lbs - 15 reps 
Seated Dumbbell Hammer Curl : 10 lbs - 12 reps (alternating arms) 
"                       "                       : 10 lbs- 12 reps 
Standing Bicep Curl: 8 lbs - 12 reps 
"                "           : 8 lbs - 10 reps 

If you have any questions about the moves or work out, don't hesitate to ask. : ) Now, onto the "cool down" which is actually a delicious homemade Orange Sorbet Recipe that I made last week and it is amazing! It is light, refreshing, sweet, and the perfect healthy treat to cool you down! 

1 Cup Sugar 
1 Cup Water 
1 tsp Orange zest 
4 Oranges 

Combine Sugar and water in a saucepan and heat on medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and don't stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and then set aside. Zest the oranges until you get 1 tsp zest.  In a 4 Cup measuring cup, squeeze all of the oranges and remove seeds. Stir in water/sugar mixture and zest to the orange juice and then add enough water to make 3 1/2 Cups of liquid total. Place in fridge for at least 1 hour and then transfer to your ice cream maker and let it do its thing! (Mine took about 15 minutes) After it is done, transfer to a freezer proof container and freeze! Enjoy! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pantry Clean Out Meal

I am in an anti-grocery shopping mood lately because we really do have a TON of food in our freezer, cabinets and fridge that needs to be used up so in an effort to do that, I am trying to get creative! I really love searching for new recipes, buying new ingredients, making new meals and all that, but sometimes it can get a little costly and exhausting! I absolutely loved this meal and it got rid of a ton of stuff that has been sitting around! Win-Win! This dinner meal is packed with all sorts of veggies and the dressing compliments the dish very well! This is just a very versatile meal because you can substitute, take out, or add anything you want! It's basically just throwing a bunch of stuff in a pan and heating it up. Takes only a few minutes and it gets rid of things you don't want lying around anymore! I didn't really follow a recipe, so I will just tell you everything that is in it and you can go crazy!

Brown rice, cooked
Green Beans (frozen from Trader Joes)
Corn (frozen)
Chopped Zucchini
Chopped Onion
1 Carrot, Chopped
2 Celery Stalks, Chopped
Veggie Medley pasta
I sauteed the veggies in olive oil for a few minutes until they were soft and then added the cooked rice to the pan of veggies and poured the mixed dressing over it all and served warm!
about 1/4 C Olive Oil
about 1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar (a little less)
Salt and Pepper
Garlic Powder (1/2 TBS?)
Dried Mustard (a little less than 1/2 TBS)

This recipe definitely requires eyeballing it! I used to be afraid to stray away from a recipe but now, I just tweak it, taste it and hope it turns out good! : ) A good tip to remember is that you can never remove ingredients but you can always add more so just start out slowly adding a little at a time!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Things I'm Lovin' Lately!

I have compiled a few photos of things I am Lovin' Lately! I hope they inspire you to try new things and branch out a bit if you can! These are all products or work outs that I have tried and really enjoyed! 

This yogurt is THE BEST! I have tried almost all the flavors, and Pineapple is my favorite for sure! It tastes like a dessert, sweet and tangy! I like to top it with fresh fruit and granola, blend it into a smoothie, or eat it plain! Greek yogurt is so much better for you than regular yogurts because it has twice as much protein, less sodium, it's naturally lower in carbs AND it has 5 types of live and active cultures. It is thick and creamy and SO delicous! I also like to get the plain and sweeten it with a little honey and cinnamon- kind of tastes like icing : ) 

SMOOTHIES: I am a smoothie making machine people! There are a few things I always have in the house: Frozen fruit, plain non-fat Greek yogurt, spinach, bananas, and peanut butter! Smoothies are a great meal when you are in a hurry or if you just don't know what else to have! I crave smoothies and I make them almost daily as a meal! I pack my smoothies full of all kinds of good stuff and I get my veggies in too with a few handfuls of spinach or kale. I usually don't follow a recipe when making my smoothies, I just throw in a few handfuls of frozen fruit, yogurt, milk, water or juice, protein powder (optional), spinach or kale, peanut butter, Agave nectar. Just no added sugar!!!  Get creative- try peanut butter and cocoa combination, Pineapple and coconut, strawberry banana and the possibilities are endless! 

This work out is a killer! I have tried 3 of Jillians DVDs now and this is my favorite hands down! It is a 40 minute circuit training DVD is full of 5 minute circuits targeting different "trouble zones" If you are in a rush, just do half the DVD or its a great work out if you can do the whole thing! You will feel the burn, trust me! This DVD costs about $9 so it is really a good deal! I like it because it is mostly strength moves and not as much cardio and plyometrics. All you need are 3 or 5 lb dumbbells and you are good to go...don't even have to leave your house to go to the gym! Gotta love that! 

This is a Gravity machine. It's like a total body machine but better. I have been attending Gravity classes at the gym twice a week now and I love it! This class makes muscles hurt that I didn't even know I had!!! The work out targets legs, arms, shoulders, really covers everything! I love this work out because it is fun and challenging! I never get bored doing it and I am so sore the next day that I can't move...I love that feeling! If you have an opportunity to take a Gravity class at your gym I highly recommend it! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Citrus Asian Chicken Salad

This salad is a great meal with delicious flavor! It's very summery and I love the citrus flavor it has to it! I served this on a weeknight and it was very easy to prepare. The original recipe called for spinach and cabbage, but I prefer Romaine lettuce in my salads so I did a mix of all 3 but you could easily substitute your preferred type of lettuce. This salad could also easily be adapted to specific likes or even just what you have on hand. I didn't have cilantro or peanuts to I omitted cilantro and added cashews instead. You could also add in some chopped celery to add a little more crunch. This salad served at a potluck or as a main dish is a healthy recipe that we enjoyed! I served this salad with my whole wheat pretzel bites, but you could make some homemade rolls to serve this with also! The salad filled my husband and I up and there was a portion left over for me to have for lunch the next day. We also didn't use all the dressing in this salad so I saved it in a container in the fridge. When I wanted to use it again, I let it sit on the counter for a few minutes and it liquefied into a dressing texture again. Enjoy! 

2-3 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped fine (optional, I left out) 
1 tsp salt and pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp grated lime peel
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt and pepper
Combination of shredded Napa Cabbage and baby spinach and Romaine lettuce 
2-3 carrots, shredded
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional) 
1/2 C chopped cashews or peanuts 

Cut chicken breasts into chunks.  In a bowl combine 3 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp lime juice, 1 Tbsp cilantro(if using), cayenne, salt and pepper.  Add chicken and marinate for 30 minutes.  Heat pan and saute chicken until cooked through.  Set aside to cool.
In a bowl mix together the 1/2 C olive oil, 1/4 C lime juice, lime peel, vinegar, chili powder, sugar, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper.
In a large bowl,  add together cabbage, spinach, Romaine, carrots, cilantro, chicken and nuts. Add in dressing to lettuce mixture just before serving and toss. 


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Peanut butter and chocolate is probably one of my top favorite combinations! I just love anything peanut butter and chocolate, and these muffins are among the many! They are a larger muffin and they have great height, which I like! Fresh out of the oven, I hate to admit that I ate my fair share of these!! Also, I have to mention how EASY this recipe is....very simple, took only a few minutes to whip up! Because this recipe makes 1 dozen muffins, I kept out 6 and then wrapped the other muffins in plastic wrap, and froze in a freezer bag to reheat when I wanted one! They taste basically fresh out of the freezer with just a hint of dryness but nothing that I was concerned about! I defrost mine in the microwave and they look just like they came out of the oven! These muffins are great for a snack, dessert, or even breakfast if you feel like indulging! I know I will make these muffins again and again! 

2 ¼ Cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2/3 Cup brown sugar 
6 TBS melted and cooled 
½ Cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 Cup milk (I use skim)  
¾ Cup chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line 12 muffin tins with liners or cooking spray 
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Set aside. 
In another bowl, mix peanut butter, butter, eggs, and milk and whisk until smooth. Add in the flour mixture and mix just until combined (over mixing batter yields dry muffins, so don't over mix). Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly among the tins and fill up to the top.  
Bake 17- 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then take out of the muffin pan and let cool longer on a wire rack. Makes 12 muffins.