Monday, February 27, 2012

Crazy Sexy Diet

A couple of weeks ago Kris Carr, author of Crazy Sexy Diet, was on one of my new favorite shows, The Revolution. She was talking to the "hero of the week" about cancer. The hero, Jennifer Cahalan, was a survivor. Kris talked about how she was diagnosed with a rare, untreatable cancer back in 2003 and what she has done to fight it. She went home from the Doctor's office the day she was diagnosed and started researching longevity diets, she took nutrition classes, and pretty much tried to find any information on completely changing her diet and lifestyle. This young, thin actress from New York went from partying, dieting, and not sleeping to healthy, vibrant, and thriving with cancer.

The reason I picked up this book is not because I am looking to start a new diet. This book suggests a vegetarian/vegan diet that is gluten free. That is a little extreme for me right now. But, I was interested on what things she did to rid the toxins from her body and her life. She talks about everything from eating clean, to spirituality, to sleeping, to supplements, to eating organic and supporting local farms, to getting rid of all the toxic cleaners and chemicals in your home. As I read it, I will share some fun facts along the way.

You can find out more about Kris Carr, here.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fabulous Food Find: Laughing Cow Cream Cheese

I love bagels and cream cheese but they are so high in calories. So, when I find an healthy low-calorie alternative I get really excited! May I introduce you to The Laughing Cow Cream Cheese Spread. It comes in Classic Cream, Strawberries & Cream, Garden Vegetable, and Cinnamon Cream. 

Just like The Laughing Cow's Wedges (spreadable cheeses), they come in a convenient, pre-measured little wedge. The Laughing Cow is genius! And the best part is, they are only 45 calories and they taste delicious.

Paired with a Thomas' Bagel Thins at 110 calories, it makes a really low-calorie breakfast or snack.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Resolution 1: Eat Even More Healthy

"The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison." - Ann Wigmore

You probably already know that I love fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy. I try and buy all of these foods all-natural or organic and make most meals from scratch. I crave healthy food. But the reason I am not a size six is because I still have some pretty bad habits holding me back. My worst habit is my insatiable sweet tooth. I love cake, cupcakes, cookies, doughnuts, etc. 

One of my 2012 resolutions is to eat even more healthy less-processed and organic foods. Before I start working on my other resolutions I am going to focus the next month on getting my bad eating habits and emotional eating under control. I am really going to work on cutting back on portion sizes, cutting back on sweets and learning to have them in moderation, and continue to keep fried and processed foods out of our diet. I have also picked up a pretty bad habit at work - I have a Venti Raspberry White Chocolate Mocha (640 calories) that I will now replace with a Grande Non-fat Latte (130 calories). 

One of the main reasons I have to become the healthiest version of myself is for my little girl. Of course I want her to love healthy foods and have an active lifestyle, but I don't want her to ever have a bad body image because of me. I need to be the best role model I can be. I have seen so many young girls pick up on their Moms bad habits of never ending dieting or self-destructive criticism (calling themselves fat or worthless). They don't need to see/hear that from the person they look up to the most. Am I right? 

If we eat healthy as a family and stay active as a family I am hoping that will not be another thing for her to deal with in the future. I want to teach her that diets are only temporary and that a healthy lifestyle is forever.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Amazingly Delicious Dinner

Between Our Best Bites and Pinterest I have been finding some very delicious recipes. The other night we tried four new recipes all in one meal. Let's just say it was one of our favorite meals ever. I found two of the recipes on Pinterest, one online, and one in Our Best Bites cookbook. Here they are:

They were the BEST pulled pork sandwiches I have ever had. The meat was cooked in a slow cooker and then after it was done a homemade sauce was added to it. The only step I didn't do was adding all the onions and peppers back to the meat mixture. If you make this recipe just make sure you read through the instructions before you begin.

We bought dinner rolls for the slider buns, lightly buttered them, and toasted them on the stove top. 

The Second Recipe: Homemade Coleslaw (to go on the pulled pork sandwiches). I can't find the recipe, but it was just pre-packed coleslaw mix, light mayo, sugar, and vinegar. Mixed it taste.

The Third Recipe: Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Honey-Lime Dip (from Our Best Bites)

These fries are so delicious. My husband and baby both love sweet potatoes and they loved this recipe. We opted not to do the dipping sauce since we had so many other flavors going on.

Photo from Our Best Bites

The Fourth Recipe: Roasted Broccoli (from Our Best Bites cookbook). The whole family loved the broccoli. It was tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and baked for about 20 minutes and then topped with parmesan cheese. It was a little crispy with great flavor.

In case you were wondering - yes, dinner took a couple of hours that night... but it was SO worth it!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Organizing User Manuals

I needed to figure out what to do with all of the user manuals and warranties I have collected over the years. I keep almost all of the user manuals we get and I do go through them often and get rid of the ones we no longer need. I like to keep them all together in one place so they have always been in a plastic bin in my hall closet and it was always difficult to find a manual when we needed it. 

I am a very organized person so it still surprises me that it took so long to put together a system to keep them organized.  I've seen an idea on Pinterest where you can put them all in a binder, but my binder would literally be 5-inches thick.  I needed to think bigger. 

So, I bought this (at Target for $9.99): 

It has a handle and is easy to tote around. I love that the top compartment can hold the spare parts to my small appliances:

I created categories for the user manuals I have the most of (others went into Misc):

Voila! They are all organized, together, and easy to find. I seriously can't believe it took so long.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Andes Mint Cupcakes

A favorite dessert at my house are mini Andes Mint cupcakes. They are so easy to make, just the right size, and so chocolaty and delicious. I used my Andes Mint cake recipe but made it into cupcakes with buttercream frosting. What makes them so easy to make is because they are made with a boxed cake mix. I would usually prefer to make cupcakes from scratch, but who doesn't love a really easy, delicious recipe once in a while? I do.

First, I will share the cake recipe and then I will let you know what I did to make it into cupcakes. (I do suggest making the cake recipe at least once - it will make you an instant hit. Everyone loves this cake! It is super moist and minty.)

Andes Mint Cake
1 Milk Chocolate Cake Mix
1 Large Package Instant Chocolate Pudding
2 Eggs
1 3/4 Cups Milk
1 Package Andes Mint Chips (divided in half)

Mix the first four ingredients together until blended. Add half of the package of Andes Mint chips into the batter and mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. After you remove the cake from the oven, sprinkle the other half of Andes Mint chips onto the cake and spread until even and melted.

To make cupcakes I mix the batter as directed above and then fill 35 2-ounce souffle cups (aka nut cups) 1/2 of the way full. If using souffle cups you can just line them up on a cookie sheet since they are strong enough to stand on their own. 

I bake them for about 22-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Keep checking on them and remember when you insert a toothpick and it comes out with chocolate on it - it may just be a melted Andes Mint. Next, I topped them with buttercream frosting (see below) and add green food coloring to it until it becomes a mint green. 

Last, I made the decoration to go on the cupcakes. I melted the remaining Andes Mint chips and put small amounts, about the size of a nickel, on wax paper to harden. Then I melted white chocolate melting chips, then mixed it with green food coloring until it was a mint green, and then put it in a frosting bag and just cut the bottom of the bag so only a little of chocolate would come out. Then I crisscrossed it across the melted Andes Mints. 

Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup Butter (room temperature)
2 Tablespoon Whole Milk
1 Tablespoon Vanilla (I prefer Madagascar Bourbon)
3 cups Powdered Sugar
Green Food Coloring

Frosting Tips: I use tip size #807 for regular cupcakes and size #806 for minis. I use disposable 12-16" decorating bags and just cut a hole big enough in the bottom for the tip to fit about half-way through. I start my frosting swirl in the middle of the cupcake, work out toward the edge, swirl around the bottom and then work in and up. It's easy and just takes a little practice.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Top Five: Things I Am Loving Right Now

I can't believe it's already February. Since it's the month of love and I am loving so many things right now, I thought I would share my top five list (above and beyond my family and friends, of course). Ready to hear see the word "love" a lot? Here we go...

I Love My Job
I just finished my first week of training and all I can say is I LOVE MY JOB! I love being a Barista and being part of the Starbucks team. My co-workers are so amazing. I love that Starbucks offers their part-time employees such great benefits. I have never had a job like this and I have discovered that I love working with the public and learning all about being a Barista. I don't really love waking up at 4:00 am (Ugh!), but it's only three days a week and that's why naps were invented. I also love that this job has filled a really tiny void I was feeling. Don't get me wrong, I love being a full-time stay-at-home mom, but I also love working as long as I enjoy what I'm doing. Plus, Ella wakes up between 8:00 and 9:00 am, so I only miss a few hours of her week. 

I Love Our Best Bites
Since stumbling upon a few of Our Best Bites recipes on Pinterest, I have fallen in love with their website and cookbook. We have made lots of recipes so far and we have loved every one of them. They are healthy, flavorful, and easy meals to make. So far we have made Apple Butter Pork Chops, Guiltless Alfredo, Tomato Artichoke Pasta, Roasted Broccoli, and Orange Chicken (from the cookbook) just to name a few. Our goal is to make every recipe in the book. They all look THAT good. 

I Love Blue Lemon
I have mentioned Blue Lemon before, but it's because it's one of my favorite restaurants. Blue Lemon's motto is "Pure Clean Food with a Twist." It's all-natural food (mostly local) and really delicious. The reason it made this list is not only because I love them but because they are opening a new location in Cottonwood Heights and I am so excited. I am always in that area at Target, Snider Bros Meats, The Store, or Whole Foods and now I can stop at Blue Lemon for lunch. I love that. 

I Love The Revolution
The Revolution is a new daytime TV show that focuses on women. It provides the tools to help you start your own revolution and make transformations in all areas of your life. The team of experts include;  Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry (emotional well-being expert), Dr. Jennifer Aston (OB-GYN, health expert), Harley Pasternak (Celebrity Trainer and Nutritionist), Tim Gunn (Fashion Guru), and Ty Pennington (Design Expert). Each expert shares tips and advice on how you can become your best self. Also, each week they feature one woman going through her own transformation (her 5-month journey unfolds over the 5 days of the week). I just love this show and get so many tips from it. It's a daytime show worth watching. 

I Love Pink Pistachio 
I am pretty sure everyone has someone that inspires them, even if they don't know them. They are talented, beautiful, funny, and just downright amazing. One of those people to me is the girl (her name is Missy) that writes the blog Pink Pistachio. I follow her blog daily and pin (on Pinterest) almost everything she posts. I love all of her fashion advice, favorite things, recipes, beauty tips, etc., etc., etc. I also love that she is a mom of a toddler just like me and loves her dog like a child... just like me. She is also into organic and earth-friendly which I love. You can check out her fabulous blog, here
Pink Pistachio's DIY Infinity Scarf