Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Favorites #8

So as I was writing this post this morning I realized that a lot of my favorites this week have to do with food...hahaha whoops! Well can you technically blame me since I've found a ton of new options that I love?! Or maybe it just shows where my heart truly is? Like in the pantry...

1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Coffee Creamer

Now there's an alliteration for ya! Try saying that one ten times fast (I might have). I saw this at Target the other day and got really excited when I found it. The lady next to me also looking at coffee creamers gave me a look that quite plainly meant she thought I was clearly way too excited about coffee creamer. Oh well it's the little things in life, and it doesn't take very much to make my day! 

2. Plant Protein Powder

I'm on a roll with the alliterations! I 'alliterally' did not mean to do it twice in a row. Ah man, can you tell it's been a long week for me?! But Amanda found this plant protein powder at Sam's Club, which has been stepping up its game recently! She also found a gluten-free flour that's been great if anyone out there was on the look for a good brand. I think I actually prefer the plant-based powder to a whey one because recently whey has been hurting my stomach. I'm usually not a chocolate fan but this was our only option, and it's actually pleasantly surprised me! The price was pretty good, too, we paid about $17 for this 2lb container. 

3. Hello Bistro

If I could have lunch every single day from one place and one place only for the rest of my life it would be Hello Bistro. I will tell you why: it's a salad bar with the most magical combinations of toppings you could ever want! Today I treated myself for lunch and this salad had romaine lettuce, tomatoes, mandarin oranges, green peppers, red peppers, beets, roasted brussel sprouts, roasted butternut squash, roasted beets, and I got a side of the citrus lime vinaigrette. There's tons of other options besides what I just got! And I mean tons! You can tailor it to whatever you need, and never get bored with the endless possible combinations! 

5. The Whole Dog Journal

At the risk of sounding like a huge nerd, I'm going to include this one on the list. I subscribed to this probably a couple months ago, and have learned so much! I'm the nerdy dog owner that takes my responsibility to my dog pretty seriously. I like to make sure I'm educated on not only training Layla but taking care of her, learning about her behavior, and making sure she gets the best quality of life that I can give her. I've gotten great training tips, nutritional information, behavior signals and their meanings as well as warning signs in terms of health stuff. The last issue actually had a really great article about dealing with your dog acting overly excited with guests, something that happens with Layla a lot! So, I always look forward to it coming each month because I love being able to learn more things about dogs! Animals truly fascinate me, and it's such a great experience raising Layla and learning how she ticks. Like I said, I know I sound like a huge nerd right now! 

Also, I just thought I'd share this little quote that I loved this week! Such a great reminder to get out there and enjoy life! Currently trying to live a life full of dark-chocolate-sea-salt flavor cuz you bet that's my favorite Dove chocolate square. But in all seriousness, I think we tend to forget how little time we have here on earth so it's important to make sure we're living each day to the fullest! 

Anddd I thought I'd just leave this little number at the end of this post! I just can't with that face! This morning she was being pouty (she's the master of puppy eyes) since I wanted to start my workout but she wanted snuggles and kisses. So, yes, I did postpone my workout for a bit while I sat on the floor and she put her head in my lap...every day this sweet dog manages to melt my heart! 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!! 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Snowed-In Weekend Catch-up!

So I pretty much got snowed in this past weekend but I honestly have no complaints about it! Sure, all the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures aren't always ideal but I believe I'm exactly where I'm meant to be right now, snowy circumstances and all! Which means I'm going to make the best of it regardless if I'm not able to go do much with all this crazy weather. 

Since I wasn't able to get out much this weekend, it was focused mainly on spending time with family! I can't even stress enough my gratitude that I'm able to live within a square mile of my closest family members. The support system I've grown up with is an incredible blessing! 

As Lent started this past week, our family tradition is usually to do Lent dinners every Friday. We're not Catholic but my church and family still observe Lent in honor of Jesus. These dinners are just about us getting together as a family, appreciating all that we have, and focusing on God.

So on Friday we had a scrumptious dinner of grilled salmon, pierogies, cheesy roasted cauliflower with bacon, and I brought my famous roasted vegetable salad! Well, famous in my family at least! Seriously, if we're ever having a family get-together I'm told to bring this, and people tell me they look forward to it. 

It's usually different every time because I just use whatever I find but it always has the roasted brussel sprouts and carrots as the base! This week it had carmelized onions, yellow peppers, tomato slices, chopped walnuts, grapes, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds. I honestly just looked in my pantry for what I thought would be good, and went with it! I found some sweet potato chips that I was dying to put on but I didn't know how well that would go over with the majority. If I had been making it just for myself, those chips would've gone on in a heart beat! 

On Sunday, I made a mini version of this salad just for myself :) 

I first roast the brussel sprouts, carrots, and onions in a pan on the stove until they get nice and crispy! I season them with a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. 

Then, I topped it off with some balsamic vinaigrette. 

Anyway, back to Friday night. After dinner, Hannah and Lola (Layla's half-sister) stayed over for a girls' night sleepover! We were planning on going to an early morning spin class Saturday morning but that ended up getting cancelled. We woke up to a full-on blizzard starting! It was crazy and snowed several inches in about an hour. 

Amanda's meeting ended up getting cancelled because of the snow storm so the three of us found some workouts on OnDemand to do together. It was a lot of fun laughing at ourselves because some of the moves required a little bit of coordination and long story short but we were not always the best at it...

After showering, having coffee, and a lazy morning just hanging out we went up to visit with my grandma in the afternoon. My cousins Jake and Ben (Hannah's younger brothers) decided to join us so we made it a family trip. As a pleasant surprise, my dad was already up there plowing and shoveling her driveway so it was like a mini family reunion! We all sat and visited with her for a couple hours which was really fun, and great time spent together. She's still not able to get out much with the chemo treatments because her immune system is pretty compromised. We have to be careful with any germs that we might spread around in the family. 

For dinner I didn't feel like cooking much so I broke out the old stand by: chicken postickers from Trader Joe's. I seriously love these and probably make them at least once a week when I don't feel like cooking much! I usually add in broccoli or brussel sprouts (often times both!), and make it into a little stir fry. It's delicious! 

What I do is I follow the instructions on the bag for cooking the potstickers. When I get to the part after they have browned and you want to add water and turn the heat down to let them steam, that's when I add the brussel sprouts and broccoli. That way, it all steams and cooks together. Then, when they're cooked I take the lid off, crank the heat back up, and add some soy sauce and garlic so that cooks together for a couple minutes. Voila! Total cooking time is less than 10 minutes. 

Oh and I tried this new tea this weekend and it was tasty! I wasn't sure how I'd feel about chocolate tea but I really liked it. I probably had about 2 or 3..possibly like 8 cups throughout the weekend to keep warm! 

And if you needed any cheering up with all the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures well here are some cute Layla pictures! But then again when are they ever not cute?! Yeah, I know #crazydoglady...

She's had little motivation to get up at all this week with it being in the negatives most mornings when we wake up. Usually she'll either crawl back in to my bed and go to sleep or go in Amanda's room to sleep for a couple hours before she gets up! 

Or she comes downstairs with me while I work out and likes to keep me company, and by that I mean she just sleeps on her bed. Such a ruff life! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Winter Workouts

With all the crazy snow, slush, and ice outside right now it's been a little difficult for me to get my regular workouts in. Saturday morning it snowed about 6 inches in about an hour (on top of the snow and ice we already had) which meant I was not able to go for my usual long run or even the spinning class I had planned as my back-up!

Let's move on from talking about running because I've been pretty bummed that's been put on the back burner. I've tried doing the treadmill but as my physical therapist warned me before, it just aggravates my old shin injury. I can only run on the treadmill every once in awhile (like a few times a month for a few miles max) before my shin pain starts up again.

I'm not trying to complain about all the snow and ice at all but my point is that sometimes we have to learn to be flexible. So, I've been doing a ton of at-home workouts, Pinterest ideas, and free videos on television.

If you're snowed in like I am, here are some resources that I've found to be most useful!

***note: as usual I'm just going to state that I am NOT a personal trainer, fitness expert, or qualified in any way. This is simply a post about my own experience with workouts I have tried and enjoyed. If you are unsure of being able to perform any of the following exercises, please consult your physician***

1. Peanut Butter Fingers

As I mentioned from my last Friday Favorites post, Julie has a TON of workouts that you can do from the comfort of your living room. I've tried out a bunch of hers and they're all great! It really gets your heart rate up!

2. Jillian Michaels YouTube Videos

I love a lot of her workouts because they really kick your butt! I've found some good ones of hers on Pinterest, too that aren't videos but still a workout! Here's one of her 16-minute workouts that I've done a lot and it's really challenging!

3. OnDemand Workout Videos

I have Comcast cable and with our package we have OnDemand which is full of all sorts of TV shows, movies, music videos, you name it. It's also great because they have a whole fitness section, too! So lately, I've been looking at the free ones because let's be real I'm not gonna pay $3.99 to rent a 30-minute video. I found this great kickboxing one that's really good! Even if you don't have OnDemand, I'd recommend looking at some ones on YouTube because again, it's free! And you can do it in your warm living room. I've been doing some kickboxing videos with Jill Coleman which have been really fun! You can look here on her website for some ideas.

4. Cross-Fit for Beginners

Most of the beginners workouts that I've found can be done at home. My favorite resource is over at Simply Sadie Jane with her 6 weeks workout. I'll pick some out every so often for when I need to do a workout at home! Another one that I recently found is here where there's 5 different workouts you can do at home. They're shorter, around 15 minutes so usually I just double the amount of rounds or however much I need! As always, Pinterest is a great resource for looking up any cross-fit workouts!

5. Make up your own!

This one is always fun for me because I'll take some of my favorite exercises and turn them into circuits, full-body workouts, strength + cardio, or basically whatever I feel like doing that morning! It's always fun for me because I'm doing what I like and what makes me happy.

Here are some examples of ones I've made up before. This is just a sample so for the full list check out my Fitness page!

20-minute Total Body Workout

At-Home Leg Day Workout

Mini Home Circuit Workout

Snow Day Workout

Just do whatever workouts make you happy! That's all that matters in the end :) stay warm my friends! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Favorites: Bloggers!

So this week I decided to switch it up a bit and keep this Friday Favorites to a theme! I decided to list some of my favorite bloggers! It was hard to narrow down since there are a lot of great blogs out there but here are pretty much my top five, and the ones I read on a daily basis. 

I have been blessed to have this wonderful gal as my coach the past few months. Katie honestly has a heart of gold, and is 100% devoted to each and every one of her team members! I'm lucky enough to not only call her my coach but she's become a great friend as well! You won't be disappointed with her blog!!

Rachael is another blogger that I've been so blessed to get to know! She's such a sweetheart, and I love being email buddies! Her blog has awesome recipes, fitness, and how to live a healthy lifestyle. She's such a fantastic role model for young girls, and I really admire her positive attitude and faith! 

This is one of my go-to blogs when I'm looking for indoor workouts to do at home! In fact, I did this one this morning, and it was quite the sweat session! Julie is so creative with coming up with all sorts of different workouts so that you don't get bored. She also has great recipes, too! 

My favorite part about this blog aside from the delicious recipes, is her photography! I'm always so impressed by how beautiful her pictures turn out, and she actually has a couple of helpful tutorials on her blog. I love how creative and artistic she is with her pictures, and not to mention her recipes! I follow her on Pinterest and and Instagram so my newsfeed is constantly flooded with scrumptious food pictures that may or may not make me drool slightly..

This is another blog that I get some good workout ideas! I really enjoy doing cross fit, and will often put in a workout here and there just for cross-training. She has a great guide for beginners that includes 6 weeks of workouts. I've never actually done all six weeks at once, but I'll pick and choose some here and there for when I need a good at-home workout! 

Happy Friday!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Favorites #6

Let's ignore the fact that I'm totally horrible at remembering to consistently post Friday Favorites on Fridays, and let's focus on the fact that I remembered this week!

1. Spinning

I was able to take my very first spin classes this past week, and I'm in LOVE. I couldn't ever before because the times never matched my schedule but there's a 6am now on Mondays and Thursdays which I can easily do before work! The instructor was a lot of fun, very welcoming, and encouraging so I had a blast. Definitely a workout! I can't wait to go back, and plan on going at least once and probably both times every week. It's also perfect as cross-training with my running so double bonus!

2. Bai drinks 

I guess you can say I've hopped on the Bai-ndwagon on this one! Wanna know how long I've been waiting to make that joke? Let's just say a little too long. But seriously, they're great! I've seen tons of reviews about them, and finally tried them out for myself. The mango and pomegrante ones are my favorite.

3. Aldi's 

I've recently been doing more of my shopping there, and let me tell you Aldi's is awesome! It's mostly their store brand version of a lot of things, but it all tastes just as great as the brands you know. It also saves me a ton of money which is also another favorite part about shopping there. I got two giant loads full of snacks, fruits, veggies, yogurts, eggs, some baking stuff and even gluten-free items for Amanda, and both times I spent under $30! There's tons of healthy options for a great price so needless to say it will forever be a Friday Favorite.

4. Jeremy Camp's new album

I saw him last weekend live at Winter Jam, and he actually played us some of his new songs before the album came out. It was officially released last Tuesday and I immediately added it to my Spotify! I love it all, and I've probably listened to every song at least 5 times by now. My playlist is pretty much just his new album and all of For King & Country meshed together. I mean that's all you need, amirite?

5. Confetti Waffles

These have been a game changer! I found them at Target this week and they're a-maz-ing! They're pretty much like birthday cake waffles and luckily they were on sale because I may or may not have gotten 3 boxes. But I had to! The sale was 3 for $5 so it'd be financially irresponsible to not take advantage of that sale, right? Right. Okay, good. 

6. The fact that For King & Country won their Grammys!

Okay so this technically isn't a thing or whatever but I just wanted to share :)

For the record, I've always been a huge fan since their first album because everyone is now raving over them as they've practically exploded the music scene. I'm not just hopping on the bandwagon now, I've been a fan since the beginning! Just wanted to clear that up.

Hope you all have a great Friday!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

White Chocolate Red Velvet Oreo Valentines

I'm betting that you've all seen social media explode with people talking about the latest thing: red velvet Oreos. Now, in no way am I trying to sound like a hater because let's be honest #Oreosforlife, but there's no denying that they're everywhere. I probably see no less than two pictures a day of red velvet Oreos as everyone is raving about these babies. 

FYI they are worth trying out. Not my favorite Oreo (original double stuff will always have my heart) but still pretty delicious! 

But, these served a great purpose and that was to continue the Valentine's Day care package that I was sending to Margot! After the granola was done, I got started on these!

White Chocolate Red Velvet Oreos.

I wanted the red velvet ones because duh they were red! That's legitimately the only reason. An extremely complex decision. Now, as for white chocolate I again picked it for the color. Nothing to do with taste or complimenting flavors, etc. don't I sound like someone full of fancy knowledge about food? I wanted white since the Valentine sprinkles would stand out more!

To make these all you need are Oreos, white chocolate chips, and sprinkles! You certainly don't have to use red velvet Oreos or white chocolate because that was just for the theme. 

I was a little upset that you totally get jipped money with these Oreos. It's like half the size of a normal package for about the same price, if not more. 

The things I do for Margot.. she's lucky I love her! :)

Apparently, my house is full of cheesy Valentine-themed things that I've never even known about. When I found these of course I had to include them! 

All I did was take about a cup of the white chocolate chips and melted them in the microwave. I did it in intervals of 30 seconds and stirred in between times until the chocolate was nice and smooth. 

I dipped each Oreo until it was half-covered, and then Amanda sprinkled them! My mom used to have quite the obsession with decorative sprinkles when she made care packages for us so we have  a ton around! It paid off for us, though, because there were plenty of colorful options. 

Once the Oreos were dipped and sprinkled, I let them sit on wax paper to dry and set. I let mine sit overnight since I wasn't mailing out the package until the next morning. You certainly don't have to wait that long, just until the chocolate has hardened. 

I used the wrappers to hold the Oreos as they were the perfect size! 

For this batch I only made 10 but you can make as many as you need! They definitely don't look professional or have perfect presentation but that's the beauty of homemade. I think it's more about knowing it was made with love so I didn't want them to look store-bought. 

The final package! 

If you're wondering about how they ended up tasting, these were a hit! If you're a red velvet or Oreo fan then this is the recipe for you! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Homemade Granola with a Valentine's Day Twist!

This is the standard recipe for homemade granola that I've been using for a couple years now. I saw the original on Alton Brown's show on FoodNetwork awhile back, and this is a tweaked version of it. It always turns out perfectly, and it's my favorite recipe for granola!

Margot loves this granola, too so I thought it was about time to send her another care package. I gotta make sure she's stocked up on all the essentials! Since Valentine's Day is right around the corner, I wanted to do a little twist on this recipe. 

I made this recipe on Friday but I had to wait until today to post it because someone would've seen it before they got their surprise! I told Margot she wouldn't be able to read my blog for a couple days but she said that wasn't possible so I just decided to wait until now to post this! 

When I was shopping at Target for the ingredients for another recipe, some of the Valentine's Day candies caught my eye, and I figured it'd be fun to add some to the granola. I picked the M&Ms because 1) chocolate and 2) does there need to be another reason? 

So here's what you'll need: 
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup oil (any that is light in flavor)
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
pinch of sea salt 
Valentine M&Ms (or any add-ins you want!)

Preheat the oven to 250 and mix all the ingredients together. 

For some of the ingredients there are definitely substitutions. I've used agave instead of honey, coconut sugar instead of brown sugar, sunflower seed oil, canola oil, and Amanda's even used olive oil before when she was in a pinch. It's not a recommended oil but it does work. You'll want ones like canola, vegetable, or sunflower seed. 

To make this recipe gluten-free just double check that the oats are gluten-free, and haven't shared equipment with any gluten products! Trader Joe's has a brand that states plainly that the oats did not come into contact with anything gluten. You'll also just want to make sure that none of the add-ins you choose have gluten. 

Once all the ingredients are combined, place the granola in a greased baking pan. This batch gives about two 9x13 pans. Make sure you definitely grease them! You don't want to get in to a "sticky" situation like Amanda did where the granola wouldn't come out of the pans...I will never stop with the puns haha!

Bake the granola for about an hour and 15-30 minutes depending on your oven. Stir the granola and rotate the pans about every 15 minutes. 

I made half the batch plain and half with the M&M's. You can't put the M&M's in before the granola cooks because they would all just melt in the oven! I waited until the granola was done and cooled before tossing in the chocolate. 

Amanda swiped the batch of plain granola since it's the gluten-free version. She's been going without gluten for about a week now because of stomach issues, and she's feeling much better! 

Once the granola was cooled, I added in about half a bag of the Valentine's Day M&Ms. I thought it added some nice pop of color! Plus, it was festive!

We also found these cheesy bags that were of course perfect for the occasion! 

I love going the homemade route for presents so I think this would be a great idea to try for any granola-lover in your life! I also made Margot these Valentine's Day Oreos which I'll be getting up soon, and I'll make sure to include the link back to this post!

What are some of your favorite homemade gifts?!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Zucchini Zoodles!

My spiralizer finally came at the end of last week so I wasted no time in putting it to use! I got this one here off of Amazon, and it worked perfectly. It's probably my favorite kitchen gadget so far!

We made zucchini noodles the other night or I like to just call them zoodles! It was really easy, fast, and healthy. 

I used about 2 medium sized zucchinis for this batch but you can use as much or as little as you need. 

I would cut the zoodles every so often as they were coming out so we didn't end up with like 2 feet long noodles! Some of the pieces would break off on their own but other noodles I would just cut as I went along spiralizing. 

Then, I sauteed the zoodles in a pan with some sunflower seed oil, sea salt, pepper, and garlic. It only took a few minutes for them to soften, and then I drained out the excess water just like with regular pasta. I didn't add any additional water but as the zucchini cooked it released some of its water. 

I topped my zoodles off with chicken and some pesto just as if I was having a pasta bowl. The zoodles were delicious and really filling! Definitely a great lower carb alternative if you need one. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Layla's One Year Gotcha-Versary!

I will start off by saying that yes this post will probably just confirm the fact that I'm a crazy dog lady, and completely in love with my dog. I make no excuses because she makes me happy!

BUT, I present my first argument. 

I mean, look at that face! How could you not love a loveable goof like that?! This was from the other morning when she didn't want to get her lazy butt out of bed. We all have those days.

Secondly, she is the world's best cuddler. 

This is all 65 pounds of my little baby trying to sleep on my chest like she did when she was a teeny tiny puppy. The cutest part isn't pictured but she'll snuggle her nose under my chin, and my heart just melts. 

In all seriousness, though, I believe that pets and animals of all kinds can truly bring joy and happiness to a person's life. I am a total animal lover, and a house never feels like a home without a furry four-legged friend! I love cats but I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'm not more of a dog person. Dogs will always be my favorite! But, I'll take a cat if I can't have a dog. As you can see I have both :) that's Roosevelt in the picture and he probably acts more like a dog than a cat anyway!

Layla has brought so much joy to our home, and has played an important role in helping my mom to recover. She's great company for my mom during the day when no one else is home, and not to mention a good snuggle buddy! This dog has SO MUCH love to give, and I'll always be grateful that she came to our family.

Even though she kicks me in her sleep, tries to steal my socks, and is a total little weirdo, I couldn't ask for a better dog! She is always by my side, loyal and true, and a daily example of unconditional love.

So, we decided to show her how much we appreciate her this past weekend! It was her One Year Gotcha-versary (a name that I came up with after combining anniversary with a gotcha day) on Saturday. We picked the little bugger up on February 7th, 2014 when she was just 2 months old!

Just a friendly reminder that THIS IS HOW CUTE SHE WAS <3

Althoughhhhh, she's still pretty darn cute...

Since she's a little spoiled (within reason, I promise!) I wanted to make her pupcakes which are just cupcakes for dogs. I did some Pinteresting as usual and found this recipe here!

The recipe was super simple and included normal ingredients that you're always bound to have on hand. Truth be told, I wasn't going to go that much out of my way, and try to track down ingredients for these pupcakes that weren't already in my pantry. So I'm not that much of a crazy dog lady, right?

I did let her lick the spoon though....but that's always the best part! 

I actually did try it (before Layla did) because I was just curious. Hannah and I were laughing because she asked me what they tasted like and my answer was "like peanut butter apple sauce with a hint of whole wheat flour", aaaaand that's it in a nutshell!

I halved the recipe because Layla certainly did not need 6 servings! 

I also have a confession that I cheated a bit, and didn't use the recipe for the icing to go with these. We had some cool whip in the fridge and I figured what the heck. Call me a bad dog owner for allowing her to have people food every once in a while or not feeding my dog only 100% organic/natural/fresh-from-the-farm foods. Layla likes to follow the 80/20 rule too ;) 

But seriously, she's had it before and loves it. Obviously I would never feed her anything that is actually toxic to dogs (don't worry I've done my research), but she has had people food before which is mostly just when food falls on the floor! She's our little portable hoover vacuum! 

So I put a little dollop on top of one of the pupcakes in place of icing! I only did this because I know she's had it before, and handled it just fine. 

As usual, she was my good girl and waited for her cue that she could dig in. 

As you can tell from her expression, she was pretty much done with the photo shoot and fed up waiting for my cue. 

I let her lick off the cool whip first, and then took the pupcake out of the wrapper so she wouldn't accidentally eat any of the paper. A very real possibility as she devoured the whole thing! 

And then looked around to say as if "sooo where's the rest?!" I let the first one settle in her stomach to make sure it went down okay, and then I gave her half of a second one plain a few hours later. She still has one left over today which will be her dessert tonight! 

All-in-all it was a success, and I can't wait to spend many more years with the goofball! 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mini Protein Cheesecake Cups

I've seen tons of posts and recommendations from my fitness group (my coach has one for her clients on Facebook) about people trying out protein cheesecake. I decided to finally give it a try! Instead of making an entire cheesecake, I figured I'd make little mini ones! To be honest the main reason I did this was so that I'd be able to eat more of thinking right?

The recipe made WAY more than I expected but that's definitely my own fault. I don't know why I didn't realize that taking a recipe for an entire cheesecake would give me a billion mini ones. But it did, and the good news is the macros are amazing so feel free to dig in! 

So if you don't want about 50 mini ones, you should probably cut this recipe in half. I took some of the recipes that were posted, and came up with my own little version! I definitely added in the stevia, honey, vanilla, and sea salt for some more flavor. 

What you'll need:
2 eggs
2 egg whites
12 oz Greek yogurt (I used plain, fat-free Chobani)
1/2 cup stevia
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
12 oz fat free cream cheese (I used Trader Joe's light)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon honey
pinch of sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350

2. Break up the cream cheese with the electric hand mixer. This isn't really necessary but I like to do it first just to make the batter smoother since it gets rid of a lot of the chunks. 

3. Add in the rest of the ingredients! I do the eggs first and once those are incorporated I add everything else. Again, I have no idea if that's necessary but it's what I like to do! 

4. Grease a mini baking tin with non-stick spray

5. Fill each one about 3/4 full. There's a handy little indentation in my pan and I don't know if it's meant to be a marker for measurements but that's what I use it for! 

Like I said, this recipe made about 50 for me so it was a good thing I had multiple pans on hand.

Bake them for about 15-20 minutes until the cheesecake is set and the edges will be a light golden brown. It all depends on your oven so keep an eye on them! 

Ideally, I would have had pie filling to top off these guys but I didn't so I made due with some jelly. It might sound strange but it really worked! I used strawberry jelly, and some fig butter that I had. Both were delicious! A teaspoon was plenty enough for a topping. 

The best part? Check out those macros for one! So go ahead and enjoy one...or ten :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Weekend Catch-up: Treat Yoself Saturday, Winter Jam, & Chili!

So what happens when you have to work Saturday mornings? Treat Yoself! 

Usually I don't work Saturdays but every once in a while (honestly like twice a year) I have to work part of a Saturday because of working around the participant's schedule. That happened this past weekend so I figured I would get myself a little treat in the morning! 

I opted for a bagel! And I picked Einstein Brothers because of one very important reason: their vanilla hazelnut coffee which is my favorite ever! 

I went for the traditional plain bagel because there's just something about an original bagel that I love. Call me boring but I don't really like my bagels to get all that fancy. I got strawberry cream cheese on the side because that's the other thing, I do not require a lot of cream cheese on my bagel. I also don't like the taste of plain cream cheese unless it's in a cheesecake but I love strawberry! 

I just got the bagel plain and sliced because I wanted to toast it at my office. That way it'd be nice and warm! I only used about 1/4 of the little cup they gave me so I saved the rest for another morning. Paired with my cup of coffee, this was the perfect start to my morning! 

Then on Saturday night, Amanda and I went to Winter Jam which was at Consol Energy center down town. It's an annual tour where 10 bands come to various cities across the country and it's only $10 at the door, no tickets required! It's then a free-for-all when you get inside so we got there around 5ish since the doors opened then, and the concert started at 6. 

There was one and one reason alone why I wanted to be there:

Amanda kept telling me on the drive there: 
"They're gonna play last. Guarantee it."
"I'm telling you, they'll close the show."
"They always save the biggest name band for last." 
"They're the big-ticket band. They'll save the best for last."

Guys, they opened the show!!!

We didn't get the best seats but I didn't really care. I go to a concert to hear the music, it doesn't really matter if I can't completely see the band. We ended up moving anyway because we met up with some of our friends so we had to go to another section where there were more open seats. It was packed, though, so we ended up going towards the back of the stage but I didn't mind at all! 

I told Amanda that after I saw For King & Country, I was fine with whatever happened haha! 

I wasn't really paying attention in the beginning because the start of the show wasn't exactly announced. All of a sudden people started running around on stage so I didn't realize it was For King & Country opening until I heard all the excited screams and I knew it could mean only one thing! 

Sorry for the crappy quality of the pictures!

Per usual, Joel started going out in the crowd and as always I'm like "WHY AM I NOT DOWN THERE RIGHT NOW?"

Anddd, he gave his speech again about how women should be treated with respect, how chivalry isn't dead, and a bunch of other adorable things and I melted. Just like last time. I swear it's the accent. 

There was a second reason for why I wanted to be there and it was Jeremy Camp! I like a lot of his music as well and was excited to see him live. 

He was amazing, though, and I've never seen him live. Definitely worth going to see in concert! He has a great voice and sounds even better in person. I love when that happens because often times you find it's the other way around. Another one of the bands that I wanted to see was Building 429 and they were great too! 

Then, on Sunday we made a trip out to my dad's house after church to have lunch. He's in the middle of renovating his house so we just made some simple chicken salads! Unfortunately, we couldn't stay long because the freezing rain/snow sleet weird combination was starting, and we didn't want to get stuck on the roads. 

When we got home, we had a little bit of time to kill before going to my aunt's house for the Superbowl. Now, I am not a football fan in the slightest but I am a chili fan. And I knew she was making chili just for me so I was going to be there! Luckily, she's within walking distance from us so we didn't have to worry about the snowstorm ruining our plans. 

So we watched some of the pre-Puppy bowl! It was pretty cute because Layla was really interested in it too! We snapped some cute pictures of her watching the tv. 

After all the delicious chili, cornbread, and homemade cherry pie I was in quite the happy food coma!  For those of you who might be wondering, nope I'm still not tracking! And have nooo plans in the upcoming week so that's where I am at the moment. It's all going great, and my body feels exactly the same! So I'm taking that as a good sign, and going to keep going with what I'm doing. 

It was a wonderful weekend full of time spent with family and friends with zero thoughts about food, and that makes me incredibly happy! 

Did you do anything fun for Super Bowl Sunday?