Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tater Tot Casserole

Hey guys! Well, I'm back in South Carolina now and headed back to work today. I had a busy but fun last few days. It's always so nice to go home for a visit. I love not only the people, but also the old familiar foods! I had some Eat n Park Strawberry Pie, 9th Street Deli Hamburgers, Bob's Pizza and Meadows Ice Cream. So when I stepped on the scale this morning, I wasn't at all surprised that it was up a couple of pounds. So there goes my maintenance mode. It's back to weight LOSS mode. I guess it's ok though, since I'm more familiar with the loss mode than the maintenance. I've given myself a deadline to lose some weight. Hope I get to tell you all in a bit that I met it!

So this is a casserole that we had last week before we left. As we were eating it, TC and I both made comments about how good it was. What is even better is that it is so simple to throw together! I actually made this one ahead of time and threw it in the oven after we got back from a birthday party. It didn't disappoint. You probably already have the ingredients on hand! I'm thinking there are so many variations I could try. Here's the recipe:


Servings: 8
Points+: 12

1 lb. ground turkey
1 (2 lb) bag tater tots
1 can evaporated milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 c. cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 in. baking dish with cooking spray.

Brown turkey. Drain grease, then place turkey in baking dish. Spread tater tots over turkey.

In medium bowl, combine soups and milk. Mix well and pour over tater tots. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over top and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

While I was up in PA, I did keep working out. I ran 3 mornings and I also did a circuit training workout that I developed. It wasn't blog-worthy. But I'm hoping to start developing some of my own workouts to share with you. Tonight, it's back to Jillian Michael's Ripped in 30 dvd. I'm going to try to go up to Level 3. I'm hoping that my lack of strength training over the last few days won't hurt me too much!

So long for today...

Monday, May 28, 2012

100 Calorie Chocolate Cupcakes

The past couple of days have been pretty busy here for all of us. The last two mornings, I had rehearsal for my dance recitals and then the last two evenings, I got to dance in an alumni dance in the dance recital for the studio where I danced with I was younger. It was so much fun! I loved rehearsing for it and I loved dancing in the show. It brings back so many great memories! I will definitely be doing a future post on the recital with some pictures and maybe even some video for you!

I don't know about anyone else, but whenever I eat, I like to have something sweet at the end of my meals. I'm not usually very picky about what it is. I discovered this recipe on Can You Stay for Dinner? a couple of months ago. The first time I made them, I was pleasantly surprised about how good they were. They were very moist. I really couldn't tell that they were light. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Here's the recipe:

adapted from Can You Stay for Dinner?
Servings: 12
Points+: 3

1 cup nonfat or low fat milk, dairy or nondairy
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup all purpose flour –OR- whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. Spritz them lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, stir together milk and vinegar. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, applesauce, and vanilla. Pour in the now curdled milk and mix all ingredients well.

Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. The batter will be thin and wet, similar to a runny pancake batter. Divide it evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing to cool completely.

Well, I brought my yoga mat and some hand weights with me to Pennsylvania, but all I've gotten to do is run. I have run the last three mornings. I'm hoping to some circuit training today to add some strength and ab work to my cardio. If I am successful, I might post about the workout so you can get to try it out too! Just have to figure out what all to include in it.

So long for today...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Carrot Cake

Greetings from Pennsylvania! As usual, we're keeping busy up here. After the long drive up, we just wanted to relax our first day here. My sister and her family will be coming in tomorrow morning and my brother-in-law's parents will be coming in later tonight. We're going to have a ton of stuff going on, so I guess you could say this is the calm before the storm! Ha!

First off, let me put a disclaimer on here saying that I don't consider this dessert to be WW-friendly in any way. Now, let me ask you, how good does this cake look? Let me tell you, as good as it looks, that's exactly how good it tasted, too! Since it was a Paula Deen recipe, I didn't think it would disappoint and it didn't! I made this for a co-worker's birthday party last week. Everyone loved it and luckily, they ate every crumb so I didn't have to take any home with me. It works out better for me not to have leftovers of stuff like this, then I won't be tempted to eat it! This is definitely a splurge that I won't be making very often, even though it's absolutely delicious! Here's the recipe:

adapted from The Lady & Son's Cookbook
Servings: 12
Points+: 22

Butter, for pans
2 c. all purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 c. sugar
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
3 c. grated carrots
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans, optional

2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick salted butter, room temperature
1 (16-oz.) box powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) round pans; Line bottom of the pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs and vegetable oil. Using a hand mixer, blend until combined. Add carrots and pecans, if using.

Pour into pans. Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, place on waxed paper and allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

Add all ingredients, except nuts, into a medium bowl and beat until fluffy using a hand mixer. Stir in the nuts. Spread frosting on top of each cake layer. Stack the cakes on a serving plate and serve.

Lucikly, my parent's place is in a more rural area. Since it is Pennsylvania, there are many hills out this way. When I went for my run today, it challenged my body in a way that it's not used to. I have to admit that even though it was tough coming up that last hill, I loved my run today. The weather was beautiful and the humidity was low. Those are some great running conditions!

So long for today...

Healthy Peanut Butter Balls

Well, we are headed to Pennsylvania this afternoon! Yay! Last night was just a whirlwind of activity. I think I might have gotten maybe three hours of sleep total the whole night. My mom always says that I go to bed to think and that's just what I did last night. Since we're going to be so rushed for time today, I wanted to have everything ready to throw into the truck as soon as we get home from work. So that meant that I had to have everything ready and by the door this morning before we left. I think we have everything, but that didn't keep me from trying to remember everything we're forgetting all night! Good thing I have a nice long car ride to catch up on the sleep I've missed the last 2 nights!

Does anyone else think these look like meatballs? I promise, they're not! I saw this recipe last week on Living, Laughing, Losing and I thought they would be the perfect snack to help give us the energy we need to make the long trip to PA. I snuck a taste last night and they are pretty good. I love that they're all natural. I'm trying not to have caffeine anymore which won't be good news about one o'clock tomorrow morning when we're still on the road. I'm hoping that these do the trick! Here's the recipe:

Adapted from Alida’s Kitchen

Servings: 16
Points+: 4

1 cup peanut butter,(chunky or creamy)
2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar)
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed or wheat germ
2 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut
cocoa powder, wheat germ, powdered sugar, chopped peanuts – for coating

Heat peanut butter and honey in the microwave until easily mixed, about 15-20 seconds. Stir until blended.

In a separate bowl, mix oats, flaxseed and coconut (if using) until combined.

Add peanut butter mixture to oat mixture and stir until incorporated. (Mixture may seem a little dry at first…just keep mixing).

Form a rounded tablespoonful of the combined mixture into a ball and place on a plate. Repeat until all mixture is used. Now, if you do not want to coat the balls, skip to the last step.

Roll each ball in whatever coating suits your preference. Cocoa powder, powdered sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon sugar and chopped peanuts are some ideas. I rolled mine in No Sugar Added Hot Cocoa. They turned out great!

Chill the plate of balls in the refrigerator to set for at least an hour, or overnight.

Unfortunately, I'm not going to have a chance to work out today. I have a lunch meeting that I have to drive to that's an hour away, then I'm headed straight home from there to head to PA. I did get a great work out in last night doing Jillian's Ripped in 30 - Level 2. I decided that since I'm going to be taking a few days off from Jillian's workouts, instead of starting Level 3 last night, I would do Level 2 one more time and pick up with Level 3 after we get back from our trip.

So long for today...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken

Well, the countdown is on. We will be headed North of the Mason Dixon line in less than 2 days. I still have so much to do before I'm ready to go. I am planning to make a couple of snacks to take on the trip with us, I still have to pack for all of us and I'm planning to raid my parents garden before we head out. My sister and niece came over tonight for dinner and to work on the dance routine. It's getting there, but I still have a good bit of work to do before I'll be comfortable enough to perform it on stage. Yet another thing to do before we leave!

Dinner tonight was really good. Once again, it's another recipe that I found on Pinterest. It was a little more time intensive than I had planned on, so while it was baking, we practiced the dance a little bit. My sister (Ninni as Addison calls her) said it was really good! I'm hoping that she really liked and and wasn't just trying to get a blog you sissy! TC said it was good, too, so I guess I'll believe them both! Here's the recipe:

adapted from Life as a Lofthouse
Servings: 4
Points+: 10

3 – 4 boneless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. Egg Beaters

Sweet and Sour Sauce:
¾ c. sugar
4 T. ketchup
½ c. vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
1 t. garlic salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut chicken into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip chicken in cornstarch to coat, then dip in Egg Beaters. Heat large skillet over medium high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Cook chicken until browned, but not cooked through. Place the chicken in a 9 x 13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Mix all of the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl with a whisk and and then pour evenly over the chicken. Bake for 1 hour, turning chicken every 15 minutes.


Tonight, once again, in addition to the dance rehearsal, I also did a Jillian Michael's workout. I though that my abs have been neglected lately, so I decided to do her 6 Week 6 Pack dvd. It's been a little while since I've done this video, but it's still as tough as ever. And I even did level 1. Although, it is a lot easier than it used to be for me. I am proud that I'm using my 5 lb weights for it instead of the 3 lbs. So at least there is some progression. Even though tomorrow is going to be a busy day, I'm still planning to get in a workout. We'll see if it happens!

So long for today...

Monday, May 21, 2012

French Dip Cupcakes

Have I told you yet that I'm in a dance recital this coming weekend? That's right! Thiry-something old me is in a dance recital. So maybe I should give you some more details...Growing up I was lucky enough to take dance at a wonderful private studio in my hometown. I started with just jazz, and eventually, it turned into tap, jazz, ballet and pointe. I took dance for 15 years and loved it! When I graduated high school, I also graduated from dance school. Well, they're having a 35th Anniversary/Reunion show this year and all of the alumni are invited back. So we're headed up this weekend along with about 50 other alumni from as far away as Arizona. They posted the routine on YouTube a couple of weeks ago for us all to learn. For some reason, I've procrastinated until last weekend to start learning the routine. Needless to say, I will be dancing every night this week to try to learn it. Talk about earning my Activity Points!

Tonight was another "cupcake" recipe. This was actually the first recipe like this that I had ever made. When I realized how perfectly portioned the servings end up being, I knew I wanted to keep making these. I'm not sure which I like better, these or the Taco Cupcakes from the other night. I love French Dip sandwiches and these have all the flavors! Here's the recipe:

adapted from Emily Bites
Servings: 4
Points+: 8

12 oz deli roast beef, thinly sliced and chopped into pieces
4 Laughing Cow Light Swiss wedges, chopped
1/3 c Au Jus gravy (I used a packet mix)
16 wonton wrappers
4 oz (1 cup) reduced fat 2% shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 8 cups in a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the roast beef, cheese wedges and Au Jus sauce. Microwave for 2 minutes on high. Stirring well to combine until cheese wedges are melted and roast beef mixture is fully coated with cheese and Au Jus sauce.

Press a wonton wrapper into the bottom of each of the eight sprayed cups in the muffin pan. Spoon about half of the roast beef mixture evenly among the wonton wrappers. Sprinkle about half the mozzarella cheese evenly over the top of each cup. Press another wonton wrapper on top and repeat the layering steps with the remaining ingredients.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from muffin tin.

In addition to my dance practice tonight, I also did Level 2 of Jillian's Ripped in 30. It had been a few days since I did it, but I still felt pretty good. Since I missed a day or two this past week, I'm thinking about doing this level for a couple more days before I graduate up to Level 3. We'll have to see how I'm feeling tomorrow.

So long for today...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cinnamon Toast Cloud Cakes

I've been very busy today making all kinds of goodies to share with you throughout the week and next weekend while I'm away. I'm trying to include all kinds of different things that I think you'll like! We'll see what you think!

Sometimes, on the weekends, I like to do something different for breakfast. This was one of those weekends. I had seen this recipe a while back and was still wanting to try it out. I told you before that I am a huge fan of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. So when I find a recipe that has cinnamon toast in the title, sign me up! Luckily, hubby is also a fan of the cereal, so he doesn't mind. These were so good! You can serve them with any topping you want to. We did powdered sugar and light maple syrup. But you can add butter or you can also make a cinnamon syrup if you're feeling adventurous! Here's the recipe:

adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures
Servings: 8
Points+: 4

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
2 extra egg whites, at room temperature
2 tablespoons light butter, melted and cooled

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together. Add the buttermilk and sour cream to a large measuring cup and whisk to combine. Whisk the egg yolks and melted butter into the buttermilk mixture until well combined.

Add the egg whites to a medium bowl. Use a hand mixer to beat them to soft peaks. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the dry ingredients. Whisk until just barely combined - the batter should be lumpy. Use a rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the batter, again until just barely combined. It's fine if a few streaks of egg white remain.

Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Use a 1/8 cup measure (2 tablespoons) to portion the batter into the pan. Cook on the first side until the edges are set and bubbles form on the surface, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the pancakes and cook for an additional 2 minutes on the second side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Repeat with remaining batter, spraying with additional cooking spray if needed.

It was another beautiful day today so I went for another run. Unfortunately, it was another shorter one since I had things I needed to do. I'm glad I did get one in though! My HRM said I burned over 500 calories. That right there is why I run! Of course, since it's Sunday, I'm planning to do my Yoga Meltdown tonight with Jillian. I've always had trouble falling asleep Sunday nights. I've found that, most of the time, doing yoga Sunday nights helps me to wind down and fall asleep easier. As long as it's working, I'm going to keep it up!

So long for today...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Taco Cupcakes

Today was such a great day in South Carolina, at least where I am! It was actually kind of cool today. I'm not sure it made it up to the 81 degrees that was predicted, but it was still a beautiful day. I think the humidy forgot to show up today and that really helped it to stay cool. Whatever the reason, I didn't really mind.

I bought some wonton wrappers at the store last week and decided to make these taco cupcakes. I had seen them a while back on Emily Bites and knew that I wanted to try them. She has a lot of different types of "cupcake" main dishes. I've tried these and the french dip cupcakes and have loved them both. I might have to go back to her site to see what else she has in the cupcake department! Here's the recipe:

adapted from Emily Bites
Servings: 6
Points+: 4

1 lb 95% lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 packet taco seasoning
1 c canned black beans, drained and rinsed
24 wonton wrappers (found in the produce section)
24 t of queso dip or salsa con queso
1 c salsa
1 c 2% milk shredded cheddar cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degree. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef. Add the taco seasoning and 1/4 c. water and stir to combine. To this add the black beans and cook for a few minutes until the beans are warme. , add the ground beef and taco seasoning and brown beef, breaking it up with a spoon. Add black beans and continue to cook, stirring

Press a wonton wrapper into the bottom of each of the cups in the muffin tin. Spoon a teaspoon of the queso dip into each wonton wrapper and spread inthe bottom of the cup. Next, spoon a heaping tablesppon of the meat and bean mixture into each cup. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of salsa over the meat mixture. Sprinkle half of the cheddar cheese evenly over each cup. Place another wonton wrapper over cheese and repeat the process with the remaining ingredients.

Bake for 18 -- 20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from muffin tin.

It was a beautiful but brisk morning here, so I took full advantage of that and went for a run. I felt great during this run! I should probably really start running in the morning more often. Not only is the weather better, but it helps to get the exercise done early and it also helps me to feel better all day! I ran about 3.5 miles today. I could have probaly gone a little bit farther, but in typical Saturday style, we had some things we needed to get done, so I cut it at 3.5. Maybe tomorrow I will go a bit longer if I'm still feeling good!

So long for today...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chicken Cordon Blue

I've decided to take part in a couple new challenges that I have found out about from some other bloggers. In each challenge, you really just compete against yourself, so it's really what you make of it. My newest challenge is called the Bathroom Squat Challenge. To read all the details, head over to Living, Laughing & Losing. But in short, every time you go to the bathroom, you should also do 20 squats. Since I am trying to increase my water intake, I am finding myself running to the bathroom a lot more. So by doing this, it helps to get a little bit of extra exercise in for my legs. If you're interested but don't think you can do 20, start with just 5 or 10. Anything that gets you moving. Make it your own challenge however you want to!

Dinner tonight was another one of my oldies but goodies. Most recipes have this as having breading on it, but I am trying to save on points, so I didn't include the breadcrumbs. It's still really good without them. I also like to add the honey mustard to it that most other recipes don't include. I love the sweetness that it adds. I prefer to use the Golding Farms honey mustard in the bear-shaped bottle because it is lower in points. But you can use which ever brand you have on hand. Just be sure to adjust the points accordingly. This is one of TC's favorite WW meals that I make. I really should make it more often for him...Here's the recipe:

Servings: 4
Points+: 4

4 4-oz. chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
4 Light Laughing Cow Swiss wedges
8 slices ultra thin sliced deli ham
4 t. honey mustard
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Pound the chicken flat to about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thickness. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Evenly spread one wedge of cheese over each chicken cutlet. Lay 2 pieces of ham over top of cheese. Spread 1 t. honey mustard over ham. Roll the chicken cutlet, starting at the short end and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining chicken cutlets.

Place the chicken seam side down into a cast iron skillet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

** You can also bread the chicken after rolling it if you want to. In order to save on points, I decided not to. **

In addition to the 260 squats that I did today in the Bathroom Squat Challenge, I also did Level 2 of Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown. I did my BL Weight Loss Yoga workout last Thursday and by the time Sunday came around, I felt like it had been way too long since I did yoga with Jillian. I was really feeling this in my legs tonight! Those squats are starting to catch up to me!!

So long for today...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Taco Soup

So I haven't done too much with FitFluential yet, but I am making so many new contacts. I love all of the new people that I'm meeting. I like to see how others are approaching fitness and nutrition. I'm getting a lot of new ideas not only for recipes, but also for workouts. Since I have a trip coming up next week, I'd like to find some workouts besides running that I can do without a TV. I can't wait to try some out and I'll share them with you all.

Tonight's dinner was an oldie but a goodie. Taco Soup! If you're in Weight Watchers, you know about this soup. It's really a type of chili with a southwestern flavor. It's really easy and it's very filling. You can add or change things around as much as you want to with this. There really are so many variations that you could do on this to suit your tastes. Addison loves this soup! In general, she likes soup, and this one isn't the exception. We like to add some condiments to it, too. Tonight, we added cheese and some tortilla strips that I baked up. You could also add some sour cream, salsa, guacamole, whatever you want. Here's the recipe:

adapted from
Servings: 10
Points+: 5

1 lb. ground turkey or lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 (1 oz) pkg. hidden valley ranch dressing mix
1 (1 oz.) pkg taco seasoning mix
1 (16 oz) can pinto beans (undrained)
1 (16 oz) can chili beans (undrained)
1 (16 oz) can whole kernel corn (undrained)
1 (8 oz) can Mexican style tomatoes (undrained)
1 (8 oz) can diced tomatoes (undrained)

Brown meat and onions and drain. Mix ranch and taco seasonings into meat. Add remaining ingredients, into mixture. Simmer 1 hour. Enjoy!

Tonight, I'm going to work out with Jillian again. I'm going to do level 2 of Ripped in 30. I love her circuit training workouts! Well, let's be honest, I love most of her workouts. But especially the circuit workouts. I like that I get to do strength, cardio and abs all in one workout. Since I'm a mother of a 3 year old, I don't have a lot of free time. So when I do take the time to work out, I like to get as much bang for my buck as possible! That's just what I get from Jillian's Shred and Ripped series. I tried to find when she will be having a new workout coming out, but couldnt find anything. I'm ready for a new one!

So long for today...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chicken Rollatini

Tonight, I got to take part in my very first FitBlog chat on Twitter. If you haven't already found me on Twitter, please do. I am @southliveyankee. Come join the fun! Tonight's conversation was about group fitness classes. Although, I don't usually take any group fitness classes, I really liked the conversation. I liked listening to other's points of view and seeing what kinds of activities are out there, just in case I ever decide to go the gym route. I can't wait for the next FitBlog chat!

Dinner tonight was DEE-LICIOUS! I found it on one of the very first blogs I started following: Wholesome Mommy. This dinner wasn't very hard but it tasted so good! I love cheesy goodness wrapped in chicken! TC even made a couple of comments about how good it was. This one will defintitely be in the regular rotation...whaenever that starts! Here's the recipe:

adapted from Wholesome Mommy
Servings: 4
Points+: 5

2 4-oz. chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
1 c. 2% milk shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. reduced fat parmesan cheese
1/4 c. italian breadcrumbs
1 egg white

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Pound the chicken flat to about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thickness. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1/4 c. of the mozzarella cheese evenly over each chicken cutlet. Roll the chicken cutlet, starting at the short end and secure with a toothpick.

Combine the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese together and spread out on some waxed paper or a shallow dish/plate. Beat the egg whites until foamy and pour into another shallow dish/plate.

Dip the chicken, first in the egg whites, then in the breadcrumb mixture. Place the chicken seam side down into a cast iron skillet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with spaghetti with marinara sauce (I used Prego Light Smart).

I graduated tonight! Yay! I moved up to Level 2 of Jillian Michael's Ripped in 30 workout. I've done all of these before, but this rotation through, I upped the weights that I'm using. In the past, I've used 3 pound weights, but I'm going through with 5 pounds this time. I can honestly say, that at first, these are hard workouts to do with the 5 lbs. I know there are some people out there that use 8 lb or higher weights. That is fantastic and I applaud them. I, however, am not at that level. At this point, I feel pretty proud of myself for being able to get through the whole workout with 5 lb weights.

If you are doing strength workouts, you need to only worry about you. Do what you feel is best for your own body, not what someone else thinks you should be doing - unless it's your personal trainer, of course! If you push yourself too hard too fast, you're probably going to end up with an injury and even more frustration. So listen to your body. If it's telling you to cut back, definitely listen to it! Ok, done with the lecture. Hope you're having a great day!

So long for today...

Monday, May 14, 2012

FitFluential Ambassador

Hey there! I'm so excited! I have great news! I got an e-mail telling me that I'm going to be a FitFluential Ambassador. So what is FitFluential and why do they need ambassadors?

Here is their website where you can find all of this information, but let me try to sum it up for you. "FitFluential is a growing family of fitness fanatics spreading a positive healthy message year-round. FitFluential is Fitness Found." Sounds good, right? So what exactly does that mean?

Back when I met Hannah Curlee, I realize that I wanted to share the knowldege that I have about fitness and nutrition with others. I have worked so hard over the last few years to obtain as much information as possible about healthy living. And I'm trying my hardest to apply it to my life every day. But I really want to share it with others. I want to help others to live a healthier lifestyle. When I was looking for a way to reach more people, I came across FitFluential. So I submitted my application to them hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. Imagine my delight when I received my e-mail yesterday!! I can't wait to get started with them and make some great connections. I would love the opportunity to meet other bloggers and also some of my readers. I want to know that I am reaching others. If I can even help one person to live a healtier lifestyle, then I am a happy person. If I can help more than one person, that is even better!

Any one can apply to be a FitFluential Ambassador. They will review your application and let you know their decision. If you're interested, you can apply here. The great thing about this program, is that you can do as much or as little as what you're comfortable. I have so much to learn about it and as I learn more, I will definitely share it with you.

Also going on today, I'm packing up my Foodie Pen Pal package. This a really neat program that I found out about.

This a really neat program that I found out about. Here's how it works: You get the name of another blogger or a reader and you have to send them some of your favorite foods, whether local, regional or national. There is a $15 spending limit. Then you send it to your assigned "Pen Pal" for that month and wait for yours to arrive. This is my first month participating in it, but as long as I keep having the great experience that I've been having, I will definitely continue to participate. If you're interested in becoming a Foodie Pen Pal, you can get the information here. I can't wait to see what I get. I will post about that on May 31st.

Ok, so much to do tonight, plus, I still have to do Jillian Michael's Ripped in 30. Today is my last day of doing level 1, then I graduate to level 2 tomorrow!!

So long for today...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Curd

Happy Mother's Day! I hope all mother's, past, present and future and biological or otherwise had a very happy Mother's Day! I certainly did. But my family makes it easy for me to enjoy this day! Even though it rained a little bit, we still had a good time.

So for some reason, I decided that I wanted to make some type of curd. I've never made one before. Actually, I don't even know if I've ever eaten one before. But for some reason, last week, I decided that I wanted to make one. My mind kept going to blueberry, so yesterday, when we were at Sam's I picked up some blueberries to experiment with. I looked around on the internet for some different recipes and found one that sounded pretty good. Now I should also tell you that I think lemons and blueberries are the perfect pair. Because of this, I decided to add some lemon juice and zest to the blueberry curd. The result was absolutely delicious! I had to fight myself from eating this by the spoonful! It was such a pretty color, too! I promise to find something wonderful to use this for and post about it later this week. Here's the recipe:

adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Servings: 10
Points+: 2

2 c. fresh blueberries
1 T. water
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. unsalted butter

Combine blueberries, water, lemon juice and lemon zest in small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Bring to simmer and allow to boil for about 10 minutes, or until all blueberries have released their juices, stirring fequently to mash up the berries some. Remove from heat.

Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Reserve the juice and throw away the berry skins.

In a double boiler whisk together the eggs, sugar and blueberry juice together constantly. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each spoonful to melt before adding another.

After all the butter has been added and melted, allow the curd to cook for a few minutes until it starts to thicken enough so that it coats the back of a sppon. Remove the curd from the heat and pour it into a heatproof jar or other container.

This will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Well, I wanted to run again today, but Mother Nature had other plans for me. Can you believe that? On Mother's Day! I thought it was pretty mean of her to do that, but I can't exactly argue with her. So instead I laid down with Addison while she napped for a little bit. I decided that since it was Mother's Day, I should relish every minute! So I did get to do my Yoga Meltdown tonight. I didn't do it since last Sunday. I did the Biggest Loser Weight Loss Yoga video on Thursday. It felt like it had been much longer than a week since I did Jillian's yoga video. It felt really good. I'm thinking I might go back to her yoga twice a week instead of switching it up. We'll see.

So long for today...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cinnamon Almond Granola

Hey everyone! First, I want to thank all of you for stopping by. I really appreciate you taking the time to read my blog. I hope you're enjoying it and please let me know if you ever have any suggestions.

Today marked the 5 year anniversary of our wedding. 5 years ago today, all of our family and friends gathered together to help us celebrate this wonderful day. Here are a couple of pictures from that day...

So I've been wanting to try a granola recipe. I trying very hard to be more mindful of the foods that I'm putting into my body. I'm trying to cut back on the amount of processed foods that I consume. I know there are a variety of different granolas out there, but I din't like all of the additives that are often found in them. So I looked through a bunch of different blogs and came upon one that sounded good to me. I made this granola this morning and added it to my blueberry and yogurt parfait this morning. This was really good! I'm so glad I made it and plan to make many more in the future. Here's the recipe:

adapted from Lauren's Latest
Servings: 20
Points+: 3

2 c. quick cooking oats
2 1/2 c. multigrain hot cereal
1/2 c. sliced toasted almonds
1 c. unsweetened coconut
1/4 c. light butter
1/3. c. light maple syrup
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats and multigrain cereal with the almonds and coconut. Stir until well blended and set aside.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in maple syrup and cinnamon. Microwave mixture another 30 seconds or so to be sure all the butter is melted and incorporated with the maple syrup and cinnamon. Stir in vanilla.

Pour the mixture over bowl of cereals and nuts. Stir stir well to coat the cereals and spread out on a large cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

While I'm still working on my plank hold every day, I'm also keeping up with the structured workouts. Last night, I did Level 1 of Jillian Michael's Ripped in 30. Today, I was very happy to get in a 3.5 mile run. The weather was absolutely beautiful with very little humidity. It was a great day for a run! My pace was a little bit slower than it has been, but I was still pretty happy with the run. My HRM said I burned 491 calories. And THAT, I'm VERY happy with!

So long for today...