Cookies ‘n Cream Puppy Chow

After posting so many health-ified recipes lately, I think it’s about time for a good ‘ol cheat day recipe, no?  This is not Whole30-paleo-low-carb-sugar detox-Jillian Michaels approved.  Sorryimnotsorry.  So put on your stretchy pants and let’s get this party started.

My office had a “food day” to celebrate the Cardinals home opener on Monday.  Naturally, I signed up to bring a dessert and headed straight to my Pinterest board to find a recipe I have yet to try.  The lucky winner? Cookies ‘n Cream Puppy Chow.  Oh. My. Goodness.  I have since found that it is actually physically impossible to stop eating this stuff.  Trust me, the struggle is real.

IMG_20140406_195658There are a million recipes on Pinterest for this but of course I had to make a few edits….which basically means I doubled the amount of chocolate.  What’s the point if every single morsel isn’t drenched in chocolate-y goodness anyway?

Ingredients:

For “cookies”:

  • 1/2 box rice chex (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 10 Oreos, crushed

For “cream”

  • 1/2 box rice chex (about 6 cups)
  • 1 24oz pkg vanilla almond bark
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 10 Oreos, crushed

Directions:

(You will repeat this process twice, once for cookies and once for cream.)

Melt chocolate in a double boiler (like this) on the stove, stirring frequently (for a makeshift double boiler, place a smaller pot inside a slightly larger one with a small amount of water in it and heat on the stove, this helps prevent burning of the chocolate).  For an less complicated option, slowly melt the chocolate in a bowl on low in the microwave, stirring frequently.  Be careful, as chocolate burns easily.  Place the chex in a large bowl and pour the chocolate on top, then stir until combined.  Place the powdered sugar and crushed Oreos in a large ziploc bag.  Pour the chocolate covered chex into the ziploc bag, close it and shake until the sugar/cookies are distributed evenly.  Repeat for the other half of the batch.

Combine the “cookies” and “cream” into a large container.  Crush the remaining Oreos (I used a family size package for this) and mix in with the chex.

Now for the most important direction – Eat your little heart out!

 

 

Weekend Recap & Cookie Overload

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our house!

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Christmas DecorMatt and have have started collecting ornaments from some of the places we have visited or that are meaningful.  Decorating the tree brings back all of the fun memories. 🙂

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(Yes, that’s a Rams Cheerleader in a veil, thanks to my amazing teammates!) 🙂

Remember how I said I was looking forward to a girls’ trip to KC for the weekend?  Welp, Mother Nature had other plans for us and it looked a little something like this:

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DSC01560We debated attempting to make the trek a little later in the morning but decided Kappa Christmas would have to be rescheduled after the holidays. Dang snow. 🙁

Onto Plan B: Cookie Extravaganza Round 2.  As luck would have it, I stayed at my parents’ house Friday night and obviously wasn’t going to drive anywhere in 8 inches of snow, so cookies it was!

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photo(We have a lot of dogs in my extended family.  These are “people cookies” but we don’t like to leave the dogs out. :))

DSC01566This year, we tried something new with these Pumpkin Gingerbread Snowballs and paleo-approved Chocolate Coconut Squares.

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Are you on sweets overload yet? No? Me neither.  Now for the recipe for two of my favorites!

Reeses-Oreo Cookies

Oreo Cake Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg Oreos (crushed)
  • 8 oz light cream cheese
  • melted semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Crush Oreos (I usually put them all in a ziploc bag and crush with my hands or a rolling pin). Pour crumbs into a bowl with the cream cheese and mix together.  Shape the dough into balls and let cool until they harden enough they don’t fall apart.  Dip in melted chocolate, sprinkle on your favorite toppings and let dry on foil or parchment paper.

Ritz Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • Ritz crackers
  • peanut butter
  • melted semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Place a small scoop of peanut butter in between two Ritz crackers.  Dip in melted chocolate, sprinkle on your favorite toppings and let dry on foil or parchment paper.  Yes, it’s that easy!

Now, I leave you in a chocolate coma.  You’re welcome. 🙂

Cookie Extravaganza: Recipe #1

As I mentioned last week, I had an eventful Saturday planned- cookie baking with my mom and watching Mizzou play in the SEC Championship.  Although Mizzou didn’t win 🙁 I’m still so proud that we made it to the championship at all, after only 2 years in the conference.  We’ll get ’em next year, Tigers!

DSC01554For as long as I can remember, my mom has always made what seems like a million different kinds of cookies for Christmas.  Since my sister and I have since left the “nest”, we have made it what is now one of my favorite holiday traditions and spend a day or two baking cookies together, listening to Christmas music and chatting away.  Girl time + chocolate = perfection. 🙂

DSC01547For round 1 of the cookie baking extravaganza, we made chocolate dipped pretzels, chocolate dipped Oreo balls, chocolate dipped “Reese’s” cookies, cut out sugar cookies and Magic Bars….and that’s only the beginning.  I will share the Oreo and Reese’s cookies soon, but today I wanted to give you the recipe for Magic Bars.  This recipe came from my great-grandmother and are are quite possibly my favorite out of everything we make. (I mean, if I absolutely HAVE to choose.)  If it isn’t obvious, I’ll be candid in saying these are not, in any way shape or form, healthy.  If you are going to treat yourself though, these are worth every calorie in my opinion. 😉  We did end up using organic condensed milk…so I think that justifies having two?

Magic BarsIngredients:

  • 3 cups (approx.) graham crackers, crushed
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 cups coconut
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

Crush graham crackers and mix with melted butter and sugar.  Spread in the bottom of a greased 9×13 cake pan and pack it down with a fork.  Mix chocolate chips, pecans and coconut together and pour over the graham crackers.  Pour the condensed milk evenly over the pan.  Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until the milk starts to bubble and the edges start to turn brown.  Cut bars into desired size and enjoy every last morsel!

Stay tuned for more cookie recipes!

Have great week!

WIAW #5: NOLA Style


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I haven’t posted in a while because Matt and I took a mini-vaca to New Orleans for a long weekend.  He had a conference for work, so I decided to take a couple of days off work and tag along this time.  The theme of the weekend was food, drinks, sightseeing and more food….so I thought it would be appropriate to share some of the culinary experience I had over the weekend.  And by culinary experience, I mean gluttony.  Hey, it happens.  I think it’s perfectly ok, when you eat clean 90% of the time, to treat yourself on vacation.  I mean, who wants to go to a place that is partially known for their food and order chicken and vegetables, “plain please”. Not for me, although I will admit we were both ready to get back to healthy eating by the end of the trip.  There’s only so much a girl can take. 🙂

DSC01365I was most proud of myself for going outside my comfort zone and trying oysters- twice!  Disclaimer: they were cooked and covered in either butter, cheese and/or a spinach mixture, but I think an oyster is an oyster and I shall pat myself on the back for that one.  Now, you still couldn’t pay me enough to try raw oysters on the half shell.  My adventurous side as limits, people.

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DSC01299Lunch on the first day.  This is me trying to be semi-healthy with a cup of shrimp bisque and crab salad.  I decided to take it easy on myself after the oysters.  That didn’t last long. 🙂

DSC01302Matt jumped right in with a shrimp po boy.

DSC01303Most of my meals consisted of some sort of fish…

DSC01333…and champagne.

DSC01301Each restaurant offered a variety of fish I hadn’t heard of before, so it was fun to try a few new things.  Not one of them was a disappointment.

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DSC01353Fried alligator bites.  Tastes like chicken! 😉

DSC01351Oh, more champs…

DSC01350I wish there were such a thing as a “champagne flight”.

DSC01349I was really looking forward to visiting Cafe Du Monde for their famouns beignets and French press coffee. It certainly lived up to the expectations.  The place was absolutely packed All. Day. Long, but we managed to snag a powdered sugar covered table for a little late afternoon treat.

DSC01363So much sugar, so little time.

DSC01360I ended the weekend with this little gem.  Double dark chocolate bread pudding.  Yup.  Might as well go out with a bang.

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We had such a great time exploring a new city together.  I can’t wait to go back!

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Random of the day- a real life transformer.  Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up.

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Football & Friday Night Workout

My weekend started early, Primetime style. 🙂  The Rams were playing the 49ers during Thursday Night Football and this game would mark my first real Sunday tailgating experience in St. Louis.  Oh how different my game days have become.  Instead of going carb-less for a week and getting up at the crack of dawn smelling like spray tan, I can now show up 2 hours before the game, eat my face off and even wear (gasp!) a hat if I wanted to.  Let’s be honest, the hat part probably won’t happen unless it’s raining.  I can’t go a day without a good hair tease.  Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader.

Apparently the tailgate food was actually relatively healthy, compared to most game days.  We had two kinds of shrimp, one bacon wrapped and made by my mom (yum!), bratwurst, rice, Chinese ramen salad and my personal favorite, indoor s’mores (also made by my mom, her stuff is always a hit).  I chose to limit myself to the bacon wrapped shrimp, Chinese ramen salad and indoor s’mores, along with some of the random pretzel mixes and dips that are inevitable. Recipes for the ramen salad and indoor s’mores are at the end of the post!

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The game itself was fun, until the Rams lost.  It just wasn’t our day. 🙁  I still enjoyed watching the cheerleaders every move though, surprise, surprise.

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The players’ tunnel was always my favorite part of the game.  Nothing beats running out of the tunnel with the lights out and pyrotechnics going off behind you.  I may or may not have cried as I watched the cheerleaders run out on Thursday night because I know the exhilaration and excitement they are feeling in that moment and it’s something you never forget.  It’s fine, I’ll get over it.  One day…

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I will say, it was fun sitting in the stands with my parents and Matt and actually being able to enjoy a game with them instead of waving at them from afar!

Needless to say, Friday was a rough one.  When you are used to going to bed like a grandma around 9:00 every night, midnight makes it a little hard to function the next day.  Matt and I reaallllyy were not in the mood to workout after work.  It was very tempting to park our butts on the couch and call it a night, but we forced ourselves to suck it up and go to the gym like we planned.  My workout wasn’t super high intensity but it was upper body focused and my arms were shaking by the end, so I think I did my job.  In the end, we were glad we went.  After all, it certainly didn’t kill us. 🙂  The workout alone takes 20 minutes and you don’t need any equipment, so it’s easily done at home.  If you don’t have access to a cardio machine, you can warm up with 5-10 minutes of jumping jacks, high knees, stairs, etc.

Upper Body Tabata Workout

(Shout out to Heather for the Side Plank Toe Touch move!  Thanks for the inspiration, it’s a good one!) 🙂

Exercise Links/Demonstrations for those that may not be familiar:

V-Ups

Plank Push-Ups

Plank Jumping Jacks

Side Plank Toe Touch

Start in side plank position with your top arm straight up.  Keeping your hips up, bring your top foot forward and hand down to touch your toe.  Repeat.

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Oh hey there, Big Foot.

Mountain Climbers

Plank Reaches

Start in plank position.  Keep your hips straight and touch each hand out in front of you, repeating until time is up.

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Tri-cep Push-Ups

Just like a normal push-up, but start with your hands closer to your body, right next to your shoulders.  When you lower your body, make sure your elbows point directly back.  Disclaimer: I did these on my knees during the workout, I barely made it through the one in the demo picture. 🙂

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Reverse Crunches

Walking Push-Ups

Start standing up, bend over at the waist, place your hands on the ground and walk them forward until you are in straight arm push-up position.  Do a push-up, then walk your hands back towards your body until you are back in standing position, keeping your legs only slightly bent when walking out/back.  That is 1 rep.

Superman Planks

Lower Russian Twists

Start on your back with legs at a 90 degree angle, arms out by your sides.  Bring your knees to one side, only going as far as you can while keeping the opposite shoulder blade and back touching the floor.  Return to starting position and repeat.

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Chinese Ramen Salad

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. shredded green cabbage
  • 1 bunch chopped green onion (or less, depending on your taste)
  • 2 pkg. Ramen noodles (Oriental flavor)
  • 3/4-1 c slivered almonds
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1/3 c rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Stevia
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp margarine

Directions:

Melt butter in a small skillet and toss almonds until toasted.  Break up Ramen noodles and combine with cabbage, almonds and green onion.  Mix oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper together.  Pour mixture over dry ingredients and toss until fully coated.  Serve and enjoy!

Indoor S’mores

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(File this one under a Cheat Day!)

Ingredients:

  • 8 c Golden Grahams cereal
  • 5 c mini marshmallows, plus 1 extra cup
  • 1 1/2 c chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c light corn syrup
  • 5 tbsp margarine
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

In a large bowl, measure cereal.  Butter/spray a 13×9 inch pan.  In a large microwavable bowl, microwave 5 cups of marshmallows, chocolate chips, corn syrup and butter/margarine for about 2-3min, stirring every minute, until melted.  Stir in vanilla.

Pour the mixture over cereal and toss until completely coated.  Stir in the 1 extra cup of marshmallows.

Press mixture in the pan.  Let stand uncovered for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate for a firmer bar. Cut and enjoy!

 

Have a great weekend!

 

Baby Sprinkle and White Chocolate Popcorn

Last Sunday my friend Lori and I threw a baby “sprinkle” for our friend Dana.  Dana already has a 2 year old little boy and this time around, it’s a GIRL! I absolutely cannot wait to spoil her. 🙂  Since this is her second baby and she obviously had a big shower the first time, Dana didn’t want us to make a big deal about it…but of course, we couldn’t resist the chance to throw a party!  It was so much fun to “sprinkle” her with girlie gifts and catch up with friends!

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Two of my favorite parts were the ice cream “sprinkle bar” and the popcorn covered in white chocolate (and sprinkles…are you sensing a theme??).  Of course, both of my favs involved sweets….weird…

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Having said that, I can’t end this post without giving you the recipe for the white chocolate popcorn!  It is beyond delicious.  There were literally only kernels left by the end of the party, so that’s always a good sign. 🙂  It’s also incredibly easy to make.  Annnnd equally as difficult to stop yourself from eating the entire batch in one sitting.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

White Chocolate Covered Popcorn

Ingredients:

2 bags popcorn (I used Fat Free, so the butter wouldn’t make it taste funny)

1 pkg almond bark

Directions:

Pop the popcorn, pour into a large container.  Melt the almond bark and pour over the popcorn, then fold/stir slowly until covered. You can add sprinkles in any color, to match the occasion!  I had this at my bridal shower, at other baby showers, and holiday parties and it’s always a hit!

*Make sure you melt the chocolate SLOWLY, otherwise it will burn.  I made my own double boiler by putting a little water in a sauce pan, bringing it to a boil and then put the chocolate in a smaller sauce pan and placed it in the water.  Another option is to put it in the microwave on low and stir it frequently.

File this one away for a good cheat day. 🙂