Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats

I’m not sure if you would really call these recipes Valentine’s Day themed, per se, but they involve strawberries, strawberries are pink and VDay is all about pink….so Valentine’s treats it is. 😉

The first is a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Protein Smoothie.  Who doesn’t love chocolate covered strawberries?! And if I can blend them up and drink them out of a straw for breakfast, I’m all for that situation.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 c frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (you can eliminate this if you use chocolate protein powder)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • handful of spinach

Directions:

Blend and enjoy!

DSC01969The next treat is a new one for me.  Davida over at The Healthy Maven is hosting a linkup for health-ified Valentine’s Day baked goods. As soon as I heard the idea, I knew I had to participate.  #1 I L.O.V.E. baked goods in all shapes and sizes. #2 I also love taking those baked goods and making them in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I need to eat it while simultaneously running on the treadmill.  I stumbled across a recipe for strawberry/chocolate paleo bread from You Fresh Naturals on Instagram and knew I had to try it. I made a couple of adjustments of my own to create Strawberry Chocolate Pecan Paleo Bread!

Strawberry Paleo BreadYes, I’m aware it looks like a dog treat. The picture really doesn’t do it justice, plus I’m not good at taking fancy food blogger pics like Davida. 🙂  It was delicious and even Matt was impressed!  Wife-win. I haven’t made paleo bread before, but I’ll definitely be trying this concept again!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 c coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp canned coconut milk
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch baking soda
  • 1/4 c chopped pecans
  • 1/4 c chopped strawberries
  • 1/4 c chocolate chips (for true paleo, use a brand like Enjoy Life)

Directions:

Place all ingredients except strawberries, pecans and chocolate chips in food processor.  Blend until combined.  Fold in remaining ingredients and pour into greased bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

 

Sending virtual hugs to everyone on this Valentine’s Day!  Have a great weekend!

Roasted Red Pepper Salad

I hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve!  Mine was spent at dinner with friends and concluded with champagne, competitive board games, and party hats. Pretty good night if you ask me. 🙂

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DSC01616Every year though, I think I look forward even more to New Year’s Day when we get together with our friends for a day filled with football, food and mimosas. Per usual, we had the traditional chili, buffalo chicken dip and more carbs than I could count, but as we’ve gotten a older the spread has become a little more “mature” and a little less unhealthy…a little. 😉 I was really happy when my friend Kate showed up with a salad and I knew I needed to get the recipe to share.

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(She’s too cute not to include in the picture, right?) 😉

It was light, yet full of flavor. If you are on a bit of a detox after the holidays, like me, this is a great way to dress that boring ol’ salad!

Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

Ingredients

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Roasted Peppers:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp oregano

Directions

Marinate the red peppers in the EVOO, garlic and red pepper overnight. Whisk dressing ingredients together and add roasted peppers. Pour over salad of your choice!

Have a great weekend!

New Year’s Resolutions

I’m baaaack! I hope everyone had a great holiday! I decided I needed to unplug for a bit, which is why I haven’t posted in over a week. Now, since all of the holiday craziness is over, it’s time to get back to normal.  I’ll start off with a little photo dump of my holiday.  I unplugged so much that I neglected to take the usual amount of pictures but luckily my mom was busy trying out her new camera so I was able to steal a few. 🙂

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photo (1)(the result of Cookie Extravaganza #1 and #2…and that’s only about 1/4 of it.)

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IMG_20131225_174525How my dad’s side of the family does holidays.  A drink contest, what else?!  Clearly, competitiveness runs in the family.

1556350_10201365081870030_1924513196_oOne of the smartest and most generous men I know.  Love spending time with my grandparents when I can.

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With New Year’s Eve on the horizon, I started thinking about resolutions.  Each year, I have every intention of making at least one New Year’s resolution but it never really pans out. I decided this year, I would take a stab at it with a few goals, both practical and personal. I kept it short and sweet. Quality over quantity!

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1. Get ACSM certified. I’ve been saying for months that I want to become a certified personal trainer, but procrastination should be my middle name. I finally ripped off the band-aid, bought the study materials and cracked open the books this weekend. My goal is to be certified by March at the latest, and then I’m looking forward to starting out with bootcamps for family and friends and building my client base from there.

2. Continue healthy eating. Sure, 2014 will have it’s fair share of pizza, french fries and chocolate, but I want to challenge myself to try even more new healthy recipes and really focus on eating clean as much as I can. I don’t eat too much processed food but I think I can make more of an effort to replace more of it with whole “real” foods.

3. Improve decision making skills. This is a big one for me. Anyone who knows me knows that decision making is NOT one of my strong suits. And that’s an understatement. I need to work on making more decisions on my own (and not dwelling on them!) and not always worry about what other people’s opinions are, or all of the “what ifs”. Sure, big life decisions can use a good pro/con list or advice from my family but I don’t have to consult my mom every time I’m deciding on which necklace matches my outfit the best. 😉

4. Be more present. I’m the type of person who is always “in my own head” and constantly thinking about my plan for the next day, week, month, etc. While this is perfectly normal for someone with a type A personality like me, I’m realizing more and more that I need to try to stop and, for lack of better words, smell the roses a bit more. It seems like every year goes by faster than the next and life is too short to sweat the small stuff. I need to cherish the time I have with my husband, family and friends and be grateful for each and every day.

And now that I’ve said them out loud, I guess there’s no excuse not to follow through!  I’ll expect each and every one of you to hold me accountable. 😉

I am looking forward to a fantastic 2014!

Happy New Year!

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!