The Award Winning Cookies

Last December, we were all ready for my daughter’s debut as an angel in our church’s Christmas play. She had gone to the dress rehearsal, she had her costume laid out, and cookies were made for the cookie reception that follows the play. We had a relaxing morning to counterbalance that evening’s festivities, but as the day went, my daughter’s eyes got redder and redder, she kept tearing up, and her eyes got goopy. So, rather than going to the Christmas play, we took her to urgent care to get her some drops for her first-ever case of pink-eye.

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Kitchen Tips and Tricks for the Busy Lady

I’m excited to share this article from friend and fellow #specialkindofcrazy lady Rebecca. She  has some awesome tips on how to save time and energy in the kitchen – something we could all stand to learn right?  Check out her awesome tips and see what you can slowly start to implement in your own daily routine. Remember:  one thing at a time – slow and steady wins the race!

Be Aware – Saving Time and Energy in the Kitchen

If your goal is less time cooking and more time at the table with your loved ones, then this article may be just what you need to reach that goal.  Some of you are great meal planners, but to take that meal plan to the next level to save time, BE AWARE of these tips and tricks:

-Chop up onions, green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and any other go-to veggies and store separately in glass (see-through) bowls.  Keep these in the refrigerator and use throughout the week for omelets, taco night, salads, spaghetti meat, etc.

-Clean and prep strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc and store separately in glass see-through bowls.  Keep in the refrigerator and use throughout the week for yogurt toppings, smoothies, or a quick snack.

-Lunch prep can be done at the beginning of each week.  Set aside a shelf in the refrigerator and load it up with already packaged snack sized bags of your favorite lunch items.  I do this each week with carrots, cherry tomatoes, yogurt, cheese sticks, etc.  Each morning, I just grab from my pre-packaged snacks and add a sandwich

-Not everyone likes bread crust, but it’s so annoying to trim the crust off of each slice of bread.  Laura’s favorite go-to sandwich trick is a Cut-N-Seal from Pampered Chef.  It makes a perfectly round sandwich and no crust to deal with.  This is a quick way to make a peanut butter and banana sandwich OR even a homemade hot-pocket.

(side note:  Laura here – this is ALL Jackson wants in his lunch so I make them in bulk. I make about 4-5 sandwiches at a time, freeze them, and then each morning throw one in his lunch box. Seriously his favorite way to enjoy pb&j…never thought of a hot pocket…)

-My favorite snack are apple slices, but I’m not real fast at cutting the apple into cute slices.  My go-to time saver for getting a great sliced apple is an apple wedger.  And then, you can make really cute race cars for the little ones too.

The see-through glass storage containers will allow you to see everything you have in the refrigerator without having to open up the containers and sneak a peak—and that’s definitely a time saver!  As you read through these tips, think of all the ways you can save time in the kitchen—and then use that time to be with your loved ones, memorize an inspirational phrase, OR, do a few burpees!  If any of you are interested in products that can help save time in the kitchen, feel free to contact me or go to my website, pamperedchef.biz/rebeccavia

Thanks so much Rebecca. I never thought about preprepping some single serving stuff for kids so lunches can be grab a bag and go! I’m totally trying that next week. Packing individual bags of grapes, peppers and tomatoes can get time consuming for sure.

If you are interested in any of the products that can help save time in the kitchen, feel free to contact Rebecca at her website here!

 

Your Favorite Kid Snacks Revealed

All of July, we focused on Fun for Fitness. One aspect of fun is giving kids some snacks that are fun and (mostly) nutritious.  I asked our PowerFull Moms for their favorite kid snacks and I couldn’t resist sharing. These ideas are super fun and easy to do – great for a busy mom on the go!

Download and print your copy today – get a few more summer fun snacks before school starts back again (where has the time gone?)

 

Leeann Likes – Sweet Potato Toast. Is this #reallife?

What is up with Sweet Potato Toast??

Let’s talk about sweet potato toast.  I feel like it hit the internet by storm.  I LOVE sweet potatoes.  Sweet potato fries are on the top of my favorite food list.  But for some reason I was weirded out by the idea of toast.  Maybe because I was scared to cut those suckers that way.  But see something enough times and you just need to try it.  I found two methods of cooking.  Some people use the toaster, other people use the oven.  I went with the oven because I think sweet potatoes taste better when cooked low and slow.  I can’t imagine how many rounds it would have taken them in the toaster.  I make a a lot, stored them in the fridge and then toasted them each morning for breakfast or in the afternoon for a snack.  I was really surprised.  It was great and I can’t wait to make it again!

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Chocolate Chip Cookies with Greek Yogurt

Ok I promise to take a break on the Greek yogurt recipes.

Remember these chocolate chip muffin minis?

Or these blueberry muffins?

Ok well let’s go for one a bit more indulgent! How about a chocolate chip cookie made with Greek yogurt?  For those of you working on ways to add more FITness into your daily routine – consider this:

These have no butter and no eggs.

They do have a healthy dollop of Greek yogurt (aka protein) so boom! No I do not advise you eat all of them in one sitting…but indulging with one isn’t gonna hurt.

I feel obligated to warn you: they are a bit cake-y.  So mine didn’t come out crisp but more like a chewy cake texture.  That did not stop anyone in my family. The kiddos inhaled them. And if you have to pack a nut-free lunch box for school – this is a completely nut free cookie!

Here’s what you need:  Oh I divide the following when I made mine b/c I wasn’t sure if we’d like them. Next time I’ll make the full batch.

  • 2 1/2 cups of flour – I used whole wheat
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2/3 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups of chocolate chips

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 and prep your baking sheet. I cover mine with foil and spray with Pam.
  2. Now combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk ]the eggs and the sugars.
  4. Add to the sugar bowl your vanill and yogurt.
  5. Now slowly add that to the dry ingredients bowl.
  6. Throw in those chocolate chips
  7. Make balls about 1 tbsp or so on the baking sheet and bake for 9 – 11 minutes then remove and cool on a rack.

Voila! Yummy chocolate chip cookies you can add to your new favorites list!

Oh – you can check out the original recipe here

Greek Yogurt Bark

So I finally made the Greek Yogurt Bark that keeps popping up on my Pinterest account.

Here’s what you need:

  • chocolate chips (lots and lots!)
  • 1.5 cups greek yogurt – plain non fat
  • 1/4 cup honey

Here’s what you do:

  1. Mix it together and then we just dumped in a ton of chocolate chips
  2. Spread it on the pan and top it with even more chocolate chips
  3. Place it in the freezer for two hours and BOOM.

 

Actually – everyone liked it. Elli loved it after swim practice. Jackson doesn’t like “messy” food but tolerated it and did even better with it the second day. I just kept it in the freezer and break off pieces for them throughout the afternoon.  So I call this a #goodenough for a fun summer snack!  Easy, cold, and healthy enough for us!

Another Protein Boost at Starbucks!

I had so many great responses to our last post on getting your protein in while at Starbucks, I thought I’d share another tip. A great friend and committed boot camper Janis shared this tip.  Another genius way to do it!

Janis says to:

  1.  Bring in a bottle filled with unsweetened almond milk and one scoop max muscle protein.
  2. Ask for two shots of espresso on ice in larger cup and pour that in your protein shake.
  3. It ends up being only $2.50!

Janis’ version comes out to 182 calories, 3 grams carbs & 31 grams protein.
I have like 5 bottles of this in my fridge.  Again another genius way to work that system!

 

Another Quick Protein Tip

Yesterday I posted about how you can have your protein and get a fun luxury treat at Starbucks.  Well today I wanted to share a quick idea for protein powder.  I get my protein powder at Max Muscle in Springfield. I’ve posted different ways to use it too – baking it into cookies and pancakes. But my friend Kira shared with me that I could use a half of a scoop in my greek yogurt to cut the bitterness of the yogurt. Genius!

If you use 1 cup of non fat plain greek yogurt and 1/2 scoop of your protein powder you have: 

190 calorie snack with 10 grams carbs, 0 grams fat, 35!! grams protein, and 8 grams sugar!!!

Another option is to add 1/2 scoop of protein powder to 1/2 cup of cottage cheese (I like 1% fat)

140 calories, 8 carbs, 2 grams fat, 23!! grams protein, and 5 grams sugar.

So try out a new way to use that protein powder. Bump up your protein intake in in an easy peasy way!

Thanks for the idea Kira! And stop by Max Muscle to find the protein powder that works for you!!

Get Your Protein Boost at Starbucks!

So my fellow teacher and PowerFull Fitness Instructor Sara M. recently told me about how she gets a protein boost at Starbucks. I COULD NOT believe her when she explained what she uses and I had to try it for myself.  And now that I have – I HAVE to share it with you.

Sometimes it is fun to get a little treat and feel like you are enjoying a luxury – sometimes you just need that. But maybe it isn’t a day you really wanted to blow 500 calories on a frapp or you are working towards your goals and just need a little “break” but don’t want to go overboard.

Well thank Sara M for this discovery….

I am not much of a Starbucks drinker so I had to get her to IN DETAIL explain how to order this protein boost and I’m goin g to explain it to you in details now.

  1.  You have to have this Premier Protein Shake. I get mine at Costco (ps they are DELICIOUS even without the Starbucks fun).  You can also buy smaller packages of them at Target.
  2. You take your shake (we used vanilla) into Starbucks and ask for a Iced Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte.
  3. Hand them the shake and ask them to use THAT instead of milk.
  4. They will add in three shots of espresso and 3-4 pumps of sugar free cinnamon dolce syrup.  They put all of this in a venti iced cup.

And voila – you have a protein delicious drink.  My Starbucks cashier only charged me $3.25 because I didn’t use their milk.

So how does this work nutrition facts wise?

175 calories, 10 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fat, 30 grams protein!!, and ONLY 1 GRAM SUGAR!!

So if you need a quick caffeine fix but also a protein boost and just want a little treat…this is a great option.

I had  our other instructor Erin try it too since she uses the premier shake a lot just on its own – we are all fans!

Cheers!

Pumpkin Pudding Cake = Gone in One Day

pujmpkinWell, yall know I love pumpkin. As part of my Restore meal this past weekend, I really wanted to try out a nice fall dessert – something sweet and satisfying with the taste of pumpkin (of course).

I went to my favorite blogger, Chocolate Covered Katie, and she did not disappoint. I use her blog almost exclusively for desserts because she has dairy free options that are delicious and don’t break the bank!  This weekend – we tried out Pumpkin Pudding Cake.

This dessert was incredible.  I am not writing up my version of it because I followed her recipe exactly and I STRONGLY URGE you to stop all you’re doing and make it.  Now.  Really.

Side note on prep:  When I was making it, it did seem weird to pour the brown sugar water over the cake mix because when I put it in the oven it was batter with water on top. I was pretty sure this was going to be a #fail but let me tell you, it does exactly what it is supposed to do. When I pulled the cake out, it was like magic.  The top part was a sweet pumpkin cake and the bottom half was like brown sugar pudding.  I poured that over like a syrup on top of the cake.  Yall, HALF the cake was gone within an hour.  Yep.  EVERYONE in this devoured it.

Happy Fall Yall!