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Getting Motivated

As you know, I have been following Jamie Eason’s LiveFit program for a little while now. In fact, today was slotted to be Day 23- Back and Biceps. However, after I rolled out of bed, I was just not feeling it. I wasn’t actually feeling the gym at all today. With achy, sore muscles, the last thing I felt like doing was “pumping iron.” Vegging on the couch sounded fantastic. I mean, it is officially football season.

(Source)

OSU vs. Miami kicks off game season, baby! Can I get a O-H-I-O!?!?

Even Ellie tried to convince me to stay home today. She crawled on my lap while I was putting my sneakers on, and it took more than just a little coaxing to get her off.

It’s so hard to say no to that sweet little face.

I did manage to get myself moving, though. I am a firm believer that getting going is one of the hardest things about working out. Plus, I can’t say that I’ve ever regretted a workout.

Workout:

I began with a solid 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. I decided to forgo the intervals today, but I did want to work my quads, so I set my machine for a steady climb workout. I know ellipticals vary, but I set my incline at 10 and my resistance at 10-11. I was feeling the burn!

By the time I was ready to lift, I was still not feeling it. I’m not sure if it was the arm soreness or that I am getting a little bored with the repetition of the program, but I just wasn’t excited to do it today. So I did something that did interest me. (Why do something you don’t really want to do, eh? Working out should be fun!)

I stumbled across the blog Back On Pointe the other day, and I found some workouts that look interesting. I gave this one a shot today:

The verdict: I think I might have to complete 2 or 3 rounds of the entire circuit next time to get its full benefit. I was really feeling those Russian twists and planks, but I definitely didn’t get as sweaty as I usually do during circuits. Still, I think you might be seeing a few more of Back On Ponite’s workouts on here in the future.

I finished off with some stretching in the Y’s aerobic studio. I was secretly very excited to see that Yoga was canceled this morning. For once, I finally got to feel like a dancer again. Ballet barre, polished floors (no marley, but I’m not complaining) . . . I felt at home again.

I love that photo. 🙂 I think that’s how I will always feel. Dancing is more fulfilling than walking for me!

The rest of my day was spent getting things done around the house. I vacuumed, mopped, organized, returned emails . . . but I won’t bore you with all of that. However, I did do something that just might strike your fancy.

Muddy Buddy Rice Krispy Treats

We have had marshmallows in our cupboard for ages (and we are not a marshmallow eating family), and since no one has been touching the box of Rice Krispies, I put two and two together: Rice Krispy Treats! Yet, regular ol’ rice krispy treats weren’t gonna cut it today. So, I found the perfect recipe on Pinterest.

Muddy Buddy Rice Krispy Treats

(Source: Cooking Classy)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 C butter
  • 1 (10.5 oz) pkg. mini marshmallows
  • 6 C Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 C chocolate (I used semi sweet, but milk can also be used)
  • 1/2 C creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 C powdered sugar

Directions:

  • Butter a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium/low heat.
  • Add in marshmallows, stirring constantly until melted.
  • Remove from heat and add in cereal. Stir until well coated.
  • Spread “batter” into prepared baking dish. (Use a buttered spatula to smooth and even everything out).
  • In a microwaveable bowl, combine chocolate and peanut butter. Microwave, stirring every 30 second, until melted.
  • Spread over Krispy Treats.
  • Using a fine mesh sieve, sprinkle powdered sugar over top. (I didn’t do this because I don’t own a sieve. I just threw it on!)
  • Cut into squares and enjoy!

Told ya it would strike your fancy.

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

Question of the Day:

  • What do you do to help yourself get motivated to go to the gym?

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Hubba Hubba

Happy Friday! Haha! If you’re like me, this is how you feel when Friday night rolls around:

I snuck this picture the other night when my family finally returned home from the Gma’s. Can you tell the week’s events took a lot out of us? Or at least Ellie and Poppa. They are two of a kind . . . Ellie boo sure does love her Poppa Bear.

Well, although it is the end of the week, I can’t say it feels very much like a Friday to me. All my days have blended together this last week. Plus, I have to work tomorrow. At least it will be semi-fun though. I am working a wedding, so I always enjoy scoping out the decor, the bride’s dress, and the cake. (If I am lucky, I may even get to snag a sample!)

Today started off pretty typically for me: woke up, applied for jobs, ate breakfast (nothing too interesting, just egg whites and a bit of cereal) . . . you know, the usual. However, Friday does mean spinning! So I headed off to the YMCA around 10:45 to snag a bike and warm up before class.

My work out started out with a nice 20 minute warm up on the elliptical to get the sweat flowing. I did experiment with changing the resistance a bit here and there, which added some variety to my usually-monotone routine. I highly suggest trying this out for yourself if you find that you get bored easily while using a cardio machine.

I then went on to complete Day 17 of Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Trainer program.

I definitely think my chest will feel that tomorrow. That’s a lot of flys!

Then it was spin time. I can’t help it; I am hopelessly addicted.

All that exercise sure did spark my appetite. So when I got home, I threw together a salad and consumed it so fast that I didn’t even remember to take a picture. Oops! In my concoction went: lettuce, spinach, broccoli, pickle, grape tomatoes, and turkey. (Dipped in Parmesan dressing, of course).

While I was eating, I remembered that I had yet another delicious treat to share with y’all! My friend, Katie, threw a party last Friday in honor of her fiance’s graduation from Officer Training School. Since I am the go-to sweets girl, she asked if I would bake something for the event. Since her fiance, Caleb, loves anything chocolate and peanut butter, I made my Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (they were a big hit). However, I didn’t stop there. I threw together something that I have been itching to make for quite some time now:

Chubby Hubby Bars

I, of course, was once again reminded of my naivety in regards to the name of these bars.

As he was eating a bar, a friend joked, “So, does that mean that eating these will make your hubby get chubby?”

I responded, “Haha, I suppose if he ate too many.” You know, I thought he meant that in reference to gaining weight by eating too many . . .

My friend Sarah just looked at me and then burst out laughing. “Dallas, not that kind of chubby . . . A chubby.” She went on to explain that these “chubby” is quite the double entendre. Haha! Whoops! At least my friends got a chuckle at me expense.

Anyway, I think you will really enjoy these bars. Sweet with just the right amount of salty snap!

I found this recipe on Cookies & Cups and pretty much followed the recipe exactly as written. The only thing I changed was that I subbed chopped milk chocolate and peanut butter chips for the Reese’s PB Cups, but that’s only because I did not have any on hand. The result was fantastic though. So if you don’t have any PB cups on hand, this turned out to be a great alternative. Also, I am sure anything that you would like to add would be fantastic! M&M’s, white chocolate chips, Kit Kat bars, etc. You can use your imagination- or just go off what you have in your cabinet.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 C AP flour
  • 1 C butter, room temp.
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp course sea salt
  • 1 1/2 C coarsely chopped pretzels
  • 2 C coarsely chopped Reese’s cups (or 2 C of chopped milk chocolate and pb chips)
  • 1 (14 oz) bag of caramels (make sure to unwrap them!)
  • 2 T water
  • 2 C semi sweet chocolate chips, melted

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray
  • Beat together butter and sugars until fluffy
  • Add eggs and vanilla
  • Slowly add in salt, baking soda, and flour (I combined these in a separate bowl first)
  • Slowly add in Reese’s cups (or alternative) and pretzels. I folded these into the batter with a spatula.
  • Spread batter into pan and bake for about 25 min. (I went for 23)
  • Let cool completely. About 30 min to an hour. (I let mine cool a bit on a wire rack and then stuck it in the fridge for a bit)
  • Melt caramels and 2 T of water in a microwave safe bowl. Stir every minute until melted- mine took about 2 min.
  • Pour caramel over bars.
  • Chill in fridge for about 15 min. (until set)
  • Melt chocolate chips and spread over bars.

  • Put back in fridge for about 30 min. or until chocolate is set.
  • Cut into squares and have at ’em.

Mmmmmm. Look at that ooey gooey caramel. So so so good. These certainly were a highlight at the party. Both the taste of them and their name . . . Yes, were are in our 20’s if you can believe it.

Questions of the Day:

  •  Have you ever found yourself unknowingly caught in a joke?
  • What’s the best dessert you have made for a party to date?

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Conga Conga Congo!

In the mood for chocolate? How about some oh-so-tasty toasted coconut? Maybe some white chocolate to sweeten the pot? Yes? Well, I have a treat for you!

Congo Bars

I first made these gooey little guys in March to send to a friend while he was deployed overseas. My mouth was literally watering as I sealed them up good and tight in a few Ziploc bags. Of course, the edges that wouldn’t quite fit in the box found there way into my mouth. Poppa (my dad) even was able to sneak a few crumbs, and man did he go cuckoo for Congo Bars. That’s why I knew that these would be the perfect sweet treat to make for Fathers Day!

I used this recipe from The Curvy Carrot and only made a few changes. For instance, I did not add toasted almonds because I don’t care for nuts in my desserts. Also, my backing time ending up being closer to the original 25 minutes. Plus, I don’t own a cake tester, so I relied on a handy ol’ toothpick to test the doneness of my bars.

Congo Bars

Serves: About 12 medium sized, gooey bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla ext
  • 1/2 C semisweet chocolate chips, plus more to sprinkle on top
  • 1/2 C white chocolate chips, plus more to sprinkle on top
  • 1 1/2 C shredded coconut, toasted (plus more for sprinkling on top)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a 9X13 inch pan with foil. Make sure to leave a couple inches overhang on each side. This permits easy removal! Make sure to thoroughly spray the foil with cooking spray!
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flower, baking powder and salt.
  • In a larger bowl, or the bowl of your stand up mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the melted butter and brown sugar until well combined.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well.
  • Manually stir in the flour mixture until just combined.
  • Add chocolate chips and coconut, again manually incorporating.
  • Evenly spread the batter into your prepared pan. *I found it easier to plop small globules and then fill/spread them together.
  • Bake for 22-30 minutes. *I used a toothpick to test the gooeyness. Only a little goo should remain on the toothpick. The Curvy Carrot suggested that the top of the bars should be slightly firm to the touch and possibly cracked; however, mine never cracked.
  • Remove bars from oven and garnish with extra chocolate and coconut.
  • Cool on wire rack.
  • Remove bars by using the foil overhand trick, cut into squares and ENJOY!

Trust me . . . You are going to love these. But make sure you have a napkin handy. They are quite messy!

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Bananas, Guinness, and Army Wives

That title pretty much sums up my Sunday!

Before I planted myself in the kitchen for the day, I met my best friend, Lori, at church. I actually just started going to church again about a month ago, after having not gone in over a year, and I’m really enjoying it. This time around, I feel like I have more of a purpose to go—a yearning to grow closer to God. And this church provides such a safe haven to do just that. I love the pastor and his messages, and the people I have met have been nothing but welcoming. It almost is like coming home in a way. Smile

One of my favorite passages from yesterday’s message was from 1 Corinthians 15: 58:

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

It is just served as a reminder for me that we need to live for Him. Because He works through us and has a plan for us- even if it is not the one we have for ourselves.

Well, after church and a quick trip to the grocery store for supplies, I was ready to get down to business.The first things I had to get done were FOUR batches of protein bars for Discovering Strength clients. Clean eating approved, protein packed, and low in calories . . . these things are pretty great little numbers, let me tell you. I might have made a batch for myself also . . . Winking smile

The next thing on my list was finding something to do with my crazy ripe bananas. I certainly couldn’t eat them in their current state (I LOVE bananas and peanut butter), since I am slightly allergic to bananas. (I break out if I eat them when they are too green OR too ripe. They must have that picture perfect yellow peel!)

over-ripe-bananas

(Okay. . . those aren’t my exact naners, but they look exactly the same!)

So, after leafing through my huge recipe binder, I stumbled across a recipe Madre used to make all of the time: Banana Cupcakes! Basically, they are just banana muffins, but they are so delicious and MOIST! I think I would eat 2 or 3 after I got home from jr. high. (If only I could still eat like that!) Anyway, yes, they are THAT good.

I tried my hand at making them myself, but I have to admit, I was not perfectly happy with the end result. I remember Madre’s cupcakes having nice rounded, pillowy tops. Mine turned out kinda flat . . . bah! In my defense, I looked at the baking soda and found that the expiration date had passed. So, I am going to take the low road and blame it on the baking soda. It can’t defend itself anyway, so I automatically win! (Yes, I just sounded 7 years old!) Smile

Maybe you will have better luck at achieving those golden muffin tops:

Banana Cupcakes

Banana Cupcakes

(from Gma)

Yield:18

Ingredients:

  1. 1 C. sugar
  2. 1 C. mayo (no substitutions)
  3. 2 C. flour
  4. 2 tsp. baking soda
  5. 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  6. 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake/muffin tray with paper liners.
  2. Combine the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Blend until smooth and incorporated.
  3. Fill cups about 1/2 full of batter.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes. (Or until lightly golden).
  5. Cool on a wire rack.

So moving on to Guinness . . . . Winking smile

Well, since I was helping move Gma on St. Patty’s day, I decided to make up for lost time and treat my family to Guinness Brownies!

Guinness Brownies

I can’t really take any credit for this recipe, since all I did was take Emily’s recipe (WONDERFUL) and subbed Guinness for Oktoberfest beer.

But the result: pretty darn good! We’re talkin’ rich, creamy, decadent chocolate brownie here people. And the ganache frosting . . . swoon!

guinness piece

Check out that dense chocolate! Mmmmmm . . . my thighs are getting bigger just looking at it. Winking smile

That about wraps up my cooking adventures for the weekend. Lucky I was solo all day, since I monopolized the kitchen for the day . . . no one would have been able to make a meal! Well, I guess I wasn’t quite solo . . . I had a bunch of Army Wives to entertain me in the background:

army-wives1

Haha! Yes, I am one of those people who likes background noise. I think it’s a woman thing—we rule at multitasking. Am I right or am I right? It’s actually a pretty good series . . . dramatic, witty, hot men . . . well some Winking smile

Well, I am off to work on my online class! Have a fantastic Monday!

Questions for the day:

  1. How do you use your over-ripe bananas?
  2. Do you like background noise when you are working and/or cooking?

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Pickle Jars & Snickerdoodle Bars

I know what you’re thinking . . . it’s been a week! A week since my last post!

How Dare you Ellie

BUT I do have a good excuse. I promise!

Lets hear it ellie

Okay, maybe my only excuse for not posting on Thursday was that I was pretty busy prepping for the weekend. But it was a busy weekend! Not only was my family helping my grandma (who I affectionately call Gma or Grammy- I love you Grammy! if you are reading this) move into her new apartment, but I also got the honor of picking my Uncle B up at the airport on Friday night! He flew all the way from Arizona to take part in all of the festivities . . . uh, work. Winking smile

Therefore, due to lack of internet access and being completely exhausted, I decided that blogging could wait.

Although I did venture back home briefly to fill some work orders and visit with my friend Lori, I turned right around and jetted back down to Springfield once again for my Gma’s auction a day and a half later. Now THAT was one interesting experience. The auctioneer amazed me with his super speed speech . . . I wonder how long it took him to learn how to speak that fast. And that intermittent mumbling? That is an art form. 

All in all, it was a pretty successful night. (And a HOT one at that- 85 degrees in March?!! What’s going on Ohio?) I was surprised by how much people paid for some things. For instance, a pickle jar went for $17.50. That must have been one heck of a pickle jar . . . maybe it was bedazzled. Yet, I would have thought that other items would have sold for more. Hmmm, I guess that is just the way it goes though, eh?

The rest of my time in Springfield was spent making trips to Goodwill, cleaning Gma’s house (HOLY DUST BUNNIES!), and sweating from the crazy heat. However, despite the work, I loved having the time to catch up with Uncle B and Gma. Plus, it felt great being able to help out my parents!

Oh! But before I left for the auction, I made something extra special for my Uncle’s sweet tooth:

Snickeredoodle bars!!!!

Snickerdoodle bars main

If you like regular snickerdoodle cookies, then you will absolutely LOVE these bars! They are so much moister (I think that’s a real word) than the cookies, and absolutely filled with satisfying cinnamon-y goodness! Really, you need to try these. Like right now.

Snickerdoodle Bars

Ingredients:

  1. 2 2/3 Cups AP Flour
  2. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon Kosher salt (I just used what I had on hand)
  4. 2 Cups packed light brown sugar
  5. 1 Cup butter, room temp
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  8. 2 Tablespoons sugar
  9. 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9×13 pan.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside,
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Stir in flour mixture, making sure to blend well!
  5. Spread evenly into a prepared pan. Since the batter is thick, I found it works best if you put dollops into your pan and spread from there.
  6. Combine white sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and then sprinkle it over the batter. (It won’t look like too awfully much in your bowl, but once you start sprinkling, you will see that there is more than enough to thoroughly cover your batter!)
  7. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a little goo. (Yes, goo. You don’t want crumbs- otherwise you have overcooked!) *I cook mine about 23 minutes, but I know I like my baked goods slightly under done.
  8. Cool slightly and cut into bars. These are BEST served warm!

Snickerdoodle bars close up

Look at that golden cinnamon goodness!!!! MMMMMMMMMM

I brought a batch of these babies into Madre’s work a week ago. They were hot out of the oven! She later told me that they were gone within two hours. See?! They are that good! Now go make some for yourself. Your taste buds can thank me later!

Now off to make dinner!

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