Monday, June 23, 2014

Coconut, Chocolate Chip, Heath Bar Cookie

Funny how my last post was on weight loss and this post is a cookie recipe.  I still bake.  I enjoy tinkering around in the kitchen with recipes and then passing baked goods on to friends/family.  For Father's Day I made cupcakes and Reese Dreams for our dad's to enjoy.  

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
Butterfinger Cupcakes
 Our grandmas (my husband's and mine) also enjoy their sweets.  The great thing is that they both enjoy the same taste...chocolate, coconut, butterscotch, lemon, etc----Okay, I think our grandmas have a bit of a sweet tooth too. :)  So when I decided to combine some of their favorites into a cookie, THIS is what turned out. 
A Coconut, Chocolate Chip Heath Bar Cookie.

I mean just LOOK at this delicious batter!!

Want the recipe?
 Click the image below.
Coconut Chocolate Chip Heath Bar Cookies


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Weight Loss

I'm putting out there---I'm a fluffy girl.  We all know that I like my sweets!!  Some people have A sweet tooth--I have sweet TEETH.  Yep. More than one.  I LOVE my sweets.  Chocolate and Peanut Butter together are like my absolute go to--Reese's, Cupcakes, milkshakes, etc.  It's not that I eat them all the time, but then when I do---then there goes the poundage.

And let's talk clothing stores--When you go to a clothing store--just because it is in your size, doesn't mean that it's made for your body type.  I've always joked with my husband that there are skinny Minnies---and then there are Miss Piggy's.  I'm a Miss Piggy. As I've said--I joke about it.....but I'm not comfortable with it. 

Let's talk about pictures---I hide from a camera, or hide behind it.  Just so I don't have to have my picture taken.  I do selfies though---and after about 30, I can finally find one I like.  You know...ones where the smile and head tilt is just the right angle to hide the double chins (or triple)--and the cheeks don't look like a chipmunk. 

So I finally decided to do something about it--luckily I had the support of my hubby and friends.
I've tried several diets through the years---I've been a fluffy chic all my life.  I can always drop a few pounds here and there, but then somehow it magically comes back on.  Okay, it's not magic---it's probably those Reese Cups and lack of exercise.

So when I did the 24 day challenge, I was a little skeptical.  Can this really work?  Can I stick with it?
Friends, I'm not going to lie--it's expensive....and with hubby doing it with me, it was MORE EXPENSIVE.  But it worked.    My friends/coworkers cheered me on from the sidelines, and I did manage to lose some weight.  Then I realized, finally, I can do this. 

The 24 day challenge is over.  We've been on vacation in Disney--with the meal plan (EEK!), and a few camping trips--but I've still kept my weight off.  I've found that I get fuller quicker, have more energy, and can truly adapt a healthier life style. 

I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite foods while on the challenge.  I was very good during the whole challenge, stuck to a plan, and didn't cheat.  I was proud of myself, because honestly, dieting is not an easy task!

This was a little treat I used for a snack AFTER the cleanse portion of the challenge.  I mushed a banana (you could freeze if first), added a touch of cocoa, and a little dollop of almond butter.  IT was a nice sweet treat.   (I told you, I have SWEET TEETH--I had to find a way for a fix!)

I enjoyed this for my dinner many nights.  It tasted pretty good.  

This was a plateful of baby spinach.  You can eat as much of this as you'd like. 
4 oz of grilled chicken breast--we played around with a lot of seasonings (no salt) and found that oregano basil and a hint of garlic was really good on just grilled chicken! :)
For the dressing, I used Salsa.  I was trying not to use regular salad dressings do to carbs and sugars. 

This has been a favorite of mine for several years now--and sweet potatoes are good for you!
This is a sweet potato pack.

I slice a sweet potato, adde pineapple and golden raisins to sweeten it.  Then sprinkle with cinnamon. 
You will want to add a bit of butter (not if doing the challenge), or cooking spray so that it doesn't stick to your foil. Wrap it up and bake.   I have hubby grill my sweet potato pack.  It is YUMMY!  This is also a nice little camping trip recipe! :)  Place it over that campfire--mmmm!

So, now that our diet is over, I'm still watching what I'm eating. I'm going to start lifting (EEK) and toning tomorrow. I have friends who are telling me that I would enjoy Zumba, so perhaps I will begin that as well. I figured if I put it out there for all to see, then I have to stick to it!  :) 

If you're interested in checking out what the 24 day challenge is about---you can click HERE!

My favorite product that I will continue to purchase is the Spark. 
I've tried the citrus, watermelon, pink lemonade and fruit punch.  The fruit punch ROCKS!
You can click HERE to see what it's about.

I'm not asking anyone to purchase any of the products.  I'm merely sharing my journey. 
I have a long road ahead of me.  I will encounter a few set backs, but I truly believe in this product if anyone is interested in checking out Advocare.

Thanks for reading!! :)


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Camping Fun-Part 2

When we go camping, we enjoy cooking over the fire.  To me, that's part of the fun in camping.
This time, we tried a new little snack.  
I've been encouraging my kids to eat more fruit (less fruit snacks!) when they're hungry.  
This time, I allowed them to doctor their fruit up.  
 I had hoped these waffle cones would have been bigger and had a larger opening at the top, but they were just about the right size for a little snack or after dinner treat.  We filled them up with a half of a chopped marshmallow, banana and strawberry.  Then we added just a few mini chocolate chips to glaze the top with chocolate. 

We wrapped them up in foil and placed them on our fire grate for just a few minutes. About 5--but I did keep checking them to see that the chocolate was melting, and I did turn them about halfway through. There isn't an after picture because the kids were a delicious mess.  It really wasn't messy, but Connor told me how awesome they were.  Winner winner!

Another favorite recipe of mine for summer (or parties) is Fruit Dip. 
I make this ahead of time when we go camping, and it is always a hit! :)
Above are the ingredients I used this time.
Mix 1 small box of instant pudding mix (I chose cheesecake) with 1 c. milk.
Stir in 1 cup of sour cream.  Fold in one container of cool whip. ENJOY!

I've also made this with almond milk, sugar free pudding mix, no sour cream, and lite cool whip (or fat free).  It tasted awesome that way as well.  I really prefer the french vanilla cool whip in it though! 

And one more yummy treat---
We were camping with friends this week (and there are a few food allergies)--so I was trying to make something that everyone could enjoy.  Snickerdoodles!!  YUM, right?  Well, I got to thinking...what else do I have on hand?

Oh yes---this happened!  Snickerdoodle Smores.  I mean there were leftover cookies--and this was an "off weekend"  (You know, diet on the week--splurge a little on the weekend?)

Moving past food--- :)

I've been trying to teach my kids that you can have fun wherever you are at. Sometimes you have to make it---but it doesn't have to cost money.  Money doesn't have to be spent ALL. THE. TIME.  

Here are some ways we enjoy ourselves with no (or low cost).

We LOVE nature walks.  We go to the state parks and enjoy walking the trails.
Sometimes I've made scavenger hunts for them with paper to check off their list.  
Sometimes I've awarded random points for being the first one to find a feather, the first one to find a leaf bigger than their hand, etc. 

 We enjoy state parks, and have noticed that many have their own nature center.  It's fun (and free) to go in and take a peek around.  Sometimes there are park rangers or volunteers in there with activities for you, or there to answer questions or give you more information.

What are some fun (free or almost free) activities you like to do outdoors?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Family Fun

Since school has been out I haven't been home for more than a day.  We have been on vacation, we've been camping, we've visited family----we've been busy.  Let's talk about camping though.

My family enjoys camping, but I remember when I was a kid, it seemed more relaxing for my parents than it did me.  It seems like when ever my husband and I go to sit down, we have to get back up to "entertain" our kids.  Whatever happened to just riding around the campgrounds and finding new friends---that's what I did! 

So---anyway, this time we did a few activities to prepare for entertaining (yet somewhat relaxing).

First up, we made some kool-aid playdough. 

To save time and space, I had the flour and salt already measured into baggies.  Then the kids were able to add the kool-aid color of their choice, hot water and the oil.   


We made three different colors.  Then after playing with them, they were mushed together and flattened.  We realized we liked that tie-dyed pretty. My phone camera didn't do the colors justice on this:

A few other things we tried this past weekend were the coke and mentos experiement
Extremely blurry picture, but this was so neat!

 and an invisible egg. 
 Luckily my kids know that experiments don't always work.  This experiment will be one to try again.  The egg fell out of the shell, stayed in tact, but didn't quite do what we had hoped it would do. Good lesson to be taught though when doing experiments.  

I will be back tomorrow sharing a few more things we did on our camping trip, and a few of our camping recipes! :)