Goals for 2015

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So I guess it’s pretty clear that I haven’t been blogging.  Like at all.  I guess I should probably explain myself.  I started this little blog almost 5 years ago because I thought it would be fun to have a place for all my favorite recipes.  One recipe introduced me to a love for cooking which then led me to a love for photography which then proceeded to lead me to a genuine love for blogging!  Well I guess when something you love starts to become more of a job than a passion, you tend to not be as enthusiastic about it as you once were.   This is precisely what I found happened to me.  That’s not to say “I hate this stupid blog and I will never post recipes again” haha, it’s just I simply fell into a rut and had absolutely no desire to develop recipes, collect food props or work on my photography.

These were all my 2014 goals mind you……

But I also got engaged last year so of course that took up all my time and where my new passion started to lie.  With that said, I’ve decided to make NEW goals for this year – realistic ones that I know will make me happy and allow me to build this little space back up again to what it used to be.  So here goes nothing…

  • Get married.  – well that’s a given
  • Stick to my fitness goals and start again fresh the next day even after I happen to fall off the wagon.
  • Commit to at least two blog posts a week.  – see that’s doable, right??
  • Meal plan every Sunday and do a weekly grocery haul.  This not only saves money, but ensures I only have healthy food in my house.  If I happen to have weekend plans, force myself to meal plan the Friday before!
  • I will allow myself sweets on occasion without feeling guilty!
  • I promise to be a better listener with my friends/family rather than just inundating them with my problems and worries.
  • I will strive to be happy and appreciative of the little moments, rather than only recognizing the big ones.
  • Being sleep deprived is something I constantly struggle with, so I will work on getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • ….that being said, I am NOT a morning person so forcing myself to go to bed early so I can wake up for my workouts is a must!
  • Have patience in all that I do and know that good things come to those who wait!
  • Start sending snail mail again to friends and family – little notes of encouragement always brighten up the day!
  • Try one new thing a month and step out of my comfort zone!

So there ya go.  I figure if I write all this down for the world to see then I have to stick with them, right??  With my bachelorette being in Charleston at a beach house for the week PLUS my honeymoon right around the corner, my fitness goals need to be HIGH priority!  I also have my first dress fitting in two months!!  I usually eat pretty healthy for the most part, but finding time to get my workouts in have slowly (and embarrassingly) fallen to the wayside.  But hey I’m only human.  I still love doing the Tone It Up program and have consistently followed my meal plans based on that, but the workouts have slacked.  But if anyone can get me motivated it’s definitely Karena and Katrina!!  Feel free to follow me on Instagram to keep me motivated!!

I’m also thinking about trying Jillian Michaels 90 Day Body Revolution and incorporating that into my weekly routine – if anyone has tried this I would love to hear how you liked it!  A few friends told me about this and the success stories looked incredible, plus being only 30 minutes a day that’s something I can wake up and do each morning no problem.  At least having goals and a plan is the perfect start!  It may also give me the inspiration I need to test out new healthy recipes as meal planning can get pretty monotonous.

Well here goes nothing!  Cheers to 2015.

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Halloween Party Recipes
YAY it’s almost Halloween!  Probably one of my favorite holidays to celebrate next to Christmas because not only is the weather simply perfect, but it comes complete with crazy costumes, fun decorations and a good excuse to watch endless amounts of scary movies!  Normally I’m not the biggest fan of horror movies, but there is just something about Halloween that doesn’t feel right unless you have yourself a marathon fright fest.  Michael Myers anyone??  This year we are throwing a small party for just our closest friends and their kids so I thought I’d share my favorite Halloween party recipes as well as a yummy punch (adult-friendly of course) that always keeps the party going!
I must say one of my favorite things about Halloween is decorating my whole house.  It’s so fun to get creative and it really is possible to decorate on a budget!  Try making your own decorations using a cheap black table runner.  I ripped apart numerous holes and hung it on the wall along with cobwebs, orange streamers and of course placed little spiders everywhere to creep people out.  I also found inexpensive green spotlights that I use going up the stairs which illuminate the stairwell and really make the cobwebs look extra creepy!  It doesn’t take a lot of money to throw a decent party – just some creativity, a lot of patience and TAPE!
Favorite Halloween Party Recipes
And let’s be serious folks, a Halloween party isn’t a true party without festive food.  Now let me warn you, the goodies I make each year are not necessarily healthy and I tend to use large amounts of chocolate, but sometimes it’s okay to splurge, especially when serving a lot of people!  One of the recipes I always receive the most compliments on are these Witch’s Fingers, which are basically sugar cookies shaped into creepy fingers, colored with green food coloring and topped with blanched almonds.  They are surprisingly eeeeeeasy to make and have become a staple at every Halloween party I throw or am a guest to!  A huge thank you to Simply So Good for the inspiration behind this recipe!
Witch's Fingers
The next recipe I love to make that will literally be gone in three seconds flat (yeah you think I’m kidding…) is my Pumpkin Cheese Ball.  For this I use a basic cheese ball recipe that I make all the time for parties from Allrecipes, but I like to do a fun spin on it using the stem off a large bell pepper for the “pumpkin” topper!  Simply secure it using two toothpicks, chill overnight and serve with your favorite crackers – voila!  I promise your friends will love it and will be impressed at the same time.  This appetizer would be perfect for Thanksgiving as well or any Fall party for that matter!  Double (or triple) the recipe if you’d like a bigger pumpkin – I may do that next time since this cheese ball doesn’t stay around for very long!
Pumpkin Cheese Ball

Along with the above recipes, I also make Chocolate Bones using pretzel sticks, mini marshmallows and white chocolate as well as Mini Mummy Dogs using crescent rolls and mini smoked sausages.  Mmmmmmm.  Caution:  These go pretty fast as well, so make a lot if throwing a big party!

For the chocolate bones – all you do is secure a marshmallow on each end of the pretzel, making sure not to smush it in the process, then carefully dip it into the melted white chocolate allowing them to harden.  Super easy and they sure make great table treats!

I got the idea for the mini mummy dogs after seeing so many large hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls and thought these would make fun appetizers!  Using a pizza cutter, simply slice the crescent dough into thin strips.  Then pat the mini sausages with a paper towel so that they are dry and wrap the strips of dough around them, making sure to pinch the dough on the end so they’ll stay secure.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and place wrapped mummy dogs on a baking sheet.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden and enjoy!  Feel free to give them little eyes using ketchup or mustard.

Chocolate Bones

Here’s another recipe I love to make for Halloween parties – Monster Munch!  I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs A Spicy Perspective and it’s basically just chocolate covered popcorn adorned in sprinkles and mixed with all my favorite types of Halloween candy such as M&Ms, candy corns and candy pumpkins.  Doesn’t get much better than that, huh?  Not only is this insanely delicious and highly addictive (there I at least warned ya), but it always looks so pretty on the table when serving to guests!  I tend to be kind of OCD when it comes to displaying food and decorating tables so this is something I love to have out for Halloween!

Monster Munch

Now on to the best part – BOOZE!  An adult Halloween party is certainly never complete without a spooky cocktail and one of my favorites is this Blood Punch that I literally have to keep making throughout the night because it goes so fast!  It’s crazy easy to throw together and even though I tend to triple this recipe during parties, it really does make a ton in one single batch.  Guess that speaks volumes as to my friends’ drinking abilities….hmmm.  Anyway back to the booze, I also like to throw in a few spiders or eyeballs to keep the theme going, then just add a bunch of ice and you’re ready to serve!
Blood Punch

Well there ya go!  Here are all my favorite go-to Halloween party recipes that never fail when having lots of people over.  Hope everyone has a fun and SAFE Halloween!!

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Juice Pulp Muffins

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Okay so don’t be scared by the title of this post.

These muffins are actually delicious, nutritious and won’t make you feel bad about wasting all those veggies when you juice!  I wrote a detailed post at the beginning of the year on why I love juicing so much, and YES I still do!  Juicing has become a part of my morning routine and when I need a bit of a detox, I’ll go ahead and juice for a few days along with some added protein and salads.  It just makes me feel SO much better!  Well one of the main questions I had (as well as most of you) was what can you do with ALL that colorful pulp you have leftover from all your yummy fruits and veggies??  There is so much amazing fiber left over that it’s just so sad to throw out and I just cringe at the thought of wasting such healthy, clean produce!  Sooo I did a little research as well as some trial and error (that’s the FUN part!) and found a great recipe using all this pulp in the form of MUFFINS!

Seriously folks, who doesn’t love a good breakfast muffin?  Or dessert muffin?  Or even a post-workout muffin??  Yes as you can see muffins are great ANY time and since they are packed full of fiber, they’re also deliciously healthy for you too.  Luckily for you, if you already have your pulp ready, making the muffins is the easy part!

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Any combination of fruits and veggies will work for these muffins and experimenting can be fun too!  For this specific recipe I just used one of my favorite morning juices which consists of kale, carrots, green apples and ginger.  Carrots are great for these muffins because they produce a lot of pulp and are so good for you!  These muffins have a great flavor without being overly sweet, so if you do prefer SWEET muffins feel free to be generous with your honey or other sweetener.

Another idea would be to throw in some protein powder if you’re looking for a great post-workout snack!

Juice Pulp Muffins

Yield: 24 muffins

Recipe adapted from Never Homemaker

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 cups fruit/veggie pulp (I used approximately 1 bunch kale, 4 carrots, 2 green apples and 1 large chunk of fresh ginger)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Handful of rolled oats

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, flax meal, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg together. Then add in the pulp followed by the yogurt, banana, almond milk, maple syrup/honey and vanilla extract.
  3. Mix until just combined and add more almond milk if too thick.
  4. Add batter to lightly sprayed muffin tins and sprinkle with rolled oats. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Muffins will be done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: 1 muffin • Calories: 98.1 • Fat: 0.8 g • Carbs: 20 g • Fiber: 2.8 g • Protein: 3.5 g • WW Points+: 2 pts

http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com/2014/10/juice-pulp-muffins.html

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Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!  At least you won’t feel guilty the next time you juice!

Also I sincerely apologize for the lack of posts lately….I know, I know – I keep saying “I’m back” and then I disappear for another month, but I really am trying to make time for recipes and my blog again.  If you have any recipe or post ideas you’d like to see, please comment below and I will be happy to post them!  I love being inspired so any ideas are welcomed and much appreciated!

Happy Thursday everyone!

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