Quick, delicious, and guilt-free peanut butter cookies

Have you ever had the urge for sweets?  Of course you have, everyone has.  That is why this post is especially perfect for you!

I have discovered the best and easiest guilt-free cookie recipe.  You might be doubtful at first but once you take them out of the oven and dive in for your first bite you will experience nothing but sweet, pure cookie bliss.

The recipe is as follows:

1 c peanut butter

½ c sweetener

3 tbsp egg whites

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp raisins

Pinch of cinnamon

photo (5)That’s it!  Mix the ingredients together until it becomes dough-like and spoon onto baking trays.  Set the oven to 350⁰F for 8-12 minutes.

I hope you try this recipe since it is so easy and so delicious!  I never buy desserts to regularly have them stocked in my freezer as to try to stay as healthy as I can but every now and then I get a sweet craving and this satisfied that perfectly!

Even if you live a healthy lifestyle it is still good to allow yourself to splurge and eat foods you enjoy without worrying about calories.  I try my hardest to live the 80-20 lifestyle where 80% of my day I make sure to make healthy choices and 20% of my day I allow a small splurge.  It really keeps me in check and prevents me from completely breaking down and going to an unhealthy lifestyle by allowing small splurges.

Enjoy!


My delicious ham, egg, and cheese dinner scramble pie…thing

If you have a life anywhere comparable to mine, it may consist of the desire for quick, simple, delicious meals.  Well my friends, I am here to provide you a prime example of just that.

This weekend I was visiting family in CT and on the ride back home I was debating on whether I even wanted to cook tonight after a four hour drive home. Thankfully, I was inspired by my last week’s dinner and thought of something similar but not close enough where I would be bored after having almost the same thing last week.  Note how I make one giant meal on Sundays and have leftovers every day so I don’t have to worry about cooking all week.  It is a beautiful thing.

Anyway, I decided that I wanted to make quiche.  However, as I was making it I thought it appropriate that I name it something different due to the combination of ingredients I was using to make this dinner creation.  I am calling it my ham, egg, and cheese dinner scramble pie.

I used reduced fat crescent roll that I used with last week’s Shepherd’s Pie to line the bottom of the baking pan.  I poured frozen vegetables over the crust, scrambled eggs mixed with 1% milk to pour over that, and chopped up thick cuts of fat free ham to place on top.  Lastly, I sprinkled 2% colby jack cheese over everything because, why not?

As one can gather, no pre-cooking was necessary and it took all of five minutes to throw it all in the pan.  I baked it at 350° for about 40 minutes but when I took it out the egg wasn’t quite cooked all the way so I baked it again at about 370° for almost ten minutes until the cheese was slightly brown. photo (2)

This can be made in round baking containers as well or even cupcake trays for individual mini servings.  Depending on the container, measurements of the ingredients will obviously vary.  Some may choose to use an actual pie crust but I feel that my reduced fat crescent roll crust is simply less calories and a little healthier overall.  I always try to use reduced fat or low calorie foods but you may choose differently!  It may also be delicious with breakfast sausage in it rather than ham or bacon slices!  I would personally use turkey bacon or turkey sausage but that is my personal preference.  Either way would be fabulously delicious and healthy for you!

There is no reason why you must resort to fast food or frozen meals if you lead a busy life!  You don’t need to compromise your health, budget, time, or satisfaction of your taste buds!  Follow me and I’ll show you quick and simple meals that will keep you looking forward to dinner time and feeling good!  Enjoy!

My Shepherd’s Pie

photo (1)

People love food.  Even if someone is a picky eater, there is something edible that person cannot get enough of.  No matter how many differences you may have with someone, one aspect of your lives that you will always have in common with them would be food.  It is relatable to everyone.  This is why I would love to have a focus for my blog that involves food.

With that, let’s talk about Shepherd’s Pie.

It was a staple meal growing up, and it was also something my mom made when she cooked for friends and family.  It has everything one needs in a meal all at once and it is super easy to make.  Today, I took a stab at it for the first time and I am so excited to try my creation.

I bought a roll of unbaked croissant bread that I unrolled and flattened out in a baking pan.  I cooked ground turkey and mixed that with frozen vegetables and poured gravy over that for some moisture and flavor.  The most exciting part of this meal, however, is the mashed potatoes.

I don’t make mashed potatoes too much but as I was discussing my cooking endeavors with a friend, he suggested using cream cheese instead of butter and red potatoes instead of white.  If you have never made mashed potatoes like this before, I strongly suggest giving it a try.  What is better than creamy and cheesy mashed potatoes?  That’s right, nothing.

I boiled the potatoes, mashed them with a wooden spoon with the skin still on, mixed in a package of cream cheese, some milk, and garlic cloves and the end result is nothing but smooth, rich, and delightful mashed potatoes.  Once that was all mixed in the bowl I layered it on top of the ground turkey and veggies and put it in the oven at 350° for about 40 minutes.  I waited until the potatoes had a slightly brown edge to them and then took them out of the oven.

I wish that I could direct you more specifically on the amounts of each ingredient I used but honestly, I couldn’t tell you what I did.  I believe that is the fun part about cooking though; nothing about cooking has to be exact.  It is something you can take step by step and modify it as you go.  Learn what you like and try something new.  Add in small amounts of your ingredients at first and if you think your creation needs more, add more!

For my version of this Shepherd’s Pie, I can say that I tried to use healthier versions of the ingredients where I could.  I used low sodium gravy, ground turkey (traditionally this is made with ground lamb but many use ground beef), reduced fat cream cheese, and 1% milk.  In my opinion, it comes out just as delicious with the healthier ingredients.  You never know until you try!

Let me know if you have ever made Shepherd’s Pie before and how you made it!  I would love to have a discussion with different ideas about recipes.

The ultimate guide for getting rid of your laziness forever

I was thinking earlier today how I come up with my titles for my blog.  I have noticed a pattern and came to realize how the titles where I make it seem like little or no effort or diligence is required have the most views.

My titles such as “Splurge every day and still be healthy!” and “Whatever you do, do not worry about buying that gym membership” were just two of my blog posts that had the most views.  My posts that were titled “Have a Healthy Valentine’s Day: Your Complete Guide to a Guilt-Free V-Day” and “Are you mentally healthy?” did not have nearly the same amount of views.  I am curious about this pattern.

Why are we so attracted to the idea of looking good or being healthy without any effort?  I think the answer may be obvious: laziness.  We all have our lazy days, trust me, but what is it that can motivate us to work hard for what we want?  Here are some pointers on how to stay motivated and overcome laziness:

  1. Make measurable goals. It is important to define exactly what you’re trying to accomplish.  Be sure to be as specific as possible.  For example, instead of saying, “Lose weight by the summer”, say “Lose 10 pounds by June 1, 2015.”  That way, you will be able to confirm exactly whether or not you accomplished your goal by the time you reach your finish date.
  1. Stay positive. A positive mindset can really make a significant difference.  Do your best to push aside any negative thoughts or temptations to bring yourself down in any way.  Love your body and love yourself.  After you accomplish that, the rest will come much easier.
  1. Go on your health journey with friends and loved ones. By joining in with friends or family, creating a healthier lifestyle is more fun and definitely easier.  You can be each other’s supporters and share your experiences together.  Also, I think it’s fun to challenge each other to help give that extra motivation.  I challenge my sister all the time to see if she is capable of something that I had just accomplished that I am proud of and vice versa.
  1. Think of how you want to be when you’re much older. It may sound silly, but on my laziest days, I often think to myself that if I can’t get up and complete a good workout at my age now, how am I supposed to think it’s going to be easier when I’m much older?  I want to be the most fit 50-something when I get to that point!  At almost half that age currently, I cannot begin bad habits of being lazy!  Needless to say, this is the point where I get up and start working out.
  1. Keep in mind how quickly the body reacts to eating well and working out. The human body is simply amazing.  When I first began to learn more about fitness and started truly working out hard on a regular basis, it was remarkable how quickly I saw changes.  It especially was made possible by complimenting my workouts with a healthy diet.  From personal experiences, I have noticed that it only takes two or three days for my body to get back into gear if I take a few days off from working out.  Also, about a week after working out and really pushing myself, I see and feel results.  If you are looking for results, you don’t have to wait months and months as long as you work hard.  Feeling new, refreshed, and healthy again is not far out of reach!  Just stay positive and after a week or so of true hard work and healthy eating, you will notice little results that will then motivate you even more in order to see and feel more noticeable results in the long run.  I promise that the whole process of taking on a healthy lifestyle and accomplishing your goals is nothing but rewarding.  The beginning is the hardest part.  Do your best to get past the rough beginning stages and you will be in the clear!

So, surround yourself with positivity and focus on your goals.  You will no longer be drawn towards a lazy path to being healthy!  You will learn to be very proud of your body and how you feel as a result of eating healthy and working out.

Stay healthy and be strong!

Sleep your way to good health

You get home from work after an exhausting day and on your commute home, or even many times throughout the day, your mind may focus on your nice comfy bed.  Upon your arrival home, dinner needs to be made, dishes need to be washed, the house needs cleaning, and maybe there are even kids that need to be bathed and put to bed.  By the time the to-do list is completed, the clock confirms that there are only so many hours until your day must begin again.

Many of us have the same problem.  We all lead busy lives and sometimes sleep is at the bottom of our priorities.  However, it is one of the most important actions we can take for better health.

While you sleep, your body works on maintenance of many biological aspects of our body.  All of this work that is performed during sleep is to prepare the body for the next day, hence why little or no sleep leaves one drowsy and unmotivated during the day.  The body never had time to re-charge!

Most adults need seven and a half to nine hours of sleep every night to be completely functional and ready to move the following day.  Children and teens need even more sleep, anywhere from 12 to 18 hours for newborns and 10 to 11 hours for ages 5 to 12.

You may be depriving yourself from sleep if you:

  • Need an alarm clock to wake up in time
  • Need to nap to get through the day
  • Rely on the snooze button
  • Fall asleep while watching TV or a movie
  • Feel sluggish and sleepy in the afternoon

Don’t get too frustrated if you are having trouble making time for the right amount of sleep right away.  As a recently graduated college student and now working in the real world, I definitely understand the troubles associated with making enough time for sleeping the right number of hours.  However, once I learned just how important it is, I made sure to work on getting it right.  Practice time management and set a schedule for yourself.  Make a list of tasks you must complete and what can wait for another day.  Once you are in the routine of going to bed on time, your body will become accustomed to this and you will naturally want to sleep, at least from personal experiences.

If you feel like sleep deprivation is affecting your life and your health, I recommend talking to your doctor.  There is always an answer!  Once you become used to your new routine and get all the Zzz’s you need, you will reap the benefits of proper sleeping patterns!

Stay healthy and be strong!

Cardio workouts without touching a treadmill or leaving your house

Currently, I live on the second floor of an apartment building and I quickly realized upon moving in that high-impact cardio workouts were not going to work.  With every jump and series of cardio movements, I could feel the rage of my neighbors living under me.  I needed to get a good cardio workout in without disturbing my neighbors, so I did a little research.

Turns out, jumping around and all that would be associated with crazy cardio workouts isn’t necessary to get your heart rate up.  There may be occasional jumping but with practice, you will find it easy to softly land on your feet without making a lot of noise at all.  My favorite go-to for workouts is YouTube, as there are many videos that are very effective workouts and completely free!  Here are some of my favorites:

Cardio Lunges

This is a great workout to really get your heart racing while also working on building up the muscle in your lower body.  You may recognize the woman, Cassey, in the video from some of my other posts.  She has so many wonderful videos for working out and healthy lifestyle tips; she is my absolute favorite person to work out with.  Cassey is always motivating and positive and I have seen and felt more results doing her workouts in one week than I have with any other workouts.

Kickboxing

This is another video that I love to include in my workouts.  Usually the day after I do this video, I feel most muscle soreness in my “glutes”.  Cassey also incorporates a little bit of upper body muscle toning in this video as well.

Cassey and Coach Nicole

Cassey teamed up with Coach Nicole to make a fun workout to get you pumped up!  The video alternates between Cassey and Nicole and they both offer great cardio sequences that I love to do.  I am sure you will, too!

Weighted Cardio

I just happened to fall upon this video not too long ago, and I am glad I did!  This video features Cassey in a workout taught by Tony Horton, a P90X trainer.  They use medicine balls but since I don’t have one I just use a hand weight.  If you don’t own a hand weight or medicine ball, try using water bottles filled with water or sand, or anything else that adds resistance.  There are six moves that they lead you through for a great full-body workout.

I am confident you will love these videos and you will feel and see the results with persistence!

Stay healthy and be strong!

How do you live to be 108?  Well, I found a couple who can tell you.

That’s right.  I found an article today about an old married couple where their combined age is 212 years old.  The husband, Duranord, is 108 and his wife, Jeanne, is 104.  See for yourself; check it out here.

Some of us who are health and fitness fanatics can only hope that we are taking care of our body to live that long.  There are numerous articles out there written about senior citizens and their advice on how to live a long and healthy life.  You may hear to eat food that you like every day, stay active, keep in touch with friends, and so on.  Well, I can see just by looking at the pictures of this adorable couple that their 82 year marriage and long lives encompass just that.

I was most shocked when I read that Duranord still does exercises every day.  He has a very specific schedule in the mornings that involves waking up at 5 a.m. and doing five to seven pushups.  If that doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will.  All I know is the next time I am feeling lazy and unmotivated, I will think of 108 year old Duranord and I will have no problem getting myself into gear.  The couple’s morning includes a healthy breakfast followed by other healthy foods to follow throughout the day.  I find it remarkable how a regular pattern of practicing fitness and healthy eating can impact your body so much to allow for such a long life.

What are you doing to take good care of your body for a long and healthy life?

Stay healthy and be strong!