Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Favorites 10/31/14: Week 5

Happy Halloween! Any exciting celebrations planned?  I'm looking forward to passing out candy to trick or treaters, relaxing and gaining an extra hour of sleep with the time change.  Plus, it's time for Friday Favorites!  A collection of my favorite Food, Finds, Fashion, Fitness and Fun.  I've joined the party that Housewife Glamour started, so don't let the fun stop here. I love sharing all my Friday favorites and can't wait to hear some of yours.

Housewife Glamour

Fashion - Urban Decay Vault 
  • This the ultimate beauty jackpot - the Naked Vault.  All of the Naked palettes, matching eyeliners, blush palettes and lip gloss?  I own all three Naked palettes and I'm obsessed.  The eyeshadows all provide beautiful coverage and are warm and velvety.  This collection should move to the top of your beauty wish list!  Don't want to splurge for this set?  I highly recommend picking up a Naked palette during your next Sephora run.  The colors are versatile enough to plan plenty of work appropriate looks and also more glamourous eyes and a night out on the town. 

Food - Slow Cooker Style 

  • My new favorite slow cooker meal. Chicken breasts + Frank's wing sauce + 1 tbsp organic butter + 1 tsp garlic = incredible.  I'm all about easy meals.  I shredded the chicken, added it to a gluten-free pita and topped it with a little cheese.  You could serve this over rice, in taco shells, mix with cream cheese for a dip... the possibilities are endless really.

Fitness - Heart Rate Monitors

  • Looking for a way to take your workout up a notch?  Invest in a heart rate monitor.  I love my Polar FT4!  It's pretty basic, which is fine by me :)  It tracks my heart rate during exercise and gives the calories burned.  It has a few additional features that I don't use (hey, just being honest!) but the best part for me is the heart rate monitor.  By monitoring my heart rate, I'm able to know when I'm physically able to push myself harder but on the flip side, I'm also able to know when I'm pushing my body too hard.  It will help you step up your workouts a notch and help you to notice improvements in your fitness.  Since I started using the Polar last year, I've noticed how much faster my heart rate recovers once I started incorporating interval training.  Heart rate monitors for the win!  Bonus: The cool cake it will show if you workout on your birthday :) 
Finds - Gluten-free Halloween Candy

Fun - Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween!! Have a fun and safe night :)  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

T for Tacquitos

Why hello there!  Can you believe it's more than halfway through the week already?  Time is just flying by over here.  If you're anything like me, sometimes you want to have a meal that tastes like you spent hours slaving away over it, when really you only spent about 15 minutes.  Sound about right?

Well, you're in luck.  Meet my new BFF the slow cooker.  Don't have a slow cooker?  I highly recommend the Caphalon 4 quart slow cooker. It's easy to use with digital functions and I love that the crock is ceramic.  I received mine at my bridal shower - from one of my best friends who just happens to be slow cooker obsessed.

On to the recipe... the first time I made this, my husband remarked that it tasted like something we would find at one of our favorite trendy Mexican restaurants.  Easy and husband approved?  Sounds like a winner to me.

The ingredients are easy to find and the majority you may have laying around your kitchen.  If you don't have liquid smoke, feel free to leave it out, but keep in mind it does add depth to the dish.  You'll find it in the condiments section of your grocery store.  If the idea of pineapple salsa isn't your thing, feel free to leave it out and substitute regular salsa.  Feast away friends!

Slow Cooker Pineapple BBQ Tacquitos 


2 large chicken breasts
1 cup BBQ sauce
2/3 C pineapple juice
1/2 tbsp liquid smoke
1 tbsp garlic powder
12-16 corn tortillas, warmed
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Layer chicken breasts flat in the bottom of your slow cooker.  In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Pour over chicken.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours.
2. Shred chicken with two forks - there will be remaining liquid in the slow cooker.  Remove chicken placing about 1/4 cup on each tortilla.  Top with 1 tbsp shredded cheddar.  Roll up, place on a sprayed baking sheet face down.
3. Bake at 425 fahrenheit for ~15 minutes until tortillas are light brown and cheese is melted.

Pineapple Salsa


1 1/2 c pineapple, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/8 cup red onion, chopped
1-2 tbsp lime juice

1. Combine ingredients in medium bowl.  Set aside in the refrigerator 2-3 hours to allow flavors to blend.  Serve salsa on top of tacquitos.

What are you cooking tonight?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Friday Favorites 10/17/14: Week 4

Oh hi there!!!  Happy Friday readers :)  Any exciting weekend plans?  I'm looking forward to a date night with my hubby, celebrating my dad's birthday and meeting some zoo animals on Sunday.  Anyway, it's time for Friday Favorites!  A collection of my favorite Food, Finds, Fashion, Fitness and Fun.  I've joined the party that Housewife Glamour started, so don't let the fun stop here. I love sharing all my Friday favorites and can't wait to hear some of yours.

Housewife Glamour

Fashion - Ombre 

  • Are you in a hair rut?  I am.  That's why this weekend I'm jumping on the ombre train!  I'm a little nervous, but hoping I love the results. I adore these Rachel Bilson looks, so we'll see what happens tomorrow. 
  • Looking for the ultimate comfort food?  Click the link above.  Potatoes + avocado = my dream.  If you're looking for an easy appetizer or side for your next meal, make these. I'm adding them to our weekly menu ASAP.
Fact - Focus on Flu

  • Pause from talking ebola and start talking influenza. Many, many people underestimate just how deadly the flu can be - especially in young otherwise healthy individuals.  Last year, 60% of the people hospitalized for influenza were between the ages of 18-64.
  • According to the World Health Organization, worldwide, annual influenza epidemics lead to 3-5 million cases of severe illness resulting in 250,000-500,000 deaths.  The current outbreak of Ebola has let to 4,500 deaths.  Influenza kills more people in the United States every year than Ebola has killed in the history of the world. 
  • Those infected with the flu can infect others 1 day before symptoms occur and 5-7 days after symptoms begin - this means you can pass the flu onto other people without knowing that you're infected.  Flu viruses are spread through the air when you cough, sneeze and talk. 
  • A flu shot is an easy way to protect not only yourself, but also your loved ones.  Scared of needles? Go for the flu mist.  Don't want to skip a workout due to a sore arm?  Go for the intradermal vaccine and skip the soreness.  

Fitness - Group fitness classes!

  • Have you felt less motivated in the gym lately or gotten bored with your solo workouts? I've been in a gym rut ever since our honeymoon that I've been working on digging myself out of. What's working for me is group fitness classes!  I'm addicted to Tone & Sculpt and Spinning. The group environment keeps me motivated and the workouts are challenging. Plus, sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name!

What's your Friday favorite? 

DIY Gold Pumpkins

Happy Friday Eve!  Hope you're having a great week so far.  Halloween and Thanksgiving are right around the corner, so I thought I would share a fun and easy DIY craft.  After all, what better way to get in the holiday spirit than holiday crafts?  I love crafting and this project is fairly simple. No experience?  You're in luck!

This all started when my husband and I were browsing in Pier One.  I spotted a few gold pumpkins and made a mental note to do something similar when the colder weather hit.  As luck would have it, I found some orange and black pumpkins a few weeks later in the dollar bin at Target.  I handcrafted most of our wedding decorations, so I had a surplus of gold paint in the basement.  I tossed a couple of pumpkins in my cart, handed the cashier $3.00 and got set to work.

For this project, I highly recommend working outside.  The paint can be pretty stinky and is probably toxic and you don't want to accidentally spray your dining room table gold.  Speaking of the paint, you can pick that up at Michael's or Hobby Lobby - don't forget to check their websites, most of the time one of them will be offering a 40% off coupon.  Remember, remove your jewelry or wear gloves - no one wants to be cleaning spray paint off of anything nice.  Also, while we're on that topic, don't forget to cover that surface with an old towel or garbage bags so that you don't accidentally end up painting your grass or driveway

DIY Gold Pumpkins


Krylon Metallic Spray 
Plastic pumpkins

1.  Cover surface you'll be working on with towel, trash bag or old sheet.  Follow instructions on paint can to prime paint - generally, you will need to shake the can 1-2 minutes prior to using.

2. Begin by spraying your pumpkin with light coats - allow 1-2 minutes between coats.  If you spray too thickly in any one area, the paint will begin to run.

3. When dry to the touch on the tops, flip the pumpkins upside down and gently spray the bottoms.

4. Allow to dry overnight on a foil lined baking sheet.

5. Show off your beautiful new decorations around your home.

What's your favorite fall craft? 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A gluten-free Halloween

Hi friends!  Today, check out my guest post on Calio's blog on how to have a gluten-free Halloween :) As a bonus, all candy options are also under 100 calories.  Check it out and have your treats without any tricks.  See you tomorrow with a post on my favorite Halloween craft!

WIAW 10/15/14

Hi there! We're halfway to Friday. I love Wednesday, don't you?  The hardest part of the week is over and by now everyone is in the swing of things. If there's anything healthy living bloggers and blog readers love, it's What I Ate Wednesday....this week, I'm joining in on the fun!  Now, I planned this post last week so in all honesty this is last Wednesday, but hey, you gotta start somewhere.  I added some tips and comments in as to why I chose the foods I did to help you learn ways to pump up your nutrition and fall into good habits!

Breakfast - Coffee, brown rice wrap with an egg white & cheese

Tip: I've been loving this Pumpkin Spice Coffee by Green Mountain - it's perfect with a splash of soy. If you're looking to replace a high calorie, high sugar pumpkin spice latte addiction this is definitely your ticket out. Pump up the protein with skim milk or soy :) 

Lunch - Potato soup, salad &veggies

Tip: Leftovers make great lunch options.  It's easy to get bored with the same old sandwich...which can lead to saying yes to greater temptations such as picking up lunch to have at the office with coworkers or buying nachos (insert your guilty pleasure food here) from the cafeteria. 

Snack - Think Thin Bar

Tip: I always look for a higher protein bar to tide me over in the afternoon.  They're easy to store, don't require refrigeration and are easy to consume on the fly.  Brands I love - Kind, Larabars, Think Thin and Quest. 

Tip: Feeling low on energy after work prior to your workout?  Try a light snack.  Whenever I feel run down, I'll pop a light snack prior to my workout.  Not only does it help me stay at the gym a little longer, it also helps me power through and push myself harder. 

Dinner - 3 ingredient tostadas, brussels sprouts 

Tip: Got leftovers?  Recreate that meal! This chicken was cooked in the crockpit earlier in the week and shredded. I reclaimed it to create an entirely different dish - let your imagination go wild with leftovers - the possibilities are endless!

So, let me know, what was the most interesting thing you ate this Wednesday? Any recipes I should try? 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Favorites 10/10/14: Week 3

Happy Friday!  TGIF!  Any exciting plans for the weekend?  I'm looking forward to a double date, a cold glass of cider, wings and a fairly early bedtime.  Always super exciting around here!  Do you like going to bed early on the weekend or are you an all nighter?  I can say I was the later in my early 20's, but those days have come and gone.

Anyway, it's time for Friday Favorites!  A collection of my favorite Food, Finds, Fashion, Fitness and Fun.  I've joined the party that Housewife Glamour started, so don't let the fun stop here!  Check out the link up so that you can find even more Friday Favorites to enjoy :)

Housewife Glamour

Food - Raw Chocolate Macaroons 

  • Do you love chocolate?  If you don't, we can't be friends (just kidding!) I'm a total chocoholic, but sometimes you want something chocolatey that's still healthy - am I right?  That's where these raw, vegan macaroons by Hail Merry come in - they contain 6 ingredients and no GMO's - I bought mine at Fresh Thyme, but I've also seen them at Whole Foods.  If you're inclined to make your own and you have a dehydrator, this recipe is incredible - it also makes a million, so I hope you have more willpower than I do!
Finds - A Trusty Lunch Tote 

  • Are you still packing your lunch in a leftover shopping bag? My trusty lunch bag bit the dust this weekend.  After a quick trip to Target, I ended up with the Rambler by BYO.  I'd heard great things about it from co-worker and I love it's $9.99 price tag. Bonus: It's machine washable, perfect for those days when your lunch spills. 

Fashion - Boots, Boots, Boots

  • Is there anything better for cold weather than boots?  They keep your feet dry in the rain and add an extra layer against the elements when it's chilly - especially when paired with warm socks!  Some of my favorites are these Gianni Bini Take Back Boots ($129) - I scored them the day after Christmas last year for half the price, so I recommend looking for sales.  I also adore these Target Kasia Boots, I've owned them for 3 years.  They give the look of the Frye Melissa for a lot less and they're made out of leather, so they hold up to the winter snow.  The boots I'm lusting after this season are these Frye Veronica Harness Boot , these Madden Girl Ginger Booties and these Target Erin Boots

Fun - Inspirational Quote

  • Think about it for a second. Which dog are you? 

What are your Friday Favorites?  Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

three ingredients and dinner

Hi there!  I hope your week has been fantastic and not too hectic.  Do you ever feel like you literally have no time to pull together a healthy dinner?  Well, you're in luck, because I have a 3-ingredient meal that you can make with minimal prep and cooking time.  Pop it in the oven, gather up some toppings and presto - it's done.

First, you'll need a few things that you probably have in your kitchen now.  You'll need tortillas, chicken and cheese for the recipe because we're making tostadas.  In addition, you'll need to round up some things to top your tostadas - tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, plain greek yogurt, avocado - you definitely don't need all of those but I recommend at least one.  This recipe works whether you're cooking for 1 or 20; I recommend 2-3 tostadas per person.  Also, shred your chicken with two forks - easy peasy.

Now, what are tostadas?  Well, it's almost like an open faced taco. Maybe? Who cares because it's easy and amazing.

3 ingredients....

Option 1: Use a rotisserie chicken
Option 2: 1 jar of salsa + chicken breasts + slow cooker
Option 3: Boil chicken breast


Option 1: Corn tortillas
Option 2: Flour tortillas (non-gluten free friends only please!)
Option 3: Tortilla chips (hey, desperate times, desperate measures, I won't tell)

Option 1: Shredded cheddar
Option 2: Shredded cheddar jack
Option 3: Your favorite cheese here

I used leftover chicken that had been made in the slow cooker using salsa verde. I went with corn tortillas and shredded cheddar jack and topped my tostadas with avocado :)

Chicken Tostadas


Corn tortillas
Chicken breast, shredded
Cheese, shredded

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.  Spray foil lined baking sheet with non-stick spray.  Arrange tortillas on sheet, leave adequate spacing between each.
2. Place 1-2 tbsp of cheese on each tortilla, top with shredded chicken, then top with additional 1-2tbsp of cheese.
3. Bake ~15 minutes until shells are crisp and chicken is heated through.

Any three ingredient dinners for me?  Share them in the comments!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sick Day Soup

Hi friends!  I hope you've had a fantastic weekend and are ready for the work week ahead.  The temperatures are getting a little colder and a jacket is required for most mornings.  That means one meal quickly becomes a staple.  That meal is soup.

I've been tinkering around in the kitchen with this recipe for a long time.  This past weekend, I had a sick husband and a 3lb bag of potatoes.  The weather was cold enough and it seemed like perfect timing to whip up a pot of potato soup.  This is comfort food at it's finest.

One of my favorite features of this dish is the amount of leftovers you'll have after making it.  This makes a little under 12 servings, with each serving at about 1 1/3 cups.  I freeze the leftovers in glass pyrex dishes - perfect for toting to work or for a hectic weeknight meal.

The recipe isn't too labor intensive although it does require the heating of potatoes and stirring of ingredients.  Feel free to use your favorite shredded cheese.  I prefer to use 2% sharp cheddar but have also used a combination of mozzarella and cheddar with excellent results.  This soup is also excellent with a teaspoon of truffle oil stirred in the top for a decadent treat.

Baked Potato Soup


1 tbsp olive oil
1 small white onion, diced
3 lb potatoes
32 oz chicken broth
1/3 C brown rice flour
8 C skim milk
2 containers greek yogurt
3 C cheese, shredded
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Scrub potatoes until clean. Pierce with fork, microwave for 12-20 minutes until soft. When potatoes have slightly cooled and are safe to handle, chop into pieces.
2. Add olive oil and onion to large pot, saute until softened over medium high heat. Add chicken broth.
3. Add brown rice flour to 2 cups of milk, stir to combine. Add milk mixture to broth, stir to combine
4. Add 4 cups milk, bring to a boil until slightly thickened stirring frequently, making sure to stir the bottom of the pot. Reduce heat to medium low.
5. Add greek yogurt, potatoes and cheese to soup mixture, stirring to combine.
6. Blend soup with immersion blender until desired consistency is achieved - blending the potatoes will thicken the soup immensely.  Add remaining 2 cups of milk to thin - adding more or less until your desired consistency is reached. Feel free to top with crumbled bacon, green onions or cheese.

What's your favorite kind of soup? 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Favorites 10/04/14: Week 2

Happy Friday!!! TGIF!  No more wake-ups until Friday, because Friday is here.  Any big plans this weekend on the agenda?  I'm volunteering on Saturday morning at Dress for Success - a non-profit organization that helps women acquire the skills and clothing necessary to snag a job after coming out of an abusive relationship, incarceration etc.  I'm also looking forward to coffee, lazy mornings and fall temperatures.

I'm participating in Housewife Glamour's Friday Favorites again this week... so here we go!

Housewife Glamour


  • Pumpkin scones!!!  I seriously make them every year.  I can't wait to break them out again...bring on the cinnamon icing :)  Maybe this weekend...

  • This epsom salt!  Have you ever been sore after a workout or felt under the weather?  Epsom salt is made of magnesium sulfate, which has a wide variety of health benefits, as it helps to draw toxins out of your body by reverse osmosis.  Magnesium helps to reduce inflammation, improves blood flow and reduces muscle cramps and pain - after all, it's a smooth muscle relaxer!  Bonus - this one is scented with essential oils, making it super relaxing.  There's nothing after a stressful day than an epsom salt bath to detox and a good book.


  • I'm loving this Factory J Crew Charley sweater - give me alllll the colors.  I wore this sweater in pink for our engagement pictures last winter and stocked up on two more colors this fall. If I had a uniform, this would be part of it.  It's soft with the perfect fit and the cutest crew neck. 


  • Foam rolling!!  Oh my gosh, is there anything better than a DIY massage?  This thera roll has been my foam roller love for years.  Nothing has helped me run faster or longer as much as the foam roller has - it's perfect for helping to massage tired muscles.  If you've never used one, run to the store right now.  I'm loving this foam roller routine from Tone it Up as well!


  • Nicole Curtis might be the rehab addict, but I'm addicted and can't stop watching her show.  Ahhh, can we buy all the houses and remodel them?  No? What about our own?  I love how she renovates historic homes to their former glory  #HGTVaddict

What are you loving this Friday?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Goat Cheese? Yes, Please

Hi there!  It's been a hectic day around here.  Work started off as usual, minus that drill.. that turned out to be real.  The day resumed itself a few hours later and all I can say is that it's amazing to see how people and organizations come together to help each other in an unfortunate situation. Take those drills seriously friends.

So, with that all behind me, I came home determined to make it to my favorite workout class.  I knew I would be starving when I got home, especially since I skipped breakfast today. I left my yogurt open on my desk when the alarm went off and I knew that skipping breakfast is always my fast track to over eating throughout the day.

Anyway, I'm all about simple dinners around here on crazy days.  Who isn't?  This has been my go-to for years, it's quick and easy but it sure tastes fancy.  My hubby despises mushrooms, so that being said, it's not in the rotation at our house unless we're having a party.  I knew I would be dining solo tonight, so when I made my weekly grocery list, I made sure to have the ingredients on hand to throw this in my rotation.  I make my own gluten free bread crumbs using Kinnikinnick bread; it has 5g of fiber, pretty high for gluten free bread, and I love the taste.  I dare you to add this quick and easy meal in your rotation too!

Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms


2 slices of bread of choice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp parsley
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
2.5 oz goat cheese
8 oz mushrooms, washed & stems removed

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.  Pulse bread in a food processor to make bread crumbs. Add next three ingredients, pulse to combine.
2. Remove about half of the breadcrumbs from the food processor.  Add in goat cheese, pulse until fully combined.
3. Fill mushrooms with goat cheese stuffing until all is used, roll goat cheese tops in remaining breadcrumbs until fully covered.
4. Bake 25-30 minutes until tops are golden brown.

What's your go-to meal? 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fabulous Fall is Officially Here!

It's October, which means fall is officially here in my book.  The crisp leaves, football games, lattes and pumpkin flavored baked goods? Bring it on.

In honor of a new month, today I'm sharing how I'm going to make fall fabulous.  The start of a new season is always the chance to challenge yourself to some new goals - in health, fitness life or whatever you choose.  I love the start of a new season as a chance to press the reset button.  As I thought about what I wanted to accomplish, well, some goals are health/wellness oriented.. but let's be honest, some of them are just downright fun, because after all - making memories is what matters.

1.  Try a new recipe - my fall motto is give me pumpkin everything
  • I want all the pumpkin things.  Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies.. pumpkin pasta?  Maybe. A few recipes on my radar include these vegan pumpkin muffins, pumpkin snickerdoodles,  Also, who could forget pumpkin scones?!  I make them every year- this year, I'll be sure to post the recipe.  Looking for an easy pumpkin recipe? Try this throwback recipe from 2011 for easy vegan pumpkin muffins.
2.  Set a fall fitness goal or try a new fitness class
  • I'm bouncing around the idea of doing a 10k Thanksgiving Day race.  Regardless of whether or not it happens - I have some IT band issues that make adding mileage on a little tricky - it's fun to have something to train for - a bonus is that I find it's way easier to run those miles when I'm focusing on a new goal.  It's easy to get in a rut and training for an event or trying a new class helps you get out of it.  Even better, look and see if your city has a Run like Hell 5k.  Hands down there is nothing more fun than a 5k through a cemetery!! 

3. Break out the fall decorations
  • When I was growing up, my grandma put up Halloween decorations every year.  My personal favorite was a lamp shade cover that was made out of streamer paper.  This year, I'm decorating our home with Halloween themed kitchen towels, this friendly ghost, some Halloween themed candy dishes and a giant pumpkin piggy back. My apologies to my husband in advance.  Maybe your favorites are a cozy blanket or a fall themed wreath - anything that helps you get in the spirit!

4. Find an inspiring motto. Remember it. The following might be mine. 

5. Take a break from technology

  • I'm almost always on my phone. Checking facebook. Checking instagram. I can't even watch a TV show without getting distracted and checking my phone.  It's my biggest vice.  This fall, I'm hoping to put down the phone and pay attention to the life that's happening around me. 

6. Attend a costume party, pass out candy or take your children/nieces/nephews/etc. trick or treating

  • Costumes, candy... what's not to love? Simple costume ideas include cat ears or a black hat, or one of the gems found below. 

7. Clean out the clutter

  • I'm planning on sorting through my wardrobe and donating all the things I no longer wear.  Fall is a great time to donate old winter coats and sweaters and there are plenty of organizations that will take them!

8. Plan a fun fall activity with your friends

  • A football game, haunted house trip or a night out at a pumpkin maze all have the bonus of making great memories for you and your friends!

9. Volunteer 

  • It can be a one-time commitment or ongoing, but volunteering is rewarding in a way that most things in life are not.  Time is a precious gift.  Giving that time to someone else is even more precious.  This month, I'm volunteering at Dress for Success, a local pediatric hospital's Halloween party and the YWCA.  I couldn't be more excited!

10. Find a fall-themed flick. 
  • I don't do scary movies - like at all - but maybe that's your pick!  Mine is Hocus Pocus and it has been my go-to fall favorite movie for basically forever.  My friends and I are obsessed. I really shouldn't have to explain it.  If I ever see a black cat in my yard, I'm naming it Binx.  

Now, I'm challenging you to make your list for fantastic fall. Share it on your blog, your facebook, your instagram or share it in the comments!  I look forward to reading it!

How are you going to make it a fantastic fall?