Monday, May 22, 2017

Cake Mix Peanut Butter Bars

So yesterday happened, which was a Sunday, and my husband was craving a dessert with peanut butter in it. Specifically, peanut butter bars. The catch? We only had 1 stick of butter. Since we don't go shopping on Sundays I was up for a bit of a challenge in finding something that would satisfy his craving!

But you guys, I did it! And, of course, it's a Six Sisters Stuff recipe. I swear between them and Pioneer Woman they are always saving the day.

I was a little skeptical at the whole cake mix idea of it. I was sure the texture would be way too off to be considered a "bar." The recipe was so dang easy though it was worth it to just go for it and see what happened.

Well, here you have it! Freakin' YUM! I love these things. My husband says that the cake flavor mixed with the peanut butter isn't quite up to his standards, but it satisfied what he was after. I, on the other hand, had zero issue with the cake flavor mixed with the peanut butter! I thought the whole thing was great and we both agreed that the texture was definitely that of a bar!


What you will need:

Bars-

  • 1 box vanilla cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 C peanut butter
Frosting-
  • 1 stick (1/2 c) butter, softened
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 3 T cocoa powder
  • 1-2 tsp. vanilla (I used 2)
  • 2-3 C powdered sugar (I ended up using 2 1/2)
Directions:

Bars-
  • Preheat oven to 350*
  • Spray a 13x9 baking dish with non stick spray
  • Mix cake mix, egg, water and peanut butter together until mixed well
  • Pour and spread mixture into the 13x9 dish
  • Bake about 20-25 minutes
  • When completely cooled, spread frosting on top
Frosting-
  • Mix all ingredients together until a smooth frosting forms. Add powdered sugar as needed for desired consistency
  • Spread over the top of the peanut butter bars

It's Official: I FinallyTried Shakeology

Finally, after YEARS! I have tried Shakeology. 

Let me first start by mentioning that the Beachbody program drove me absolutely nuts from the start. The constant selfies with their "superfood, dense nutrition shake!" along with becoming a nutrition coach from simply paying a fee was not rubbing me the right way. So I stayed away from the whole thing. Far, far away.

Now of course, since it's been years of Beachbody not going anywhere, I have seen people actually benefit from it. My husband is a Chiropractor so we are no strangers to a holistic and nutrition based approach to health. He is required to attend classes and seminars with top nutritionists from all over the world every year, so there is no lack of knowledge in that area in our home. We have both scrutinized the Beachbody programs; the meal plans, the workouts, you name it. While it tends to follow "what sells" as far as the meal plans go and not always super up to date, there is no doubt that it's good for you!

For the past year or so, I have been very happy to recommend Beachbody to people who are looking to lose weight. Why? Because time after time I have watched nearly every person touched by this program become happier and more confident. They have not only lost weight, but managed to keep it off because the program focuses so much on learning to manage lifestyle changes and WHY. 

Would I ever become a coach? Absolutely not. Their compensation and business plan is TERRIBLE in my opinion. I know so many who really love it, though, and actually know a couple who have become VERY successful with it. So, while I personally don't see it as worth joining, I would never tell someone not to do it. We are all different with our own ideas so if this is your thing, I say go for it.

Now, onto the Shakeology portion of the Beachbody program. Number one, it's expensive. Beachbody coaches will kindly remind you that it breaks down to only about $3-$4 a shake. So you can decide if that's a reasonable price for a meal replacement or not! 

For me, that's not too bad actually. However, it better be pretty good for me to commit to that pretty chunk of change. The ONLY flavors I have tried are Strawberry and Chocolate.
Image Source: Shakeology.com

I started with strawberry and got the low down from my experienced shakeo friends. I tried every single thing they recommended. I could not get through more than a few gulps before giving up each time. However, I was not about to go down that easy! 

I researched what flavor is the "best," and it's pretty unanimous that chocolate is the best tasting over all. I got excited and my friend gave me a full bag to have (I mean... that's a big gift). Both my husband and I were almost giddy to try it. I started Pinteresting ways to make it immediately.

My husband tried first and he made one that was actually decent tasting. It wasn't the best, but for the first time I felt like maybe I could get used to it. I got optimistic and saw myself actually becoming a Shakeology person! I WANTED to be a Shakeology person. There is no denying how amazing it is for you and I wanted that for myself.

It was downhill from there. We could never quite find a way that we could get used to and enjoy enough to go for it seriously. I think my biggest issue was texture. No matter what ways we tried it, I just couldn't get past it. I sort of knew that would be my biggest hurdle because here's a secret; I have never liked shakes in the first place! Now my opinion might as well be completely void. My husband, however, loves shakes. He is not as picky as I at all. He gave up days after I did and we both just had to admit to each other that it wasn't going to happen. I feel strange about this, like I'm wrong in this opinion, like we are the only ones who don't like it.

Bottom line. Beachbody itself is an A. Even with Shakeology. Why? Because SO MANY PEOPLE love Shakeology, it can't be some mass club where they all initiate the newcomers by forcing them to lie about how much they love it, right? Okay, I've seen people lie for less. But you know what I'm saying. I know so many people who just drink the mix with water and they are totally fine with it. I have some leftover chocolate Shakeology and I still plan on trying out new recipes to use with it in the form of healthy snacks. I'm still a little in denial here, can you tell? 

I think over all this is definitely something worth TRYING. And I know that you don't need to drop a ton of money to just try it. You can contact a coach and get a sample first if you're skeptical! I am so glad that I gave it an honest go, and to be honest, I'll probably try again when I'm not pregnant and see if anything is different for me!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Chocolate Chip Mug Cookie

This happened because I was scrolling through Pinterest and happened to have chocolate chips on hand. Also, I'm pregnant. As if I could have said no!

A chocolate chip mug cookie? As far as mug desserts go, this one I am sure I will go ahead and make again in the future. I wouldn't say that the cookie part itself offers much flavor, but it sure offered some great substance to eat some melted gooey chocolate chips with. So, when the craving hits, this will be a good one for me.



What you will need:

  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 3 T milk
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 heaping T brown sugar (not packed)
  • 4 T flour
  • 2 T chocolate chips to mix in
  • 1 T chocolate chips to drop on the top
Directions:
  • Mix together the wet ingredients (oil, milk and vanilla)
  • Add in the brown sugar and mix well
  • Mix in the flour 
  • Mix in the chocolate chips
  • Microwave for 1 minute if you want it nice and gooey, 1 minute and 30 seconds if you'd like it somewhere in the middle and 2 minutes if you want the dough to not be gooey but still a little gooey around the melty chocolate chips.

Easy Baked Chicken Taco's

I can't believe I don't already have these on here! This is seriously a family favorite, and considering that it's a sneaky way to make my kids eat tomatoes and onions, it's a big time personal favorite, too! It calls for a diced onion and a can of diced tomatoes. What I do is toss them in a blender until they make a sauce together and toss the shredded chicken with it. You can do it however you want, though!




What you will need:

  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning of your choice
  • 3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • Mexican shredded cheese blend
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Hard taco shells
  • Topics of your choice
Directions:
  • When your chicken is cooked and shredded, add the taco seasoning in and mix well
  • Preheat oven to 350*
  • Either add the diced tomatoes and onion to the chicken and mix, or blend them in a blender until it makes a sauce or chunky texture to mix in with the chicken
  • Fill the taco shells with the chicken
  • Top with the shredded cheese
  • Bake at 350* for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted
  • Top with favorite taco topics

Friday, February 17, 2017

My Year without Facebook

Sitting on my couch at 11:30pm New Years Eve, my husband and I were all snuggled up watching the new documentary, How to Make a Murderer. We were so glued to what was on the TV, we hardly noticed that midnight was approaching. I had flirted with the idea of challenging myself with going a year without Facebook, but hadn't really accepted the idea fully until about 5 minutes to the year.

We pried ourselves away from the documentary long enough to watch the ball drop, where I decided on a whim to just go for it. I made my last Facebook status and set my phone aside, ready to get back into our show.

For a lot of people, leaving Facebook isn't that big of a deal. Either they don't spend a lot of time on there anyway, or they are annoyed with everyone in their feed enough to really welcome the break. I, on the other hand, really love Facebook. I feel like I have the most hilarious and interesting friends so I genuinely enjoy interacting with people on there day to day. I love the updates, the different opinions and the witty memes. I don't find myself falling into the trap of jealousy based on everyone's "highlight reel" as it's so popularly described. So for me, leaving Facebook was a pretty big deal. Here are a few things I learned!



1. Withdrawal was Non Existent

I expected to wake up on January 1st feeling sad or like a piece of me was missing. However, for some strange reason, my brain adapted to the idea of not having Facebook in my life immediately. My head knew it was not an option, so I didn't think about it. It was completely blocked out. That was SHOCKING to me. I honestly thought I would pick up my phone out of habit and click on Facebook, even by accident. It never happened. I run my husbands business page, so there were about five times or so when I posted something for it, but I never scrolled through my feed, never checked my notifications, nothing. The desire was gone, and I did not expect that.

2. I am Not Important on Facebook

You know, I was absent during an election year. Not ONCE did anyone text me, call me or try to contact me in any way to ask me my political opinions. Doesn't the world need to know my stance on any given subject? Doesn't random dude from high school I never talk to in real life need to know how wrong he is by me posting a passive aggressive half truth meme? Nobody needed me, nobody cared. This wasn't surprising, but coming back to Facebook during an inauguration month where everyone didn't already know what I had learned was surprising ;). It's still fun to share ideas and different view points, but I definitely have a more clear perspective about my actual impact with the things I post.

3. I Felt Bad

I knew that what I was doing was worthwhile and positive, but there were a few times where I found myself feeling guilty. I would run into someone at the store and not realize that they'd had a baby, or that they were going through cancer treatments with their son, or that their husband had graduated and they were heading off on a new adventure. On one hand, it made small talk genuine and fresh, rather than bringing up things you already know about someone. On the other hand, I didn't want them to think that I didn't care or didn't notice them. It's a tricky balance when you want to stay social but it has to be on your own terms without the ease of Facebook. I didn't reach out to people as often as I normally would with Facebook, and therefore missed a lot of important events in people's lives that I felt bad about. That is probably the one thing I would try to do better could I go back and do it again. I would put more effort into contacting and seeing people in "the real world" more often.

4. I Missed a lot of Events

In a world where the most effective way of inviting people to an event is through Facebook, people will either invite you that way and forget you're not around to see it, or they'll remember you're not on Facebook but never get around to actually texting you or calling you about it. The phrase, "why weren't you at...." was so familiar, it took about 6 months into the year before people started remembering that I really wouldn't know about an event unless they personally told me about it. My own Grandma had to remember this, too! :)

5. I Accomplished a LOT

Imagine if every time you picked up your phone, you couldn't use Facebook. What would you do next? My house got more organized than ever before, I read a lot and I spent a lot more time with my kids. I completed the Book of Mormon five times and the Doctrine and Covenants once. My personal goal as a house wife/stay at home mom has always been to treat it as I would any other career. I believe in trying to excel in my job in any way I can. I made the goal about 6 years ago to have a clean home, calm kids and dinner 15 minutes away from being on the table when my husband walked in the door from school/work. Boy is that a LOT easier when Facebook isn't a distraction during every spare second I had! I felt like my house was a home, my kids more engaged and I found my strengths and interests again.


Final thought? It was one of the best things I've done for myself. It was 100% worth it, 100% not as hard as I thought it would be and I would 100% recommend it to everyone and anyone. I promise you that if I, the Facebook lover, can do it, you can definitely do it, too!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken

Our family was so lucky to get to spend the holidays with all my family this year! It's pretty rare these days so I'm glad we got to make a lot of memories!

One of the things we did was doing a Chinese food potluck for New Years Eve. Best. Idea. EVER! I feel like it might have to be tradition now no matter who is around! Everyone made such delicious food, and lucky me I was able to find a crockpot teriyaki chicken recipe from the Flavorite. It made things so easy with how crazy my New Years Eve day was. I knew I wouldn't have the time to cook something later in the day or spend much time on it.

This was perfect, although my chicken got really tender and it kind of turned into shredded teriyaki chicken. Woops! This picture was taken a couple days later with leftovers so it's not as juicy looking. But you get the idea! I actually doubled the sauce recipe and I think it turned out great that way!


What you will need:

  • 2 lbs. boneless chicken
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C soy sauce
  • 2 T cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp water
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • Sesame seeds
Directions:
  • Mix the brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger and garlic in a bowl
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken in a slow cooker
  • Cook on low for 4-6 hours
  • Remove chicken from slow cooker
  • Pour sauce into a pan and bring to a boil
  • Mix cornstarch and water together in a small bowl
  • Slowly pour cornstarch mix into the sauce and mix together
  • Turn heat to medium and stir until sauce thickens (about 2-3 minutes)
  • Add sesame seeds if desired
  • Cut up chicken and place back into slow cooker with sauce until ready to serve

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas for HER on a Budget

The first week of December has come and gone already. Have you done your Christmas shopping? I try to do the majority of mine in November so that I can spend most of December thinking about the reason for the season and overall just enjoying the holiday instead of scrambling!



Men are extremely hard to shop for. I know men say that women are hard to shop for, but really it's the men. Sorry ladies, I got nothin' for ya. This post is for the men to get gift ideas. Particularly for the wives, or the mother of your children. If she hasn't asked for anything specific (or even if she has, these would be great add-ons), I am here for you. What I am about to do is not only give you gift ideas, I'm about to create the perfect evening for her, for you. Stick with me until the end. You'll see.

Okay. Hear me out. It's a strange "gift" but like I said stick with me to the end. Pretty much all chicken noodle soups are mostly the same. No matter where it's from or who is making it. I have finally perfected this recipe and told my 9 year old daughter the absolute musts the other night. She repeated them back to me carefully before she scooped for seconds. This soup is on another level. It is not just noodles and chicken with chicken stock. It has the most perfect "golden" flavor. Yes, that's a flavor in my mind. I've only ever used it to describe a chocolate chip cookie before. Somehow I'm also using it to describe soup. Figure that one out! Its golden, chickeny, perfectly seasoned flavor is by far my favorite soup right now! It took me a few months to get it right and make it my own, but I have just now revised the recipe to match how I make it now, secrets and all. Just for you! Enjoy!



 Image Source: Sephora.com
This is still a favorite of mine. The winter always has my skin so dry it peels. Makeup looks disgusting and patchy. I look unhealthy and dull. It's a sad time. I put this on for about 20 minutes every other morning (so far it hasn't made a difference if I've put it on before or after a shower as long as I moisturize). You can feel it working in a pleasant way and your skin feels very refreshed afterward. The dryness and peeling for me is gone and replaced with a healthy glow! You can technically sleep with this on and get the ultra effects from it. However, this mask doesn't dry like your typical mask. Your face absorbs it over time so that's nice, but sleeping with it on was tricky for me so I haven't done that in a while.
 (Image Source: Walmart.com)
This is where I tell you that this bubble bath stuff is $50 but totally worth it. Because you can't find the cheap kind that can do what the expensive kind does. Fortunately that's all a lie. I got this at Walmart for a few bucks. I've seriously been using it every other night and there are no words to describe how amazing it is! It has a subtle scent of lavender, which is great for relaxing. The best thing about the scent, though is that I can add some essential oils and the aromas won't clash together. After I'm out of the bath, I'll be in my pajamas relaxing for the night and I can actually feel myself glowing. Do you know what that feels like? To FEEL yourself glowing? It's what I imagine heaven to feel like haha. I always felt like bubble bath stuff was all created pretty equal. I was wrong. They are not all created equal. The cheapo stuff at Walmart is far better than anything I have ever tried (and I have tried a LOT). 

 
 
Yeah I went to one of those Mary Kay parties and I couldn't even handle how ridiculous this lotion was. If you've ever gone to bath& body works and used their salt scrub at the little sinks and felt your soft hands after, that's basically what this lotion does. However, this lotion is a little more intense and it lasts through 3 washes! It seriously feels like you're massaging a creamy satin into your hands. It's so luxurious! I got a couple for my girls stockings because they immediately switched to high maintenance status after trying it and can't function without it. It doesn't look like Mary Kay allows you to buy it without the pampering set with it? However, if you find a Mary Kay consultant (a quick Facebook post asking for help will do fine), she may have sample sizes on hand that you can buy for cheap. I was able to get the ones for my girls for $1 and it's a good size.

Slipper socks $10
(Image Sources: Target.com and Aliexpress.com)
 
I don't remember where I found these. They may have been a gift. Let me tell you, slipper socks are the best invention for cold feet! They feel soft and cozy like a slipper (better than a slipper in my opinion), but are practical to walk in. Their grippy bottoms are slip resistant (unlike your average sock), and they're not bulky or awkward like a slipper. You can curl up on the couch without a giant foot in the way or worrying about the slipper falling off. I wear my slipper socks all day inside the house (and outside the house on a few occasions if I'm being honest. Don't judge me!) 
There are so many different kinds of slipper socks these days. These particular ones are found here and here.






 (Image Source: Target.com)
Now, I am about 70% positive that the blanket in the picture and link is the same one. I can't quite tell because of how it's folded, but I'm pretty sure that's the one. I bought this blanket on a whim because it was on clearance at Target. I got it for super cheap not expecting a whole lot out of it but I needed a good throw blanket for my bed. It's been almost a year and this blanket has gotten A LOT of use! It is perfectly soft, perfectly sized to be wrapped up (it kind of just molds around your body) and perfectly warm. My husband doesn't really care for.... well, anything warm really. But he especially has never been one to say, "I need a blanket," aside from bed time. But he has been grabbing this blanket to snuggle me with almost every night during our shows. That is saying a lot! It's literally the perfect blanket. 



(Image Source: Target.com)
These are freakin hard to find. I'm just saying that straight up. So far, I've only found them at Target. I'm not sure if they are only for the holidays or if they will keep selling them after Christmas. They are not your average mint or peppermint chocolate flavor. Oh no. These may as well be wrapped in gold and handled with gloves. They are far too precious and delicious to be thrown into the "average" category. You might actually drop to the floor after biting into one of these. After the shock has worn off, you'll be able to finish it, slowly, savoring every tiny second. The best way I can describe them is like girl scout thin mint cookies on crack. They are just so much more than what I could have ever imagined or describe. Their texture is on another level somehow, too. I allow myself exactly ONE every night after the kids are tucked in and I'm done for the day. I ration these suckers like a crazy person. 


Once Upon a Time (free with a Netflix account)
(Image Source: starsandsplats.wordpress.com)

I'm definitely late discovering this show. My best friend suggested it to me so I turned it on one day during my son's nap while my older kids were at school. It was not at ALL what I was expecting. So I kept watching. My husband got into it, too and before I knew it we were watching it every night. We have shows we really love, but we need a good show we both like that we can have on while the kids are trying to fall asleep. Our TV is in another room of course, but I swear, no matter how quiet the volume is, there are words that somehow stand out like it's at full volume! We just want to relax without, "oh crap, do you think they heard that? Are they asleep yet?" Once Upon a Time is pretty perfect for that. Our kids will walk out for their tenth drink or needing to use the bathroom or whatever, and they just see some fairy tale character being totally appropriate as they walk by. I will say that halfway through season 2 to halfway through season 3 it was only "pretty good" instead of really good or great. But it has been so much fun to watch! I highly recommend it.


So here you go. I have created the perfect evening. Warm your lady up with the worlds best chicken noodle soup. Then, she gets to smooth on that Glam glow mask, hop into a nice bubble bath, massage some Satin Hands on, slip into her jammies with warm slipper socks and crash on the couch with the worlds best blanket as she savors a delicious truffle and zone out to Once Upon a Time. If I could recommend the best day to do this? It would be Christmas Day, after a long day of keeping up with crazy kids, disaster zones in every corner and being up late the night before with an early morning of jumpy, hyper kids. Good luck to you and Merry Christmas!