Saturday, December 24, 2011

Family Feuding Christmas!

Family feud. We all have them. We all waste our time and energy on them. No, I'm not talking about an actual feud with your family, although, this also applies. I'm talking about our smart phone games. My favorite smart phone game is Family Feud. On Thanksgiving, my sister and brother-in-law were playing this game non-stop. Since then, the first thing I do most mornings, is make my coffee and play Family Feud.  It's my little bit of fun every day.  The best part, I get to play with my family and friends through facebook!

I've always enjoyed the TV show Family Feud.  Check out a few of my favorite episode clips and tell me you didn't laugh out loud!

Ha ha!  Watch the whole video.  The best part is the end!

Here's another one that brought Steve Harvey to his knees! 

My mommy came to visit me and we are going to start making our Holiday Snowmen

after watching a Christmas Carol.  Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Raspberry Black Bean Dip and a few others.

In my last post, I told you about all the activities and cooking I've been doing lately.  I wanted to give you readers some more delicious recipes to try and to again remind you to BEWARE, some of these recipes are meant to be consumed in moderation.

Raspberry Black Bean Dip

A little background on this recipe.  In college, I worked at a restaurant called So Long Saloon.

This recipe is a crowd favorite.  My friends and fellow wait staff would consume this so frequently I'm sure we created a bean and raspberry shortage.  Enjoy!

1 can black beans- rinsed well
4 oz low-fat cream cheese
4 oz shredded pepper jack cheese
1/4 c diced sweet onion
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 jar Broncos Chipotle Raspberry Sauce
Tortilla chips

1.  Melt butter in a small pan over medium heat.  Add onion, and saute until translucent.  Remove from heat.

2.  In a microwave-safe bowl combine cheeses, beans, onion and microwave 2-3 minutes.  Stir.  Add 1/2 amount of Raspberry Sauce and microwave 1 minute longer.

3.  Remove from microwave and add the rest of the raspberry sauce**.  Serve with tortilla chips.

** I like a lot of Raspberry sauce, so this dish is nice and sweet.

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

 Peanut Clusters

6oz semi sweet chocolate chips
6oz white almond bark
approx. 42 oz roasted peanuts

1. Microwave the chocolate chips and almond bark together until soft and stir till smooth.

2. Stir in peanuts until covered.

3. Spoon a cluster onto wax paper and allow to cool.

The Peanut Butter Balls and the Peanut Clusters make easy and great Christmas gifts for neighbors and co-workers.  To make them extra special, put these goodies inside a cute little gift bag like this one...

Enjoy these budget friendly ideas for the Holiday season.

I did not forget

Wow!  I think this has been the longest I've got without blogging in months.  I've been super busy with moving, packing, visiting family and friends, baking, and deep cleaning.  Oh, did I mention I finally got accepted to Pinterest?  Yes, this is my new, all-time-consuming internet activity.  I am obsessed!  I have some really cute ideas that I can't wait to try out, and even some that I can add myself.

While I've been away from the blogging world, I've been able to visit family and get all of my Christmas shopping done.  I've also tried some great recipes.  BEWARE!  Some of these are NOT the healthiest, so eat in moderation.

Taste inspired straight from my "20-something" birthday date at Capital Grille...

Au Gratin Potatoes

4 Large baking potatoes
3 Cups Bechamel sauce (see following recipe)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Colby cheese

Bake potatoes in oven at 400 degrees until completely
cooked. Cool for 30 minutes at room temperature, then slice
into 1/2" thick rounds. Mix together the Bechamel sauce, salt
and white pepper. Add remaining ingredients.
Fold in potatoes. Place mixture in covered baking dish in a
300F oven for 1 hour, or until potatoes are hot all the way
through. Remove the cover and allow potatoes to brown.

Bechamel Sauce
1 quart half & half
2 ounces flour
2 ounces clarified butter
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, combine the flour and butter. Cook over a
low flame, for about 15 minutes until the mixture begins
to bubble. Stir frequently so the roux does not color.
Gradually add the half & half, stirring out the lumps as
it thickens. After the entire amount of half & half has
been added, cook for 45 minutes over a low flame, stirring
occasionally to keep the mixture from sticking to the saucepan.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

We prepared these with some Roasted Veggies and Balsamic Sauce.  This recipe is so easy.  Just choose the veggies you want, like red peppers, carrots, green peppers, asparagus, onions, etc.  Roast these on a cookie sheet in the oven with a couple sprigs of rosemary until browned and soft to the touch.  Prepare a balsamic reduction by combining 1/4 c balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp brown sugar, and 2 TB olive oil.  Cook until thick syrup forms.  Drizzle and toss with hot vegetables.  Serve immediately. 

We cooked both of these recipes for our neighbors who always do so many nice things for us  To complete the meal, we served fillet mignon and a full-flavored Cabernet. 

Look for more recipes in the next few additions.  I've been a cooking and baking fool!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

First wedding anniversary

Today is our first year anniversary.  Did you know that a traditional first year anniversary gift is supposed to be paper?  I tried to stick to the theme, by giving Mr. J a cute postcard and a personal message and set it on top a new suitcase for him.  If you couldn't tell, we travel A LOT, and we are pretty hard on suitcases, so this was a very needed gift before our big move.

I think we are going to take it easy today, and maybe head out to celebrate tomorrow.  The weekend holiday shoppers will most likely not be out on a Monday, and we can have a fun date without all the stresses of doing it on the weekend.  It will also give me an extra day to work off those extra calories I consumed when baking my Christmas Cookie Cutouts and our OTB date. 

On the Border is my guilty pleasure.  I love this place.  And by this place, I mean their salsa, guac, and queso.  Usually, I get our food TO-GO and I head home to make Jade some taco meat and beans.  I'm just satisfied with the apps.  Has anyone watched the Biggest Loser when the experts tell the contestants that Mexican food is one of the worst things you can eat?  Especially when you consume at least 2 baskets of chips... Yeah, I've watched it too!  And, I'll be sweating it up today at the gym.  Sigh! 

I did substitute the traditional OTB chips for these babies.  Yum, they are so good, and are made from good-for-you ingredients. 

I buy mine at Costco, and would buy these babies by the pallet if they would let me.  The company, Food Should Taste Good, has come out with so many different flavors.  I can't wait to try them all out.

Happy Anniversary to me and the hubs!

Did you stick to the traditional wedding anniversary gifts?  What did you get/give for year one?

Christmas Cookie Cutouts

Last night, the Mr. and I decorated Christmas cookies.  I enjoy baking and decorating cookies, but I don't do it very often.  I especially love that the Mr. J likes to do it with me.  Can you tell which ones he decorated??

If you guessed the ones on the very right, you are correct... Yep, he made me a KSU woman, but he made sure she was sad, and her KU boyfriend was happy.  What a D-O-R-K!!

Here are some that I decorated.  

This recipe was really good and easy to make.  No chilling involved!  I made my own Icing, but didn't really measure out the ingredients.  I just added enough powdered sugar and water until I made the right consistency. 

For a little randomness in today's blog, check out my new hair do.

When my sister came for Thanksgiving, she had this cute little feather in her hair.  I've been wanting to try something different, but didn't want the permanency of hair dye.  What do you think?  

What do you readers do to your hair when you want to change it up?  

PS... A VERY Happy Birthday to my MIL, Vaunda and my BFF, Abby!!  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Everywhere I goooo!"  In my head, I sound just like Mariah Carey.  And I'm looking as cute as she does in this little Santa suit. 

Oh, a girl can dream huh?

I had lunch with my friend Ashley today, you can follow her blog here, and she got me into the Christmas spirit.  I finally started my Christmas shopping today.  I'm going to try to finish the rest on Saturday and online.  I wrapped all my gifts and put them under my tree today.  Doesn't it look cute?

Between Christmas, New Year's, my sister-in-law's wedding, and moving and packing up our house, I feel a little overwhelmed.  I'm trying to get at least 8 hours of sleep and exercise everyday, but I find myself over-eating and gobbling down sweets! 

Does anyone have any tips for maintaining discipline around the holidays?

How do you decorate for Christmas?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Birthday, Shmirthday!

Yes, today is my birthday.  I'm the BIG 27 today!  Ugh.  I have this aversion to getting older.  Every year since I was 21, (because let's face it, every birthday from that birthday is not going to be as much fun), I've felt trepidation at the thought of becoming another year older.  So this year, the Mr. said, "You're not older, you're wiser." 

In honor of my year "wiser," the hubs is taking me out to two of my favorite restaurants, The Capital Grill and The Melting Pot.  I know what you are thinking... Two restaurants... We are actually having dinner at TCG and then dessert at TMP.  Who doesn't love chocolate fondu? 

Look at these beautiful flowers my Grandma sent me.


My Grandma is such a funny lady.  She probably weighs 70 lbs and is shorter than 5 feet tall.  She's so cute.  Last year, my Grandma and my Aunt and I traveled to Sweden to meet some of our relatives.  Th.

Check out some of these awesome pictures from our travels in Sweden.

My Grandma and my Aunt at a relatives farmstead.

My Aunt and me

This picture always cracks me up. 

The girls, minus my Aunt, in front of the giant dala horse.

At an old castle.

My pretty Aunt.

In Malmo, overlooking the Baltic Sea.

I'm off to get ready for my big date.  Hasta luego chicos!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Today, my husband called me "wifey-cita."  I think it's funny because we always have cute little nicknames for each other.  Although, he absolutely hates when I call him Jaders, The Hubsters, or hubby wubby wubby wubby!  Just kidding.  I never use baby talk, except with my doggie woggie woggies!  Haha!

How could you not when you look at these guys.

I also tried on all my scuba gear... Check it out....

Yes, I look like a dork, and I totally don't know what any of the dials or buttons are for... Yet.  In Playa, Jade promises to get me certified and take me out to scuba! 

I've been thinking a lot about how to get my friends and family motivated to work out and keep the winter/holiday weight off.  The average person gains 7 lbs from the time between Thanksgiving and New Years.  This workout is to help prevent this weight gain.

I thought I would put together a workout that can be done at home.  I know, getting to the gym is sometimes difficult, especially for those stay-at-home-mommies!

1.  Start out getting your muscle warmed up with some half squats- 25

2.  Burpees- 15

3.  Staggered hand pushups- 20
** Concentrate on good form.  Tuck your hips under and keep your back flat.  Go all the way down. Drop to your knees if you need to finish the set.

4.  Flutter kicks- 50; count each leg

5.  Jump lunges- 20

6. One leg tricep dip- 20- switch legs at 10.  Drop both legs to the floor to finish the set if needed.

7.  Jump Squats- 20

8.  Plank move to side plank- 10 each side

Repeat this circuit as many times as you can for a total of 20 minutes.  Rest as little as possible.  You want to keep your heart rate up.  This will help you burn as many calories as possible. 

Remember to drink lots of water.  At least, 64 ounces a day.  This will help you avoid over-eating, and give your skin and hair a hydrated look. 

Message me for any details on the exercises.  Good luck!

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

50 personalized Christmas cards and 3 paper cuts, ON.MY.LIPS!, later, along with Christmas music playing everywhere, it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.  I love this time of year.  I've decorated my tree and started baking cookies and breads! 

Today, I made Banana Bread,

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies,

and tomorrow I'm baking Fresh Blueberry Muffins.

Baking is truly one of my favorite things to do...EVER!  I love it.  I hope you enjoy these recipes. 

What are some of your favorite baking recipes??

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lose the excuses to lose the weight.

I can't believe it is already December, and it sure feels that way.  I woke up this morning freezing!  Isn't so hard to get out of bed when it's cold outside?  So I snuggled up to the hubby and stayed in bed a little longer.  :)  Snuggling is seriously my favorite thing to do. 

But I've been struggling with my motivation lately, and staying in bed, snuggling isn't helping.  I know I'm not the only one who justifies not working out.  When I was a personal trainer, I would hear excuses all the time on why my clients did not eat right or could not find the time to workout.  Now that I've gotten out of that industry, albeit I'm still very much interested in it, I find myself letting my husband, my friends, and my family make those same excuses.  My pups are even putting on the weight.  Last night we weighed both dogs because we are trying to find two large kennels for them.  Bella, my lab, and Ace, my English Bulldog, have each gained over 10 lbs in 2 years! 

Ok, so Ace is not this bad!

I try to do something active every day.  Maybe I'm not hitting the gym for 2-3 hours every day like I used to, but I still try to walk or run with my pups or go to a yoga class or head to the gym for some weight training. But, I still feel like I'm not working as hard as I could be. 

When I'm searching for motivation, I always try to look at people who've made the real, hard changes.  Contestants on the Biggest Loser have made life changes.  A friend I met studying abroad in Mexico recently lost 50 lbs while going back to school!  Real people give me the motivation to keep on working harder and to push myself farther. 

When I hear friends say, "I will go to the gym when I look better in shorts."  or "It's not worth going to the gym around the holidays because I'm just going to eat and cancel it all out.," I know it is my duty to their ultimate health to tell them that starting a routine, walking into the gym in shorts or spandex or whatever, is the only thing that will make you look better, feel better, and stay on the right path. 

Even if you wear this look to the gym, you are still winning for even being there!

I'm off to the gym readers!

If anyone has a before and after picture of your weight loss journey, I would love  to see it.  Brag about how you look now!  YOU deserve it!