Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Valentine's Gift Idea- 14 Days of Love

This year I still have no fun ideas for Tim for Valentine's Day. I need to keep thinking and see what I can come up with. But I thought I'd share what I did last year in case some people would like to replicate. You still have a couple days til February 1st!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
14 Days of Love
This year for Valentine's Day I decided to stretch it out a little longer- 13 days longer, actually!
February 1st, I implemented 14 Days of Love!  I came up with 14 different ideas of little things that Tim liked or would appreciate and then made a plan of when they would best work.  It wasn't a great deal of work, was inexpensive, and lots of fun!
Day 1- Peanut Butter Cheerios

Day 2- Poem hung on the mirror

Day 3- Juice and Tim's favorite donuts waiting him in his car in the morning.

Day 4- Picture of Kaydin and I left in his car.
Day 5- Packages of Biscoff cookies.
Day 6- New bottle of body wash.
Day 7- Picture drawn by Kaydin
 
Day 8- Framed picture of Tim and I at Times Square.

Day 9- Containers of his favorite yogurt, Noosa


Day 10- Oakley's sunglasses case
Day 11- Chocolate melting cake like we had on our cruise last spring.



Day 12- Cook breakfast for him in the morning.
 
Day 13- A framed print to go in his office

Day 14- Letter and Valentine's card

I think Tim enjoyed the 14 days, too!
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Let me know if anyone tries this idea! I wanna know what you come up with for your 14 Days of Love!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My favorite health bars

I thought I would share a great deal that I've been taking advantage of so others could take part, too! In this quarter's The Whole Deal, that is put out by Whole Foods, there is a coupon for $1.50 off two Luna bars. That means you get two for $.50! That's a great deal! Luna bars are normally priced. $.99. A bar that provides 12 grams of protein for a quarter?! Can't pass on those deals!
I first tried the Luna protein bars back in October when I received one in my Foodie Pen Pal package. I loved them! And I am usually not a fan of health bars. The only other kinds I enjoy are Clif, Mojo and Clif Z bars. Luna is actually a part of the Clif family.

When I went to Whole Foods a couple months ago, I stood in front of the hundreds of different bars and searched Google. Most all bars include the ingredient soy protein isolate. This is basically a highly, highly processed form of soy that ends of stripping it of most of its nutrients. And I know that soy is usually a GMO. The reason I like the Clif brand so much though is because they use organic, non GMO ingredients. So even though there is a small amount of soy protein isolate in their bars, at least it's organic soy. The following statement can be found on the Clif website:

Do your foods contain genetically modified ingredients?


Another coupon that I've been using is one for $.50 off one MoJo bar. That makes one bar half off the original price of $.99.  An organic health bar for $.50! Can't beat that!
 
Every time I go into the store I take advantage of these two deals. And the last two times I've went into the store, I've gone straight to the bars, paid, and left. I was in the area for other errands so jumped into Whole Foods, too, to scoop up a few bars. I just tear the coupons out of the booklets when I walk into the store. Totally worth the five minute stop, especially when I'm at that strip mall anyway.

The coupon doesn't expire until late March so you still have plenty of time to take advantage!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Glow Run 5k

I signed up for another race! This one for April 2013. And it's another fun one, not just a race boring race through town.  I'm thinking the fun 5k's are my kind of race :) The Glow Run is being held Saturday, April 20, 2013 in Des Moines. It's held in the evening and afterwards there's a big glowing after-party. Should be lots of fun!

dont run in jewelry glow run 5k Dont Wear & Run | Jewelry Care (source)


Here's a little more information about the run that I pulled from their website:

What is the Glow Run?

The Glow Run 5k Run/Walk event is a one of a kind night time experience that is less about how fast you run and more about enjoying the music filled glowing course with your friends and family. For our events, we see participants of all different speeds, ages, shapes, and sizes ready to GLOW. So whether you are a casual walker or an avid runner The Glow Run 5k invites you to come be a part of the fun.

The Course

3.1 miles of glowing fun featuring multiple black light zones, a glowing finish line chute and arch as well as thousands of runners decked out in glow gear. The Glow Run will also feature music at multiple spots along the course as well as an on course DJ pumping out the latest top 40 dance mixes to keep you motivated.

Now who wants to run with me?!? :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why are our children still obese?

I saw this infograph awhile ago through blog land (or maybe even Facebook) and thought it included lots of great information. We, as parents, need to take full responsibility for our children's health. They don't do the grocery shopping, we do. If they are video game fans, they will sit there for hours on end playing their favorite games. Limits need to be set by the adults. Also, don't forget that you are your child's biggest role model and influence of their behavior. Teach them healthy habits at a young age so they are more likely to live a healthy adult life.

Why Are Our Children Still Obese Infographic

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Almond Meal Encrusted Chicken Strips

When I made my homemade almond milk I knew I wanted to save the leftover meal to use for baking and other things. It was prefect timing when Jessica from How Sweet Eats posted this chicken strip recipe.

To dry out my almond milk I spread it in a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (I should've spread it out to a thinner layer because it took a long time to dry). I set the oven to 250 degrees and checked it every 10 minutes. Mine took quite awhile to dry out, about an hour. Stir around when checking it, too. It turned out as a dry crumbly powder. I plan to use it in baking recipes but the first thing I used it for were these chicken strips. They turned out great! Juicy and crispy, but baked so a healthy version!



I paired our chicken tenders with some steamed broccoli and baked sweet potato. Add a glass of milk and you have yourself a perfect balanced, healthy meal.


*Quick side note: This is my new favorite grinder. It's from Trader Joe's and I've been using it on almost everything. But my favorite way I've found is adding it to the steamer with the broccoli. Try it!



Almond Encrusted Chicken Fingers
Adapted from HowSweetEats.com

Ingredients:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
 2 eggs
1 cup almond meal
3/4 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions:

Beat the eggs in a shallow dish. Add chicken to the dish and cover with beaten eggs.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine almond meal, panko, flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Dip each chicken tender in breadcrumbs, gently pressing to adhere. Place on the wire rack. Spray each with a mist of olive oil or nonstick spray. Bake for 12 minutes, remove from over, gently flip and mist with spray, then bake for 12 minutes more.

**Make sure to spray the tenders with spray. This is the secret to them being crispy. Don't forget this step!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Homemade Almond Milk

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr Day! Tim and I have the day off from work today so we're relaxing, getting some home projects completed and going out for lunch. Kaydin had to go to school to make up a day they missed this fall when moving back into their elementary school from the church they started the year at so Tim and I are enjoying some time just the two of us.

Right before Christmas Kaydin and I made some almond milk. I had been wanting to make it for months now and finally just did it. It's so easy! And fun, too.

First, you need to soak your almonds in pure, filtered water for a day or two. We soaked two cups of almonds in enough water to cover them all.

The next day we added them to the blender along with six cups of filtered water. Turn the blender on and let 'er rip!

After letting the blender work it's magic for awhile (about 1 1/2-2 minutes), the nuts were pulverized and the milk frothy.

Next, slowly pour the milk into a pitcher through cheesecloth to strain the almond meal out from the liquid. I secured the cheesecloth with a rubberband around the pitcher and poured the milk in slowly in batches.



Kaydin Baby helped me strain the meal. We used a spoon to press the meal and push the liquid through.

Homemade Almond Milk
Adapted from frugallysustainable.com

pure, filtered water for soaking
2 cups raw almonds
6-7 cups pure, filtered water
pure vanilla extract (optional)

Add enough water to cover the 2 cups almonds to a container. Let soak at least 24 hours. Drain the almonds and add to the blender. Add 6-7 cups of water and blend. Blend until liquid is frothy and all nuts are fully pulverized. Next, strain the milk through cheesecloth into a pitcher.  Add vanilla extract, if desired.

Kaydin was the first to try a sip. She wasn't too sure at first but ended up liking it. I loved it! It was great and of course tasted so much fresher than the store-bought almond milk.

Come back tomorrow to learn how to use the leftover meal from the almond milk and also an easy recipe that incorporates it!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Random Happenings, take 5

 Happy Tuesday! Lots has been going on lately. As we all know, time stops for no one. Here's a few things we've been up to.

  • Last weekend I did some thrift shopping around the city with my friend, Kristyn. We found a few good finds through the aisles and aisles of stuff. My favorite find was some old video cameras for $1.99! I already have a couple old cameras so these will go great for my growing collection. I'll show you a fun DIY project soon that also sits with my cameras. My mom made it for me for Christmas and it's definitely a unique, one-of-a-kind piece! Love it!










  • While I was out shopping, Tim and Kaydin were doing the same....  



at this store. Another new puppy complete with a bridal gown, veil, wedding booties, and a pink princess chair. Why all the extra accessories I asked him? "She wanted them," was his reply. OMG!! Spoiled or what?!?! :)

  • Last night I watched the beginning of The Biggest Loser (I had to flip over and catch the crazy drama that is The Bachelor every week) and they were doing a trivia contest about childhood obesity. I am proud to say that I got all questions but one right and most I knew the answer before the multiple choice answers were given. It's great that a popular TV show is bringing these issues to light. But I still have to say that it's sad it takes a reality TV show for people to open their eyes to this growing epidemic. Oh well, at least a little more publicity to this issue is taking place! 

  • I started the Fitmixer boot camp today. I use their aminos already and wanted to learn a little more about the program. The main reason I joined was to learn some new workouts and broaden my routines a little. The first test workout yesterday humbled me. I work out most weeks 5 days per week already but those burpees and plyo lunges that was part of the workout sucked! 
  • Another aspect of the bootcamp program is following a meal plan. I've realized I am in no way a calorie counter. I don't want to be pulled into this little realm of thinking and feel I have to be so rigid when it comes to food. Ok, now- I do think it helps for people with no concept of how many calories food has or any knowledge for nutrition. It at least helps them learn what a healthy balanced diet looks like. But what I'm also thinking is having people learn this way can start them off wrong. They may be brainwashed (maybe not the exact word I'm looking for but you get the picture) into thinking "omg, I only have a 1/4 cup of blueberries left but I need 1/2 cup to complete my breakfast!" Or "I went over my calorie intake today! I failed and feel bad about myself now" I don't believe it's the best way to teach nutrition. Can help some probably, but my personal opinion is that this is not the way to live. I believe it's all about eating clean healthy foods to fuel your body. Keep processed foods out of your kitchen. Keep portions in mind. If you follow that mentality, healthy eating can come pretty easily. So, with all that said, I'm loosely following the plan. I'm not strictly sticking to it, but I'm using it to be aware. And I have up'ed my produce intake even more so that's a plus!
  • I've been keeping up well with my hanger challenge! I've haven't worn anything twice since the new year! 

  • This weekend I finally got all the Christmas decor put away. It usually doesn't take me this long but at least it's all packed up now! Come on spring! :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Kaydin's 6th Birthday- A Painting Party!


This year my baby girl turned 6! And we had a fun, unique idea for her to celebrate with her friends!
A couple months ago Tim and I attended a canvas painting class with Connie Pruitt through El Arte Uncorked. It's held at Overtime Sports Bar and lots more information about the paintings, dates, and times is shown on her website.
 

 
wine group shot 1 (Source)


The class was so much fun and someday we hope to attend another one. I got the idea of asking her about coming for Kaydin's birthday party. We talked that night and were in contact through email until the day of her party. She developed a dolphin painting for the kids to complete that day to go along with Kaydin's obsession love for them.
 



She was really attentive to all the kids and helped them through the process. She gave great instruction and I think they all kept up and interpreted well. They were interested and engaged the whole time. It helped that Connie is an art teacher at a local elementary school! She did such an awesome job describing the technique and answered all their questions.






 


 

The painting portion took only about an hour. Connie provided all the painting supplies needed for the day. She also brought in an extra table, table and floor coverings, and when it came time for clean-up she handled that, too! That helped the party move right along into gift opening and cutting the cake.

Kaydin loved her cake so much she didn't even want to cut into it! She said it was too pretty!



Be a trendsetter in the children's birthday world. Chuck E Cheese is old school, painting parties are the new favorite thing! ;)

I highly recommend Connie for your next birthday party, girls night, family gathering, or any other event! She also holds lots of different classes throughout the year at Overtime Sports Bar. Tim and I had a great laid back date night that I hope to do again soon!

El Arte Fiesta
Connie Pruitt
www.Elarteuncorked.com
515-710-6085