Category Archives: Recipes

Peppermint Hershey Kiss Sugar Cookie Recipe

Jaden decided that he wanted to leave peppermint cookies for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. He came across some peppermint extract in the cabinet that hasn’t been used in forever and was dead set on making some kind of peppermint cookie.

I turned to my favorite cookie blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction, to look for a peppermint cookie recipe. Luckily, I found the perfect recipe!

Peppermint Hershey Kiss Sugar Cookies – adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction


Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies


  • 10 tablespoons (145 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (190 grams) flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • sprinkles
  • 24 unwrapped Hershey Kisses (or peppermint kisses!)


Using a hand held or stand mixture, cream together the softened butter and sugar. Cream until well combined, at least 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Mix until combined.

In separate medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Toss to mix. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix on low speed until ingredients are fully combined.

The dough will be thick and sticky, so it is important to refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes, or even longer if possible.

While dough is chilling, unwrap Hershey Kisses and place in small bowl. From my experience, it’s best to put the whole bowl of Hershey Kisses in the freezer until your cookies are done baking. This prevents them from melting everywhere when you push them into the hot cookie.

After dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place sprinkles into shallow bowls. We used red and green. Take 1 tablespoon of dough, roll it into a ball, and roll in sprinkles. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Do this for all of the cookie dough.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 8-9 minutes. Cookies will appear slightly undone when you remove them. They’ll continue cooking after they’re removed from the oven.

Take Hershey Kisses out of the freezer and immediately push one into center of each cookie. You can also skip adding the Kisses and just eat the cookies as is, but everything is better with chocolate.

Cool five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool. Cookies stay good covered at room temperature for one week.

I am so glad that Jaden was dead-set on making peppermint cookies. These cookies came out perfectly delicious. I will definitely be making more of these before Christmas! They have just the right of peppermint flavor without being overpowering, and the peppermint/chocolate combo is delicious!


Jaden loved helping roll the dough in the sprinkles.


What’s your favorite cookie recipe?



Filed under Christmas, Recipes

Christmas Treats Recipe Round-up

Good afternoon! This weekend I am baking cookies for our family Christmas party and I always bake cookies for Danny to take to work. Today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite past Christmas treat recipes. Enjoy!

(Click on the links for the recipes!)


These are so easy to make and great for kids. You can make a lot of these in a short amount of time so they’re great for parties or to give out as gifts.

Picture 11613

Picture 11608

These cookies look fantastic and taste wonderful. And who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter?!

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This is another treat that’s easy to make and makes a great gift.


If you only make one treat this Christmas, it should be Peppermint Oreo Truffles. These little bites of heaven are amazing. Amazing.



These are one of my favorite cookies to make around the holidays and once again, you can’t go wrong with the chocolate and peanut butter combo!

Have a great afternoon!

  • What is your favorite holiday treat?



Filed under Christamas, Recipes, Uncategorized

Monk Fruit in the Raw

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not reflect the the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product. 

As a Moms Meet blogger, I was recently given the opportunity to try out Monk Fruit in the Raw.


I usually use sugar alternatives in my coffee and tea, so I looked forward to trying Monk Fruit in the Raw in place of my normal sweetener.

Monk Fruit in the Raw is a zero-calorie sweetener made with real monk fruit, a vine-ripened fruit from Asia. The monk fruit is blended with other sweeteners to create the perfect balance of sweet. It’s great in your morning cup of coffee.


Monk Fruit in the Raw can also be used to replace regular sugar. You can use it in cooking or baking. The taste of Monk Fruit in the Raw is the closest taste to regular sugar of all the non-caloric sweeteners and it doesn’t have bad aftertaste!

Monk Fruit in the Raw conversion chart:


I like that the Monk Fruit in the Raw comes in two different packages – individual packets for coffee and tea and a large package to use for baking. And it’s very reasonably priced. The individual packets are about $3.49 for 40 packets and the Monk Fruit in the Raw Bakers Bag is only $6.99.


Monk Fruit in the Raw is vegan, kosher, and gluten-free. It doesn’t contain any added table sugar, sugar alcohols, or molasses.


I used one packet in my coffee. I also added one tablespoon of cream and it was perfect! The Monk Fruit in the Raw adds just the right amount of sweetness without adding any extra calories or carbs.



I watch my niece two days a week and my sister-in-law usually drops her off at about 7 am. Since she’s here early, we decided to try out a breakfast recipe using Monk Fruit in the Raw.



We made cinnamon and Monk Fruit in the Raw French toast!


Cinnamon and Monk Fruit in the Raw French Toast               Serves:2


  • four slices of bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk (we used honey almond milk)
  • 2 tsp Monk Fruit in the Raw
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon


  1. Heat pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk eggs. Add Monk Fruit in the Raw and cinnamon. Whisk together.
  3. Dip each slice of bread into egg mixture and put onto hot pan. Cook each side until browned, approximately 3-5 minutes per side.
  4. Add you favorite toppings and enjoy!


This is a super easy breakfast and loved by adults and kids!



You can learn more about In The Raw products on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Do you use a sugar substitute? 


Filed under Breakfast, Family Fun, Product Review, Recipes

Best Appointment Ever

Good afternoon! How was your weekend? Before I get into my weekend, I have some great news to share – the doctor gave me the okay to start a run/walk program!

I am so happy!

I had my post surgery check-up with my hip doctor this morning. Can you believe it’s been 4.5 months since my surgery?!

He said that as long as my quad and hip didn’t bother me too much, I could start a run/walk program in 5 minutes increments.

So the first day, I would run one minute and walk four minutes. I would repeat this a few times as long as I felt good. Then I would not be able to run the next day and the following day, I would run two minutes and walk three minutes for a few intervals. Then I would rest the next day and continue with three minutes of running and two minutes of walking.

I would repeat this until I am up to about 10-15 minutes of straight running! Yay! But if my quad starts to burn like it tends too when I overdo it then I need to scale back. He said the quad pain should go away in the next few months but not overnight.

He also gave me the okay to do some group fitness classes like yoga, Pilates, strength training classes, etc as long as I start slow and avoid any position where I have to turn my body because my hip isn’t quite ready for that yet.

Overall, my said my progress looks great and the range of motion in my hip looks great. I just have to continue doing closed circuit exercises such as squats, lunges, and the leg press to help regain more strength in my leg. He said I should also be fine with doing physical therapy once a week. My next appointment is at the beginning of January to check on my progress.


Let’s back up to this weekend…


On Saturday morning, I was making breakfast before Danny and I went to the gym and I cracked open a double yolk egg!


I was a little more excited than I care to admit about that double yolk because that’s never happened to me and I thought it was so cool. But I also thought it was weird and wouldn’t eat it. I gave it to Danny instead.

After breakfast, we went to the gym. Danny and I did some back exercises including:

  • lat pulldowns
  • seated rows
  • t-bar raises (a new favorite!)
  • straight arm pullovers
  • deadlifts
  • bentover rows

After our workout, we stopped at the Giving Tree and picked out some tags to buy toys for kids for Christmas. We picked three tags for boys and then we’ll go back and deliver our toys to the box.


It’s a great way for the kids to help others who might not have as much as they do. They really look forward to it every year and enjoy picking out a toy for a kid their age.

Saturday evening, we went to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for dinner. Crystal made a delicious chicken tortilla stew for dinner. I made a no-bake chocolate lasagna for dessert.


Jaden helped. He is my little chef, One of his favorite tv shows is Chopped on The Food Network.


The chocolate lasagna was so easy to make and so delicious! I found the recipe on Pinterest (of course!). The bottom layer was a Oreo crust. Danny and Jaden crushed the Oreos and I added some melted butter so they would stay together in the bottom of the pan. The next layer was cream cheese mixed with one cup Cool Whip, sugar, and a little milk. The third layer was chocolate pudding and the top layer was Cool Whip. I topped the whole thing with chocolate chips.



On Saturday, we also stopped at Old Navy because they were having 50% off all outwear until 1 pm. I was looking for a coat for Jacob but all the ones in his size were just too thin. I did find a black vest with a fur hood for myself for 50%.


I used to have a black vest from H&M that I loved and suddenly I can’t find it. I have had it for years and years but now it’s just gone. I was happy to find a new one at Old Navy even though I had to ask an employee to take one off a mannequin because it was the only one in my size.


Saturday evening was the first snow we’ve had that actually stuck and Jaden was so excited to build a snowman on Sunday. A mini snowman.


Sunday, Danny and I went to the gym again and worked on shoulders. We had a good workout and then came home to watch The Bears and The Blackhawks.

And that was my weekend!

  • How was your weekend?
  • Have you gotten snow yet?


Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Recipes, Running

Kale Chips

I have another kale post for you today!!

My sister-in-law commented on my last post that she loves homemade kale chips so I decided to try my hand at making them.

Kale chips are super easy to make, healthy, and a great alternative to potato chips…although we all need traditional potato chips once in a while.


Kale Chips


  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste


I used the kale that I massaged and had ready in the refrigerator.


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Remove kale leaves from rib and lightly toss with olive oil.
  3. Spread kale in one layer on a baking sheet and add salt to taste. 007
  4. Bake at 300 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.

Cool and enjoy!

That’s it! Easy peasy and super good!

Disclaimer: I received the kale in my Door to Door Organics box which I got with a gift card provided by Door to Door Organics. Use coupon code ChicagoParent14 at checkout for $10 off your first order!



Filed under Recipes

Vega Tropical Strawberry Smoothie

Good afternoon!

I’m so glad it’s Friday today. It has been a busy week and it’ll be yet another busy weekend!

Up first, the winner of the Reebok Spartan Race giveaway – Seth! I just sent you an email.

I started my morning out by teaching BodyPump. My arms were a little sore from an upper body workout that I did yesterday. It included a lot of push-ups which killed me!

After my workout yesterday, I picked up my packet for the Mother’s Day race on Sunday.

I love the cute reusable bag they give you, and the shirt was really nice this year. The race is being sponsored by Jockey this year, so we got a nice Jockey dri-fit shirt.



Speaking of Mother’s Day, Athletico (where I did physical therapy for months) was super sweet enough to send me a little Mother’s Day gift. They sent me a great CamelBak water bottle and a coupon for a free 60 minute massage!


I loved my physical therapist at Althletico and think they’re a great company. If you’re interested in a massage, you can click here to get a $10 off coupon on your first massage! Athletico also has great information regarding women’s health that you can check out here.

A big thank you to Athletico. :)

Vega Smoothie

Yesterday afternoon, I made a smoothie using the Vega Protein Smoothie packet that I bought at Whole Foods.


The Vega Protein Smoothie mix is plant based, has 15 grams of protein, 90 calories, and two full servings of veggies!

My smoothie was really easy to make. I used:


  • 1 container plain Greek yogurt
  • approx. 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • one packet Vega Protein Smoothie in tropical tango
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 4-5 ice cubes

I blended everything in my Ninja blender and it was delicious!


We have a busy weekend with soccer games, baseball games, a birthday party, a 5k, and Mother’s Day! Have a great weekend!!

  • Have you ever had a massage?
  • Do you have plans for Mother’s Day?





Filed under Fitness, Recipes, Working Out

Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs Recipe

Every0ne knows that peanut butter and chocolate is one of the best food combinations ever. Ever. I feel sad for my brother and Jacob who are both allergic to peanut butter. They don’t get to taste the most delicious food in the world. Okay, okay, maybe it’s not the most delicious food, but it’s pretty good :)

Tonight my family is coming over for dinner and to dye Easter eggs so I made peanut butter eggs for dessert.


Reese’s peanut butter eggs are one of my favorite holiday treats, so I decided to try making them myself. At first I tried using a plastic egg to make the egg shape out of the peanut butter but that didn’t work too well, so I just used my hands to shape them. They weren’t perfect egg shapes but they tasted delicious!

Also, these are not healthy by any means. But they are a prefect for a treat. :)

Peanut Butter Eggs


  • 1 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. Crisco or other vegetable shortening


  • In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar. Stir constantly until completely blended. (This step can also be done in the microwave).
  • Remove from heat and let cool. When mixture is cool, slowly stir in confectioner’s sugar in small amounts until completely blended.


      • Refrigerate peanut butter mixture for about 30 minutes so it’s easier to shape into eggs
      • Line cookie sheet with wax paper. Shape peanut butter mixture into egg shapes and place on wax paper cookie sheet.


    • Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    • Melt chocolate chips and Crisco together in the microwave at 50% power in 30 second increments until melted. Make sure to stir well every 30 seconds.
    • Using a fork dip each peanut butter egg into chocolate making sure to coat the whole egg. Place eggs back on wax paper
    • Refrigerate 30 minutes so the chocolate can set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.




Filed under Recipes


Happy anniversary to my wonderful husband, Danny! I love you! PicMonkey Collage Breakfast

Breakfast this morning was strawberry peanut butter overnight oats…even though there’s snow on the ground, I still went with a cold breakfast. 011 My oats included:

  • strawberry Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. PB2

I mixed all the ingredients up last night and let it sit in the fridge overnight and then I topped it with blueberries this morning.

Today’s Workout

  • Women on Weights Class – 45 minutes
  • HIIT Stairmaster workout – 20 minutes

20140415_112851 In Women on Weights class today we focused on abs, triceps, and biceps. After the class, I did a 20 minute high intensity interval training workout on the Stairmaster. I haven’t been on the Stairmaster in quite awhile and I was sweaty by the time I was done. I did climb as high as the Eiffel Tower :)

Post workout, I had a CorePower chocolate drink that Danny got me as a morning anniversary present. He knows me too well. 20140415_113416 Lunch

Lunch was delicious today. I made English muffin hummus melts. 005 They are amazing. The spinach, cheese, and hummus is such a great combination.

Have a great afternoon!

  • What did you have for breakfast or lunch today?
  • Ever use the Stairmaster?



Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Lunch, Recipes, Working Out

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes – Fit for Fitness


Happy Friday!

Yesterday’s Workout:

  • 3.5 miles – indoor track
  • stretching

In an attempt to get ready for the upcoming Shamrock Shuffle 8k next week, I planned to run four miles yesterday. That didn’t happen. Instead I ran three miles and walked half a mile.

My whole entire lower right side refused to cooperate. My right side was all like, Yay! Running! We could do this all day! My right side wanted to punch me in the face.

My right glute is still sore from Butts and Guts class, my hip started to ache, and my calves decided to get tight again. At this point, I don’t care if I have to walk the entire 8k. I have no goals or hopes & dreams going into it, except to finish the darn thing.

I made sure to stretch after my run and I foam rolled the heck out of my glute when I got home.



I was recently contacted by Shari’s Berries about creating with a healthy recipe that included chocolate. They’re working on a project during the month of March called Fit for Fitness – basically how you can incorporate foods like chocolate into your diet and still live a healthy lifestyle. And like I always say, I believe in everything in moderation.


Chocolate comes from the cacao plant and actually provides many healthy antioxidants. Dark chocolate usually tends to be the most healthy and the more nonfat cocoa solids a chocolate product contains, the more antioxidants it has.

I didn’t have any dark chocolate on hand, so I incorporated semi-sweet chocolate into my recipe – chocolate chip peanut butter pancakes! I have been loving protein pancakes lately, so I decided to try out a recipe using chocolate chips. To date, it is my favorite pancake recipe I have made!


Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes   Serves: 1


  • 1/4 cup oats (I used Quaker Perfect Portions)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp. PB2 or peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. chocolate chips.


  1. Add oats and water to a bowl, stir, and microwave approx. one minute.
  2. Beat egg whites into oats, mix in protein powder and peanut butter, lightly stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Cook pancakes on a heated pan or griddle over medium heat approx. 2-3 minutes on each side.
  4. Serve with your favorite toppings or garnish with a few more chocolate chips.

These pancakes were delicious! Nothing beats peanut butter and chocolate!


Today’s Workout

  • Taught BodyPump – 60 minutes

I taught BodyPump this morning and afterwards I had a peanut butter and jelly Quest bar.


More peanut butter!


Lunch this afternoon was chicken fajitas.


I mentioned that I have been trying to add chicken to my diet lately for more protein. I am not a huge fan of chicken and don’t like eating it by itself, but I don’t mind it in other things – like fajitas/tacos.

I cooked the chicken with peppers, red onions, and salt-free fajita seasoning. I ate them on corn tortillas topped with cabbage and mango.


I also discovered a new delicious flavor of Sparkling ice water – cherry limeade.


The bottle doesn’t say new, but I have never seen this flavor before. My favorite is the pineapple coconut but the cherry limeade is a close second!

Have a great weekend!

  • Do you have any plan this weekend?
  • What did you have for breakfast?
  • Favorite way to eat chocolate?



Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Lunch, Recipes, Running, Working Out

Blueberry Protein Pancakes

Happy Friday!!

This morning, I taught BodyPump at the gym and then I worked for awhile.

When I was leaving the gym, I checked my email and saw that I had a new update for my nutrition plan from Sara. One of my new breakfast items is protein pancakes. I decided that I couldn’t wait for breakfast tomorrow to have them so I made them for lunch instead – that was the right choice :)

I stopped at the store and picked up the oatmeal that the recipes calls for:


Blueberry Protein Pancakes   Serves:1


(This is basically the recipe that Sara sent me)


  • 1/4 cup Quaker Oats Perfect Portions oatmeal (I used the maple flavor)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 scoop Designer Whey protein powder
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup bluberries
  • cinnamon to taste
  • optional: topping of you choice – syrup, peanut butter, fruit, jam, etc.


  1. Put 1/4 cup oats in bowl. Add water and stir. Cook 55 seconds.
  2. Add protein powder, egg whites, and cinnamon to oats and whisk until combined.
  3. Stir in desired amount of blueberries (I used about 1/4 cup and added the rest to the top of the pancakes after they were done)
  4. Cook pancakes on the stove on a hot pan sprayed with cooking spray. Cook approx. 2-3 minutes on each side.
  5. Top with fruit and additional toppings of your choice.


I added 1/2 tablespoon of Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave Maple to my pancakes.


Total Calories (with agave): 289 calories    Total Protein: 29.5 grams

These pancakes hit the spot and I can’t wait to start eating them for breakfast!

I rented the new Thor movie for Danny and the kids to watch tonight. I’m not really into Thor, so I’ll probably be on my phone or reading when they’re watching :)

Tomorrow, we have a nutrition fair at the gym where I’ll be working for awhile and then I’m going to try and make it out to Whole Foods.

Have a great weekend!

  • Do you have any plans this weekend?
  • What’s the last movie you watched?


Filed under Lunch, Recipes, Working Out