Category Archives: Recipes

Cake Batter Blondies and A Shoulder Circuit Workout

Good afternoon! I hope you are all having a great weekend!

Yesterday, we had dinner with my family so I made cake batter blondies to bring.

I have to share the recipe because they were so delicious. And the best part is that they were one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made!

Of course, I got the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Her blog is pretty much the only place I’ve been going to for dessert recipes.


Funfetti Cake Batter Blondies


  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 11 x 7 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix together cake mix, canola oil, egg, and milk in a  large bowl.
  3. Stir in sprinkles and white chocolate chips. The batter will be very thick.
  4. Spread into a 11 x 7 baking pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes before cutting.


So easy! So darn good!

Jaden was on a strict dairy-free for three weeks and finally this weekend he was allowed a little bit of dairy so he was so excited for these blondies!

Also, I didn’t have a 11 x 7 pan but Danny went to the store to look for one and he found one for only $3.99. You definitely need a 11 x 7 pan for these to come out perfect. A 9 x 9 pan might work but you’d have to increase the cooking time.

Today’s Workout

Danny and I ate way too much this weekend! We had two family dinners this weekend with lots of food and dessert so we made sure to get out butts to the gym today.

My leg has been really sore lately so we stuck with a shoulder workout.


This is the shoulder circuit workout that we did. We repeated the circuit four times, resting about two minutes in between. By the four set, my shoulders were dying!

We also pretty much used all the weights. Good thing we had a small spot at the gym to ourselves.


Before the gym this morning, I went grocery shopping. I found the new Chobani grape yogurt but I didn’t buy it.


I like grapes and I like yogurt but I don’t know if I like grape yogurt. Has anyone tried this flavor yet? Thoughts?

Have a great Sunday!

  • What did you do this weekend?
  • Favorite dessert?




Filed under Dinner, Family Fun, Fitness, Recipes, Working Out

Easy Baked Chicken Fajitas

Happy Sunday!

How are you guys this Sunday morning? Working? Relaxing? Working out?

On Sunday mornings, I always like to wake up before everyone else and enjoy my morning cup of coffee and Sunday paper in peace and quiet.

My new super cute coffee mug from Target:


I’ve been really good this week about sticking to my healthy eating plan. I did really good during the week so yesterday I was a little more lenient and didn’t track every single I ate. I maybe ate a few more treats than I wanted to (Danny found some Christmas candy we forgot about and I just couldn’t stay away!). But life is all about moderation and even though I ate a few more treats than planned, I am back on track today!

Yesterday, I made the world’s easiest chicken fajitas for dinner. I love Mexican food and could eat it all day, everyday.


This is a recipe that could easily be made healthy – use corn tortilla or go tortilla-less. Add extra veggies. Skip the sour cream.

Since I was treating myself, I used delicious flour tortillas. I also picked up a roasted verde salsa from Whole Foods to try out.


I used a fajita seasoning packet from Whole Foods but if you’re feeling fancy, you could add the seasonings and spices yourself. I’m pretty lazy when it comes to cooking and if I can buy pre-made fajita seasoning, you better believe I’m going to. :)


Chicken Fajitas    Serves: Approx. 4


  • 1-2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken, cut into strips
  • (2) red and green peppers, cut into strips
  • (1/2) onion, cut into strips
  • fajita seasoning packet
  • approx. 1 tbsp olive oil
  • tortillas
  • optional toppings: salsa, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, avacado

PicMonkey Collage


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Mix chicken, peppers, and onions in a 13 x 9 baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray 022
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the top, add fajita seasoning, and mix until well combined
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes
  5. Add mixture to tortillas, add toppings, and enjoy

These are so easy to make and so delicious! Cutting the chicken and veggies is the hardest part and that only takes a few minutes.

Like I mentioned above, these would be great as a healthy dinner too. One of my favorite healthy meals is fish tacos in corn tortillas.


My quad has feeling a little better (with the help of ice, ibuprofen, the stick, and foam rolling). I did an upper body workout at the gym on Friday so yesterday I did two Bikini Body Mommy workouts – a cardio and a strength workout. I also did a few of my leg exercises from physical therapy.

Today, Danny and I are going to head to the gym and work on back and biceps!

Have a wonderful Sunday!!




Filed under Dinner, Recipes

Christmas Eve Circuit Workout

Happy Christmas Eve!!

The kid’s elf, Nick, is very excited that it’s almost Christmas!



Yesterday, we had a busy day. Jacob had a dentist appointment to get a tooth pulled, I had physical therapy, and then we ran a few errands. When we got home, the kids wrapped their presents for Danny.


I also baked a ton of cookies yesterday. I made my favorite, Butterscotch Reese’s cookies.


I also made Peanut Butter Blossoms.

IMG_20141222_121626 (1)

And regular chocolate chip cookies.


As much as I love the holidays, I can’t wait until they’re over so I can get back on track with eating. I have been sampling too many delicious cookies lately!

This morning, I headed to the gym at about 8:00 am to get my workout in before we go to my grandparent’s house later this afternoon.

Crazy hair, don’t care:


I started with 12 minutes on the elliptical to warm-up and then I did the following circuit workout. I did each circuit three times, resting 1-2 minutes in between. (Use weights you’re comfortable with.)

Circuit #1: 

  • lateral raises with an alternating knee raise x12 each leg
  • ball wall squat with a biceps curl to overhead press x15
  • seated stability ball overhead triceps extensions x15

Circuit #2:

  • kettlebell swings x20
  • chest flies on stability ball x15
  • straight arm overhead reach on stability ball x15

Circuit #3:

  • woodchoppers with medicine ball x12 each side
  • plank/side plank (45 seconds each)
  • heel touches x20 each side
  • donkey kicks with weight behind knee x12 each leg

It was a good Christmas Eve workout!!

When I got home I started getting things ready for tonight. I am making one more batch of cookies. Jacob asked me to make Nutella cookies and he never asks me to make anything special for him so I decided to try them out. I just made regular chocolate chip cookies, added a little Nutella, and then I will do a Nutella drizzle on top of the cookies.

The dough is chilling right now, so we’ll see how they come out! I am also making a buffalo chicken dip for my grandparent’s house tonight. We’re supposed to be getting snow soon but I hope the weather isn’t too bad because my grandparent’s live about an hour away. And then Santa comes tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe Christmas! 

  • What are your plans for tonight and tomorrow?


Filed under Christamas, Fitness, Recipes, Working Out

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?!

Picture 12289

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