August 30, 2013

Easy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I love Hummus, In particular this one. I love how easy it comes together! You can serve it with veggies, crackers, use it in sandwiches or wraps.

Original recipe makes 2 cups
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
1/4 teaspoon dried basil


In an electric food processor, combine garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, and lemon juice. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add roasted peppers and basil; process until the peppers are finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer hummus to small bowl, cover and chill until you are ready to serve.

What's your favorite thing to serve Hummus with?!


August 29, 2013

Ideas for Reusing Coffee-Mate Containers

In this house we LOVE coffee. I especially love sweet creamy coffee. I know, I know. It's not good for your waistline, but it's an essential part of my human transformation in the morning. My husband takes a giant thermos with him to work, and I'm a 2 cups a morning kind of gal. We buy the giant bottles of Coffee Mate and end up with lots of empty creamer bottles. Being the penny-pinching, cloth diapering, 'let's all do our part to save the world' kind of Mom I am... I couldn't bring myself to toss them. So I use them for almost anything I can find. They're perfect for storing those things you buy in bags like granola, rice, Quinoa, and small pastas. They're equally as good for storing refrigerated liquids like sauces and juices. I even take them in the car filled with Ice water to refill sippy cups and sports bottles when we're on the go, as well as filled the smaller bottles with cheerios for easy grab and go snacks. Their pour spout makes it very easy and mess free.

Twist off the cap and carefully remove the label by slipping a knife or scissors under the edge and cutting it away. Wash the container well with hot soapy water and let it dry thoroughly. Fill with the contents you want and you're done.

What should you store in your empty container? Here's some Ideas:

  • Cereals
  • Rice
  • Small Pasta
  • Gold Fish crackers, oyster crackers
  • Soup
  • Homemade salad dressing
  • Pasta sauces 
  • Bulk buys like chocolate chips, quinoa, granola, nuts, making mixes, coffee beans or ground coffee
  • Mix Gatorade,juice, or other drink mixes in it and store it
  • Freeze water inside to make Ice blocks for coolers. You can drink the water once it melts.
  • Make pancake mix in the bottle, then pour it onto the hot griddle. You made your own Shake and Pour Pancakes!!
Crafts and Misc. Items
  • Buttons
  • Beads
  • Paint
  • Tacks, Pins, Hooks
  • Screws, Bolts, Nails
  • Golfers can store their Tee's
  • Let kids decorate them with stickers, paints and markers then use them as piggy banks.
  • Line them up and use a Tennis ball for mini indoor bowling for kids
  • fill them with a bit of rice or beans, tape the lid securely, and you have some homemade maracas for your little ones to shake off a rainy day with.  
These are just a few options off the top of my head, I'm sure there's hundreds more. What could you use them for? We'd love to know!


August 27, 2013

Strawberry & White Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies

First off let me tell you, I'm a horrible baker. Around here my husband is the birthday cake maker and muffin man. I'd seen these Cake Mix Cookies all over Pinterest and thought to myself  "surely I can't mess those up" And for once I was right! I invited a friends over for a last minute 'last day of summer vacation' pool party, and with 7 kids between us I needed a quick and easy treat for them. Knowing I had a box of Strawberry cake mix on hand I decided to give them a whirl. The kids LOVED them. I loved that it took 10 minutes for warm, fresh from the oven cookies!

  • 1 Box Strawberry Cake Mix
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup of oil (I used olive)
  • 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees, lightly grease cookie sheets ( or spray lightly with non stick cooking spray)
  • Mix eggs, oil, and cake mix with a electric mixer on medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes) The mixture will be thick.
  • Fold in White Chocolate Chips with a spoon until evenly distributed.
  • Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, just until the edges start to brown.

  • Remove from the oven and let them cool for 2-3 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
  • Enjoy!

Let me know how you like them!


August 21, 2013

Grown Up Grilled Cheese

Everybody loves a good grilled cheese sandwich. What's not to love about ooey-gooey melted cheese?! Occasionally its nice to make a grown up version, something with a little nutritious kick. So I give you the Grown Up Grilled Cheese. By using A Light Original Flat Out Wrap in place of tradition bread you're cutting calories and carbs and bumping up the Fiber and Protein content. Toss in some tomato, spinach and avocado and you're getting even more nutritional bang for your buck. 

  • 1 flat out wrap
  • 1/4 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 roma tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1 slice american cheese
  • 1/2 TBS Butter
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat.

Assemble your ingredients on one half of the Flat Out wrap, starting with cheese, then tomato, then spinach and avocado.

Fold the flat Out wrap in half and place in the hot pan. Cook 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for an addition 2-3 minutes.

It's easier to eat if it's cut in half.

Whats your favorite side to go with a Grilled cheese?


August 20, 2013

2 Minute Smoothie for 2

School is almost back in session here, which means really busy and early mornings. We've all heard how important breakfast is for our health. It kick starts your metabolism and is recommended by nutrition experts to eat within 30 minutes of waking up. It fuels your morning, giving you energy to get through your daily routine. Sometimes it's easier said than done though! I'm not a morning person, and I'm also usually that last person on my list to take care of in the morning. In my attempt to live a healthier life I decided that I needed to make breakfast for myself a priority. A bowl of Lucky Charms doesn't count. So I started making smoothie freezer packs. Filling them with fruit and frozen yogurt and storing them in the freezer so they would be ready in an instant. This has made mornings run much more smoothly. I double them up and send one with my husband to work or split it with my kids. It's fast, easy, and portable.

How to make smoothie Packs:
  • Fill an ice cube tray with yogurt, I prefer Vanilla Greek yogurt. You can use any kind you'd like though. Freeze. when they're fully frozen, use a butter knife to pop them out of the tray. Use 3-4 cubes per smoothie pack
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen fruit to the bag. In this smoothie I used frozen mixed berries, fresh mango, and 1/2 a banana. You can use what ever combination you like. Switch it up and give yourself some variety! It's also a great idea to cut up fresh fruit that's nearing the end of its edible life and freeze it so that you're not wasting any food.
  • Seal bag and label it (if you're making several kinds) store in the freezer until your ready to use it.
Tip: Make these packs up as soon as you get home from grocery shopping. If you wait, you may never get around to it, or your kids and husband will gobble up all the yogurt before you have a chance.

To Make Smoothies:
  • Haul out your smoothie Pack and dump it into your blender
  • Grab a Handful of greens ( I like spinach or kale, bumps up the nutrients and  you can't even taste it) and add it. If you're one of those people that need measurements a heaping cup will do.
  • Add 2 cups of liquid. I used regular milk here, because I was out of everything else. Usually I would add unsweetened almond milk. You can make combinations of anything, water, juice, milk, coconut water, almond milk, etc.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Enjoy your breakfast while packing lunches, driving the kids to school, or on your way to work.
Whats your favorite smoothie combination?! I'd love to hear!


August 19, 2013

Bread Machine Sweet Potato Rolls

I love breads and rolls. Probably a little too much. I've always wanted to be That House that smells like fresh baked bread, but I don't have the desire to knead dough by hand and be covered from head to toe in flour. Then a I had a Bread machine given to me. Changed my world completely! I love making breads, pizza dough and more in it. Its quick easy and does all the work for you. That's my kind of cooking! I've been on the hunt for a great dinner roll recipe for a LONG time. They were all okay, but when it comes to dinner rolls okay is simply not okay. After many bouts of Trial and Error I've got the perfect, simple, easy, moist, delicious dinner roll recipe. EVER. Sweet Potato Rolls. They are lightly sweet and pair perfectly with any meal. They're so easy to make using the bread machines dough setting. Bring these along to your next dinner and you'll have people asking you for the recipe after the first bite, and then be designated the "roll" person at all family functions from then on... I am.

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 Can sweet potato drained ( or 1 cup cooked mashed/pureed sweet potato)
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil, plus a little for brushing the tops (can use butter)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • place all ingredients into your bread machine according to the manufacturer directions ( In mine, its in the order listen in the ingredients list)
  • set your machine to the Dough cycle. Let it do it's thing.
  • When the cycle finishes, tear pieces off of the dough to make 24 balls, and place in a greased 9-inch square baking pan so they're just touching but not too close. I grease mine with Coconut oil. 
  • Bake in a 375° oven for about 20 to 23 minutes, until nicely browned. Brush the tops with coconut oil (or butter) while they're still hot fresh from the oven.
  • Enjoy responsibly!

I hope you enjoy them! Let me know what you think.


August 18, 2013

The ULTIMATE Chicken Casserole

I've been eating this Chicken casserole for as long as I can remember. My Grandmother passed it down to my mom, who passed it down to me. It's one of my kids favorite suppers and I'm sure they'll be passing it down for generations as well. Really though, whats not to love? Chicken, cheese, and stuffing. It's so simple, but tastes like you put hours into it slaving over a hot oven.

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts - cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cans reduced fat cream of chicken soup
  • 1 1/5 cups water - divided
  • 2 tsp Better than bullion  (or 2 chicken bullion cubes)
  • 6 oz sliced provolone cheese
  • 8 oz package of dry Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix
  • Pre-heat oven to 375
  • Layer cut chicken pieces on the bottom of a 8x11 inch baking dish.
  • Layer provolone cheese slices on top of chicken evenly
  • Mix 3/4 cup warm water, 1 tsp better than bullion and 1 can of reduced fat cream of chicken. pour over cheese.
  • Layer Stuffing mix on top of soup mixture
  • Mix an additional 3/4 cup warm water, 1 tsp better than bullion and 1 can of reduced fat cream of chicken. pour over stuffing.
  • Cover with tinfoil and bake for 50-60 minutes (until chicken is cooked through)

Let me know how you like it! 
Feel free to Follow me on Facebook

XO Jess

August 17, 2013

The Get Fit Guide for Busy Mom's on a Budget

Finding time (and money) to get to a gym can be hard when you're a mom. Between the baby waking up early, home work help, getting the right kid to the right place at the right time, House work, meal prep, and grocery shopping, sometimes it's hard to even fit in a 5 minute shower. We can't use all those things as an excuse to not get in a work out though (although really... they're pretty darn good ones!) Getting to a gym a problem? I hear ya! For one thing, it's expensive. For another, leaving the house child free for an hour or so a day is probably unheard of if your life is anything like mine! I have 4 kids ranging in age from almost 2 to 8, and my husband works some pretty lengthy hours. Anything I do, I have to be able to bring my mini-van of children with me. Here's a few ways I've found to get in a little work out while still having my kids with me, for free or nearly free!

  • Go to your local track. Find another Mom friend to go with you! I actually posted on a local Facebook buy, swap & sell group and asked if there was anyone there that may want to get together for daily(ish) walks. Turns out my daughters best friend's Mom (did ya get that?!) was wanting some friendly motivation as well! We take our kids (9 of them between us!!) and hit the local track several nights a week. The kids love to play in the middle, and we love being able to keep an eye on them! We push our stroller and chit-chat and the time passes so quickly. Before we even realize it, the sun is setting and we've gotten a good 5 miles in!
  • Dust off your Bike! Hop on your bike and go for a ride with the kids. They will LOVE it, and you'll be getting some good quality time in with them, while also demonstrating the importance of physical activity. You'll also show them that exercising is fun, more fun than video games or sitting in front of the TV. If you don't have a bike, check out craigslist or yard-sales. You can find them really inexpensively 2nd hand.
  • Go to the playground. When was the last time you got across the monkey bars?! That stuff is no joke! there are so many pieces of equipment at the average playground that you can use to get some great gym quality work out in! Run around and play tag with the kids, or just try to keep up with your preschooler as they explore. Guarantee you'll be winded if you get up off the bench and play with them!
  • Use work out videos. Sometimes the weather keeps us from being able to get outside to get our workouts in. No problem, with a few work out DVD's on hand you've basically just invested in a 24 hour gym right in your own living room! You can also find a HUGE variety of free work out video's right on YouTube. I love Pilates and Yoga, they don't usually need any equipment and you don't need much room to do them. The kids can get in on it too! Have them join you, they'll enjoy 'being like mommy' and you'll be setting a great example by letting them watch and join in.
  • Start, or Join in on a challenge. Starting up a challenge with your office, group of friends or family is a great way to keep you motivated. Start a 30-day crunch challenge (starting with 20 on the first day and increasing by 5 everyday until you reach 150 on day 30). Or even a walking Contest, compete to see who can get the most steps, laps or miles in over the course of a week. Adding a little friendly competition into your fitness is a fun way to stay motivated and on track. You can join my weight loss support group This Mama Moves we have mini and monthly challenges all the time.
These are just a few of the ways I've found to incorporate movement into my busy life with 4 kids. The track is definitely my favorite, It's great to get some adult interaction at the same time and we really keep each other dedicated because we know that there's someone waiting on us and expecting us to be there.

Which would you be most likely to do?

XO Jess

P.S. let me know what else you'd like to see covered in fitness posts in the future!

Image courtesy of mapichai /