Monthly Archives: September 2015

#NationalAntsOnALogDay

Yes – that’s a national day!

Hope everyone had an incredible Labor Day weekend. Mine was spent upstate in the Adirondacks fully relaxing, barbecuing, and – early for the season – apple picking! Stay tuned later today for what I plan on making tonight with my apple bounty!

Before I delve into that, I saw that today was #NationalAntsOnALogDay – that’s certainly a mouthful – but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk to you about a snack near and dear to my heart since it was something I ate as a child and now serve up to my kids all the time as a fun, easy, healthy snack.

Let’s break down the original recipe, firstly. A classic ants on a log is a stalk of celery, filled with peanut butter of your choice, and topped with raisins. So easy – so fun. However, I had this creeping feeling that ants on a log are even MORE fun these days, and I knew that Pinterest would have some crazy variations for me to try with  my kids this week – especially with the onset of packing school lunches again! I found some super fun recipes and had to share with all of you!

All of these recipes are equally as simple, healthy, and quick. Enjoy!

Tuna Canoes

Tuna Canoes

Tuna Canoes [http://www.parents.com/recipes/familyrecipes/snacks/quick-and-easy-kid-snacks/#page=3]

As if this name isn’t already fun enough…I love this! Tuna canoes are simple – fill celery sections with your favorite tuna salad. Top with thawed frozen peas! This is a great, filling, high-protein option.

Ants On A Log – Chocolate Chip Edition

chocolate_chips

Ants On A Log With Chocolate Chips [http://jezebel.com/5843026/how-to-feed-kids]

A lot of kids aren’t into raisins – no biggie! Switch them out with chocolate chips (or pieces of cereal, or granola bites, or craisins, or dried cherries…you get the jist). Really what this comes down to is tweaking this fun snack to make it suitable for anyone. Hey – don’t like peanut butter? Try almond butter! Variation is key.

Laughing Cow Variations

Laughing Cow

Laughing Cow [fiestafarms.ca]

If you haven’t discovered the joy of Laughing Cow Cheeses yet – get on board! They are individually wrapped triangles of spreadable cheese – they’re low cal + healthy + come in a TON of fun flavors that blend awesomely with a sweet or savory treat. Trusper.com uses it for several variations of ants on a log – Laughing Cow + Salsa, Laughing Cow + chopped apples. Give it a taste and play around!

Enjoy! Tell us YOUR favorite ants on a log recipe and enjoy playing with your food this week 🙂

College Football is BACK

I’m not going to pretend like I am any variety of a football fan, especially of the college variety that sends my husband into an absolute frenzy.

But, if you ARE an NCAA fan, you can get free team clings from Hyundai – I just ordered the hubby a Florida State one. Fun, free gift!

Click here to get  your free cling and show the world where your loyalty lies.

Stay tuned for my favorite football watching recipes. I may not love the sport  but I do love cooking such fun snacks for game time!

Homemade Popsicles!

We are getting VERY close to the long weekend! Looks like it’s going to be a hot one for us at the lake. Usually on a hot day, we run straight to the ice cream shop to get a cold treat – but I thought it’d be so fun this weekend to make some homemade popsicles to cool down instead! Not only are these easy on the wallet, but are SO simple to make, and a much healthier alternative. Three recipes caught my eye on Pinterest this morning – maybe you’ll feel the same way. Check them out below!

3-Ingredient Strawberry Banana Popsicles

strawberry_banana_popsicles

3-Ingredient Strawberry Banana Popsicles [http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/06/22/3-ingredient-strawberry-banana-popsicles/]

I can’t even believe that these are only 3 INGREDIENTS. Could this be any easier? All you need are strawberries, a frozen banana, and juice. Sally’s Baking Addiction tells us that the frozen banana makes all the difference because  it gives the popsicles an unbelievably creamy texture without the need of high-fat dairy. Simply blend 1 large banana, cut into chunks and frozen, 12 large strawberries sliced in half, and 1/2 cup of juice. They recommend pineapple or orange.

You will need to buy a popsicle mold (and you’ll need it for all three recipes mentioned) – these are really inexpensive and easy to find – you should be able to find them easily at Walmart, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond…you get the jist.

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth and pour the mixture into the popsicle molds. If your mold has slots for sticks, you can insert them before freezing. If not, freeze for 2 hours and then put the stick in. Continue to freeze for an additional 6 hours or overnight – overnight will make for the easiest removal process. Run the molds under hot water to remove easily. Yum!

Greek Yogurt Popsicles

Greek_Yogurt_Popsicles

Greek Yogurt Popsicles [http://www.dessertfortwo.com/2014/06/make-your-own-greek-yogurt-pops/]

Missing that creamy texture? Go for these awesome popsicles by Dessert For Two that use the protein-rich and creamy Greek yogurt to really make these pop. This recipe is a bit more labor-intensive, but sounds so amazing that I know these will not only be worth the extra effort but also really impress any company you have!

Ingredients include 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt, 3-4 tablespoons of agave nectar, a handful of strawberries, plums, or any fruit of your choice, 2 teaspoons of neutral-flavored oil, and 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar.

For this recipe, you’ll be roasting fruit – which is supremely easy. Simply preheat the oven to 400, and place the fruit on a small sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the oil and sugar over the fruit and toss to combine to roast for about 25 minutes. Watch carefully or this will burn! Let cool completely.

Combine the Greek yogurt with the agave nectar. Then, you’ll want to layer the roasted fruit and the Greek yogurt mixture into the popsicle molds. Make it pretty! Super easy – freeze and enjoy.

Nutella Coolwhip Popsicles

Nutella_Coolwhip_Popsicles

Nutella Coolwhip Popsicles [http://www.canadianfreestuff.com/nutella-coolwhip-popsicles-an-easy-delicious-treat-to-keep-you-and-the-kiddies-cool-this-summer/]

Had to include something chocolate-y for all the fudgcicle fans out there! My little sister ate fudgcicles like it was her job her entire childhood, so I’m sure there are more kids of this breed out there these days 🙂

This could NOT be easier – CanadianFreeStuff even mentions that her 2 year old son made these by himself. That’s saying something!

Mix together: 2 cups cool whip, 6 tablespoons Nutella, 1 cup milk. Pour into popsicle molds, freeze overnight and enjoy!

If you want to make this a little bit healthier, you can always make with low fat Coolwhip and/or skim milk. No biggie!

So there you go – try these out this weekend! Let me know if you have any other go-to homemade popsicle recipes that you and your family love – I’m all ears!

Free Miracle Gel

As we transition from the sweltering humidity to cooler temperatures, it’s important to keep skincare in check. I know that my body always goes nuts with drastic temperature changes. In searching for this years solution on the cheap, I found a pretty great sample.

The 2 Minute Miracle Gel delivers an ideal blend of three core ingredients proven to enliven and rejuvenate your skin. When used daily, you can sustain moisture and protect your skin. It’s repairing and restoring. It is 7 products in one: cleanses, exfoliates, tones, hydrates, brightens, minimizes the look of pores and fine lines, and primes your skin for flawless makeup application.

This product includes no artificial colors or fragrances and is specifically designed as an exfoliator to only remove the top layer of dead skin cells. The 2 Minute Miracle Gel can be used for all skin types, on all areas, and can be used for men and women.

To get your free sample, click this link and click “How to Apply” on the top bar. Request your 2 Minute Miracle Gel sample package with no cost or obligation.

Can’t wait to try this out!

Freezer Meals: Week 6

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Wednesday before the final summer holiday weekend = grill/BBQ-themed freezer meals. In looking for some inspo for long weekend eats, I think I found some awesome options. Let’s jump right in!

Coconut Lime Chicken

Coconut_Lime_Grilled _Chicken

Coconut Lime Grilled Chicken [http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2014/06/04/coconut-lime-chicken/]

Living Well Spending Less gives us a recipe that they claim will take us straight to a tropical vacation. To make this a freezer meal, simply split the marinade and chicken into multiple bags, and throw it right into the freezer. You don’t HAVE to make this ahead of time, but if you want to, it doesn’t hurt!

This is super easy – marinade includes 3-4 limes, olive oil, coconut milk, garlic, ginger, salt & papper, and parsley. Combine and marinade with chicken of your choice! If you decide to freeze at this stage, make sure you press all the air out of the bag. Once you’re ready to cook, thaw if frozen, and grill 6-8 minutes per side. Couldn’t be easier!

Boneless Country Style BBQ Ribs

Boneless_Country_Style_BBQ Ribs

Boneless Country Style BBQ Ribs [http://happymoneysaver.com/boneless-country-style-bbq-ribs-slow-cooker-freezer-meal/]

HappyMoneySaver.com gives us a recipe that couldn’t scream BBQ any louder. This is a slow cooker freezer meal, so may take more prep work, but it’s worth the squeeze for this hearty meal. Ingredients are simple: boneless pork country-style ribs, a large onion sliced, minced garlic, brown sugar, applesauce, BBQ sauce of choice, salt & pepper.

Add all ingredients to  your slow cooker and mix. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. To freeze in advance, all you need to do is combine all ingredients and add to a freezer safe gallon sized bag. To cook, thaw + throw in the slow cooker as directed. Once you’re done, top with some additional BBQ sauce and you’re good to go!

Even though this is an awesome holiday weekend meal, I’m pretty tempted to make this a freeze & go weeknight meal for a busy week – total crowd pleaser and easily served with some quick sides for a meal!

Gourmet Spinach Blue Cheese Burgers

Gourmet_Spinach_Blue_Cheese_Burgers

Gourmet Spinach Blue Cheese Burgers [http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/freezer-meal-gourmet-spinach-blue-cheese-burgers/]

I know we all love the classic grilled hamburger, but I love the spin that OneHundredDollarsAMonth puts on this classic recipe. These are super easy to make in a huge batch and freeze. All you need to do is grab them out of the freezer, toss them on the grill, and kick any BBQ up a notch from there.

Ingredients include baby spinach, chopped, garlic, olive oil, ground beef, crumbled blue cheese, salt & pepper. Saute the spinach, garlic, and olive oil and allow to cool. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and form into rounded patties. Lay the formed patties onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze for 30 minutes – then transfer to freezer bags.

Once you’re ready to cook, remove from freezer and throw on the grill as is until cooked through – no need to thaw! Serve on warm buns with any additional toppings you’d want. Love this!

Balsamic Grilled Veggies

Balsamic_Grilled_Veggies

Balsamic Grilled Veggies [https://onceamonthmeals.com/recipes/balsamic-grilled-veggies/]

Can’t leave out my fellow veggie lovers! This recipe is a simple side for any dish – and couldn’t be easier!

OnceAMonthMeals brings us this hearty veggie side that I cannot wait to try. Ingredients include green beans, zucchini, red onion, garlic, basil, bell pepper, canned Great Northern beans, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper. If you’re looking to freeze, place all veggies and beans in a large bowl, whisk together liquids and spices in another bowl. Bag veggies and sauce separately and freeze.

Once you want to serve, thaw & pour sauce over veggies. Stir until combined. Place in a grill basket and grill over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.

So there you have it! Enjoy these recipes and enjoy the long weekend. Cheers!

FREE Ors Shealicious Hair Conditioning Cocktail

This is pretty awesome, even though it looks like a Greek yogurt packet (which I thought it was the first time I saw this sample).

Ors Shealicious Hair Conditioning Cocktail is an easy and powerful DIY cocktail for healthy hair – you do the mixing. You pour in the 100% natural therapeutic oils that have been perfectly blended and measured to address your specific hair care problem and mix it in with the moisturizing shea butter conditioner – saying goodbye too dry, damaged, dull hair and scalp issues.

Three options:

Moisture Lock

Shine Booster

Scalp Relief

Choose your cocktail of choice and improve your hair drastically!

To try a free sample click here and scroll to the large text reading “TRY IT FOR FREE” – this will open a lightbox where you simply fill out some information about yourself and your hair and receive 1 free Ors Shealicious Hair Conditioning Cocktail. They’ll send you a coupon redeemable at Walmart, CVS, and/or Ulta. Why not? I’m always willing to give another conditioner a try 🙂

Homemade Salad Dressings: Cheaper, Easier, Healthier!

Is anyone else already thinking about Labor Day weekend? I sure am. In an effort to not feel like complete junk on Tuesday after the holiday, I am totally devoted to eating well and exercising outdoors throughout the weekend. We’ll certainly be squeezing in some last summer BBQs. What’s a better complement to some grilled food than a nice, fresh, crunchy salad?

Salads don’t  have to be boring. I repeat: salads do NOT have to be boring. One thing that I’ve found that helps increase the flavor and fun of a salad is homemade salad dressing. Not only does it ALWAYS taste better, but it is easy, cheaper, and healthier. I’d love to share some of my favorite salad dressing recipes with all of you to try out this weekend!

Citrus Honey Vinaigrette

Citrus_Honey_Vinaigrette

Citrus Honey Vinaigrette [http://reluctantentertainer.com/2014/09/citrus-honey-vinaigrette-vibrant-blue-saladsavors-giveaway/]

Reluctant Entertainer comes to us with a great, fresh, citrus-y recipe with this one. It’s crazy simple and takes, literally, 5 minutes to make. All  you need is one medium orange, juice squeezed, 1 medium lemon, juice squeezed, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons honey, 2 teaspoons grated ginger. Combine and whisk together! She recommends this on greens, crumbled blue cheese, tart dried cherries, and crunch pecans – yum! I have tried it in a ton of salads myself – one of my personal favorites is on a fruity salad – strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, feta, walnuts…I think I know what I want for lunch today now!

Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing

Avocado_Cilantro_Lime_Salad_Dressing

Avocado Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing [http://thewholesomedish.com/avocado-cilantro-lime-salad-dressing/]

The Wholesome Dish gives us this incredible recipe for the avo-lover, which I, myself, admit to being. It’s creamy without the guilt and just gives such a fresh feeling to anything you add it to. Can’t get enough avo in my life. This recipe is also incredibly easy – 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey, some salt and pepper, 1/2 cup cilantro, and 1 ripe avocado. Add them all into a blender and blend until smooth! If you want it a little more watery, simply add some water or additional fruit juice. Its sweet, bright, and still savory. They recommend this on ANY salad – my mind immediately goes to something a little bit southwestern – black beans, corn, etc., but also can be used as a mayo replacement on sandwiches or even in salads like chicken, tuna, or potato salad. Can’t wait to serve this one to some guests at a BBQ!

Best Dressing

Best_Dressing

Best Dressing [http://www.anediblemosaic.com/best-dressing/]

Ok, anything called ‘Best Dressing’ is something I had to try. An Edible Mosaic truly names this dressing something that lives up to its namesake. This is simple + delicious! This is an all-purpose dressing that can even double as a marinade. Something that they really impress upon the reader in this recipe is how important a good olive oil is (and this goes for all dressings + recipes, makes a world of a difference!) — as they say, it takes a recipe from good to amazing. I’m sold! It’s heavy on the ingredients compared to the other recipes, but is just as simple. All you need is 1/3 cup good quality EVOO, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar), 2 tablespoons of honey, 1/2 tablespoon of dijon mustard, 1/2 tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce, 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1-2 teaspoons of seasoned salt of your choice, some pepper, 1/2 a small white onion, minced, and a small glove of garlic, grated. Whisk them all together – this can be stored and refrigerated for up to 1 week! It’s savory and fantastic – give this a try anytime! It is perfect for any dressing.

So there you have it – enjoy this weekend! Let us know how you like these recipes or any other favorite homemade salad dressing recipe you have! We are all ears.

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