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Archive for the ‘Treats’ Category

I think the title of this post pretty much says it all.

But, before we get to that…a quick recap on my hip recovery.

I had my three month follow-up with the surgeon last week and I am doing extremely well! All of the X-rays looked good! The space in my hip joint that they created by shaving down my femur head (gross, I know) is as it should be, therefore protecting my labrum and preventing it from tearing. My range of motion is good and I am definitely on the road to recovery.

One interesting thing the surgeon said was, “I really wouldn’t think of running for another month. And, even then, you need to make sure you are mentally ready, not just physically ready.”

This got me thinking about how much our minds and attitudes play a part in not only our fitness but also in our everyday lives. Being mentally ready to train for a race, move to a new city, take a new job, deciding whether or not pursue a graduate degree, etc. is absolutely necessary. As cliche as it sounds, confidence is key to success. There is no sense in rushing into something only to realize you aren’t ready for it. Believing in ourselves and in our decisions will help us endure many struggles.

So, there’s my pep talk. And, now on to the important stuff.

Mini. Reese’s. Chocolate. Chip. Cookies.

Oh my goodness. I can’t believe I haven’t been mixing candy into cookies for the past 10 years! Have you!?! Am I late to this awesome party? I wish you would have filled me in.

Little beautiful surprises of peanut butter and chocolate. Seriously, what’s not to love?

Recipe

Makes about 24 cookies (depending on how much dough you eat)

Ingredients

Chocolate chip cookie dough (pre-made, from a mix or from scratch)

Mini reese’s peanut butter cups

Instructions

Mix cookie dough with 1 bag of mini reese’s cups. Separate dough into balls and put onto cookie sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes. Remove cookies and put on a cooling rack.

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It’s Friday, Friday…John did not appreciate me singing this song at 7:45 this morning.

Yesterday I had my six week follow-up appointment with the surgeon to check my progress after having hip surgery. So, how am I doing?

Overall, I’m making good progress. I’ve been able to return to my normal everyday activities, such as going to work, going to the grocery, going shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. After being on crutches for over three weeks, it feels great to be able to move around and carry things.

When it comes to more physical activities, here is what I can do and what I need to work on:

  • Walking: I still have a slight limp and usually need to stop after about 15 minutes. With physical therapy, the limp should go away in the coming weeks.
  • Stairs: I can make it up a few without using the banister, but it’s not very comfortable. So, I’m usually the one holding up traffic and taking my time using the banister. Maybe I should put a sign on my back that says, “I just had hip surgery,” so people will be more understanding? Again, with physical therapy and strengthening my leg muscles, I’ll be able to handle stairs without pain.
  • “Exercise”: 40 minutes on the elliptical each day at a very low resistance
  • Swimming: freestyle only, light flutter kick or no kick
  • Scar tissue build up: I have scar tissue building up around the incisions and need to be better about massaging those areas throughout the day. The area around the scars feel a bit swollen compared to my other leg.

Two big pieces of information came out of the surgeon’s mouth during my appointment.

1. You may swim. (But don’t be stupid about it.)

2. Don’t forget you had surgery. I know you’re feeling good, but you cannot forget what we did to your hip and that it needs time to heal. Don’t do anything stupid to set yourself back. Doing more for your hip isn’t always what’s best for it (in terms of exercise, PT workouts, etc.).

Got it, doc. I can’t be stupid.

So, this morning I hopped in the pool for the first time, in oh, I don’t know, 4 years? It was great! I swam for about 40 minutes and will be paying for it tomorrow when I can’t move my arms. Even though it wasn’t an intense swim by any means, it was the first activity I’ve done since the surgery that actually made me feel like I was physically working my entire body.

I’ve been slacking on the food part of this blog, so I’ll try to get back into that!

John requested his favorite Scotcheroos for his birthday dessert (back in December!). I’d never made them before myself, but have enjoyed them with his family many times. My first attempt at making them was a success, as it’s impossible to mess these up. While these aren’t the healthiest treat, it only takes a few small bites to satisfy your sweet tooth. So, in the end, they’re really not that bad for you 🙂

Start with the sugar and corn syrup…(I try to forget this step exists, as it grossed me out while I was standing over the stove.)

Mix in the peanut butter… (I felt better after this.)

Stir in the Rice Krispies… (I started nibbling at this point.)

Put in the pan…

Melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips…(Don’t forget to lick the bowl!)

Layer the chocolate on the Rice Krispies…

Cut into bars…

Have a great weekend!!!

Scotcheroos (Recipe from Rice Krispies)

Ingredients:

    •    1 cup  light corn syrup
    •    1 cup  sugar
    •    1 cup  peanut butter
    •    6 cups   Kellogg’s® Cocoa Krispies® cereal
    •    or 6 cups   Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® cereal
    •    1 package  (6 oz., 1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
    •    1 cup  butterscotch chips

Instructions:

1. Place corn syrup and sugar into 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter. Mix well. Add KELLOGG’S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated. Press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Let stand until firm. Cut into 2 x 1-inch bars when cool.

Note: Before measuring the corn syrup, coat your measuring cup with cooking spray–the syrup will pour easily out of the cup.

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Question: What type of exercise makes you feel like you’re working your whole body? Running? Pilates? Hiking?

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Happy 2012! Time to kick those resolutions into high gear! Considering I recently had hip surgery, my “high gear” is still pretty low. I am on the mend, but there is still a long way to go. But before we all get serious about our New Year’s Resolutions (which usually fail within about 2 weeks), let’s go back to the glory days where you eat whatever you want.

The holidays.

Or was that just me?

There is something about white chocolate, especially around the holidays. I can never get enough of it and am pretty sure about 75% of my daily caloric intake is from white chocolate whenever it’s within an arm’s reach. Or within the house.

Pretzels dipped in white chocolate? Love it.

White chocolate macadamia nut cookies? I’ll take one.

But white chocolate fudge with Ritz peanut butter crackers in it? Who has ever heard of such a thing? Not me, but when I saw this post on Cookies and Cups, I knew I had to try it. Plus, there is frosting mixed in, so I knew it’d be a winner.

And a winner it was.

Next time I make this I will add more Ritz peanut butter crackers to the mix, otherwise the fudge part is a bit overwhelming.

But, if you’re short on time and need to make a sweet treat, this is a go-to recipe.

Enjoy!

Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 bag white chocolate chips

1 container white or vanilla frosting (I used Whipped frosting to save on calories. Ha! Like it even helped the cause…)

1 box Ritz peanut butter crackers

Instructions:

Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave. Stir often (every 30 seconds or so), otherwise the white chocolate will burn. Once the white chocolate is melted, add in the container of frosting. Mix together. Then add in the Ritz peanut butter crackers. Line the baking pan with wax paper or use Pam, so the fudge won’t stick. Pour in the white chocolate fudge mixture. Put the fudge in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Remove, cut into squares and enjoy!

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I never knew that my favorite pretzel hug treat had a real name.

Apparently they are called “Santa Buttons.”

And they’re delicious and addicting.

Oh, and they’re the easiest thing to make and are perfect to take as a a hostess gift or to have on hand in case friends stop by during the holidays.

So, here they are! Santa Buttons.

Normally I use circular pretzels, but I couldn’t find them at three stores, so I just gave up and used regular pretzels.

Three ingredients and 20 minutes later, you’ll have a tray full of Santa Buttons. You’ll thank me. Enjoy!

Recipe

Ingredients:

Hershey’s Hugs

Pretzels

M & Ms

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place pretzels on the baking sheet. Place a hug in each pretzel. Place baking sheet in oven for 2-3 minutes. Remove baking sheet and press one M & M on top of each hug. Place baking sheet in freezer for 10 minutes or in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Remove Santa Buttons from baking sheet and enjoy!

And, congratulations Amanda! You won the OXO Good Cookie spatula giveaway. Please email me your address so I can mail it to you. Thank you to everyone for participating in my first giveaway!

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Happy Halloween!

I’m not a huge fan of Halloween, to be honest. I’m not really sure why? As a kid I loved it! And, I had some of the best costumes, all homemade, I might add. Nothing over the top that required tons of effort. Most of them were created out of things we had in our house and closets.  Next Halloween I will definitely show these pictures. They are priceless. I was such a cheeseball and loved having people laugh at my costumes. Those were the days…I wish I had photos, but for now I’ll just name a few of my best from childhood.

  • Steve Urkel (from Family Matters)
  • Tim Allen (from Home Improvement)
  • A hobo (my all-time best costume)
  • An M&M (this was repeated many times over!)
  • One of the three blind mice
  • The floor of a movie theatre

I think I enjoyed Halloween more as a kid than I did as an “adult” because it was so much more innocent and fun back then. Once you got to high school and college, it’s really just an excuse for girls to dress up like hookers. I went online and found the following costumes from Buycostumes.com. I mean, seriously, Deluxe Enchanted Queen of Hearts? This is barely even a real thing! Also, this is hideous.

I much prefer humor for my costumes than trying to make something sexy that’s not. I would choose something more along the lines of this guy 🙂

I stuck to my guns in college and rocked this look in college. That bow on my head is obnoxious. And, yes, I was doing cheers all night. Staying in character is key!

Note: I think you get more attention being something funny than being something sexy. The sexy thing is so overdone, and you’ll just blend into the crowd.

So, there are my two cents on costumes.

Moving on, here are a few interesting statistics on Halloween:

  • Approximately 589 million pounds of candy are bought for Halloween. That’s an average of 13.5 pounds of candy per child. (Shape.com)
  • $2.5 billion will be spent on costumes this year. $0.3 billion of this will be spent on pet costumes. (TheStreet.com) Wow, is all I can say.
  • There are 41 million potential trick-or-treaters ages 5-14 years old (Halloweenstats.com)

Now let’s talk candy. My sister and I used to come home with pillow cases of Halloween candy. Pillow cases of it! My dad would take us out for hours while my mom usually stayed home to pass out candy. When we got home, my sister and I would count and trade our goods. My mom is a teacher, so she always had us do fun sorting and math activities that we really didn’t even know were educational at the time; we just thought we were playing with our profits!

I’m really not much of a candy person. I’d much rather have a piece of cake, ice cream, cookies, frosting, pie, etc. But since Halloween really is all about candy, here are some fast calorie counts for you.

  • 3 York Peppermint Patties: 150 calories
  • 2 Fun-Size M&Ms packs: 147 calories
  • 6 Mini 3 Musketeers bars: 146 calories
  • 7 Hershey Kisses: 157 calories
  • 3 Mini Twix: 150 calories
  • 6 Dum-Dum Pops: 150 calories
  • Pop Rocks package: 25 calories (These things take me back to middle school days…)
  • 8 Starburst candies: 163 calories
  • 2 Fun-Size Peanut M&Ms packs: 180 calories
  • 3 Snack Size Almond Joy: 200 calories
  • 16 Sour Patch Kids: 150 calories

I’m really not a strict “calorie counter,” but around holidays I think it’s good for me to have a gauge on what exactly is going into my mouth. Otherwise, my pants may not fit and, I really would have to wear that Gumby costume.

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What are you being for Halloween? Do you like the holiday better as an adult or was it more fun as a kid? What’s your take on sexy costumes?

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Fall is just such a busy season. It seems like we rarely have a weekend at home to just hang out without a schedule, visitors or travel. Last weekend was the first of three “away” weekends in a row. We went to Notre Dame to cheer on the Irish to victory  watch the Irish beat themselves again. At least it was a beautiful day, and many of our friends were in town for the game, making it a fun, but exhausting weekend.

And now I’m back with the second pumpkin recipe I’ve tried out this season. Pumpkin oatmeal muffins.

First off, I wish everything I cooked and baked came out perfectly. But, sometimes they don’t. I’m still up in the air about these pumpkin oatmeal muffins, mainly because I’m unfamiliar with how pumpkin actually cooks and bakes. Are they supposed to be extremely moist and less “bread-y” than regular muffins? They tasted great, but I’m just not sure if they came out properly due to the texture. Maybe this is just how pumpkin “works.”

I tried Tina’s Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins. While they were good plain, they were definitely better with some butter spread on them. But then again, what isn’t better with a big smear of butter? At least I’m using Earth Balance and not the real stuff 🙂

This recipe is healthy and is packed with nutrients. Having healthy muffins on hand is a great way to add variety to my breakfast and snack choices. And, they are easy to make. Just mix everything together and put into a muffin tin. Done.

Recipe:

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin pie mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

The original recipe also calls for raisins and walnuts. I didn’t add them, but next time I would add the raisins. I think they would add a nice, sweet flavor to the muffins.

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Coat muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or line muffin cups. *Next time I would not use muffin cups. They were hard to peel off, so I would go with non-stick spray.
  • Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl; blend well.
  • Pour batter evenly into muffin tins.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes. (I cooked mine for 25. They were definitely not done after 20 minutes. Maybe it’s our oven?)
  • Allow to cool and enjoy!
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Have you baked with pumpkin? What do you think of its texture?

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Pumpkin Cookies: Mix It Up!

First of all, check out the beautiful flowers John brought home to me. He sprung for the $9.99 bouquet from Trader Joe’s! I’m so lucky 🙂

I recently had my first baking experience with pumpkin. I know I’m a little late to jump on the pumpkin bandwagon, but I am telling you, this stuff has been hard to come by! I finally found it at the grocery a couple of weeks ago and was determined to try out some recipes.

Before we get to that, let me just start by saying I still cannot walk due to one of Sara’s workouts I tried last Friday. My quads started spasming (is that even a real word?) in the first set of the circuit, which I’m pretty sure is not normal, but I went ahead and finished the whole workout. Not sure if that was a wise decision or not, but oh well. I figure it’s just because I rarely never do circuit workouts. I definitely pulled some muscles, so I’m hoping that as I continue to do the routine, the post-workout “awkward walk” will not last as long 🙂

Here is the circuit, with 12-15 reps for each exercise:

  • Squats (I used a 15 pound bar)
  • Sky dives
  • Walking lunges the length of the weight room (7.5 weight in each hand)
  • Chest press (30 pounds)
  • Back extensions
  • Incline chest press (30 pounds)
  • Tricep dips (body weight)
  • Lateral and front shoulder raises (7.5 pound weight in each hand)
  • Various ab exercises

Repeat the circuit three times and call it a day! (Or a week if your muscles are as sore as mine!)

Now for the good stuff. Cookies. Seriously, what could be better? I had a big day ahead of me…most of my girlfriends from Indianapolis were in town to visit and I was hosting the sleepover. Bye John! So I got up that morning to make some pumpkin goodies.

As a first time pumpkin baker, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I love pumpkin pie though, and the food blog world is exploding with delicious pumpkin recipes, so I figured pumpkin sweets would be right up my alley. I started with Julie’s Two Ingredient Pumpkin Spice cookies.

These babies were good and were so easy to make. I knew I couldn’t mess anything up too terribly because there were only two ingredients for the cookies. Unfortunately, the grocery didn’t have a Spice Cake mix, so I used a Carrot Cake mix. I figured it was the next closest thing to a Spice Cake.

Mix a can of pumpkin with Carrot Cake mix and there you go ladies (and gentlemen if any of you are reading this). I actually ended up freezing half of the dough because it made so much! I also ate at least a cup of the dough. I like to pretend dough eating doesn’t count 😉

These cookies were the fluffiest things I have ever baked. A decent number of my previous baking products have come out flat or burnt, so these were definitely more on the successful side.

I modified Gina’s Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting to put on the cookies. This would be a great recipe if I had used pumpkin, but I didn’t want to open a new can and only use half of it, so I left the pumpkin out. I’m so frugal! The pumpkinless frosting was okay, but I wouldn’t recommend it. If I had to do it over again, (which I’m sure I will), I would either make the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting properly, or I would would use Gina’s Regular Cream Cheese Frosting recipe. I should have thought of this earlier, but obviously I didn’t. So, I’m giving you both of the recipes.

Recipe (Regular Cream Cheese Frosting)

Ingredients:

  •  8 oz 1/3 fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

Mix everything together. Spread on cookies. Top with cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Enjoy!

Recipe (Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting)

  •   8 oz Philadelphia 1/3 fat cream cheese (do not use fat free)
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 5 tbsp packed brown sugar

Instructions:

Mix everything together. Spread on cookies. Enjoy!

 Recipe: Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies

  • 1 Box either Carrot Cake or Spice Cake mix
  • 1 can of pumpkin
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cake mix and pumpkin together. Place cookies on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
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Have you done any killer workouts lately?

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