Pumpkin Spice Popcorn Trail Mix

  Last fall whenever I was visiting my family in Pittsburgh, I attended my first Tastefully Simple party, and boy do they have awesome things! I seriously wanted to buy everything and got really inspired to get into the kitchen to whip up some new, exciting recipes. So whenever fall rolled around and my mouth began to water at the thought of pumpkin spice everything, I decided to whip up this pumpkin spice popcorn trail mix recipe to satisfy my sweet tooth by using their awesome Tastefully Simple Pumpkin Spice Latte Drink & Baking Flavoring Mix! This trail mix makes a great guilt-free snack that is great to have on hand for unexpected visitors or your hungry family members! Keep in mind that this recipe makes a party-sized serving, so I keep mine in a jar so the popcorn stays fresh. (I couldn't find one online like mine, but scroll down for a great alternative OR check out the chalkboard stickers I found that you can stick on an existing jar!) The ratio of almonds and dark chocolate to popcorn is very small, so you can go ahead and enjoy a little bit everyday in moderation. Popcorn is such an awesome and healthy snack, as long as you stay away from microwave popcorn and make it on stove top - and omit the melted butter! The Tastefully Simple Pumpkin Spice Latte Drink & Baking Flavoring Mix is great to have on hand at all times because it's a really yummy fall pick me up that can easily be mixed with steamed milk for an afternoon pick me up, or used for … [Read more...]

Skinny Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

  Hello fall! I have been waiting for you as patiently as possible! I'm finally starting to feel that bit of chill in the air and finding myself heating up the tea kettle more and more for afternoon tea, and have already scheduled my appointment with my beloved Box Butler to bring my cozy fall sweaters out of hiding and back into my wardrobe. While I still am the same salad addict as always (Have you checked out my favorite Easy Southwest Style Kale Salad yet?), soup steals my heart in the chilly months. I will say this though - I absolutely HATE buying canned soup because it's loaded with huge amounts of unnecessary sodium. So, I love making my favorite, Skinny Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup, homemade so that I have control over the ingredients. For me, I make this in large batches and freeze it for my lunches, because my boys rarely like to look at vegetables. More for me, right? But seriously you will love how filling this is for lunch and uber healthy, keeping you right on track with your fitness goals and healthy lifestyle. My only warning is not to let your hand slip whenever sprinkling in the Rosemary and pepper because it can produce and unwanted spicy taste (I learned from experience). 5.0 from 2 reviews Save Print Skinny Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup Prep time:  15 mins Cook time:  5 hours Total time:  5 hours 15 mins Serves: 6 servings   This butternut squash and carrot soup is a really easy, … [Read more...]

Muse Juice For a Healthy Life

  Monday has rolled around again, and after you get the kiddos off to school, it's time to think about YOU! I'm so excited to share a product today that helps me achieve balance in my healthy lifestyle as a busy Mama who doesn't always have time to think about juicing, but loves the benefits! Muse Juice is an awesome company that I spoke about whenever they were in their very beginning stages and just getting ready to launch - and now they have! First things first though, I want to share a picture that I snapped while hiking the Catskills mountains as a reminder that I can do what I put my mind to and to stay strong and positive through everything. I shared it on Instagram this morning where I often try to spread some Monday Motivation for you all! Whenever they first launched, Muse Juice was called Eden Juice, so don't get confused with the name change - same great products! I wrote about their kickstarter campaign in my post, Naturally Different Juice For Health Conscious Mamas, and everything still holds true, as I'm always trying to get my guys to drink their veggies and happily they love this juice. BUT, like I mentioned in the beginning, I want you to think about incorporating this into your own healthy life today. We focus so selflessly on others, our families, our homes, our jobs, that I'm finding personally that I've been putting myself last. So I'm taking my life back and using Muse Juice to help me regain my workout balance and carry it with me … [Read more...]

Skinny Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

  We just returned from an AMAZING weekend getaway in the Catskills (more on that tomorrow!), but I got a chance to feel the beginnings of fall while up in the mountains and can say that I am officially craving pumpkin everything! Even though I could see the temperate climb back up into the mid 80's as we drove back to the city, it is September for goodness sake, so time to get our pumpkin on! Like I said, with temperature still being so high here in the city, I'm having trouble completely letting go of my iced coffee and such in the morning, so this is a great alternative to make the transition into fall that much easier. And when those temperatures finally do drop, there is nothing quite like throwing on your favorite over-sized sweater and cozying up with your favorite drink - cold or hot! The things is this - many of our favorite pumpkin foods are loaded with crazy amounts of sugar and fat (giving a whole new meaning to the words "pumpkin roll"). So I'm sharing a totally guilt-free, skinny pumpkin spice smoothie recipe that will knock your socks off and satisfy your cravings. You can easily make this in the morning to get your day going, or have a smaller portion in the afternoon for a snack. Save Print Skinny Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Author: Allison Cooper   Ingredients ½ cup pumpkin puree (fresh or from a can) 1 cup almond milk 1 frozen banana 1 tbsp raw organic honey ¼ tsp vanilla nutmeg and cinnamon to taste ½ … [Read more...]

Healthy Bento Box Inspiration For Picky Eaters

  So, you've got a picky eater - now what? I ask myself this question all the time. In fact, I am the complete opposite of picky. If I have a stomach flu, I still manage to eat 3 square meals. I guess I just love food, but my boy only loves very specific foods. Because of this, I was so happy to come across the concept of bento boxes and am in love with all the options you can find from Bentology (HINT: Scroll down to enter to win one of their bento kits for yourself!). I love them because of the portion control factor, and B loves them because it's fun to put together colorful, enticing meals, presented in a way that even your pickiest will devour - without any foods touching one another. These are some of our recent healthy bento box inspirations for your little picky ones! Healthy Bento Box Inspiration For Picky Eaters Box #1: In this box we added Branden's favorite Biena All Natural Honey Roasted Chickpeas, a granola bar (choose whatever granola bar your littles love most), cherry tomatoes, kiwi, and our favorite cheddar cheese stick. Box #2: In the upper left hand corner, I added the mixture for my Easy Southwest Style Kale Salad (minus the greens), black olives (hello - what child doesn't love to play with these on the tips of their fingers then pop them in their mouth?), our favorite organic apple sauce, and B's snack of the moment: Spicy Roasted Chick Peas! (Recipe HERE) Box #3: In this box we added a hard boiled egg, green apple slices, organic … [Read more...]

Spicy Roasted Chick Peas

  From day one, Branden has been a picky eater, a grazer, a take three hours to eat one meal kinda guy. I hide veggies in fresh pressed juice and smoothies that we make at home all the time, but there are two things sort of out of the ordinary that B will devour: chick peas and lima beans. Once I made this discovery, we started making our own hummus and these super crunchy, spicy roasted chick peas on a weekly basis. It's a very easy recipe that we use as a healthy snack year round! They are also really fun to make to your families specific tastes. Ironically, Branden also loves everything spicy, so we make this version with extra cayenne pepper (if you are ever low on your water intake for the day, make these and you will be chugging in no time), but you can change it up a bit if you like. You can easily make a sweet version by using honey instead of the spices. One thing is certain - these spicy roasted chick peas will cure any snack attack that comes your way! Save Print Spicy Roasted Chick Peas Prep time:  10 mins Cook time:  35 mins Total time:  45 mins Serves: 2-3   Ingredients 1 can of chick peas (garbanzo beans) 1 tbsp olive oil sea salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper to taste Instructions Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Rinse and dry your chick peas Spread them out on the baking sheet Sprinkle with remaining ingredients and mix Make sure they are laying flat and place in oven Bake for about 35 minutes or … [Read more...]

Easy Southwest Style Kale Salad

I almost couldn't believe waking up today that it was September! September brings much newness in my life, as B turns 7 this month and starts 2nd grade. I'm so excited for apple and pumpkin everything, and leggings and boots! But for now, I'm super excited to share my summertime favorite: Easy Southwest Style Kale Salad! As for the blog, you will see some tweaking here as well - all for the better! Today, I'm kicking things off with launching my new "healthy life" category that will include simple, healthy recipe posts, my fitness journey, and many products that will help make your life even healthier. If you followed along this summer, you read how I was in a bit of a "fitness funk," which has made me realize how important being healthy is to me. So, I'm overjoyed to share my insights with you all! I also joined a recipe sharing community called Yummly, where you will find my recipes shared, too! I'm so excited about all the fun changes, and everything that's in store! And you know what else makes me excited? Lunch time whenever I know this salad is waiting for me! It has been a favorite of mine for a while and highly recommended as a super healthy way to spice up your regular salad routine (I know that I get bored when I eat the same salad everyday!). I usually make this the day after I make corn on the cob for dinner and throw an extra piece in the pot - so easy! Save Print Easy Southwest Style Kale Salad Prep time:  15 mins Total time:  … [Read more...]

Healthy Snack Ideas For Weight Loss – Busy Mom Style

There are so many wonderful, healthy snack ideas for weight loss that will seriously get that "momtabolism" going, and probably already in your kitchen. I know we are all so used to hearing "Eat 5 SMALL meals during the day in order to lose weight," but that doesn't always work for ALL of us. Everyone eats differently, and everyone's body is different. I say: do what works best for YOU, because it makes YOU feel good! I am personally a grazer. I will graze through little snacks all day long, and then eat a normal dinner. Some might say this is wrong, but it works for me and makes me happy. My theory is that if everything I am putting into my mouth is healthy, then I am probably doing okay. It's not always easy, especially whenever we are lugging kids everywhere and trying to keep ourselves from eating the leftovers off their plates. But, easy healthy snack ideas for weight loss will get you motivated to make and keep your new year goals. Easy Healthy Snack Ideas For Weight Loss My typical breakfast on a work day consists of a Kind Bar and a banana. I can eat this combination (along with my coffee) at around 9:30am and it can hold me over until about 1:30pm. On mornings where I have more time, I love to eat homemade yogurt parfaits (you have to watch the calorie/sugar/fat content on store bought options) with plain yogurt, berries, granola, and honey.  I'm also an egg white freak and love making yummy egg scrambles with fresh veggies....sooo good! Dry … [Read more...]

Easy Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

I feel like I have always struggled with having a slow metabolism as I spent my high school and college days counting calories and working out constantly, only to do nothing more than maintain my weight. Then, for some strange reason, after I had Branden, I was finally able to lose the weight that I had been trying to get rid of for years. Maybe it was because I had him very young, but either way, something in my metabolism finally shifted. Now, as Branden is about to turn 4 years old, I feel like my "momtabolism" is starting to plateau again and using these easy ways to boost your metabolism will help get it going again. In my quest for fitness fulfillment, I have yearned for smart and natural ways to boost your metabolism and hope that you will all join me in these fun activities that help rev up your momtabolism and keep it going! Ready...set...fitness time!Easy Ways to Boost Your MetabolismGet moving early in the morning in order to start revving up the momtabolism! Try setting your alarm for 15-30 minutes before you typically wake up (or before the little ones start to stir) and do some vigorous stretching or yoga.Want to work out as a family? We have been running relays together at our local running path. Since Branden can't run as fast as my husband and I yet, we take turns running a 1/2 to 1 mile each and then switch, completing jumping jacks, crunches, etc. with Branden while waiting for the other to return. We repeat this about 2 times, 3 if we are feeling very … [Read more...]

Eco Friendly Household Items For All Families

I try to be as "green" as possible without getting out of control. I keep my life balanced as best as I can, and use these eco friendly household items as much as possible to do my part in this world. I've noticed that there are some people who are rather zealous whenever it comes to this topic. And on the other side of the coin, there are those who treat their surroundings like an extension of their own personal pigpen. I personally believe that there needs to be a balance within it all. If living a green lifestyle is taking over your thoughts and causing you to be depressed, hateful, or stressed out, then I say that is getting out of control. But if you ignore the fact that we all need to make an effort to leave this planet in as good or better condition than we found it, then that careless attitude of total denial is also out of control.  Did I mention that I believe in balance? And responsibility for our own actions? That said, there are different green products that I use within my household to help keep my family free of some unnecessary chemicals, as well as save some money. Therefore, I thought that I would share my tips and tricks on the trade, and hopefully you will all share back! Here goes! Eco Friendly Household Items We carry reusable water bottles with us wherever we go. We use ZeroWater filters in both our Tumbler water bottles as well as a huge filter we have in the fridge. (You can read my full post HERE where I reviewed and showed how these are … [Read more...]