Monday, March 31, 2014

Clean Your Coffee Maker!! {Spring Cleaning}

Good morning! I hope all of you had a fabulous weekend. I have one question for you today. How often do you clean your coffee maker? Yea, thought so... I'm embarrassed to say that mine does not get cleaned often enough.

If you don't clean your coffee maker regularly, it could be full of germs. Bacteria tends to grow pretty well in dark damp places, so imagine what the inside of that machine is like! In light of Spring and Spring cleaning, today I'm sharing tips to help you keep your coffee maker clean.

1) First, wipe down the entire coffee maker with a damp cloth.

2) Next, fill the coffee maker with equal parts of water and white distilled vinegar and place a clean filter in the filter basket. Turn the coffee maker "on" so that it brews. Allow the coffee maker to brew half of the solution, then turn it off and let it sit for one hour. Once the hour passes, allow the remaining solution to brew. After the coffee maker has finished brewing, brew a few cycles of plain water. Do this at once every few weeks or at least once each month.

3) Finally, wash the removable parts with hot soapy water, or run them through the dishwasher. Do this at least once a week.

So tell me, how often do you clean your coffee maker?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Oven Roasted Balsamic Carrots

Side dishes are always tricky for me. I get tired of making the same salad, rice, or steamed veggies. Dinner can get quite boring sometimes! These Oven Roasted Balsamic Carrots are not boring and they're the perfect side for a weekday dinner or even your upcoming Easter meal. This side dish takes very little effort and I'm sure your entire family will love them. Try them out tonight!

Oven Roasted Balsamic Carrots

Makes 4 servings


1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into even sticks (about 3-4" long) OR baby carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


Preheat your oven to 375*. In a shallow roasting pan, toss the carrots with the olive oil and salt. Roast the carrots until tender, about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the carrots and stir to coat. Continue to roast the carrots until most of the vinegar evaporates, about 2 minutes. 

Recipe from

What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Peanut Butter Banana Oat Bars

Hello, hello! I'm really excited to share my new favorite snack recipe with you today. I'm always looking for a portable, delicious, and healthy snack to eat between fitness classes or for those moments when I can feel my blood sugar drop. These Peanut Butter Banana Oat Bars are the perfect solution to any snack dilemma!

I had been buying lots of store bought granola bars, protein bars, and fiber bars, but most of them have an enormously long list of ingredients and some just taste like candy. Candy is great (don't get me wrong), but sometimes I just want a healthy satisfying snack that doesn't involve chocolate or caramel.

I searched the web for what seems like hours trying to find the perfect bar recipe, but never had all of the ingredients on hand to create my own. With several very different recipes in mind, I created my own snack bar recipe and couldn't be happier with the results!

Peanut Butter Banana Oat Bars

Makes 8 generous bars


2 ripe bananas
1/4 cup skim milk (or your favorite milk)
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
1/4 to 1/3 cup peanut butter (I used 1/4 cup)
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350* and spray a 9" x 9" pan with cooking spray. In a small mixing bowl, mash the bananas until there are no large chunks left. Add the milk, vanilla, and peanut butter and whisk until well combined. Add the dates, oats, and cinnamon and stir until well combined. Press the mixture into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

*If your family is used to really sweet snack bars, you might want to add 1/4-1/3 cup of your favorite sweetener (like agave, honey, or brown sugar).


Monday, March 24, 2014

Manic Monday Workout

I hope you all had an awesome weekend! The weather was absolutely gorgeous on Saturday --it totally felt like spring-- but by Sunday morning, the temperature dropped and the wind returned with a vengeance. Fingers crossed for a road free of ocean overwash!

Anyway, it's Monday. My mind is already racing with a revolving to-do list! Is it the weekend yet??? Take some time for yourself today and let out some steam. Your body will thank you, I promise.

*As always, consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program and always listen to your body.

Here's to a great week!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

5-Minute Garlic Couscous

My first couscous experience was at a Mediterranean restaurant a few years back. It came alongside my meal and I wasn't sure what to think of the tiny little balls that were not quite the rice or pasta that I was used to eating. Needless to say, I quickly developed a liking to this perfect side dish! It pairs with nearly everything and it's especially perfect with vegetables.

Today, I'm sharing a recipe for Garlic Couscous. It comes together in just over five minutes and it's so delicious. The garlic flavor actually really nice-- not at all overwhelming. This couscous recipe definitely has found a place in my dinner rotation. 

5-Minute Garlic Couscous


1 cup couscous
1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon margarine
2 cloves minced garlic


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the margarine. Once melted, add the salt and garlic and saute for a few seconds, while stirring constantly. Add the broth and cook on high until the mixture comes to a boil. Add the couscous and stir until well combined. Place the lid on the saucepan and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. After the five minutes has passed, remove the lid, fluff the couscous with a fork, and serve.

Recipe from

Do you like couscous? If so, how do you like to eat it?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins (No Sugar Added)

Thank goodness it is Friday! It has been one heck of a week. I'm looking forward to a weekend of relaxation and fun... bring on the sunshine.

I gave up sweets, junk food, and really anything that tastes great for Lent, in hopes of losing some weight. I've put on a few pounds since last summer and I'm determined to shed it! It really hasn't been too hard, but I've had my moments. Sometimes, I just want a muffin. Or some ice cream. Or a brownie. Or a caramel macchiato. OK, so maybe it's been sort of hard. BUT, I can now have a muffin and not feel bad about it with this recipe! These Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins are a healthy alternative to the muffins at the bakery or grocery store. They're packed with good-for-you ingredients that you can actually pronounce and there's no added sugar. 

These muffins are the perfect breakfast, mid-day snack, or dessert. They're moist, delicious, and nutritious-- you can't go wrong. Try them today!

Whole Wheat Banana Oat Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins


1 cup whole wheat flour (or half wheat and half all-purpose)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 ripe bananas, mashed (the riper the banana is, the sweeter the banana will be)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon olive oil

*Optional: I didn't add any sweetener to my muffins, but if you want to add some sweetness add in 1/4 to 1/2 cup sweetener (brown sugar, sugar, honey, etc.)


Preheat the oven to 350* and line a muffin pan with foil-lined baking cups (if you don't have foil-lined cups, spray paper cups with non-stick spray- otherwise these muffins will stick!). In a small mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients. (I mash the bananas in the large bowl and beat the eggs in a small bowl, then transfer them to the bowl with the bananas.) Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix until well combined. Pour the batter into the baking cups and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


Oh, and I need to mention that a slather of nut butter takes these muffins over the top. You won't even miss not having sugar. Promise!

Do you have any favorite "skinny" or "lightened up" dessert/snack recipes?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

I hope all of you are having a fabulous week. One thing that can make a fabulous week better is a great cookie. These Easy Peanut Butter Cookies are perfectly crisp, yet chewy. They have a great peanut butter flavor (but not overwhelming) and they're sure to brighten your day. 

Spring is officially just around the corner, but this week feels more like winter here on the island. Cold, windy, and yucky weather makes me want delicious comfort food. And while I'm on my "Lent Diet," I can't eat any of the things I'm craving. Just looking at these Peanut Butter Cookies and knowing that Spring will eventually have to show itself, and and all its glory, makes me feel so much better!

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe from The Recipe Hall of Fame Cookbook
Makes 3 dozen cookies


1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 375*F. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Beat in the eggs. Sift together the remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten the balls with a fork, making a crisscross pattern. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. Remove immediately from cookie sheets and transfer to a wire rack.

What's your favorite way to bake with peanut butter?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patty's Day!!!

Happy St. Patty's Day, everyone! I hope you all have a fabulous day filled with green treats and zero pinches :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Super Easy Homemade Cream Puffs

I hope you all are having a lovely weekend. A few weeks back, my mom made these cream puffs. I grew up loving them and now I'm sharing the recipe with all of you.

Creme Puffs are a dessert that is so easy and inexpensive to make. They look so fancy and complicated, but that's not the case at all. After you give them a try, you will never buy them from the bakery or grocery store again. 

P.S. If you're really intimidated, use vanilla pudding in place of the homemade creme filling. For a quick creme puff, use ice cream, whipped cream, or fruit pie filling for a completely different treat. Top it with powdered sugar and you're good to go!

The next time you have company over, wow them with these Homemade Cream Puffs!

Super Easy Homemade Cream Puffs

Cream Puff and Cream Filling recipe from Betty Crocker's Cookbook, 1978
Chocolate frosting from my mom
Makes 12 small Cream Puffs


1/2 cup water
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs


Heat the oven to 400*F. Boil the water and margarine in a small saucepan. Stir in the flour, stirring vigorously over low heat until the mixture forms a ball. Remove from the heat and beat in the eggs. Continue to beat until smooth. Drop the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet (about a heaping tablespoon for each cream puff) and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden. Remove the cream puffs from the cookie sheet and let cool on a wire rack. Once they have cooled, slice the tops off and fill with creme filling, replace tops, and add optional chocolate frosting.

For the cream filling

1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix the first three ingredients in a saucepan. Gradually stir in the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Stir at least half of the hot mixture gradually into the egg yolks. Blend into hot mixture. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in margarine and vanilla. Set aside and allow the mixture to cool before filling the cream puffs.

For the chocolate frosting

3 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup confectioners sugar
2-4 teaspoons water

Stir the ingredients together until smooth. Top each cream puff generously with frosting.

*Cream puffs can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Perfect Popover Recipe {Super Easy}

Breakfast is my favorite meal. It always has been and I don't see that changing any time soon, especially after making my own popovers. There is nothing more delightful than a cup of coffee alongside a popover with a slab of honey butter or Nutella. But just so we're clear, popovers aren't only for breakfast... they make for perfect dinner rolls as well. 

If you've never had a popover, you're in for a treat!  They're truly delicious. Popovers are a tall, hollow, and light roll that is made of an egg batter. They are best right out of the oven, but they also reheat quite nicely. 

Easy Popovers

Makes 6 Large Popovers


2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 400*F and grease and flour six 6-oz custard cups or a popover pan (or a muffin pan).

In a small mixing bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Fill the Popover cups until 1/2 full and bake for 20 minutes. After the initial bake time, reduce the oven temperature to 350*F and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove the popovers from the pan and serve them hot!

Recipe adapted from

Tips and Tricks:

Do not open the oven until the popovers have cooked for at least 35 minutes, as they could collapse.

To prevent sinking, gently pierce the side of each popover with a knife so that the heat can release as soon as they come out of the oven.

Are you a Popover fan?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Medicine Ball Circuit Workout

Hello, friends. I hope everyone is having a great week! The next few days will be very busy for me-- lots going on with work and life outside of work! When I'm pressed for time, quick efficient workouts save the day. It's so important to move and get your sweat on every day, even when you're tired and your schedule is full. A quick workout might just leave you feeling energized and refreshed-- ready to tackle the rest of your day. 

The workout I'm sharing today utilizes a medicine ball, but dumbbells can be substituted if you don't have one. 

Tips, Tricks, and Explanations

Trunk Swings- Hold the medicine ball at chest height out in front of you. Rotate your torso to one side (keeping hips centered) while your arms are extended out. Rotate back to center. Stand up straight and keep your core engaged!

Wood Chops- With the medicine ball in your hands above one shoulder, step out to the opposite side while swinging your arms down across your body in a chopping motion. Step back and return to your starting position. Keep your core engaged and your back flat!

Squat Toss- Squat down as if you are sitting in a low chair, keeping your core tight, your back flat, and making sure that your knees don’t extend past your toes. As you squat down, toss the medicine ball up into the air, catch it, and repeat the exercise.

Ball Swings- This is like a kettlebell swing. Hinge from your hips with the medicine ball in your hands. While keeping your back flat, drive your hips forward to propel the ball up to shoulder height. Keep your core engaged!

Medicine Ball Push-Ups- Start with your left hand on the floor and your right hand on the medicine ball. Perform a push-up. Shift the ball so that it is now under your left hand and your right hand is on the floor. Perform your second push-up. Continue the process until you have completed all of your repetitions.

Single-Leg Butt Lift- Lying on your back, place one foot in the medicine ball and extend your other foot straight out. Raise your hips to the ceiling, placing your weight on the foot that is resting on the medicine ball.

Rock and Press- This is a basic sit-up with a medicine ball press. As you perform a sit-up with the medicine ball at your chest, press the ball toward the ceiling as you come up. 

Let me know if you try this and of course, ask away if you have any questions. 
Hope you enjoy the rest of the week!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Finger Paint Shamrock Card

Happy Sunday! I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend. We're finally having some beautiful weather after so much wind and rain. The dogs are especially thrilled that they can roll around and be lazy outside in the sun!

I can hardly believe that St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner! It seems like we were just celebrating Valentine's Day. If you're looking for a St. Patty's craft that it super easy and inexpensive, look no further! This Finger Paint Shamrock Card is so easy to make and would make a perfect project for kids.

All you need is a blank card, green paint, a pencil, a shamrock cookie cutter or stencil, and a permanent marker or glitter pen. I purchase my blank cards from Walmart, but I'm sure any craft store sells them.

Begin by lightly tracing the cookie cutter or stencil onto the front of the card. Next, dip your finger and begin to trace the outline of the shamrock, making small dots and ovals with your finger. Once the shamrock is "outlined" in paint, begin by filling it in. Once the paint dries, add a festive saying or phrase with permanent marker or a glitter pen.

How are you celebrating St. Patrick's Day?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Homemade Coconut Milk Coffee Creamer {Dairy-Free}

I've really began to cherish mornings and the moments of quiet that I have before heading off to work. It's so great to have a little bit of time to myself, not being rushed or stressed. Just time to breathe. Almost always, those moments are spent with a coffee cup in my hand.

Ever since I stopped {minus a few occasions} drinking dairy milk last summer, I've been craving a delicious non-dairy coffee creamer that wasn't full of sugar and ingredients I couldn't pronounce. Those are hard to find at my grocery store! My do-it-yourself spirit decided to make my own and I was so happy with the results. This three-ingredient Homemade Coconut Milk Coffee Creamer is creamy, flavorful, and delicious! Give this homemade coffee creamer a try even if you're not dairy-free!

This delicious homemade coffee creamer starts with light coconut milk. Feel free to use the full-fat version if you would like. It would be even creamier!

Homemade Coconut Milk Coffee Creamer


1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons organic honey


In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the can of light coconut milk, vanilla, and honey and stir. Continue to stir occasionally for about five minutes, until the mixture is well combined.

Pour the mixture into a mason jar (pint) and let it cool before transferring it to the refrigerator.

*This homemade coffee creamer keeps for about a week.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello, hello! I hope you are all having a great week. I have a yummy frosting recipe to share with you today.

My Dad celebrated his 56th birthday on Monday, so naturally, cake was on the menu! My dad is a huge fan of keeping it simple when it comes to desserts. He likes sweet desserts, but doesn't want them too sweet. This Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting was the perfect touch for his classic yellow birthday cake.

Simply put, this frosting is amazing. When you can't decide on whether to make chocolate or cream cheese frosting for that delicious cake, this is the recipe for you. It's the best of both worlds and it's a match made in frosting heaven

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes about 4 cups of frosting, which is enough to make a 2 or 3 layer cake.


1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted


Place the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer or a mixing bowl.  Beat until well combined. Stop the mixer and add the cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and confectioners' sugar. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the ingredients are moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is fluffy, about 2 minutes more.

Frost your favorite cake or cupcakes and enjoy!

What's your go-to frosting?

I love using buttercream, as it's so easy to customize with different extracts.

Monday, March 3, 2014

DIY Windshield Frost Prevention Spray

Even though I live at the beach, we still get the occasional snowfall. We also get our share of icy windshields, which are such a pain-- especially when you have somewhere you need to be and you don't have time to scrape the whole darn thing. Our extreme cold weather may finally be over {fingers crossed!!!}, but I know that there are still many of you out there who are battling what seems to be a never ending winter. 

You may already have plenty of tricks for preventing frost and ice on your windshield, but if not try my DIY Windshield Frost Prevention Spray! It works like a charm :)

What's the weather like where you are?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

"Luck of The Irish" {Free Printable}

Hello, hello. I hope everyone is enjoying the first day of March! Despite the chill in the air, it's a beautiful afternoon on the island and it certainly looks like spring might just be around the corner! 

St. Patrick's Day was never a hugely celebrated holiday while growing up, but I was always sure to wear something green to avoid the dreaded pinches! Now that I'm older, I take advantage of every holiday-- each one is the perfect excuse to craft, decorate the home, and get festive. Over the next few weeks, I plan to share a few fun crafts and ideas with you so that you can bring some St. Patty's cheer to your home as well. 

First up, an Irish blessing inspired St. Patty's Printable. Please feel free to print it and display it in your home, at work, or use it as a tag for treats. This printable would look so cute as a tag attached to a little bag of lucky charms! The possibilities are endless. Happy crafting :)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!