Friday, January 23, 2015

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Hi, friends. I hope all of you are having an awesome Friday. One more day of work until my "weekend"!

It's sort of sad, but I've been waiting for the weekend all week long. I'm still catching up from being away last weekend. When I spend the weekend traveling, I spend more time in the car than anything and I don't get my chores done, let alone get in much rest. #timemanagementproblems

I've been doing my best at making exercise a big priority. At the end of a long day, the last thing I want to do is put on spandex and sweat, but I never regret it and I always feel much better afterwards.

Other than some exercise, I've been a hard-core homebody lately, especially after I get home from work. If it's dark and cold, I'm not going anywhere :)

I'm hanging out with these guys...

And nothing is more appropriate for cold weather than soup. I. Love. Soup. And you will love this soup recipe that I'm sharing with you today. I just started throwing together ingredients and the result was awesome!

This Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup is sure to warm you up and it's actually pretty healthy for you. It's not a cream base soup, so it's a lot lower in fat and it's full of protein and fiber. Yum!

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup


Rotisserie chicken, shredded (or 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded)
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained (around 14-15 ounces)
1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (around 14-15 ounces)
1 can of diced tomatoes with peppers (around 14-15 ounces)
1 can of corn (around 10 ounces)
1 can of tomato paste (around 6 ounces)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
4 cups of chicken broth
5 small corn tortillas, cut into strips
salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder, to taste
Shredded cheese (monterey jack, cheddar, or mexican blend), optional


In a dutch oven or large pot, sautee the carrots and onions in olive oil until tender. Add the remaining ingredients (except for chicken and tortilla strips). Cook on high heat until the soup is boiling. Lower the heat to medium and cook for another ten minutes. Add the chicken and tortilla strips and cook for a few more minutes. Add shredded cheese to individual bowls, if desired.

Are you a soup lover? If so, what are your favorite homemade soups?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stretch It Out Playlist + This Week's Workouts

Hello, hello. How are we? I'm having a great week so far. Today is day two back at work after a long weekend and I'm trying to get back into the work groove. It's rough, but I'll get there :)

I've been making more of an effort at meal planning lately. My typical pattern has been eggs/whole grains at breakfast, a salad at lunch, a few snacks through the day, then winging it for dinner. It's usually quite sad. It's hard to work a full day, go the gym, and then cook a real dinner. 

It sort of comical to think that I can't seem to manage my time well enough to cook dinner, but so many other women out there do all of it plus have children to raise #firstworldproblems

When you already have chopped veggies, cooked protein, cooked whole grains, etc. it's much easier to throw together a quick and healthy meal. 

Friends who food prep: What are your go-to recipes/meal ideas?

I've also been making an effort to stretch more. The research is definitely confusing when it comes to whether or not stretching is necessary, but if it feels good, so it!

Here's a fun playlist for stretching...

This week's workouts:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Spin class

Wednesday: Body Pump

Thursday: Spin class + hiit

Friday: 4-mile run

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Zumba 

Here's to a healthy week :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Paint Chip Valentine Bookmarks

Hi, friends. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

Right now, I'm on I-95 making my way back to Wilmington. I had a great time visiting my grandma and family in Maryland. It was also great to spend so much time with my mom. I miss that lady :) And it was also nice to spend time in the wonderlands that are Ikea and REI.

I have a fun Valentine craft for you all today... Paint Chip Valentine Bookmarks!

It costs practically nothing. I sort of stole the paint chips from a hardware store (and it shall remained unnamed), the ribbon was 50 cents, and the heart hole punch was $2.13 from Michael's (with a mobile coupon). I can only imagine how much fun I will have with that hole punch for future Valentine days-- totally worth the $2.13.

Anyway, I love this craft because it doesn't require any artistic or creative ability whatsoever. A child could make these!

You will need some paint chips, a regular circular hole punch, a  heart hole punch, ribbon, and scissors or a paper cutter.

Cut or trim the paint chips to the desired size. Use the hole punches to make fun patters or designs. Finally, add ribbon through the circular hole. Ta-da! And now you have a fun Valentine's book mark. If you have kiddos or co-workers, these would be so fun to pass out on Valentine's Day.

Happy Valentine crafting & have a wonderful week :)
If you're looking for more DIY Valentine ideas, check out this post.

Friday, January 16, 2015

DIY Valentine Round-up

Hi, friends. Happy Friday!!! I hope all of you had a great week and that you have an even better weekend. I'm heading out to Maryland to see my grandma tomorrow morning and I couldn't be more excited. I'm also pretty happy about spending some quality time with my mom. We're meeting up in a central locating and making the drive together. Road trip!!

I've been spending some of my free crafting up some Valentine-themed goodies over the last few weeks. It's no surprise that I adore Valentine's Day. I'm a Valentine baby after all. Yes, my parents were deprived of a Valentine's day until I reached dating age.

Valentine's Day is all about the good stuff: hearts, candy, and love. It's perfectly acceptable (and preferred) to get a little creative and have some fun with diy gifts and tokens of love. Here are just a few ideas of mine from years past. I'm sure your Valentine will adore anything you gift them, as long as it comes from the heart <3

Strawberry Bread with Glaze

Valentine Burlap Votive Holders

Candy-Filled Valentine Flower Pots

Fabric Button Earrings

Valentine Pennant Wreath

Polymer Clay Heart Charms

DIY Heart Banner

I'll be back next with more fitness, recipes, and new diy Valentine ideas.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Get (Financially) Organized

Hi, friends. I hope you're off to a wonderful week.

The weather is quite gloomy here in in Wilmington, but it's a wonderful morning nonetheless. The weekend is finally in view! I'm so excited to me making a trip to Maryland to see my grandmother. It's been way too long. I'm also hoping for snow. It's not looking very likely, but fingers and toes are crossed :)

I wanted to talk a little bit about finances today. A new year is refreshing in so many ways. We can make resolutions, we can reinvent ourselves, we can start the year off with organization in mind, and we can finally get our finances in order.

It's been my goal for practically forever to own my own home by the time I'm 25. And at 23, that goal is right around the corner. I have a down-payment saved up and I feel ready. I still need to find that perfect home, and I'm not exactly sure that Wilmington is where I want to call home for the next dozen or so chapters of my life. At least not with a mortgage.

Thinking about home-buying makes me a little nervous when it comes to finances. I know better than to tackle a mortgage that I can't pay and I know that any renovations will probably come later than sooner, but the unknown is sort of terrifying. What if I become unemployed? What if I get sick? The unknown is scary. Especially when it comes to sustaining the life that you've become accustomed to.

With the end of 2014, I finally downloaded an app (Mint) that can help me get my finances in order and at my fingertip. I first learned about Mint on Cupcakes and Cashmere and I am hooked! I vowed that as 2015 drew near, every purchase I made would be documented and categorized.

I used to hand-write my income and expenses back in the day, when I rebelled against getting a smartphone. But now that I'm permanently glued to the darn thing, downloading an app made more sense for me.

However, if you prefer the ol' pen and paper method, I made a weekly spending hand-out for ya! Just right-click to save it or print it. At the end of the week, take a look at what you are actually spending. Can you make reductions for unnecessary purchases? Are you spending more than you are making? Make a budget and allow for a savings category. It's a good idea to save 10-20% of your income each month. It's good to be prepared when a rainy day arrives.From there, allow for rent, food expenses, clothing, transportation, utilities, entertainment, etc.

Okay, now back to Mint...

So what is Mint and what does it do? It's a free app that lets you have complete control over your income and expenses. You can sync your various financial accounts to it and you can see a complete overview with your income, expenses, and net worth at any moment.

You can set budgets for yourself and easily monitor how close you are to approaching the max of a specific budget category. Mint reminds you when bills are due and you can even set up bill payment with Mint. I'm sure that Mint can be used for a hundred other things, but with just two bank accounts and a single credit card, my finances are pretty simple.

This is a sample from of what the app looks like on your smartphone. This screenshot is a little dated, but the basics are still the same. All of your accounts are right at your fingertips. For a control freak that craves organization, this app is amazing.

Why do I love mint? Mint helps me save money. When you can easily look at your phone and see exactly how much you've spent at restaurants this month, you might think again about going out for dinner and might cook at home instead. It has certainly helped me cut back on spending. Especially the unnecessary spending. Do I really need to buy another iced coffee when I can make it at home?

If you need a little help with getting your finances organized, I highly recommend Mint. And no, this was not any sort of paid endorsement. I just adore Mint.

Friends, how do you stay financially organized?
Any financial goals for 2015?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Honey Dijon Chicken

Hi, friends. How are you? I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend.

I took a Zumba class with a new-to-me instructor and it was wonderful. I had a ton of fun shakin' it and I have now found my new favorite Sunday activity.

I've also been crafting up some fun Valentine crafts and recipes. I might be biased (hello, Valentine's birthday), but there's something so fun about hearts, candy, chocolate, and love! I'll be sharing them over the next few weeks.

When life seems a little crazy, it is so much easier to have a simple dinner to make. Meal planning also helps, too. In case you're stuck in a quick dinner rut, here's a delicious and easy dinner idea for you: Honey Dijon Chicken.

I've totally made a different version of this recipe before. The original is here. I didn't have lemon juice and I didn't want to add bacon or as much cheese, but it still turned out excellent. Served alongside some fresh steamed green beans, it was a 15 minute dinner success.

Honey Dijon Chicken
adapted from Six Sisters Stuff


1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into smaller pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups sliced fresh button mushrooms
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese


In a small bowl, combine the first two ingredients and set aside.

Evenly coat the chicken in the olive oil. In a hot skillet over medium heat, cook the chicken (with the lid on) until cooked through. Turn the chicken every few minutes for even browning. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.

In the same skillet, saute the mushrooms until they are tender. Return the chicken to the skillet and top with cheese and the sauce mixture. Place the lid over the skillet and keep covered until the cheese has melted.

Here's to a wonderful week!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Hi, friends. I know that most of you are probably steering clear of junk food after the holidays, but in the event that you're looking for a fun treat for the family, I've got you covered. And if you're behaving yourself, pin it or print it, because you will want to make these at some point.

I have some sort of a terrible weakness for junk food and donuts are no exception. Nothing beats the two bakeries in my hometown, but I will occasionally settle for Dunkin or Krispy Kreme.

I love trying to recreate store-bought favorites at home, so on Christmas morning I made Cinnamon Sugar donuts. So good! Just mix up the batter, pour it into the pan, bake, let cool slightly, dip in butter, and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. So easy and if you have kiddos, they will love to participate.

You can find the recipe here, at

Hope you all have an amazing weekend!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Back to the Grind + This Week's Workouts

Hi, friends. It's Thursday! I hope all of you are having a great week.

I'm in recovery mode from all holiday festivities. We had Christmas with my parents last weekend and we have just now rid the house of all junk food. I'm pretty sure that there's some homemade cookie dough in the freezer, but I'm going to let that stay hidden. And I'm going to convince myself that it's not in there...

I thought I'd share this week's workouts with all of you. My gym offers so many fitness classes, but I had never taken advantage of them until last week. Group fitness used to by myfavoritething, hello I taught group fitness for a living, but I had not seen the inside of a group fitness studio since moving to Wilmington in August. Like I said, last week everything changed.

I took my first Spin Class! It was actually a Les Mills class, RPM. It was also my first Les Mills class, as these classes were not offered in my small town. I had a blast! My legs were burning and the climbs felt oh so good.

I also took my first Zumba class at my gym. Oh how I have missed it! It was with a new instructor (she has been teaching for three years, but it was her first class at my gym) and she rocked it! Great instructors really do make all the difference, but I had almost forgotten how much I love Zumba and how great of a workout it is. I had all sorts of muscle soreness from using muscles I forgot I even had.

And on to this week's workouts...

Monday- Rest day

Tuesday- Spin Class

Wednesday- Body Pump

Thursday- Spin Class

Friday- 30 minutes easy cycle + circuit workout

Saturday- Rest day

Sunday- Zumba

How are you getting your sweat on this week?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Honey Butter Spread

Well, friends, the weekend is over and I'm back at work. The past few days were such a whirlwind. We had a great time with my parents and visiting our friend, MB. We exchanged gifts, I got to see their Christmas decorations, and I ate my weight in all sorts of good things. It was hard to leave! 

On Sunday, I posted a recipe for super easy dinner rolls. If you didn't see it, you can check it out here

Today, I 'm sharing a delicious honey butter spread that compliments those rolls so beautifully. This honey butter spread is also a great addition to oatmeal and a wonderful spread for muffins and pancakes. 

Honey Butter Spread

Recipe by Ina Garten
Makes 3/4 cup


1/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons good honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


Combine the butter, honey, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Serve at room temperature.

Cheers to a fabulous week :) 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The World's Easiest Dinner Rolls

Hi, friends. I hope you are all having an amazing weekend. I finally got to have Christmas with my parents. It's a super short trip for such a drive... we got here late last night and we're leaving tomorrow afternoon, but it's worth it. I definitely miss not seeing my parents more often!

Recently, I've really started to be more conscious of the types of food I'm eating. I'm not avoiding gluten or going paleo, I'm just trying to avoid foods with a page long ingredient list. And if I can easily make it at home, I don't want to buy the store-bought version if I don't have to. Better for my health and my wallet. Score!

Dinner rolls have an incredibly long ingredient list. Like scary long. Lucky for you, I have a simple recipe for super easy dinner rolls. There are only 4 ingredients (plus water), and if you have a stand mixer, they are even more effortless.

Serve these alongside a hot soup and fresh salad or at your next family dinner. You will love them, I promise!


3 cups flour (white, wheat, white-wheat, etc.)
2 tsp. Rapid Rise Yeast (you can find a jar of this in the baking aisle)
1 tsp. salt
1 cup warm water
¼ cup olive oil


In a stand mixer*, combine half of the flour and the dry ingredients. Mix in the water and oil. Mix in the remaining flour and knead for 10-15 minutes with the dough hook. *No stand mixer? No problem! Just mix it by hand and knead it by hand. You will get the same results, but it will take a bit longer.

Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and place it down on your lightly dusted with flour, kitchen counter. Use your hands to spread out the dough and form your desired shape. Is it really sticky? Wet your hands to work with the dough.

Shape the dough as desired and place it onto an ungreased baking sheet. Let the dough sit and rest while the oven preheats to 425*F. Bake for 15 minutes, then adjust the temperature to 350* F and cook for about 10 more minutes.

Stay tuned for a delicious honey butter spread. It's amazing :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year, Stronger You {Workout}

Hi friends and Happy New Year! I can hardly believe that another year has already come and gone. It seems like we were just ringing in 2014. So crazy!

If your goal is to become healthier or more fit for 2015, I'm right there with you. I'm committing to exercising 4-5 times each week and I'm really going to be more conscious of what I'm eating. I hope I can get more of a handle of the whole intuitive eating thing instead of the dreaded 'd' word, dieting.

There's no better way to start the new year off right than with a great sweat session. Hopefully today won't be your first, but if it is, I won't tell :)

May this new year bring a stronger and healthier you!

Happy sweating, friends :)