Valentine’s Day Treats

Valentine’s Day 2017

I love getting a fresh cup of coffee at Panera Bread but I simply couldn’t resist their heart shaped cookies this morning.  All of their pastries, soups, salads and sandwhiches are delicious.  I’m getting these cookies for my favorite Valentine’s this year.  You should do the same…they are a taste of heaven.  Weather you are in the east, west  midwest or in the south please find your local Panera Bread and grab these cookies…you won’t be sorry.

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Black Friday

I know most of you have enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday with family and close friends.  My son stayed at his college dormitory because he had exams next week and said he wanted to study for them.  So, instead of turkey he baked a chicken.  I think we all need to start thinking about healthy eating during and after the holidays.  Especially if you have relatives and friends who love to binge eat during the holidays…any excuse to gain 10 pounds.  Well if we eat too much, we can always get back in the gym five days each week and burn off those extra calories.

www.24hourfitness.com

www.chuzefitness.com

planetfitness.com

www.positivehealthwellness.com

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Steaks Forever

steaksI hope I don’t offend any vegans, but there’s nothing like a nice “rib eye” steak, especially when it’s on sale for $3.99 per pound.  I don’t eat steaks or red meat on a daily basis, but my husband is a huge fan.  I found this deal at the local meat market and surely had to stock up on a few for my hubby.  However, I am sticking to my “healthy living” eating plans in hopes of losing weight in time for the holidays.

Water is the main key to dropping those unwanted pounds.  Drinking water daily also helps keep your bowels regulated.  I am also drinking meal replacements for dinner, because eating meals after 6:00 pm equates to one thing….extra calories that will not be burned during sleep.  The older we get, the harder it is to lose those extra pounds.  Belly fat is the worst…so hard to get rid of it.  But, walking does help reduce belly fat.  Walking for 30 minutes each day makes a difference.

 

 

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Healthy Eats…

uurth cafe

Trying my best to eat a healthy meal today.  One of my favorite places to eat is Urth Caffe in Pasadena, CA.  They also have a great location in Beverly Hills and the food is delicious.  The salads are fresh, the iced organic green tea is simply the best green tea I’ve ever tasted.

Urth Caffe

I couldn’t resist the chocolate chip cookie and lemonade…but you’ve gotta try their organic green tea!!!!

lemonade

This place is easy on the wallet and easy on the calories.

organic green tea

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College Students and Eating Healthy

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My friend’s daughter is overweight.  College did nothing but add to her stress and she comforted herself with fast food.  College can be life-changing for many, as some move out-of-state and far away from home to pursue their educational goals.  But, I think as parents we should try to help our kids to refrain from junk food and eat as healthy as possible.  Studying late nights for an exam or getting off work and then rushing to a class, can be hectic and many college students simply don’t have the time to prepare and cook healthy meals.  I’ve suggested to my son that he eat Salmon and lots of salads. He also drinks a gallon of water each and every day which aids in his healthy lifestyle choices.  I know that losing weight is never easy and I highly suggest viewing a “diet” as a “lifestyle change” and not simply a “temporary change in eating habits.”

 

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Losing weight

The holiday season is rapidly approaching and weight loss is the most important thing on my mind right now.  I have to lose weight, so that I can really enjoy the holidays with my family and friends.  It’s no fun when hosting holiday parties and not being able to enjoy the good food.  So, I am concentrating on losing weight the old-fashioned way…diet, exercise and also reducing my caloric intake.

 

Weight Watchers

 Weight Watchers

A few of my close friends and family have joined weight watchers and they have already begun shedding the extra pounds.  But, I am not going to join weight watchers.  I want to try to conquer my weight problems on my own.  I am planning to workout at a gym 5 days each week.  I plan to drink tons of water and will also substitute two meals each day, with a meal replacement drink.  Watch for updates in future posts regarding my weight loss progress.  Also, feel free to send in your before and after photos, so I can post them for you.  Good Luck MOMS!

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Alcohol and College Students

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My son is over the age of 21 and I know that on his 21st birthday he actually went out and purchased alcohol with his friends.  He was completely honest with me and said, “Mom, I’ve tried beer and Vodka and it did nothing for me”.  Said he “hated the taste and how it made him feel sluggish and sleepy afterwards”.  I think if we have an “open dialogue” with our children about alcohol, then it will prevent them from drinking alcohol without our knowledge.  I’ve told my son that he can talk to me about ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING.  It’s crucial that we allow our sons and daughters to feel comfortable about opening up to us as parents.  I hate to see the number of drunk drivers (DUI’s) in the Unites States (college students), who really didn’t have to be in a “drink and drive” situation.  But, most of the time they are afraid to ask their parents for a ride, for fear of retribution.  As a mom, I think we should make our kids feel comfortable so they can open up to us and tell us everything and anything.  This is the only way we can help our kids lead successful lives.

Don’t drink and drive, call a friend, Uber, Lyft or just simply walk home.

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Beautiful Day Today

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The sun was shining and the birds were chirping…well the waves were beautiful today at the beach.  Hope you enjoy these pictures and enjoy the day with your family.  The year is quickly passing us by and pretty soon college semesters and quarters will begin, so enjoy your summer before it’s all over.

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4th of July Fun!

cake 4th4th of July holiday is almost here…what fun recipes are you sharing with family and friends?  Write me and let me know, so I can post some of your really delicious recipes.  My favorite is “Flag Cake”…it’s so pretty and tastes oh so good.  The kids love it.

Remember to be safe and enjoy the holidays with close family and friends.

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Girl Scouts

I’ve not been getting out much but yesterday I made a quick run to the market and I saw my favorite cookies – there they were sitting on tables outside of the market in cute little, colorful boxes being sold by Girl Scouts.  My favorite are the shortbread ones – yummy goodness in every bite.  I hope that wherever you live, whatever town – that you are supporting our local Girl Scouts by buying as many boxes of cookies as possible.  Even if you don’t eat them, give them away to a friend, co-worker or neighbor.

girl scout

shortbread

Girl Scout Mission – Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

100+ Years – Founder Juliette Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scout Troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia.

An American Institution – Girl Scouts of the USA was chartered by the U.S. Congress on March 16, 1950.

Still Growing Strong – Today, there are 3.2 million Girl Scouts—2.3 million girl members and 890,000 adult members working primarily as volunteers.

Empowering Girls – In Girl Scouts, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Through a myriad of enriching experiences, such as extraordinary field trips, sports skill-building clinics, community service projects, cultural exchanges, and environmental stewardships, girls grow courageous and strong. Girl Scouting helps girls develop their full individual potential; relate to others with increasing understanding, skill, and respect; develop values to guide their actions and provide the foundation for sound decision-making; and contribute to the improvement of society through their abilities, leadership skills, and cooperation with others.

At Home and Abroad – Girls at home and abroad participate in troops and groups in more than 92 countries through USA Girl Scouts Overseas, and over 100 local Girl Scout councils offer girls the opportunity for membership across the United States.

An International Family – Through its membership in the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), Girl Scouts of the USA is part of a worldwide family of 10 million girls and adults in 145 countries.

A Pivotal Part of Women’s History – More than 59 million American women enjoyed Girl Scouting during their childhood—and that number continues to grow as Girl Scouts of the USA continues to inspire, challenge, and empower girls everywhere.

 

 

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Decorating on a Dime

Martha Stewart shows us how we can decorate our home for the holidays for little to nothing.  If you are having a large holiday dinner for the upcoming holidays, then take lessons from Martha Stewart on how you can save loads of money on all of your holiday decorations. Style at Home magazine will show you how, visit www.styleathome.com

It’s easy, inexpensive, requires very little time and effort and the results are simply amazing!

decor on a dime

Martha makes everything look so easy, as patterns and styles simply fall into place.  We want our homes to look beautiful for the holidays, but we simply can’t afford to spend tons of money.

Here are few tips…

It’s yard sale season! Get the most out of it with advice from Jo-Anne Lauzer, publisher-editor of the B.C.-based website secondhandsavvy.com.

Bring along

• A measuring tape, blanket to wrap purchases, screw- driver.

• Small bills and coins – most sellers won’t have much change.

• Lists of the items and sizes you need.

• Pen and paper so you can leave your name and number. If something is beyond your budget, the owners might be willing to call and make a deal if it’s not sold by end of day.

Garage sale etiquette

• If the ad says no early birds, don’t show up an hour early.

• Always check if prices are negotiable before haggling. It’s best not to negotiate on items under a dollar.

• Make sure items work and all the pieces are intact before you buy.

• Avoid making negative comments while browsing. People get attached to the strangest things and feelings can be hurt.

• A friendly smile and hello goes a long way – it is a social outing after all.

 

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Black Thursday

Thanksgiving Day is supposed to be spent with family, close friends and a Butterball Turkey – wrong!  I did however, spend this past Thanksgiving holiday with my family and very close friends and yes – we did enjoy a nice turkey with some delicious cranberry dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, peach cobbler, pumpkin pie, nice white wine and oh yes – Walmart!  After our wonderful and long-awaited dinner, my son mentioned that he’d like to purchase a new Samsung 40 inch Smart TV.  Wal-mart was having a sale on this particular item that night.  How convenient?  So, after we finished dinner and reminisced about past Thanksgiving holiday dinners, took photographs, laughed and then cried – my son dragged me out of the house to Walmart.  Bad move….

We arrived in the parking lot of Wal-mart at about 5:08 PM.  There was already a line forming at the front door of about 400 people.  There were kids of all ages, mothers, fathers, and folks that didn’t look like they even knew where they were or why?  Just a mob of folks running to the door and trying their best to get in line.  So, as we parked, I asked my son, “What’s the line for?”  He replied, “Mom, it’s like this every year”.  I wouldn’t know, because I never in my life have gone shopping on Thanksgiving holiday.  I usually eat, drink a nice glass of wine and go to bed.  But, that was not happening tonight.  No thanks to my wonderful son.

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There were so many people, the local news stations were out there reporting the large number of folks who were just going crazy over the sale prices.  It wasn’t even Black Friday, it was my Black Thursday!  It was scary….

parking lot

flat screen tvCustomers who waited the 3-4 hour wait in line, were then awarded with the big prize.  Being told to take your vehicle around the back of the store for package pick-up.  That was a whole different kind of nightmare!  It was a feeding frenzy!!!

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This was our package claim – we needed this along with our store receipt, proof of purchase – before we could circle our car around back to pick up our prize.

samsung 40 inch

The grand prize was 4-5 plus hours of standing in line, pushing and shoving and finally getting what we came for – the 40 inch Samsung Smart TV.  Was it worth it?  For me NO!  For my son, YES!  He got his TV and I got 5 hours of headache…Never again!  No more Black Thursdays for me!

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Gobble, Gobble

cookie

It’s that time of year again.  Time to spend the holidays with family and close friends.  My son is in college and they will break for 4 days this Thanksgiving and I look forward to spending all four days with my son.  I miss him so much, since he now lives on campus.  But, I know this is the time he needs to acquire an education and grow as a young man.  He is responsible, hard-working and honest and I simply couldn’t ask for a better son.

What’s for dinner you ask?  Well, I am planning to cook a Butterball turkey with all the fixin’s.  A few of my family members eat ham, so I am planning to purchase a small ham from Honeybaked.  Their hams are simply delicious!  Never had any complaints in the past, so I will stick with the same company.  Although, there are a few other ham suppliers out there – one being Kansas City Steak Company. Now, I’ve heard these spiral hams are simply divine.  They are featured annually during the holidays on QVC and sell out pretty quickly, so if you’d like to order one – then I suggest you call them today 1-800-987-8325 or order online at www.kansascitysteaks.com.

kansas city steak co

Kansas City Steak Company is currently offering a hickory smoked spiral sliced ham and hickory smoked whole turkey for only $129.95 – so you get both items for only $129.95.  This is the best deal I’ve seen so far.

apple pie

This year I’m baking an apple pie for dessert…one of Marta Stewart’s famous pie recipes and my family has given rave reviews for this particular recipe.

Apple-Sour Cream Crumb Pie

After a brief time in a 450-degree oven, this pie bakes at 350 degrees. You’ll want to use an oven thermometer to monitor the temperature. Because of the dense filling, a long cooling time is essential before slicing and serving.

FOR THE PIE DOUGH

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup ice water

FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING

  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

FOR THE FILLING

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 Golden Delicious apples (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges

DIRECTIONS

  1. STEP 1

    Make the pie dough: Combine flour, salt, and granulated sugar in a food processor, and pulse to blend. Add butter, pulsing until pea-size clumps form. With machine running, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture just comes together. Shape dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.

  2. STEP 2

    Roll out dough into a 15-inch round (1/4 inch thick) on a lightly floured surface. Fit into a 10-inch pie plate. Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, and fold under, pressing onto rim of pie plate. Use your fingers to create a scalloped edge if desired. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

  3. STEP 3

    Make the crumb topping: Whisk together sugars, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add butter, and combine with a fork or pastry cutter. Stir in walnuts, and press filling into large clumps with your hands; refrigerate until ready to use.

  4. STEP 4

    Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees with 2 racks in lower third.

  5. STEP 5

    Make the filling: Whisk together granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Add apples, tossing to coat. Place apple mixture in crust.

  6. STEP 6

    Place an empty rimmed baking sheet on lowest oven rack to catch any drips, then bake pie 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake until apples are golden brown in places, juices are bubbling, and crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes.

  7. STEP 7

    Remove topping from refrigerator, and crumble over hot filling. Bake until topping is browned and set, apples are tender, and bottom crust is thoroughly baked, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, 3 to 4 hours.

Enjoy your holiday, this is a special time to gather with family and close friends!

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Temp-tations Cookware

After working 10 hours Thursday at the office, I came home from work and watched a little television.  The channel happen to be QVC – of all channels.  I couldn’t bring myself to change it to my favorite show on the Lifetime channel, because I was in awe of the Temp-tations cookware line currently available on qvc.com – I’m not kidding.  You have to buy something or you will be missing out.  The holidays are approaching and when your son or daughter comes home from college on Winter break, it would be such a pleasant surprise to have your dinner table set-up beautifully with all of the Temp-tations cookware…take a look:

temp

 

Temp-tations Old World 2.5qt Figural Chicken Baker

with 4 Mini Bakers

 

temp3

 

Temp-tations Old World

24-piece Complete

Oven- to-Table Set

temp-tations

 

This set is simply beautiful.  Go to qvc.com and purchase it today, before supplies run out.  You will be so happy that you did!  I never watch QVC but I couldn’t take my eyes off this cookware set.

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Ghosts & Gobblins

pumpkinsHalloween is only 28 days away…and counting.  All Hallows Evening is a day to remember the dead.  My mother passed away in January of this year and I remember her every single day, but on Halloween this year – I’d like to remember my mother in a special way. I plan to wear an exciting new costume this year as Wonder Woman.

wonder womanMy Halloween costume will symbolize the fact that my mother was a true “wonder of a woman” and that all mothers are “Wonder Women”.  It takes great skills to be a successful mother, so why not celebrate those accomplishments by wearing a costume that symbolizes the strength we women possess?  However, I’m not a brunette – so I will be a blonde in costume this year, but there’s nothing wrong with that – right?

We women come in all shapes, sizes and colors – so let’s celebrate our strength and inner beauty.  Whether you plan to attend a costume party, decorate and carve pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns with the kids, create a bon-fire in your backyard, watch horror films, or tell scary stories to your children – you must keep in mind that Halloween is a celebration of the life that those who’ve passed on have lived.  It must be fun, informative and exciting for everyone involved!

kids pumpkinThe kids will enjoy dressing up in their Halloween costumes and the parents should also participate and make this a memorable, yet meaningful event (holiday).  My son is 18 and he’s always enjoyed dressing up in a Halloween costume and participating in the annual “Trick or Treat” in our neighborhood.  But, things have changed over the years and we as parents must make sure our children are safe while enjoying their “trick or treating” and we also have to ensure the candy and other goodies they receive are safe for consumption.  Start preparing early for your upcoming Halloween celebrations and make sure everyone has a great time!

When it’s all over, don’t forget to make a delicious pumpkin pie with the leftover pumpkins.  Yummy!

pumpkin pie

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