family, fitness, food, health, Uncategorized

Keeping the Pounds Away During the Holidays! + Frap recipe

Can you guys believe Thanksgiving has come and gone already? I feel like November flew by this year and am in denial that it’s almost December. My parents and I hosted Thanksgiving this year and had a pretty mellow day with some close friends and family.  A tip for fellow parents out there to keep your sanity and the kids entertained is that I went to the Target Dollar Section a couple of weeks ago and got festive crafts for the kids to do while dinner was being made. You can get several options since they’re so damn cheap and the kids really loved being able to choose what they wanted to make first etc. I’m definitely going back soon to stock up on items for them to make at Christmas dinner.

Im terms of staying somewhat healthy this Thanksgiving, I realized that I filled up on a lot of the vegetable options and didn’t get seconds; that plus the fact that I was on my feet most of the day helped me to not add-on those extra Thanksgiving lbs that tend to set me back every year. I knew that I wouldn’t want to workout on Thanksgiving Day; I’m sure I could have made the time but to be honest I just wanted to relax and watch the Parade with my son and start getting things prepared so I worked out the day before and tried to push myself a little harder since I knew I’d be eating more than I usually do the day after. Obviously this didn’t mean I could go hog-wild on Thanksgiving just because I worked out the day before but I did feel like it made me want to pay a little more attention to what I was eating and not have the workout be for nothing. Another thing I did differently this year was making a protein smoothie in the morning and not just picking on things here and there until the feast, which before would alway lead to me starving and overdoing it by the time dinner was served. Most importantly I focused on having a wonderful time and being present with my family and didn’t let one day mess with my head and throw me off track. Balance truly is key to health and overall happiness so I’m hoping to continue working on that over the holidays and everyday afterwards as well.

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As we know, the holiday time is amazing but can also be busy as hell and lead to an increase of coffee consumption. Since it gets expensive to constantly buy coffee I love to make mine at home most of the time and especially during the holidays when fun creamer flavors come out. To make a frappuccino at home all you need is a blender and these simple ingredients: ice, bottled iced coffee (I love the Chameleon brand) and liquid coffee creamer (I used Pumpkin Almond milk creamer as well as the vanilla one) put in your blender and blend until a thick frap consistency occurs, it happens pretty quickly so keep an eye out. It’s so easy to do and really fun to make your own concoctions. Hope you give this a try and can’t wait to start sharing some christmas treats! Until next time xo chrissy

family, food, health, motherhood, Uncategorized

Deliciously simple Fall family recipes

Any excuse to make pizza and I can guarantee you my son and I will take it! I think having kids help us in the kitchen not only makes them feel proud but also teaches them from a young age the importance of making their own meals (until college and all they care about is Taco Bell per usual.) The weather may not be rainy and cold like I’m waiting for but it IS October so that means Halloween themed everything, including pizza. These were so easy to make, since we know if it’s not a simple recipe I’m not about it, and were delicious! Side note: my son had so much fun making these and while they might not look perfect, they were to us 🙂

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Ingredients

  • English muffins
  • Pizza sauce of your liking
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Sliced cheese (I used CHAO vegan cheese for the mummies)
  • Whole black olives

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet and cut english muffins in half if not pre-sliced. Add sauce. For mummies: cut thin slices of cheese and arrange into mummy-like pattern. Cut two slices of olive for eyes, you can cut some small tomato rounds to place in olives for even more of a spooky look. For bats: cut olive in half, place one half on pizza and cut other in half again to make wings. Not pictured: we made spiders on spider webs but ate that one before pictures were taken.  Place in oven for approx. 15 minutes but check as it goes. Enjoy!

I know I can’t be the only pumpkin spice lover on here, but as much as I’d love to go to Peet’s coffee everyday and get theirs I try to make my own as much as possible. Adding some vanilla really makes it even better and I literally just add three ingredients plus ice and am in pumpkin latte heaven!

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Ingredients

  • Ice
  • Cold brew of choice (I use vanilla Chameleon cold-brew)
  • Pumpkin spice milk (I used the brand Almond Dream from Whole Foods)
  • Vanilla coffee creamer

Just toss some ice into your favorite cup and combine the ingredients to your liking, add as much or little of each ingredient as you like. I know these are ridiculously simple but I hope you get inspired to have some fun and make your own Fall creations.

family, fitness, health, motherhood, Uncategorized

Spooktacular Fitness Challenge!

Happy October everyone!! It is officially my favorite time of the year; Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, which my son clearly knew and decided to be born two days before on October 29th. Since I am trying to better my health and overall fitness level I decided to set out a challenge for myself and thought I would share it here if anyone wants to join me or share what their October fitness goals are.

I am late to the game as it is currently October 2nd but we’ll count yesterday and today as prep days. This is totally casual and just a little schedule I put together for myself so definitely feel free to alternate it to your lifestyle and needs but I think Fall is a great time to step up the fitness game and really work on my goals before the holiday madness truly begins. Just a reminder that I’m a stay-at-home mom whose husband works in the emergency field and works long shifts typically 5-6 days a week so some of the workouts on this challenge are at-home and ones I have either done before or am eager to try! As always please let me know what you like to do to motivate yourself and make changes toward a healthier life. Until next time guys, BOO! -Chrissy

October 3- FitnessBlender’s Fat Burning Cardio Workout (YouTube)

October 4- Orangetheory workout (or any studio workout you belong to if any, example Spin or Barre, Pilates etc)

October 5- Gym cardio (i.e treadmill, elliptical or rower)/lower body

October 6- Take Sean on hour walk in stroller around town

October 7- Gym upper body/cardio workout

October 8- Rest Day

October 9- Orangetheory workout

October 10- Yoga With Adriene’s Yoga for Weightless (YouTube)

October 11- Orangetheory workout

October 12- Power walk outside one hour

October 13- Gym for abs/strength training

October 14- Rest Day

October 15- FitnessBlender’s Cardio Kickboxing (YouTube)

October 16- Orangetheory workout

October 17- PopSugar Fitness’ 30-minute Hip-Hop Tabata (YouTube)

October 18- Gym upper body/cardio

October 19- Rest Day

October 20- Swim! (We will be on vacation and the hotel has a pool)

October 21- Walk everywhere (We will be in Disneyland so I have a feeling I’ll be getting more cardio in than I want, ha!)

October 22- Gym cardio/lower body

October 23- FitnessBlender’s Bodyweight HIIT cardio (YouTube)

October 24- Rest Day

October 25- Orangetheory workout

October 26- Walk track at local school, one hour

October 27- Put on music videos and dance like no one’s watching, 30-45 minutes

October 28- Gym, upper body focus

October 29- Yoga With Adriene’s Yoga for Core and Booty (YouTube)

October 30- Rest Day

October 31- HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! My workout will be following Sean for miles as he trick-or-treats

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family, motherhood, Uncategorized

Festive Fall Decor for Apartment Life

Happy Fall Y’all! Even though the afternoons here in the Bay Area have been hot as hell, the mornings and nights are freezing and since it’s officially Fall, we decided to start getting in the spirit. For those that don’t know, Halloween is my favorite holiday and my son ended up being born on October 29th so it’s a very special time of the year for us in general. I love to decorate for this holiday and as I’ve gotten older I find myself being more drawn to the cute, aesthetically pleasing decor, even though I still love some good old tacky Halloween items and that will never change. These are some staples that I’ve gotten over the past couple of years that don’t overwhelm the apartment since we don’t live in a huge house, and also add just the right amount of Fall and Halloween festiveness. Living in an apartment set up can be tricky when it comes to decorating because one wrong move and everything can look over crowded and simply too much. Although this isn’t everything I will have out by the time October rolls around I hope it gives some inspiration on how to create a fun and stylish vibe without making your apartment feel cramped. Please share with us some of your favorite Fall and/or Halloween staples below! Until next time, xo Chrissy

Holiday Table Decor

Decking out your table makes such a difference and is so simple without taking up any extra open space. For every holiday season I get a table runner and place mats. Now here’s the best part: I literally got everything you see on this table (except for the Apple Harvest candle) form TJ Maxx and if you’re a Maxx fan like myself, it’ll be no surprise that the prices were great and I have no complaints about the quality of any of these items. I like to have my son feel like he’s apart of the decorating process so he picked out “Owly” who gets to be the main center piece display. Adding festive salt and pepper shakes is also a great addition if you feel like “shaking” things up a bit.

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A Creative Corner

Designate one area of the apartment to be extra fun. I typically choose our bar-cart that is in the corner near the dining table. This works nicely when hosting people as they tend to favor the cocktail area anyway! I got a banner from the Target dollar store section (word of advice, go to the dollar section in early September to grab the good stuff before it’s all gone.) Banners like this are fun and don’t create any sort of mess/are easy clean-up. We have our favorite Halloween candy bowl for people to grab some treats along with the hand (Thing) candle holder. My favorite thing to do for holidays is to fill a clear vase with something that goes with the season; for example I put in sparkly Christmas ornaments for winter and this year I got some scented pine cones and pumpkins in a package from TJ Maxx.

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Entryway Fun

I like to display items on the open-concept wall that separates the living room from the kitchen as it is the first thing people tend to see as they come into the apartment and it has a great ledge to place items. This year I went with a white and gold theme with my elephant I was given for my birthday that went well with the pumpkin Sean and I picked out from…I’ll give you one guess…..howd you know?! Yup also from TJ Maxx. The pumpkins on a string banner is from Target and I finished this area off with candy-corn lights that I draped around the wall to add a spooky-effect at night.

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Finishing Touches

I think the little finishing touches often get overlooked but end up tying everything together. Try finding some themed pillows from TJ Maxx or Kohls as the prices are super reasonable (I even found the bicycle pillow cover on Amazon and think the quality is great.) I love having themed hand towels in the kitchen and a suggestion, although I haven’t gotten mine yet, is cute holiday soap dispensers that I’ve even seen at CVS.

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I hope this got you all in the Fall spirit and maybe gave you some ideas for how to decorate in an apartment as I know it can be hard when you aren’t working with an awful lot of space. Happy haunting!!

family, food, health, motherhood, Uncategorized

Healthy(er) Summertime Desserts

It may be August but I don’t think we should expect cold nights anytime soon, therefore let’s bring on the cool treats! I myself am not the biggest dessert person but my son and husband are so I put together some ideas for healthier desserts during these warm months. As always they are super simple and perfect for the whole fam. I hope you give some of these a try, and if you put a yummy spin on one please share with us below! Until next time, XO Chrissy

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Pizzelle Ice Cream Sandys

If you come from an Italian family like I do, I’m sure you grew up with at least one aunt who made the best homemade Pizzelle cookies! Now I hope to learn how to make them myself but for now, I buy them from Whole Foods and they are actually extremely delicious and as close to the real deal as I have found.

Ingredients

Pizzelle cookies
Ice cream (we used a coconut based one for anyone who can’t have dairy)
Chocolate chips and/or sprinkles

Directions

Ok now bear with me here this is about to get complicated. Scoop your ice cream and place in-between two cookies. Sprinkle some chocolate chips or sprinkles onto the ice cream and eat immediately as you will not want to wait a second longer to try this delicious combination!
Chocolatey Meringue

I bought meringues from Trader Joes for the first time the other week and loved them! For store-bought they were so light and airy and have the perfect amount of flavor. My son loves chocolate of any kind so I decided to take some dark chocolate chips and melt them (I suggest using a pot and melting them on Low, stirring continuously until it reaches a nice melted consistency but not runny.) Dip the meringues in the chocolate and place on parchment paper until the chocolate solidifies on the meringue. It was so easy and made for a delicious, low in fat treat.

The Taco Berry

Ok this one was really fun for the family to make together and is something you could totally customize to your own liking.

Ingredients

Organic toaster waffles
Whip cream or a non-dairy whip cream
Chopped strawberries, blueberries and blackberries

Directions

Toast waffles according to packaging directions. Once toasted, immediately fold into a taco shape. Spray whip cream to fill the taco and top with the fresh berries. Another ridiculously easy treat that is fun and delicious.

family, food, health, motherhood, Uncategorized

Refreshing mocktails you need to try!

I don’t know about you but in this heat, a refreshing mocktail always sounds good and is fun to make for the whole fam. Now per all my recipes, these are ridiculously easy and I haven’t lied about that yet! Growing up my parents would take me to Maui during the summer and aside from the obvious, one of my favorite things about going was getting a virgin lava flow almost every day. I just had to try and re-create one myself. but this time with a dairy-free twist. Give these a try and if you have some you think I need to try or a cocktail you want a mocktail version of, just let me know in the comments below. I hope you make some of these on your own or with your kids and stay cool out there! Until next time, XO Chrissy

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Strawberry-Lime Spritz (back right in picture)

Ingredients

Sparkling or carbonated water of your choice
Grenadine syrup
Fresh lime juice
Strawberries (or pre-made strawberry puree)

Directions

Take a couple of small-to-medium strawberries and puree them, set aside. Pour sparkling water into glass and juice half of a fresh lime or more (to taste.) Add a dash of grenadine syrup then pout in the pureed strawberry juice. Cut up remaining lime and place in Spritz, garnish with a strawberry. Seriously SO refreshing and simple.

Watermelon Refresher (front left)

Ingredients

Miniature watermelon
Lime
Fresh mint
Ice cubes

Directions

Cut watermelon into chunks, I used about half of my mini watermelon. Add chunks and a  handful of ice cubes in blender or processor. Cut up 1/2 of a lime and squeeze juice into mixture until it becomes slushy. Pour into glass and garnish with mint leaves, makes for a really fresh taste.

Cool as a Cucumber (front right)

Ingredients

1 tbsp Agave syrup
Fresh lemon juice
Fresh lime juice
1/4 C of sparkling water
Cucumber

Directions

In a glass combine water with agave. Cut 1/2 of a small lemon and 1/2 of small lime, squeeze juice into water and agave mixture. Cut several thin slices of cucumber and place into water as well as a couple of lemon slices. Let sit for a few minutes for cucumber and lemon to seep into the mixture creating a light and satisfying drink

Dairy-free Lava Floooow (back left)

Ingredients

Frozen strawberries
2 C Pineapple juice
1 can cream of coconut
1 cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk
Ice

Directions

Blend frozen strawberries with about 1/2 cup of water to create a syrup. Once syrup is thick, set in a glass or bowl and set aside for now. Whisk cream of coconut, pineapple juice and the coconut milk. Fill blender 1/3 of the way with ice and pour in juice mixture. Blend until it becomes slushy. In glass of your choice add a bit of the strawberry syrup you made in the beginning then start pouring in the blended mixture. Alternate between the syrup and mixture until glass is full. I had never made one before so this was my first experiment but it immediately brought me back to my childhood and tasted amazing. Aloha!

family, food, health, motherhood, Uncategorized

Cute Enough to Eat! Toddler Summer Lunch

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These are almost too cute to eat…almost. Let me say that I am taking inspiration from a friend of mine who has made similar treats in years past I just added my own flare, and am sure there are many other versions online so I do not take credit for the idea, just wanted to put my spin on it. These honestly were really easy to put together and since Shark Week is this month I really wanted a shark themed meal to kick off the fun. I hope you guys give these a try or if you make your own summer lunch project please share and let us know! Until next time, XO Chrissy

Underwater Shark Sandy

Ingredients

Bread (we used wheat)
Sandwich fillings (we did a veggie sandwich)
Sandwich condiments of your choice
Chocolate chunk for the eye
Two strips of fresh chive for the mouth
Cut some banana into triangles for the sharp teeth
Blueberries
Cheerio-type cereal

Directions

Cut off the crust edges of bread and try to make the shape of a shark’s body. Save crust/bread not used to the side. Make sandwich as you would normally and place on whatever plate you will be using. Use the crusts and remaining bread to cut into the fins and tail. Take two small pieces of chive to form a mouth and put the bananas slices inside to make the teeth. Place chocolate chunk as an eye and cereal to make bubbles form the sharks mouth, then finish off with blueberries to make the ocean. Took only a few minutes and Sean went crazy for it.

Ladybug Crackers

Ingredients

Round crackers
Cream cheese or dairy-free version (we used Kite Hill)
Fresh chives
3 Cherry tomatoes
Black Olives

Directions

Smear cream cheese onto cracker. Cut a cherry tomato in half to make wings (or in fourths depending on size of the tomato.) Place tomato halves to resemble wings then place one olive in the center to make the head. Inside olive place two strands of chives to make the antenna. Cut an olive into small pieces to make the spots on the “wings” and voila! Adorable ladybug crackers for these warm summer days.