Baking Cheer!

Happy Friday friends! One full week of December has already flown by! I am sure you are just as busy as I have been! Lots of fun things, but also a few stressful things.
After hearing great news about my heart, I have been fighting with my insurance to cover a MRI for my knee.  They claim it is not medically necessary, yet I have had pain for over 5 months, had a few other tests done and been working on physical therapy and no real progress! Back to the dr on Monday to hopefully get things finally approved!!

But, happier things to think about this December is time with family and friends, delicious meals together and of course, baking! I love baking all year long, but there is something special about the holidays where baking is extra fun!

I am linking up with my fav Foodie Friday gals, Farrah from Fairyburger and Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama for some Holiday Cheer recipes!

To be honest, I have not been able to create many new recipes over the past few weeks, so I am sharing today my ALL time favorite sugar cookie recipe, and a few other recipes that would be enjoyable during this festive season!

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Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C organic butter, softened
  • 5 cups gluten free flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pink salt
  • 2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 4 organic eggs
  • 1 tsp gf vanilla extract
  • Organic powdered sugar for rolling dough

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Directions

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder & salt.
  2. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together till fluffy, then beat in each egg and the vanilla.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until the dough is mixed and pulling off the side of the bowl.
  4. Divide the dough into 2 parts and wrap in parchment paper, place in the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 400
  6. Sprinkle powdered sugar on a clean flat surface.
  7. Let dough set for 3-5 min and then roll it out on the powdered surface 1/4 to 1/2 in thick (I went a little thicker with this dough)
  8. Use any shape cookie cutters to make the cookies.  Place each cookie onto an silicon covered baking cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.
  9. Bake 6-8 min (more if thicker- Checking on them every 60 seconds after the 6 min mark)
  10. Let the cookies cook completely and then decorate as desired.

You can also check out the Chocolate Almond Butter Blossoms, Chocolate Covered Kiwi Bites, Chocolate Avocado Pudding, Chocolate Protein Fudge Bites, and Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles.

 

What are some of your favorite holiday baking traditions?

Make sure you check out the amazing ladies and their awesome mouthwatering recipes!!

Do you have an awesome recipe you’d love to share? Link up with us on Fridays for our weekly Foodie Friday posts! (Co-hosted by Annmarie, Farrah + Esther )

  • Please link back to the co-hosts, and comment/share at least a couple other Foodie Friday posts! Don’t just leave your link and run away! :O
  • Please only link up recipe posts! 🙂Join us next week for some food prep recipes.

Happy Holiday Baking!

May you be filled with joy and wellness!

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Activ Motion Bar in Action

Hello friends and happy Monday!
Thank you all for your lovely comments and prayers last week!  It you didn’t see the news about my heart yet, I am SO thrilled to report I got the all clear from my Dr.  She said I am normal! Well, at least my heart is normal, LOL! The abnormal things I have been experiencing are very minor overall (less than 1% of my heartbeats), and my heart is structurally good as gold!  Just knowing that has helped a ton with the anxiety I have been feeling over the past few months!

So you read last week that the past few weeks have been a little crazy and stressful! One thing that really helps me manage my stress is staying active and setting time aside each day for some sort of workout. I typically workout at the gym.  Between teaching my classes and taking other formats, I am really good about staying consistent.  With all that has been going on, I was not getting to the gym everyday, but I was still able to workout in my little home garage gym with the Activ Motion Bar.  Thanks to a partnership with Fit Approach, I received my very own Activ Motion Bar and I have been loving it!

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So what exactly is an ActivMotion bar?  It is a bar about the size of a barbell and it is filled with free moving steel ball-bearings.  The bars are hand built and come in different sizes.  They have different options for the bars from 3-18 lbs!  They even have a special bar you can see into, that is 4.5 lbs! When I was given the choice, I opted for the 10lb bar.  I knew this would be a weight I could use, but would also be challenged with depending on the exercise.

I have been able to use some of the videos that AMB created as well as some of the physical therapy I have been doing for my knee.  It has been a wonderful tool to use to help increase my balance skills and it has been working my core like no other!

Not only has ActivMotion bar upped my workout game and aided in my physical therapy, the company stands behind their products and also has values I can support!

If you are interested in getting your own ActivMotion bar, they are offering 25% off though January 7th with code fitapproach25. What are you waiting for?

I am linking up with Wendy and Holly for their weekly wrap

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May you be filled with joy and wellness!

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A little catch up

Hello friends! It has been a while since I wrote a proper blog post.  Life has just been CRAZY!!

Let’s start back in October with a lighthearted topic, my hair.  You probably saw when I changed my hair color to pink for my birthday in August.  Since then, the color faded out, and I was left with unicorn hair and then pretty much all the color fell out. My hair has never held color very well, but I needed a change.  Back to my stylist who gave me some gorgeous fall color.  It has faded a bit already, but still a pretty color and I am ok with that!

A few belated birthday gifts arrived, new fun shoes, and my gorgeous t-shirt quilt that my sister and I started this summer.  Most of the shirts are from 2014 when I challenged myself to 33 races in a year in honor of turning 33.  It has been fun looking over all the shirts and reminiscing about the different races, as well as the good, bad and ugly stories about each run.  My sister also made me a set of beautiful chair cushion covers! They go perfect in our house!

In the middle of these fun things, I have also been facing some health and personal challenges.  I have mentioned before that I was having some concerns with my heart that started last spring and issues with my knee since the end of June.  I saw my Dr again in August and then had a follow up in September.  I was still having the same concerns so she sent me to a cardiologist and an orthopedic.  The orthopedic did some tests and x-rays (to rule out tumors due to my history) but didn’t find anything significant.  He sent me for a MRI, but my lovely insurance decided to deny the MRI until I do more physical therapy.  I had been doing at home PT, but that didn’t count towards anything.  Both my ortho and PT think the knee issue it is meniscus related, but we won’t know for sure until I can get approved for a MRI! And they wanted to charge me an arm and a leg for PT, so I had to go as a self-pay patient to not have to take out a bank loan!!

When I saw the cardiologist, I got another EKG, which didn’t show anything.  My flare ups are always in the evening, so I wasn’t surprised by this. He ordered a heart echo test as well as a halter monitor.  My echo was kind of neat since I was actually able to see my heart beating on the screen.  The halter situation was a but frustrating.  I have allergies to adhesives so they gave me hypoallergenic adhesives to stick on the sensors.  Well, I have gotten even more sensitive and I broke out in welts within the first few hours.  I had to wear the halter for 24 hours and my skin was a mess at the end of that time.  Even a few days later I still have irritated skin!

 

In the middle of all these dr appts and therapies, I flew up to Chicago for a bittersweet weekend.  It was very sweet to see some wonderful friends, visit my old stomping grounds, see the school I used to teach at, attend my old church and have some yummy Chicago food.


The bitter part was saying goodbye to a wonderful lady who was like a second mom to me since I was 6.  I am so thankful she is no longer in pain, but she is so very missed.

img_5354Losing her along with my gram earlier this year seemed to compound the levels of grief I have been feeling and dealing with.  I took some time away from the blog and social media and focused on taking care of myself.  I have been doing my best to stay positive in the light of all that has been going on, but there have been days where it has been plain hard.  I am SO thankful for the wonderful friends and family in my life who have been so supportive and encouraging and allowing me to just be.

Over this past week for Thanksgiving, it was wonderful to bake and spend time with the kids. My heart needed some rest time away from the normal routine. Good baking and some good reading has been good for my soul!

Well, that is a wrap for what has been going on the past 2 months or so.  Life never seems to really slow down, but I am doing what I can to be present and positive in the midst of it all.  I am getting some results on my heart tomorrow, so stay tuned for an update!

I am linking up with Wendy and Holly for their weekly wrap

WWSki-Green

 

May you be filled with joy and wellness!

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Basic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Hello friends! It has been a while.  I am still here, just have had a LOT going on these past few weeks.  You may or may not have seen on Instagram a little bit of an update.  You can check it out here, or wait till I write a more detailed update soon!

Welcome back to Foodie Friday! I am so glad to have had time to actually cook a little this week! I am linking up with my fav Foodie Friday gals, Farrah from Fairyburger and Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama for some Old Recipe Revival recipes!

It is no question that I love me some roasted veggies! It took me a long time to realize just how simple it actually was.  For some reason, I had in my head for years that it was a challenging process!  One day I finally got the chance to try it out and I have not stopped roasting them since! No more steamed veggies for me! Haha

I also did not realize how amazing Brussels sprouts were until a few years ago! I have made them several different ways.  A few that we still make are spicy Brussels, holiday Brussels (perfect for the upcoming holidays), and smashed Brussels. 

As much as I love all those recipes, I have been craving some more back to basic Brussels! So I pulled back to just a few simple ingredients, and these came out perfect!

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb whole Brussels Sprouts
  • About 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • Spices to taste- Himalayan salt, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning.
  • Parchment paper

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425* F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Rinse off Brussels sprouts and slice them in half vertically.
  4. Place Brussels on the baking sheet.
  5. Drizzle avocado oil over the Brussels and add spices to taste.
  6. Toss gently with hands until fully coated with oil and spices.
  7. Roast in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the Brussels are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
  8. Enjoy while hot!
  9. Side note- I tend to make a double batch to use for lunches or toss into some eggs for a quick meal.

Make sure you check out the amazing ladies and their awesome mouthwatering recipes!!

Do you have an awesome recipe you’d love to share? Link up with us on Fridays for our weekly Foodie Friday posts! (Co-hosted by Annmarie, Farrah + Esther )

  • Please link back to the co-hosts, and comment/share at least a couple other Foodie Friday posts! Don’t just leave your link and run away! :O
  • Please only link up recipe posts! 🙂Join us next week for some Pinterest curiosity recipes.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!

May you be filled with joy and wellness!

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Chocolate Covered Kiwi Bites

Happy Friday friends!
It has been another super busy week. Between teaching, taking extra classes, work projects, tons of work on the Hubs music business, trying to get back to more sleep, it has a little crazy!
But not too crazy to do a little experimenting in the kitchen! October is better known as Choctober! What a better combo of my favorite month and my favorite food group!!
I love adding chocolate to other yummy food, especially fruit! It is a delicious way to add some bonus nutrition to lovely treats! This time I added another bonus of some collagen for some bonus protein.

I am linking up with my fav Foodie Friday gals, Farrah from Fairyburger and Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama for some choctober recipes!

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Ingredients

  • 4 kiwis
  • 3/4 c dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp collagen
  • Toothpicks

Directions

  1. Cover a baking sheet with a silicon sheet or parchment paper.
  2. Peel and chop the kiwi into bite size pieces.
  3. Using a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate.
  4. Add in the coconut oil and the collagen till well blended, then remove from heat.
  5. Place a toothpick in each piece of kiwi and dip it in the dark chocolate.  Use a spoon to cover each piece of kiwi.
  6. Once covered, place each piece of kiwi on the baking sheet.
  7. Once all the kiwi is on the baking sheet, place in the fridge for at least 20 min to let the chocolate harden.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the fridge- they will last 2-3 days.
  9. Enjoy!

Make sure you check out the amazing ladies and their awesome mouthwatering recipes!!

Do you have an awesome recipe you’d love to share? Link up with us on Fridays for our weekly Foodie Friday posts! (Co-hosted by Annmarie, Farrah + Esther )

  • Please link back to the co-hosts, and comment/share at least a couple other Foodie Friday posts! Don’t just leave your link and run away! :O
  • Please only link up recipe posts! 🙂Join us next week for some free for all recipes.

May you be filled with joy and wellness!

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Apple Strudel Cheesecake Bars

Happy Friday friends! Fall is FINALLY here in Houston! It was 59 glorious degrees yesterday morning! Most importantly, the humidity is down and I feel like I can breathe when I go outside!

I am still ALL over apples this week! I have been enjoying them as well as the kiddos! Apples just make me happy and can be used for SO many things! I literally ate apples all the time in college! It was one food that didn’t cause any allergy issues to flare up! Since then I still love apples and eat them almost every day!

I know last week we did an apple theme, but today I am sticking with it as this recipe still falls under our new theme. I am linking up with my fav Foodie Friday gals, Farrah from Fairyburger and Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama for some vegetarian recipes!
Although I used some dairy products in my version, you can always substitute them out with non-dairy products 🙂  Also this recipe is a little more labor intensive than usual, but it is SO worth it!

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Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar

Apple Layer

  • 2 large apples
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar

Filling

  • 12 oz cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 eggs

Strudel Layer

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/4 cup butter

Other

  • parchment paper
  • caramel sauce if desired

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Line an 8 X 8 pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl place all the crust ingredients.  Use a fork to mash the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly.  I also used my clean hands to ensure the mixture was fully combined.
  3. Place the crust mixture into the baking pan.  Press down till an even layer of crust is formed.  Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 min, or until lightly browned.
  4. While crust bakes, peel, core and chop the apples into small pieces.  Place in a bowl and add in coconut sugar and pumpkin pie spice.  Mix to coat the apples well.
  5. Using a stand mixer, place the cream cheese and sugar into the attached mixing bowl.  Blend well.  Add in the eggs one at a time and mix well.
  6. In another bowl, blend together the strudel ingredients until crumbly.
  7. When the crust comes out of the oven, let it cool for 5 min, then pour in the filling, spreading it out evenly.
  8. Sprinkle the apples on top of the filling, covering the entire pan.
  9. Add the strudel topping over the apples loosely.
  10. Bake for 40-50 min or until the center is set.
  11. Let it cool.
  12. Enjoy plain or with a caramel topping.

Make sure you check out the amazing ladies and their awesome mouthwatering recipes!!

Do you have an awesome recipe you’d love to share? Link up with us on Fridays for our weekly Foodie Friday posts! (Co-hosted by Annmarie, Farrah + Esther )

  • Please link back to the co-hosts, and comment/share at least a couple other Foodie Friday posts! Don’t just leave your link and run away! :O
  • Please only link up recipe posts! 🙂Join us next week for some choctober recipes.

 

May you be filled with joy and wellness!

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Baked Apples

Hello friends!
I would love to say ‘Happy Fall,’ but it has been SO warm and humid all week I am not sure if it is still August or October! Haha
Even though it feels like summer, I am still in the mood for fall foods! One thing I miss a lot about living in Texas is not getting to pick apples at an orchard.  They just don’t have them around here.  However, I am very thankful that the local grocery stores have tons of beautiful apples that I can purchase year round! I love apples and how versatile they are!

I have made these apples a few times and they ended up exploding, so I decided to cut them in half to see if that helped to relieve the pressure, and it worked! They came out SO much better than the test batches!

I am linking up with my fav Foodie Friday gals, Farrah from Fairyburger and Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama for some apple recipes!

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Ingredients

  • 4 Large apples (I used pink lady, but any should work)
  • 4 Tbsp gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 4 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter, very soft
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2.5 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Wash apples and chop in half through the horizontal middle
  3. Scoop out the seeds to make a small space for filling and place them in a large baking dish, skin side down
  4. Blend together the breadcrumbs, the sugar, spices and the butter till well combined
  5. Scoop the sugar filling into each apple (about 1 TBSP)
  6. Mix together the lemon and honey in a small bow
  7. Drizzle the honey mixture over each apple
  8. Bake for 30-40 min or until apples are tender
  9. Allow to cool slightly before eating.

Make sure you check out the amazing ladies and their awesome mouthwatering recipes!!

Do you have an awesome recipe you’d love to share? Link up with us on Fridays for our weekly Foodie Friday posts! (Co-hosted by Annmarie, Farrah + Esther )

  • Please link back to the co-hosts, and comment/share at least a couple other Foodie Friday posts! Don’t just leave your link and run away! :O
  • Please only link up recipe posts! 🙂Join us next week for some vegetarian recipes.

May you be filled with joy and wellness!

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