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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Super Soft Sugar Cookies


As I have mentioned before, we don't do crunchy or very crisp cookies in our house. I have always loved soft sugar cookies, not too soft but definitely not crisp or crunchy. This recipe is absolutely perfect for me, it's very easy and extremely time-friendly because you don't have to chill the dough before using it. We just love it!

Super Soft Sugar Cookies
2 sticks butter, softened
2 C. white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. sour cream (I prefer regular & all natural)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
5 1/2 C. all-purpose flour

-Preheat oven to 375 F, spray cookie sheets with non-stick spray then line with parchment paper.

1. Cream butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
2. Add eggs & vanilla and beat until smooth. Add sour cream and mix until well incorporated.
3. Add flour, salt and baking soda and beat until just mixed.
4. Turn out dough onto clean, lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/4" thickness, cut into desired shapes and carefully transfer cookies to prepared cookie sheets.
5. Bake 7 minutes for smaller cookies and 8-9 for larger cookies. Your cookies will not be brown around the edges, they will be puffy and will have small wrinkles/cracks on the tops when they are done. Remove from oven and let sit 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. Once they are cool decorate with frosting (recipe below) and whatever else you'd like, my boys love to decorate with "sparkles", a.k.a. sprinkles. Enjoy!



Super Simple Buttercream Cookie Frosting
2 sticks butter, softened
4 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 C. milk

1. Cream butter and sugar together until smooth, add vanilla and mix well. Slowly add milk until you reach your desired consistency. Spread on cookies and enjoy!


Friday, February 21, 2014

4 Week Full Body Makeover!

Here is a 4 week program I came up with recently and I have had great results doing the advanced version, especially in my legs & bum. I created a beginner and intermediate version as well. This program is meant to be done everyday Monday - Saturday. *Sunday = Rest Day* I typically do my exercises in sets of 10 or 20 so feel free to do the same. Also, if you need to make this more advanced feel free to repeat the workout or if you need to simplify it a bit then go for it! It has taken me about a year to be able to do a full push-up and even still I can only do about 5 at a time - remember to always be mindful of your body and your abilities, don't hurt yourself! The pictures below feature the 4 week program I just finished, you will notice that it is a bit more advanced than these programs and rather than doing push-ups I did chest presses using my hand weights, I simply did much more of those than I would push-ups. Chest presses are a great alternative for those who struggle with push-ups. Whatever you decide to do just be sure to stick with it, don't give up, and I promise you will see results! Enjoy!





Beginner 4 Week Program
Week 1:
5 push-ups (M,W,F)
5 tricep dips (T,Th,S)
10 crunches
10 bicycle
10 leg raises
10 scissor kicks
15 sec. plank
10 squats

Weeks 2 & 3:
7 push-ups (M,W,F)
7 tricep dips (T,Th,S)
15 crunches
15 bicycle
15 leg raises
15 scissor kicks
20 sec. plank
20 squats

Week 4:
10 push-ups (M,W,F)
10 tricep dips (T,Th,S)
20 crunches
20 bicycle
20 leg raises
20 scissor kicks
30 sec. plank
25 squats

********************
Intermediate 4 Week Program
Week 1:
10 push-ups (M,W,F)
10 tricep dips (T,Th,S)
20 crunches
20 bicycle
20 leg raises
20 scissor kicks
30 sec. plank
25 squats

Weeks 2 & 3:
15 push-ups (M,W,F)
15 tricep dips (T,Th,S)
40 crunches
40 bicycle
40 leg raises
40 scissor kicks
1 min. plank
35 squats

Week 4:
20 push-ups (M,W,F)
20 tricep dips (T,Th,S)
60 crunches
60 bicycle
60 leg raises
60 scissor kicks
1.5 min. plank
50 squats

********************

Advanced 4 Week Program:
Week 1:
25 push-ups (M,W,F)
25 tricep dips (T,Th,S)
60 crunches
60 bicycle
60 leg raises
60 scissor kicks
1 min. plank
50 squats

Weeks 2 & 3:
35 push-ups (M,W,F)
35 tricep dips (T,Th,S)
80 crunches
80 bicycle
80 leg raises
80 scissor kicks
1.5 min. plank
75 squats

Week 4:
50 push-ups (M,W,F)
50 tricep dips (T,Th,S)
100 crunches
100 bicycle
100 leg raises
100 scissor kicks
2 min. plank
100 squats

Thursday, February 20, 2014

6 Week At-Home Crossfit Program

Earlier today I stumbled across this wonderful workout program while on Pinterest and I must say, I am in love with this entire blog! This lady is fabulous and her fitness journey has definitely inspired me. Her "before & after" photos really woke me up, her starting picture is almost identical to mine at the start of my fitness journey and she is also the mother of 2 children...which means...I can totally do this!!! Most of you are probably aware that I have spent the last year doing mostly BodyRock workouts, and I have enjoyed them and I am in much better shape now that I was when I started, but, I need a change! The DailyHiit (a.k.a. BodyRock) workouts are starting to change a bit with new trainers and I have found their recent stuff to be overly-sexy which I'm not super comfortable with quite honestly...I mean, seriously, I'm here to workout, not check out girls wearing next to nothing and doing provocative poses for the sake of attention (email subscribers know what I'm talking about). So, starting Monday, I will be doing this 6 week program along with running 3 times a week (10k training) and I am so excited! I already have my "before" pictures ready to go and am so very excited for the "after" shots!

http://www.simplysadiejane.com/








p.s. Here are a couple snapshots of her workout explanations for those of us who aren't very familiar with Crossfit.




HERE ARE MY RESULTS!!!




I am soooo excited! These are my results from doing a combination of this 6 week program, training for a 10k 3-4 times a week, and eating smaller portions and better foods. I lost 20lbs, 2 bra sizes, 1 jean size, and I feel so much better about myself! I'm only about 15lbs, and 1 jean size, away from my goal!

Measurements (Before/After):
Calves: 15.75" left/15.5" right - 15.25"/14.75
Thighs: 24"/23.75" - 23"/23"
Hips: 42.5" - 40"
Waist: 34.5" - 31.5"
Bust: 38" - 35.75"
Arms: 11.75"/11.75" - 11"/11"

p.s. This is how I used to look wearing this shirt: http://eatlovegetfitmom.blogspot.com/2013/08/utah-runner-girls-5k.html

Monday, February 10, 2014

Soft Peanut Butter Cookies


We don't do hard, crunchy cookies in our house. Soft, chewy cookies are definitely the way to go!  I rarely make peanut butter cookies because they are always too hard and crunchy for my liking, but, after some searching and experimenting I have come up with a recipe for wonderfully soft peanut butter cookies that we just love!

Soft Peanut Butter Cookies
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 C. white sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
1 C. peanut butter (we prefer smooth)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 C. all-purpose flour

-Preheat oven to 350 F.
1. Beat butter, sugars and peanut together until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.
2. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
3. In separate bowl sift together the remaining ingredients until well mixed then add to the cookie batter.  Mix until dough is smooth.
4. Scoop out dough using a small spoon, roll into a ball with your hands, flatten to about 1/4" thick and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes until the tops are cracked.  Remove and let sit for 2 minutes before moving cookies to wire racks to cool.

*Makes about 30 cookies.*

Monday, February 3, 2014

Pasta Carbonara


This super quick, super simple dish is a guilty pleasure of mine. I've "Americanized" it just a bit by using bacon in place of pancetta, I rarely buy pancetta but almost always have bacon in the fridge.  This meal seriously only takes about 15 minutes to make and it is delicious! Pasta is definitely a "comfort food" for most people and I could definitely use some comfort food during these cold winter months!  I hope you love it as much as I do!

Pasta Carbonara
2-4 slices bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed
2 servings spaghetti pasta (I don't measure, I just grab a handful)
2 eggs
1/4-1/3 C. grated Parmesan
1-2 tsp. dried parsley (1 Tbsp. fresh)
Pepper

1. Heat a medium-large pan on medium heat and start heating a pot of salted water for your pasta.  Add the bacon to the pan, stir around occasionally to be sure that it browns on both sides. Also, add the pasta once the water is boiling. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, Parmesan, parsley and pepper.
*It takes about 10 minutes for the bacon and spaghetti to cook*
2. When the pasta is about 2 minutes away from being done reduce the bacon to low heat, drain the grease and add the garlic, stir to be sure that the garlic doesn't burn. Drain the cooked pasta and toss with the bacon and garlic. 
3. Pour the egg/cheese mixture over the pasta and quickly toss. Remove from heat & serve!
*This last step has to be done quickly and carefully to be sure the eggs are cooked but also to avoid scrambling the eggs, you want the dish to be silky.*

-Serves 2.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

DIY Gel Nails & Why Your Top Coat Matters



Some of you may remember one of my posts last year, DIY Gel Nails That Last!, well, I'd like to update this method a bit and perhaps prove that your top coat matters.  I have always been skeptical about that fact so I have always used cheap top coat polishes, well, no more! I recently stopped painting my nails for about a month or so because I was getting so tired of having to do it every 2-3 days because my polish would chip so quickly, no matter how careful I was. I have been able to wear my polish for 7 days without it chipping so badly that I felt the need to redo them. I found the top coat pictured above at Target for about $6 and thought I'd give it a try. After using 3 different nail colors I am convinced, your top coat does make a difference! Pictured below is the polish combination that I've been using and it has been working wonderfully.


Nail Painting Process:
1 Coat Gelous (found at Sally Beauty Supply)
2 Coats Desired Nail Polish
1 Coat Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Top Coat

*I wait 10-15 minutes between coats*

Here are my most recent results:






I'll add a few more pictures of different polishes over the next few weeks :)

I hope this helps you!

 7 days later...

 7 days later...