Monthly Archives: August 2013

Make the Most of Your Lunch Break


The beauty of having a job that gives you an hour lunch break is that you get to do whatever you want to do in the lunch break. You can definitely use this time to your advantage and do a weight workout during your hour lunch break.

Lucky for you, this workout will not even take up half of your lunch hour. With using free weights/your own body weight for resistance and preforming total body moves, you can burn some serious calories.

You don’t always have to be dripping with sweat for your workout to be considered effective. According to a Women’s Health Article, Holly Perkins, a certified strength and conditioning specialist stated “By doing big-body moves and using heavier weights, you can score better results in 20 minutes than you can in an hour of cardio, says Perkins, who designed this workout. “Due to the trade-off between speed and accuracy, if you slow down a bit, you’ll focus more on the muscles you should be using,” she explains. “Put simply: You’ll be more accurate and your muscles will contract more fully.” Plus, all that muscle activation means you’ll continue to burn calories once you’re back at your desk or stuck in your car during a commute.”

This lunch hour work out is from Women’s Health and I thought it would be perfect to share. Here is the workout Women’s Health encourages during your lunch hour. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain so why not give it a shot?


Deadlift with Press

Deadlift with Press
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in your right hand; push your hips back until the weight is just below your knees (a). Push your hips forward and pull the weight to your chest, then quickly rotate your palm away from you and press the weight directly overhead (b). Slowly reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Do six, then repeat on the other side.
Single-Leg Dumbbell Row
Single-Leg Dumbbell Row
Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand on your right leg, bend forward, and raise your left leg behind you, arms straight, palms facing your leg (a). Row the weights to your chest, elbows out (b), then lower. Do six reps, then switch legs and repeat.
Negative Push-Down
Negative Push-Down
Start In a pushup position, with your body in a straight line from head to heels (a). keeping your back flat, bend your elbows and lower your body as slowly as possible (b). Return to start. That’s one rep. Do 12.
Split Squat with Arnold Press
Split Squat with Arnold Press
Hold a pair of dumbbells above shoulder height, elbows bent and palms facing you; step your right foot forward about two feet and bend both knees. Hold this position (a). Press the weights overhead, rotating your palms away from your body (b). That’s one rep. Do six, then switch sides and repeat.
Anchored Side Leg Raise
Anchored Side Leg Raise
Lie on your left side, legs and hips stacked, arms straight out at shoulder level; hold a dumbbell with both hands (a). keeping your upper body steady, slowly lift both feet four to six inches off the floor (b). Pause, then lower. That’s one rep. Do 10, then repeat on the other side.


For a 20-minute routine, do the moves above in order, using weights heavy enough to challenge you without compromising your form (try five pounds to start). Rest for 15 to 30 seconds between moves if needed, and rest for one minute at the end of the set; do two more sets, using heavier weights in each round (e.g., eight pounds, then 10 pounds).


Makeover Monday is here! Not only do I have 24 cupcakes staring at me right now while I write this post, but they are 24 DELICIOUS, lightened up cupcakes!

One of my great friends from college used to make cupcakes with applesauce instead of oil. They were actually pretty good so while I was craving cupcakes this weekend, I thought it would be a great idea to experiment. And that is exactly what I did. I replaced the 1/2 cup of oil in the cupcake mix for a 1/4 cup natural Motts applesauce and 1/4 cup Chobani greek yogurt.

These turned out great and I couldn’t be more pleased! To top it off, I also found a great recipe for greek yogurt chocolate icing and used that as well. These did not disappoint and I am excited to share this easy recipe with you. 🙂

Cupcakes (made 24):

1 box yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)

1 cup water

3 eggs

1/4 cup Motts natural applesauce

1/4 cup Chobani Greek yogurt

Add all ingredients into the bowl and mix ( I followed the directions off of the cake box).

Line cupcake pans and spray the paper liners with non stick spray. I used dark pans, so I preheated the oven to 325 and baked for 12-15 minutes.

Chocolate Icing:

8 Tablespoons of Light Butter

1 cup of Chobani Greek Yogurt

1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate morsels**

1 tsp of vanilla

Melt the morsels in the microwave until smooth (I pulled mine out every 20 seconds and stirred). Add butter and mix well.

Whisk in the yogurt to the chocolate mixture until blended. Do not over mix it.

When it was time to ice the cupcakes, I used 1 tablespoon per cupcake. You will have leftover icing.


**You can try milk chocolate morsels if you would like a sweeter icing. I used semi-sweet because my husband isn’t a big chocolate eater. I however would have used the milk chocolate for a sweeter icing. 😉

Each cupcake INCLUDING the icing is only 128 calories!

If I had not replaced applesauce and yogurt for the oil in the cupcake mix, each cupcake NOT including icing would be 115 calories! Then, depending on the icing you would make or buy, your 1 cupcake could easily be around 180-200 calories.

Hope you enjoy and happy baking!


Candy, Candy, Candy!!


It’s that time of year where all the grocery stores have their “seasonal” aisle at the store. So even though it is August your stores will have Halloween candy out in the next week or so.  Then you will have Christmas, Valentine’s, and Easter candy back to back. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your will power.  🙂

I know some of you will be buying candy within the next 8 months and probably snag a piece or two twenty. So before you pick up any candy, do yourself a favor and try to pick the best of the best. This will not only help you, but also the kids who are receiving it. So you don’t have to give it up, just make educated choices. 😉

chocolate quote#2_beige
1. Go Dark!

Dark chocolate is full of health benefits and nutrients. The darker the better. So many candies are coming out with dark chocolate flavors so be adventurous and health conscious and go for the dark.

2. Get Nutty

Nuts have plenty of health benefits that will do your body good. Also, with having nuts in the chocolate, it means not as much chocolate is available… which means less sugar in that piece. Bonus!

3.  Avoid the White

White chocolate is the worst chocolate for you to eat. It does not contain any cocoa (which is where all the health benefits are) and it is full of sugar and fat.

4. Get your Raisin On

Raisins are full of antioxidants and fiber which is better candy than chocolate covered marshmallows. Raisinets also come in dark chocolate if you really feel like going the extra mile.

5. Musketeers to the rescue

3 Musketeers are made with a whip filling which offer fewer calories and fat than a snickers.  Remember to always read the nutrition label.

6. Chew, chew, chew

Some of you may not like chocolate, but prefer chewy fruit candies. Your best choice here would be Now and Later rather than chewy caramels. They have less calories and fat.

7. Take a Lick

Hard candies are often lower in fat that chocolate, but that doesn’t mean they are better for you. Try eating hard candies like jolly ranchers, gobstoppers, and suckers. These take awhile to eat so you are more likely to eat less of them.

8. M&Ms

If you are craving M&M’s try to grab a dark chocolate, almond, peanut, or pretzel bag


1. Buy snack sizes and individually wrapped candies (you tend to eat less than straight out of the box/bar)

2. Don’t keep your candy out in the open. I personally leave my chocolate in a drawer in my fridge and often forget it is even there.

3. Some candies to definitely eat in moderation: Snickers, Twix, White Chocolate bars/Kit Kats, Starburst, Skittles, Milk Duds, and one of my favorites: Reece’s peanut butter cups.


Oreo Cheesecake Cups Lightened Up!

You all know I love sweets; so while I was browsing through my facebook feed, I came across some mini Oreo cheesecakes. These looked amazing so of course I looked through the recipe to see if I should/could lighten them up.

I definitely needed to lighten them up so I did and they came out perfectly! These tasted fantastic and they are the perfect size for something sweet after dinner. 🙂

These Oreo cheesecakes are originally 246 calories per cheesecake and with the slight changes I made, I knocked off more than 100 calories per cheesecake and added Greek yogurt for some extra protein. 😉


Oreo Cheesecakes Lightened Up


16 oz of fat free cream cheese

8 oz of reduced fat cream cheese

2 cups of Greek plain yogurt

1 package of regular Oreos ( 30 whole and 6 crushed)

1 cup of regular sugar

1 tsp of vanilla

4 eggs

pinch of salt


Line 30 muffin pan cups. Add a whole Oreo to the bottom of each lined cup.

Preheat oven to 275.

Beat cream cheese  and 1 cup of Greek yogurt until smooth. Add sugar and cream. Add vanilla and mix well.

Slowly poor in the eggs and mix. Add the remaining greek yogurt (1 cup) and salt- mix well.

Hand stir the 6 crushed Oreos to the cream cheese mix.

Pour the batter into each cup (it will almost reach to the top of the cup).

Bake cheese cakes for 12 minutes and then rotate the pan. Bake for another 12 minutes. Make sure the filling is set.

Once filling is set, let the cheese cakes cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator for a few hours or more. These are definitely best served cold.


** I placed mine in the freezer for 2 hours and then set them in the fridge. Craig and I like them when they are a bit frozen.

Each cheesecake is only 142 calories!

I hope you try them out and enjoy! We love them.

Making the Most with Fast Food

Last week I did a post about making wise choices from a vending machine. This week, it is all about the fast food. Some of us don’t have any choices, and we have or even want to eat at a fast food restaurant. While I was working on this post, I found a website which had some great information about the good, the bad, and the ugly about certain fast food restaurants.

The main thing to remember is that even though you are in a fast food place doesn’t mean you can’t make wise decisions. Pay attention to portion sizes and food choices. Several restaurants are now beginning to cater to healthier lifestyles so it is important to do your research.




































Super Salad….or not?

When I was growing up, I always thought salads were healthy because it’s a salad right? Right. Well, needless to say I was wrong. Very wrong. Adding just a few ingredients in a salad can make it from nutritional balanced to “I should have had a super-sized hamburger meal instead.”


Not all salads are bad, but not all salads are great for you either. So, always be aware of what type of salad you are eating but also how much. Sometimes you are better off making your own salad or ordering something else off the menu which is more nutritionally balanced. Next time you want a salad, just remember these tips:

High Calorie Items To Look Out For:




Fried Meats

Deli Meats/High Fat Meats


Dried Fruit

Buttered Croutons

Tortilla Strips

Fried wontons

Fried Onions

Creamy Dressings

Many salads at restaurants can range from calories from 1000-1500 and more! That is most of our daily calories in one meal….and it’s a salad! Be careful of what you order and how it comes prepared. Try to limit the high calorie toppings and stick to fresh toppings such as: cucumber, tomato, lean grilled meats, legumes, seeds, fresh fruit, bell pepper, carrots, avocado, onions, broccoli, and other fresh vegetables. Also choose lettuce which is dark and leafy. The deeper the color of the greens, the better it is for you. Choosing a vinaigrette dressing is better than a creamy based dressing. Also, make sure you ask for it on the side! 😉

If you are concerned about calories and how many are in your salad, then be aware of what you are eating and how much. Be educated and remember, just because it is a salad doesn’t mean it is healthy.


10 Best and Worst Vending Machine Snacks

We have all done it. We have all eaten snacks or sometimes try and make a meal out of food from a vending machine. I know there have been several times while I have eaten from the machines. Yesterday, I was reading an article in Fitness Magazine about the 10 best and worst snacks to get from a vending machine. I was extremely interested because reality is I will most likely eat from a vending machine again some point in my life. And many vending machines I eat out of look like this:



and NOT this:



So I wanted to know which foods I should choose to better benefit me if I am going to eat out of a machine. I am only assuming I am not the only person who buys from a vending machine so this information can be helpful to all of us. You might be planning to eat your lunch or three o’clock snack from the vending machine today…so read on and make wise choices. 😉

All information is provided by Fitness Magazine.

10 Worst Snacks from a Vending Machine:

1.    Drake’s Apple Fruit Pie: 
440 calories, 27g fat, 7g sat fat, 8g trans fat
. The Bottom Line: Nutritional nightmare (the worst pick!!)

2.    Austin Cheese Crackers with Cheddar Cheese:
210 calories, 10g fat, 2g sat fat, 4g trans fat
. The Bottom Line: A trans fat fest.

3.    Pop-Tarts Frosted Strawberry: 420 calories, 10g fat, 2.5g sat fat, 40g sugar
. The Bottom Line: For sharing only

4.    Doritos:
250 calories, 13g fat, 2.5g sat fat, 2g fiber
. The Bottom Line: “Nacho” best option.

5.    Skittles: 250 calories, 2.5g fat, 2.5g sat fat
. The Bottom Line: More calories and fat than Twizzlers.

6.    Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers (27):
 160 calories, 8g fat, 2g sat fat. The Bottom Line: No fiber, no protein.

7.    Ruffles Original:
 160 calories, 10g fat, 3g sat fat
. The Bottom Line: Nothing but empty calories.

8.    Cheetos Crunchy:
 160 calories, 10g fat, 1.5g sat fat
. The Bottom Line: Not great, but could be worse.

9.    Twix:
 280 calories, 14g fat, 11g sat fat
. The Bottom Line: More “bad” fat than a Snickers.

10. 3 Musketeers:
 260 calories, 8g fat, 5g sat fat, 40g sugar
. The Bottom Line: Lower fat, but still candy

10 Best Snacks from a Vending Machine:

1.    Planters Sunflower Kernels (1/4 cup): 
160 calories, 14g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 4g fiber
. The Bottom Line: Full of healthy fats (Top Pick!)

2.    Baked! Lays Original: 
210 calories, 3g fat, 0g sat fat, 4g fiber
. The Bottom Line: Surprisingly fiber-full.

3.    Sun Chips Original
: 140 calories, 6g fat, 1g sat fat, 2g fiber
. The Bottom Line: Made of whole grains.

4.    Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Pretzels (20): 
110 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat fat.
 The Bottom Line: Naturally fat-free.

5.    Smartfood Reduced-Fat Popcorn
: 120 calories, 5g fat, 1g sat fat, 2g fiber
. The Bottom Line: Low fat, and has fiber!

6.    Peanut M&M’s
: 250 calories, 13g fat, 5g sat fat, 2g fiber
. The Bottom Line: Just don’t go nuts.

7.    Fig Newtons
: 190 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat fat, 2g fiber
. The Bottom Line: It’s fruit!

8.    Nature Valley Granola Bar, Oats & Honey
: 180 calories, 6g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 2g fiber
. The Bottom Line: Beats hunger.

9.    Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts (39)
: 160 calories, 13g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 6g protein
. The Bottom Line: High in protein

10. Quaker Chewy Low-Fat Granola Bar, Chocolate Chunk: 
110 calories, 2g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 1g fiber
. The Bottom Line: Guilt-free chocolate

Next time you go to the vending machine…remember about your choices and pick what is best for you and your body!

Sausage Balls Lightened Up!

I can’t believe Monday is already here…where did the weekend go?! Since it is Monday, that means it is time for a new recipe! YAY!

So today I decided to lighten up on of my favorite snacks/appetizer….sausage balls! I love these things. My mom used to make them growing up when we would have youth group parties, birthdays, and holiday get togethers so of course I still cook them. I am sure I could and would eat an entire bowl of these so that’ s why I decided to “lighten” them up. These are fantastic and I hope you enjoy!

p.s. I personally do not like a lot of Bisquick in mine, so I only use 1 1/2 cups.

Sausage Balls

1 lb of Jennie-O Breakfast Ground Turkey

1 cup of shredded 2% milk mild cheddar cheese (I used Kraft)

1 cup of shredded fat free cheddar cheese (I used Kraft)

1 1/2 cups of heart healthy Bisquick

Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix. Microwave the mixture until the cheese is melted. Mix well. After mixing, roll out the sausage balls and placed them on a greased pan. Cook for 15 minutes at 350.


I rolled out 35 sausage balls which made each one only 57 calories. The original recipe made with regular sausage, regular cheddar cheese, and regular bisquick comes out to be 75 calories per sausage ball. 🙂

Jump Roping = Mega Calorie Burn

Jump roping is no longer for elementary school. Jump roping can be extremely beneficial and a great workout for your body. Not only are jump ropes cheap, but you can don’t have to go to the gym to exercise. You can do it right at home!  Jump rope can help increase muscle tone in your legs, arms, improve cardiovascular function, as well as promote weight loss. Research has shown that jump roping can be just as effective as running. So for those of you who don’t like to run or are tired of it, then I would suggest getting your jump rope out and start jumping!

There are several things you can do to maximize your workout with a jump rope. You can buy a weighted rope, change feet position, and or speed. I have listed 15 different moves you can do with your jump rope to change up and maximize your workout.

Try these moves in your jump rope work out to help increase intensity and calorie burn! Depending on the intensity of your workout, you can burn up to 130 calories in 10 minutes of jumping.

Jump Rope

1. Forward & Back: While jumping, imagine a line and jump back and forth from it.

2. Crossed Arms: While jumping, cross your arms and jump through the loop you made (I am pretty sure we all did this in the 3rd grade).

3. Double Jump: While jumping, jump high enough to where you can turn the rope twice under your one jump.

4. Boxer Jump: When jumping, put one heel out in front of you and then switch.

5. Side to Side: Just like the ski down exercise move, “ski down” (side to side) with each jump.

6. Squat Jacks: Try squatting with each jump to help maximize your quads and glutes.

7. Single Leg Hop: Jumping on one leg and alternate feet every few jumps.

8. Half Turn: While jumping, try turning 180 degrees a few times during the routine.

9. Arms Out: To help increase lean muscle in your arms, try holding your arms further out from your body while jumping.

10. High Knees: While jumping, bring each knee (one at a time) up at a 90 degree angle toward your chest.

11. Heel to Toe: While jumping land on your heels and then your toes on the next jump.

12. Running: Act as if you are running in place while jumping.

13. Scissors: Do the scissor move while jumping (Scissor Run).

14. Butt Kicks: With each jump, kick your feet back towards your rear.

15. On foot Side to Side: On one foot, jump side to side (alternate feet).