Saturday, March 31, 2012

{I Spy} & A Giveaway!!

Yay! It's Saturday! It's also the end of March! Holy moly, where did the past 3 months go? Does anyone else feel like we just celebrated Christmas? Oi vay! Well, to celebrate April coming and to show all of you how much we appreciate you (our followers), Christie and I thought it would be fun to play a little game with you all... it's called "I Spy". I play this game on a daily basis with my kidlets, and it's such a fun guessing game! Here's Pops and Podge's version of "I Spy"...
The picture below is just a small snippet of one of the pictures from our March postings...

Sorry it's kind of small.... but we want you to guess what this picture is! You can go back through ALL of our March postings and look at ALL the pictures and try to guess what this picture is.Once you've figured it out, please email us your name, your guess of the picture and what post it is from to:

You can email us until Thursday, April 5th! If you are one of our followers (GFC or Linky) and if you guess correctly, your name will be entered to win one of these (one entry per person):

A customized jewelry holder!!! My amazingly talented friend makes these (you can check out more of her awesome work over at and I have wanted one forever! My jewelry is a mess, and can you imagine how easy accessorizing would be if you didn't have to untangle necklaces and bracelets? Plus, Mother's Day is right around the corner, and this would make the perfect gift.
This particular holder has 18 hooks for necklaces, bracelets, or rings and it also has mesh to hold all your earrings. It is painted a cream white color and is accented with cream/black damask decorative paper. It measures 13" high and 10 5/8" wide.

So, all you have to do to win this jewelry holder is email us your name and guess of what you think the picture is... It's that simple! We will announce the grand winner on Friday, April 6th. Now go get your spy on!

Happy Spying!
Claudia & Christie

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Healthy Spring Dip

If you have not noticed, Claudia and I have a new weekly topic every Wednesday called Healthy Hump Day.  She has been running the show, since I am 30 weeks pregnant and really not motivated AT ALL to be healthy.  Even though this is really the time I should be my healthiest, especially since I almost failed my glucose test yesterday.  And since I make big babies, my last baby boy was a 10 and a half pounder. I am just crossing my fingers that this little girl will be smaller...right?  But I have this problem... I like to throw parties and bake all of those cakes, cupcakes and cake balls we have on this site.  Someone has to test if they are good or not and I am more than happy to volunteer for that position.  But for today, in honor of Claudia and trying to eat smarter for this baby, I decided to think really hard and come up with something a little healthier for a spring party or an Easter Brunch Menu.  I found a version of this in the Food Networking Magazine.  Although, I have to say mine is just a wee bit cuter :)  Polka dots make everything cuter.

For this project you will need:
(1) Clay Pot
(1) Clay bottom (I bought one it 1 to 2 sizes bigger than the pot I bought so I could put pita chips around the base of the pot)
Spray Paint (I used Krylon Satin-Jade)
Paint (White Acrylic)
Something to make dots with (I used a small round stencil foam brush/blotter)

See that base for the pot is much larger to fit any sort of goodies in!  Here is a picture after I spray painted and put my dots on...

For party day, you will need a large container of hummus. Organic carrots or any carrots with the tops still on.  And some pita chips.  I suppose you could use a container for any dip really, guacamole or spinach dip, skies the limit!  I just put some paper in the bottom so I did not have to fill the whole thing up. Then I put a gallon sized bag in the pot and filled it up an inch below the edge. Using scissors I cut teh bag off along the edge of the pot.  When you put your carrots in, the dip will rise, so don't cut all the way down to the edge of the dip.

See those pretty and good for you ORGANIC carrots.  That is what real carrots look like fresh from the ground... even though most of us eat those easy snacking little ones. Yum!  (P.S. I had to cut my carrots in half to fit in the pot, but you can just put the ends in the base with the chips, in case someone does not like the dip)

And wha-la, a cute easy and fun spring dip.  Great for any Easter Brunch or party this season!

Happy Easter,

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

{Healthy Hump Day} - Healthy Substitutions

    Why, hello dear friends. It is time for another round of Healthy Hump Day! In case you're new here and missed out on the introduction of Healthy Hump Day, then you can check out the full post here... but I'll give a little refresher on some goals I set for myself.....

#1. The Rule of 1.
#2. Exercise 20 minutes 3x a week.
#3. No eating past 7:00 p.m.

     I think it's safe to say that I slipped a few times.... I'm only human. But, I will keep on trucking... I also set a weekly goal of making an effort to eat breakfast. Breakfast may not be a challenge for some of you, but it's a challenge for me. I don't know what it is, but I'm just not hungry in the mornings. However, I have eaten breakfast every day since last Wednesday, so I don't feel like a failure when it comes to keeping goals. :)
     When I thought about what I wanted to post about this week, the topic of healthy substitutions immediately came to my mind. I love to bake, I love to cook, and so it only made sense to find healthier ways to cook what I already love to eat. Since I have an absolute love for all things food, a life stuck with salads and crackers would be bland and boring to me. Sure, I would lose weight in a heart beat, but I wouldn't be a happy camper... know what I'm sayin'?  I happened across this blog, and was flabbergasted as to how much she and I have in common when it comes to loving food! She lost 135 lbs. without starving herself.... I find it a very moving blog, and will continue to read it, especially since she has awesome recipes. :)
     I am learning that I don't have to dread healthy food. There are ways to make cupcakes, pizzas, and hamburgers (3 of my favorite foods) without having all the fat and empty calories.... Here is a list of healthy substitutions that can be used in everyday cooking... I found the article here, and there are a ton more substitutions, but these are the ones I would actually use.

1. Whole wheat flour for white flour.

2. Unsweetened applesauce for butter or oil.  It will produce the same consistency as butter or oil, but there isn't any fat that accompanies it.

3. Marshmallow fluff for butter and sugar in frosting. I had no clue that this was even possible! Holy schmakeral! It will still give the desired consistency, but with less calories. 2 TBSP of marshmallow fluff has 40 calories, 6g of sugar, and no fat while the same amount of conventional frosting can have up to 100 calories, 14 g of sugar, and 5 grams of fat! I will definitely be using this substitution!

4. Evaporated Skim Milk for cream.

5. Rolled oats for breadcrumbs.

6. Ground turkey for ground beef. Ground turkey helps cut down on saturated fats and calories. I don't buy ground beef anymore. We eat ground turkey because it's healthier, and it's cheaper!

7. Greek yogurt for sour cream and for mayo.

8. Sweet potato fries for french fries.

9. Pita for bread. I love making pita sandwiches. My favorite is some spinach, turkey meat, swiss cheese, and little bit of Caesar dressing... Mmmm.mmmmm.mmmmm!

10. Spaghetti squash for pasta. It's low-carb and low-calorie.... Need to try this!

     There you have it, folks. 10 little ways to cook and bake a little healthier. This week I am making hamburgers with ground turkey, and sweet potato fries. It's one of my favorite meals, and I will share the recipe with you in the near future! But until then, I need to refocus on my three little rules.... it seems I need to do a little better... :)

Happy Healthy Hump Day,

Monday, March 26, 2012

Easter Brunch Menu

Brunch is one of my favorite meals! And what is better than an Easter Brunch? You just went to church, hid all of those Easter eggs and then watched the kids collect them, now your hungry and surrounded by family, time to eat! Easter gives us many reasons to celebrate. So let's do it, Brunch style!  Here's a little party menu I put together for you, recipes and all...

Deviled Egg Chicks (Recipe below)

Strawberry Spinach Salad from Our Best Bites.  I heart Sara and Kate, if you have not been over to their site then set aside an hour and go!  You could omit the chicken here or even add something else like salmon.  The best part about this recipe is that there is a little video at the end from Portlandia...hillarious...from my neck of the woods to yours!

Main Dishes
Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup by Paula Deen.  You can always count on a scrumptious recipe from Paula.  Add fresh blueberries or cinnamon apples to spice it up.
Eggs in a Basket (Recipe below)
Spiral Ham - Pick one up at Honey Baked Ham or Costco, even your local grocery will have some kind of yummy ham.
Grilled or Roasted Fresh Asparagus (olive oil, salt and pepper)

Coconut Easter Cake (previously posted)

For the Kiddos...
Marshmallow Pops (previously posted)


Deviled Egg Chicks
Makes 12
12 large eggs (if feeding a larger group double)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tea­spoons cider vinegar
3 –4 tea­spoons sweet rel­ish (optional, my husband likes it this way)
1 tea­spoon stone ground Dijon mustard
1/8 tea­spoon kosher salt
1/8 tea­spoon pepper
Olives & Carrots

Boil your eggs.  You might have your own method, so feel free to do it your way :)
I place my eggs in a large pot, and cover the eggs with cold water. I add 2 table­spoons of salt to the water. Then I bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat, and cover with a lid. If the eggs are extra large, I let it sit 15 min­utes. Smaller eggs can go 12 min­utes. Set your timer. When the timer dings, imme­di­ately put the pot in the sink and run cold water over the eggs to stop them cook­ing, you can drain the water first if you want. When eggs are cooled, take off the shells.

Care­fully slice the eggs in half the short way, not the long way like normal deviled eggs.  To allow the chicks to sit evenly on your serv­ing plate, slice a tiny bit off the bot­tom of each egg, unless you have an egg holder. Pop out the yolks into a bowl.

If you want your fill­ing super creamy, press the yolks through a fine sieve before mix­ing in the remain­ing ingredients. But this step is optional.  I just used my beater.

Then mix in the remain­ing ingre­di­ents.  Fill the bottom half with the mixture.  Then place the hat or tops on so it looks like a chick.  Make the eyes out of small pieces of olives.  The beaks out of sliced carrots. Wha-la Chick!

Eggs in a Basket
Makes 6 (most likely will need to double)
3 large russet potatoes
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
6 slices prosciutto or ham
2 tablespoons maple syrup
6 eggs
3/4 cup shredded provolone

Heat the oven to 350 degrees
Peel and grate potatoes.  Put in a paper towel or cheesecloth and squeeze to remove moisture.  Put in a large bowl, stir in the melted butter, salt and pepper. 

Spray the muffin tin (best to use jumbo, but regular will work) with cooking spray.  Press the grated potatoes evenly into the muffin cups being sure the potatoes go up the sides and a thin layer on the bottom.  Bake until the top edges turn light golden brown and the potatoes are cooked through about 35 to 40 minutes (if you potatoes are pre-cooked 20 minutes will be okay).

While the potatoes are cooking, in small bowl toss together the prosciutto or ham with the maple syrup and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and gently crack an egg into each cup.  Bake until the egg white set but the yoke remains runny, about 6-8 minutes.

Remove from the oven and set the oven to broil. Top the eggs with grated cheese and put the maple prosciutto on an another sheet tray.  Broil both until cheese melts, and prosciutto crisps slightly, about 1 minute.  Top the eggs with the crispy prosciutto and serve immediately.

Note: If you would like your eggs runny in the middle, don't top with cheese and broil.  Instead you could incorporate your cheese with the proscuitto or ham, then broil those.

Happy Easter,

Linking up to:
The 36th AVENUE

52 Mantels

Friday, March 23, 2012

Chubby Hubby Cupcakes

     Christie and I share a love of all things mini, so it's no surprise that we love to make cupcakes. I have honestly tried decorating normal sized cakes, and it just doesn't cut it for me! I took a cake decorating class, which started my love affair with frosting, but big cakes are a lot of work. Take this bad boy, for example...

     This was the first multi-tiered/fondant cake I had ever done. I made it for a sweet girl I know who was turning 16. I used to be her leader in our church group, so I couldn't say no when she asked me to make one! It literally took me 8 hours to bake, frost, and decorate the cake. I had even made all the fondant before hand, and it still took me that long! Needless to say, cupcakes are what I prefer to make.
     I love to experiment with different kinds of cupcakes, and I always make cupcakes that have some sort of filling. My love affair with filling came when I first made these cupcakes.  A cupcake without filling is like.... PB&J without the PB. Know what I'm sayin'? When I saw these Chubby Hubby cupcakes, I just knew that I had to make them... after all, I am a huge fan of  Ben and Jerry's ice cream, and I used to eat Chubby Hubby ice cream when I was having boy troubles... but since I haven't had boy troubles in a loooooooooooong time (I've been married for almost 6 years!), I haven't had Chubby Hubby ice cream for a loooooooooooong time. :) But I just couldn't resist wanting to make them!

      These cupcakes will always have a special place in my heart since they were the first thing I made with my brand new KitchenAid.Yes, I realize that practically every human on the planet Earth has a KitchenAid, but I just got one as an early birthday present, and boy, am I one happy little lady!
     These cupcakes were labor intensive, but they were definitely worth it! Here's what you'll need to make these cupcakes:

For the cupcakes:
3 cups cake flour (I found it was cheaper to buy cake flour in the Winco bulk bins that it was to buy cake flour in a box)
1 TBSP. baking powder
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup malted milk powder
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 TBSP. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

*Preheat your oven to 350 and line your cupcake pan with liners. In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour and baking powder. Whisk to blend it and then set it aside. In another bowl, beat together the butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time and mixing for about 1 minute after every addition. **It's important to thoroughly mix the butter and sugar so that you can incorporate the maximum amount of air, held in by the fat, so that your cupcakes will properly rise when baked in the oven. It will also allow you to have a light texture to your cupcakes... Blend in the malted milk powder. Beat the eggs, adding one egg at a time. **Adding the eggs one at a time is essential so that you can retain all those little air bubbles you created when creaming the butter and sugar together... Next, add in the vanilla. Mix in the buttermilk, alternating it with your dry mixture (the cake flour and the baking powder), but be sure to start and end with your dry ingredients! Why? Because when you bake, you want to avoid the formation of gluten. Any gluten formed will inhibit the rising of your cupcakes and can also make them tough. The first batch of dry ingredients gets coated from the fat of the butter and the eggs. This fat interferes with the gluten formation. Overmixing will also cause gluten to form. So be sure to mix each ingredient until just barely incorporated. It drives me nuts when I see "Mix for 2 minutes" on cake mix boxes!!! Argh! Okay... moving on...

Divide your batter among your liners. I like to use an ice cream scoop, it makes life much easier! Bake for about 18-20 minutes. I always bake mine at 18 minutes.

Allow them to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. While your cupcakes are baking, you can make your chocolate ganache filling! By the way, what exactly is ganache? It's a melted mixture of chocolate and cream. It can be used as a glaze, or as a filling. The basic ratio for ganache is 2 parts chocolate to 1 part cream. It tends to thicken as it cools. 

For the ganache filling:
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
4 TBSP. butter, at room temperature
1-2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped pretzels

*Place your finely chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Add the cream to a saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Remove it from the heat and pour it onto the chopped chocolate. Let it stand for a couple of minutes, and then whisk it together until a smooth ganache forms. Whisk the butter in, 1 TBSP. at at time, until completely incorporated. I didn't like how runny the ganache was, so I added powdered sugar to thicken it up a bit. To fill your cupcakes, core your cupcakes and insert your ganache. This was a little tricky for me. At first, I tried to just spoon the ganache in... and things got a little messy...
     The ganache was dripping everywhere, and I didn't want it all over the cupcakes, so I had to do some quick thinking and come up with a solution... why not "inject" the ganache into the little holes? So, I pulled out a trusty medicine syringe (high tech, I know), filled it with the warm ganache, and squirt it into the middle of the cupcakes.
     Muuuuuuuuccccchhhhh easier. After all the cupcakes are filled, sprinkle some of those crushed pretzels into the ganache. That way, you get a little "crunch" when you bite into your cupcake! (If you don't want to crush the pretzels, you can also use pretzel M&M's which is probably what I'll end up doing the next time I make these cupcakes. Just stick an M&M in the center of the ganache!) Now, it's time to frost the cupcakes with a basic peanut butter frosting.  I love peanut butter with all of my heart, and peanut butter mixed with sugar is an instant winner in my book!

Peanut Butter Frosting:
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) butter, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar (aka confectioner's sugar)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 TBSP. heavy cream

*Combine the butter and peanut butter and beat until smooth with a mixer. Mix in the powdered sugar. On low speed, add the vanilla and heavy cream until just incorporated. Increase your speed to medium-high and whip until a light and fluffy frosting forms. It should take about 3-4 minutes.

     After your cupcakes are frosted, you can garnish them with pretzels drizzled in chocolate, or you can by chocolate covered pretzels and garnish with those!

Happy Baking,

Linking up to:

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coconut Easter Cake with 7 Cake Tips!

We are guest posting over at The Sweet Spot right now!  So head on over to Paige's site and check out how to make yourself some cake pops.  If you missed it, we will be posting those over here in the next few weeks :)  Her site has some great recipes, so I would suggest you add her site to your blog roll.

Over here at Pops and Podge we are going to post an Easter Cake today.  I am working on my Easter Brunch menu that will be posted next week sometime and this cake has made the cut!

I decided I wanted to give you some additional tips and tricks to add to your cake baking tool box.  So put on your apron and get ready to learn something new! 

First make your cakes...I cheated again and just used two box white cake mixes.  I really only needed three layers, so I used about 1 3/4 c. for each layer.  I used 8 inch cake pans, if you use 9 inch ones you can use probably 2 cups which would use up most of your batter.  If you feel your cakes bake up to tall, no worries you can cut off the top and use the left overs for your cake balls/eggs (this is what I did).  Separate what you need into separate bowls and start mixing in your gel coloring.  I used pink, blue and yellow for my cakes. 

Then make your frosting. I used my frosting stand-by.  I doubled it, but had a lot left over, so I don't think you need to.

Tip #1:  If you don't have one, go buy a large frosting coupler.  It has changed my frosting world!  You will also need to find some large tips (I like the Wilton 1D and the 2D).  You might also need some disposable bags or you can splurge and buy the reusable ones.  I find the disposables last me about 3-4 times.  Just use dish soap and wash-out by hand.  Using a large bag/coupler/tip makes it so much easier to frost your cakes and cupcakes.  This is from a person that used to use plastic sandwich bags with the tip cut off (works in a pinch).

Tip #2: When filling your bag, use a tall glass.  Put your bag, tip and all into the glass and then take the top of the bag and fold it over half way.  So it goes on the outside of the glass.  This helps you not get frosting everywhere.  Then you just plop your frosting right into the bottom.  When finished you just bring up the sides and twist it closed.  Ready to frost!

Tip #3: Lazy Susan!  Yep, if you don't have one...get one.  I got mine at Ikea and love it.  It is great for frosting cakes.  Makes it so much easier to turn and get a smooth surface.

Tip #4: Put frosting and wax paper under your cake when setting on your cake plate.  A little slab of frosting makes it so your cake will not move or slide off your plate.  Cause that would be BAD.  The wax paper, cut in strips, helps keep your cake plate clean.  When your finished frosting, you can remove the paper.
Tip #5: Make a dam.  I did not do this with my last layer cake, but I also did not fill it.  When filling any cake with lemon curd, custard, jam or whatever your heart desires, you need to make a dam first.  This also helps if your cakes are not perfectly flat on both sides.  I usually cut off the top with a cake leveler and I usually skim the bottom off with a serrated knife if it is a little browner than I would like it to be.  But still sometimes that rounded top leaves you a little slanted edge.  So the frosting dam makes up the difference.
First I do a thin layer of frosting on top.  Then grab your big tip (1D) and pipe your frosting around the edge of your cakes (see above).  Then fill it with your fruit or custard filling.

Tip #6: Crumb layer.  I often get crumbs in my frosting. Don't you hate that! No worries I learned a little trick.  Frost your whole cake with a thin layer and get all the crumbs you want in there. Then pop it in the freezer for a bit (at least 30 min).  When you bring it out, start frosting.  None of those crusty crumbs will make it to your nice top layer.  Also you can use hot water with your angled spatula to help smooth.

 Tip #7: When frosting, start at the top.  I like to spread all my frosting on the top first and then work it down the sides.  You may need to add extra and may do so directly on the sides, but it sometimes you can get your whole cake frosting with the same frosting you put on the top in the beginning(especially that crumb layer).

The next step for this cake once baked and frosted is the fun part! Coconut, I used about a half of bag of shredding coconut.  Put it in a bowl and used my hands to press into the sides, starting at the top.

Once that is done, you can cut your dark chocolate nest.  Cut one dark chocolate bar into slivers.

Then I started on my cake eggs.  I used my left over tops from the cakes I baked earlier.  Just put the scraps in a bowl and set aside.  When I was ready I just crumbled it with my hands, then I literally grabbed a handful of frosting (maybe 1/3 cup) and mixed it all up with my hands until it was a good texture to be formed into balls/eggs.  I rolled them into balls first, then made the end a little smaller by pressing with my fingers. (FYI- pink, yellow and blue cake makes baked potato colored cake balls, who knew!)
 Pop them in the freezer a bit (10 min).  You can read a full cake pop tutorial here if you want.  I used different colored melting chocolate because I recently learned your actually not suppose to use food coloring to tint your chocolate unless it is oil based.  Most food coloring or gel is water-based. Water and chocolate are not friends.  You can use mix different melting chocolates to get the color you want.  Just get out your old color wheel.
After I dipped my eggs in the chocolate and let them dry, I melted some of my dark chocolate and took a paint brush and splattered them a little to look like robin eggs.
I put the nest on top of the cake and then put the cake eggs inside.  I piped the top edge with a ribbon tip.  More on different frosting techniques later. 
I think it's a pretty cake, but let's take a look inside...

I hope you learned some good tips.  Now go reward yourself with a slice of cake!

Happy Easter,

Linking up to:

The 36th AVENUE

52 Mantels

The Artsy Girl Connection

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

{Healthy Hump Day} - Breakfast Smoothies

     Happy Hump Day! It's Wednesday, the middle of the week, and we can all feel the weekend coming on! Christie and I thought it would be a little fun to start sharing some "health" tips with you to help you get over your mid-week slump.  Christie and I are not health experts, by any means, so please don't take any of these posts as medical advice!
     We came up with the concept of Healthy Hump Days when I came across this blog. When I read Mama Laughlin's blog, it completely re-motivated me (I have been wanting to lose weight -about 25 lbs.- for my 10 year high school reunion that is coming up this August). She just seems completely real to me, and I feel as if we are BFF's  because I can relate to everything she writes about! I love that she posts her stats, which helps her be accountable for what she has committed to do.
     I have wanted to lose my baby weight for the past 4 years, and  have done all the goal setting, menu planning, and calorie tracking spreadsheets... but I actually don't do what I set out to do. I have a healthy weakness for food and for sleep... So when I resolve to get up before my girls to exercise, my alarm goes off, and I push snooze because I would rather sleep than get up! Horrible, I know! Or, when I see a little cupcake or cookie, or pizza, or hamburgers, or fries, I know I shouldn't be eating them, but I just can't help myself! Or, I start eating really well on Monday and Tuesday, but by Wednesday, everything starts to go down hill....So, I felt that if I posted my progress every week, I would be more accountable for my eating and exercising habits.  Personally, when I try to change things all at once, I am just setting myself up for failure. I become too overwhelmed if I have to exercise 30 minutes ever day, bake without fat, cut out all processed foods, track my calories, watch the sodium in all foods, drink 8 glasses of water a day, work on strengthening my arms, and abs, and legs.... ARGH! Everything just starts to spiral downhill.  I figured that if I set weekly goals and find small and simple things to change each week, I will have more success. I have also found that I can't completely deprive myself of sweets. I just can't do it! I love to bake, and it's such a big part of my life, that I would be utterly depressed if I gave up baking... I just need to learn to have one cupcake, or even half a cupcake, instead of 3 or 4... :)
     So, I pitched the idea to my husband, and he wasn't on board. He didn't want me posting my stats every week because weight is a sensitive issue, and it might come across that I was bragging about how I'm doing.... 
     That's why I love my husband... because he helps me to see the other side of things. I don't ever want to hurt anyone's feelings.... it would devastate me! What I want the purpose of Healthy Hump Day to be is to promote healthier eating habits, and to find a good balance in my life, to have moderation in all things,  and to also enjoy life!! I have decided to scratch posting my weight and stats since that may be too personal, and I'm sure you're not interested in that.... but what I do want to post are little weekly goals that I feel will help me accomplish losing weight and becoming healthier. Each week, I will report on how I've done because I want you to know that I'm a real person and have slip ups and tempations!!

     In trying to become healthier, I have set a few rules for myself. Yes, rules! These are rules that I can live by... and these are things that I want to change permanently....
1. The Rule of 1... to have just 1 portion (not 2 or 3 like I normally do). If there is a cookie, I can have one, but only 1! If I make cupcakes or cake pops, I can have 1! If I am eating pizza, I can have 1 slice. Not 4 or 5... yes, I do eat that much! I told you, I love food!

2. Exercise for 20 minutes 3 times a week. Ideally I would like to exercise 5 days a week, but I feel that 3 times a week is more doable.

3. No eating past 7:00 p.m. I tend to get the munchies at night, so this one will be a stretch for me, but when I eat at night, I feel like the food just sits and goes straight to my hips while I sleep. 

Those are my 3 simple rules. They are personal, and they aren't for everybody, but if you want to be a little healthier, I challenge you to find things that work for you!

For my weekly goal, I want to focus on eating breakfast. 
This may not be hard for some of you, but I struggle with eating breakfast! I like to get ready first thing in the morning, and by the time I'm done getting ready, it's time to start getting my kids ready, and then I just forget about eating. I don't have time to sit down and eat breakfast, so I have decided to start making healthy smoothies that I can sip while I do my make-up! I found a great article on why eating breakfast is important when trying to lose weight...

My breakfast smoothie of choice is something I found on Pinterest, but I've added some ingredients to suit my own taste buds. :) It's a strawberry banana smoothie, and it has about 349 calories, which I calculated using this calorie calculator. Since I'm short on time in the mornings, I decided to prepare the dry ingredients ahead of time, and put them in small containers. 

       This way, half the work is already done, and there are no excuses for not eating breakfast!!! I refuse to make a smoothie with ice cream.... I usually add greek yogurt or skim milk and some ice, but I make this smoothie with frozen strawberries, so it doesn't require ice. I have tinkered with the idea of adding spinach, but I'm a little scared.... :) 

Strawberry-Banana Morning Smoothie
In the containers:
2 TBSP quick oats
1 TBSP cocoa powder
1 packet Stevia (I tried it once without the Stevia, but it was waaaaaay too bitter for my taste!)
Added ingredients:
1 cup skim milk
1 banana
4-5 frozen strawberries
Take out your blender, and add the dry ingredients. Then add the "added ingredients". Blend until smooth. 

I would really love some feedback on Healthy Hump Days. Do you like it or not? What do you find motivating in losing weight? What are some of your easy go-to breakfasts? I would love to hear from you!!

Until then,
Happy Healthy Hump Day!


P.S. We apologize in advance for posting all the other yummy nuggets on this blog, if you are trying to watch your waistline!  Just remember... moderation.  Eat just one slice of the scrumptious cake that will be posted tomorrow then give the rest to your neighbor :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Glitter Eggs & Sprinkle Pops

Today, Pops & Podge is celebrating our one month anniversary! Since Claudia and I merged our blogs a month ago, we have been working very hard to make sure this the best blog ever.  We are quite happy that we have you all here with us today to celebrate...Happy Anniversary to us!

These two incredibly easy projects are guaranteed to bring a little more sparkle to your Easter!  I have a friend who says, "glitter makes everything better".  I think I have to agree!

In the spirit of Easter, I picked up some paper mache eggs at Micheal's.  Then I started to paper mache them.  It took me an hour and half and to do one egg.  So I gave up.  I know I'm not setting a very good example.  But I was trying to think of all you and be respectful of your time.  But here is one, just to show you...

If you have time, go for it! For me time is pretty precious, so I decided to just paint the eggs. MUCH faster!  All you need for this project is paper mache eggs, a little paint in the colors you want, iridescent glitter, and some all purpose glue.
Paint the egg, I did 2-3 coats each.  Then I painted on some all purpose glue, like Elmers.  Or you could use Mod Podge. Then sprinkle on your glitter.  I heart iridecent glitter, but you could use any color.  Although if you want whatever (paint or paper) underneath to show through, best to go with the iridencent.  Let dry.  All done!
I might seal them with glitter blast. But for now, I think they are just perfect the way they are! 
What do you think...? Sparkly huh!

The second project is a little sweet treat for the kiddos on Easter.  And it is oh so easy!! 
You need Marshmallows, lollipop sticks, sprinkles and water.

Step 1: Stick the marshmallow on the stick.
Step 2: Dip it in the water as far high as you want the sprinkles to go.  Tap off excess water.
 Step 3: Dip in the sprinkles.
 Step 4: Eat them! 

See pretty easy right and cute for sure! My husband calls them sugar on a stick and forbade me from giving one to our 2 year old little boy. Hmmm, I better go hide them. I think I might just wrap them in cellophane bags and let them return for his Easter basket :)

Happy Easter,
Linking up to:

How to Nest for Less
Tip Junkie handmade projects

A Diamond in the Stuff


Pincushion Creations


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