Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Strawberry Vanilla Cream Trifle

One of my favorite desserts to make is a trifle.   It’s super easy.  My kids love it! It’s not a heavy, rich dessert either. I seem to make this more often in the Spring and Summer months because the fresh fruit is just better then.

You could get all fancy and make your own ingredients but I am usually in a hurry and just grab the ingredients and put it all together.  You can add any fruit of your liking and cake, brownies or cookies too.  I also use pudding and whipped cream but you could add any number of ingredients.  You could also make this dish low calorie, sugar free or even fat free depending on the ingredients you choose to use.  You simply take your ingredients and layer them in a glass trifle bowl.  The layers look so pretty when it’s all finished too.

Strawberry Vanilla Cream Trifle
Strawberry Vanilla Cream Trifle

To make my Strawberry Vanilla Cream Trifle here are the ingredients you need:

1 Angel Food cake or cake of your choosing cut up into cubes

1 container of whipped cream

Pudding (I sometimes use pudding cups because I am often in a time crunch)

Fresh fruit, sliced (I used strawberries but you could certainly use any fruit of your choosing)

Now all you do is layer each ingredient in your trifle dish.  I typically start with the cake, then pudding, fruit and the whipped cream.  Then repeat the layers until your ingredients are gone.  I did add a little chocolate syrup drizzle to this one.  You can add chocolate chips, coconut, chopped nuts, brownies or crushed cookies instead of cake, candy bars, peanut butter and etc.  Get creative! I like to refrigerate mine (covered) before serving but you could certainly serve it as soon as you make it.

If you try this, please let me know what you think! I love hearing feedback from my readers.

Have a happy day!

Michelle

 

 

 

Super Seed Energy Bars

For those of us eating healthy, finding a really tasty, chocolatey, snack that is really healthy and not loaded with unhealthy fat & calories is not always easy. When a friend recently shared a recipe for some bars she makes that are loaded with healthy super seeds, I knew I had to give it a try!

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Seeds are often overlooked when we are eating healthy. Nuts get all the glory! But when you stop and look at the health benefits of seeds, you may just try to work them in your diet.

This recipe is made with all sorts of super seeds. Chia seeds help regulate blood sugar, are anti-inflammatory and high in fiber. Flaxseeds are high in fiber, lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids. Pumpkin seeds promote better sleep, contain vitamins k, etc & b and have anti-microbial properties. Hemp seeds are high in protein, phytonutrients, Omega 3’s and contain all 20 amino acids. Sunflower seeds lower cholesterol, are anti-inflammatory and are a great source of magnesium.

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As if having all of the healthy goodness in the super seeds wasn’t enough, these super seed energy bars also contain other superfood ingredients, like cacao powder which contains high amounts of antioxidants, is rich in magnesium, has anti-aging properties, improves brain function, aids in weight loss, contains essential vitamins & minerals, promotes heart health and so much more. Can you tell I kinda love cacao powder?

You will also find tumeric in these bars which is a natural anti-inflammatory, improves digestion, lowers cholesterol, aids in fat metabolism & weight management and so much more. This is a spice that you should definitely be using! Cinnamon is also amy ingredient in these bars which controls blood sugar, aids in weight loss, can aid in lowering cholesterol and so much more.

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Now that I’ve given some great reasons to make these, how about the recipe? I took the recipe my friend shared and adapted it a little. I do recommend using all natural and organic ingredients if possible. You can of course add or delete ingredients to make it your own as well.

* The original recipe called for 1 c. of honey. I chose to use 1/2 c. of honey with 1/2 c. natural peanut butter. You can certainly omit the peanut or nut butter and make this a nut allergy friendly recipe by increasing your honey to 1 full cup.

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Super Seed Energy Bars 

Ingredients:

1 T. Ginger

1 T. Tumeric

1 T. Cinnamon

3 T. Cacao Powder (or cocoa powder)

1/2 c. Semi- sweet chocolate chips (or carob chips)

1/2 c. Unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 c. Chia seeds

3/4 c. Flax seed meal

1/2 c. Hemp seeds

1 c. Raw pumpkin seeds

1 c. Raw sunflower seeds

1 c. Oatmeal

2 T. Vanilla extract

1/4 c. Coconut oil, melted

1/2 c. Honey, warmed

1/2 c. Peanut Butter (or nut butter)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, sift together the Ginger, tumeric, cinnamon and cacao powder.

In a large bowl, combine chocolate chips, coconut, Chia seeds, flax meal, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and oatmeal. Add sifted ingredients to the large bowl and combine.

In another small bowl, whisk together the vanilla, coconut oil, honey and peanut butter.

Slowly add the liquid ingredients to the large bowl and mix until evenly incorporated.

Pour the mixture into a 9×13 pan and press down.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature and cut into bars. Cover and continue cooling in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 hours. Store in air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

I hope you love these super seed energy bars as much as I do. I love that I can have a sweet treat packed with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and so much goodness without the guilt.

 

The Best Tasting Healthy Superfood Hot Cocoa

As a healthy foodie & chocolate lover living in Indiana, I have always been on the hunt for a tasty, yet healthy hot cocoa recipe…especially during our cold winter months. I’ve tried so many recipes over the years but they were either lacking in taste or in nutrition. And the packaged cocoa, forget it! It’s loaded with sugar and far too many chemicals!

I’ve finally come up with a recipe that not only tastes good but is SO good for you!!

The Best Healthy Superfood Hot Cocoa

For this recipe, your won’t need cocoa powder. You want organic raw cacao powder. If you’re not familiar with cacao powder, you’re missing out! It’s full of anti-aging antioxidants, magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium. It’s the superfood in this recipe!

Cacao Vs. Cocoa
Cacao Vs. Cocoa

I have also included coconut oil in my recipe which in my opinion is another superfood that should be in your diet every day! My favorite coconut oil is Coco Calla coconut oil. This coconut oil is the best tasting & healthiest I’ve tried. The coconuts are harvested on an organic farm next to the Gulf of Thailand and are packed with a unique blend of beneficial vitamins and minerals. There are many uses for coconut oil but my main use is sneaking it in my diet. It helps boost metabolism and can help with allergies. It’s a fat that is used as energy instead of being stored as fat. It even has anti-inflammatory properties. I sneak a spoonful in my coffee every day.

To add a little extra healthiness to this hot cocoa recipe, I also add cinnamon & tumeric. Cinnamon enhances chocolates flavor. It also has many health benefits including being an antioxidant and an anti- inflammatory. Adding tumeric will not change the taste. I promise you won’t know it’s in there. You will however, reap it’s many benefits which include being an anti-inflammatory as well as a metabolism and weight loss booster.

Tumeric Benefits

To sweeten this recipe, you can use raw honey, stevia, maple syrup or any other healthy sweetener of your choice. I chose to use Chocolate Sweet Drops. It’s a natural liquid Stevia with zero calories.

Healthy superfood ingredients

Now that I’ve given you all of the amazing reasons to make this healthy superfood hot cocoa, are you ready for the recipe?

The Best Healthy Superfood Hot Cocoa

2 c. Milk of your choice

2 – 3 T. Cacao Powder (more or less depending on hour chocolatey you want it)

1 t. Coconut oil

1/2 t. Cinnamon

1/4 t. Tumeric

Sweetener to taste

Start with your warm milk. Add all ingredients & stir until smooth. You can add whipped cream or mini marshmallows. While not the healthiest choice, what is hot cocoa without one or the other? Grab a book & sit back and enjoy this chocolatey goodness!

Let me know what you think of this recipe!!

 

The Best & Easiest Banana Cake Ever

I often have overly ripe bananas. I either peel & freeze them for smoothies & protein shakes or I make banana bread. I love recipes that are quick and easy so most of the time I make my banana bread using a boxed cake mix.

Yesterday, I planned on making banana bread because I had 5 black bananas to use. Yuck! For some reason, I just wasn’t feeling the banana bread and instead thought a banana cake sounded better. I hopped on Pinterest to try and find a quick and easy recipe using a boxed cake mix for banana cake but I couldn’t find one. So, I decided to experiment & it worked!

The best & easiest banana cake ever

I took one yellow cake mix & added 3 ingredients but absolutely no oil. That’s right! No oil!! Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

Yellow Boxed Cake Mix

3 overly ripe bananas, mashed

2 Eggs

1 c. Water

Directions

Add all ingredients & mix according to the cake mix directions. Pour batter into a bundt cake pan that has been greased. Bake at 350 for 33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Invert onto a plate when cool & frost. I used the cream cheese icing Recipe below.

 

If you try this recipe I’d love to know what you think. I am impressed! I don’t typically make up my own recipes so I’m excited about how well this turned out! The cake is really most & so good!!

Cream Cheese Icing Recipe

8 Oz Cream Cheese

1/2 c. butter

3 c. Pordered Sugar

1 t. Vanilla

Beat all ingredients until smooth. Frost cake when cooled.

The Secret to Amazing Boxed Brownies

One of my “go to” recipes is something that I came up with when looking for a healthier way to make brownies from a box mix.  They are so soft, chewy & delicious [if I do say so myself]. You can use any boxed brownie mix of your choice, however I typically my favorite is Betty Crocker’s milk chocolate mix.

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To make your brownies, simply follow the directions on the box but for my secret recipe, you will be substituting the oil with organic unrefined coconut oil.  That’s it! That’s my secret!!

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I also like my brownies extra chocolatey so I add 1/2 cup of mini semi sweet chocolate morsels to my brownie batter. Bake as directed & enjoy!!

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If you try this, let me know kw what you think.

Ways to Clean Your Makeup Brushes & Sponges

If you wear makeup, then you (hopefully) wash your face every day but if you’re cleansing and moisturizing only to follow up with a sticky, dusty powder brush, you’re painting a week’s (or month’s or year’s) worth of dirt, oil, dead skin, hair product residue and grime right back on your face.  Wash those germ infested brushes regularly to avoid problems like persistent irritation, acne, and sparse eyelashes.  How often you wash your brushes and sponges depends on how often you are using them. Once a week is probably the best option for most of us.  However, you could go monthly or even bi-weekly if you don’t use them often.  If you do keep your brushes on your bathroom vanity or counter, I would recommend washing them weekly for sure as they can get blasted with hair products and possibly even nasty germs from your toilet.

I must confess, until recently I did not clean my brushes & sponges as often as I should. I’m lazy! I admit it. Yuck!! When I realized what dirty brushes and sponges were doing to my skin, I decided to find an easy & simple way to clean them.  I turned to Pinterest & found some great ideas and I thought I’d share them with you.

There are many different ways you can clean your makeup brushes & sponges naturally.  Here are just a few ways I’ve found to clean them…

  • Baby soap or dish soap & olive oil ~ Simply dip your brush into this mixture and lather up. Rinse & repeat if necessary.  I found a great tutorial for this here.
  • Vinegar, water & dish soap ~ Mix 1 c. warm water with 1 T. each of vinegar & dish soap. Work wet brush into this mixture and lather up on the palm of your hand.  Rinse & repeat if necessary.  Here’s a link I found.
  • Come Clean brush & sponge shampoo ~ By for the easiest way to clean brushes! Check out this video to see how it works.

After you’ve cleaned your brushes and sponges you want to let them air dry.  Lay your brushes flat or like pictured below.  You don’t want to let them dry standing up because the water can actually loosen the glue that holds the bristles to the brush handle.

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Keeping your makeup brushes and sponges clean is super important for the health of your skin.  Make sure you are making time to do this once a week.  Sunday is a great day to do this.  It doesn’t take long and it’s a great way to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy.

Have a clean & happy day!

~Michelle

10 Habits to Live a Happy Life

I believe living a happy life is a choice…

There is so much going on in the world and negativity screams at us from our tvs, radios, cell phones and computers.  Social media has really changed our levels of anxiety, stress, and even happiness.  How many times have you been on social media and seen someone posting [bragging] about something? I know for women, we often fall into the comparison game.  We compare out lives to the lives of those on social media and around us.  We must realize that those “glamorous” lives we see on social media, are not all that perfect, happy or wonderful.  We all have good days and bad days.  We all deal with the same situations, disappointments, highs, lows, stresses, and etc. Some just choose to only show the good.  I guess it’s better than those who turn to social media to only complain about everything in life.

But seriously, social media can make us miserable.  It can really exaggerate life.  You have to learn to tune it all out. You have to know that being happy is a choice.  You can choose to be happy no matter what life throws at you, what you see on social media, hear on the radio, read in the newspaper or see on tv.  I think of myself as a happy person [thus the name of my blog].  I’d like to share with you a list of 10 habits I do that inspire me to live a happier life.

Happy Life

  1. Pray ~ I give it all to God.  I pray about everything.  I trust in Him & I have faith in His plan.  No matter what life throws at me, I trust that it’s all a part of God’s plan.
  2. Move your Body ~ I’ve been working out regularly for about 3 months now and I feel so much better.  I like what I see in the mirror which has given me added confidence.  My body can do things I never dreamed I would be able to do. I have met knew people and created lasting friendships because of a common interest.
  3. Eat Healthy ~ I have learned that eating healthier choices makes you feel so much better.  I do have days when I might have a cheat but for the most part, I eat healthy foods.  I try to eat organic and natural. And I drink plenty of water daily [half of my body weight in ounces].
  4. Ignore Negativity ~ People who feed on negativity bring me down to a place I don’t like to be.  It’s really hard for me to not let negative energy and thoughts get to me.  So, I’ve learned that I just have to separate myself from negativity.  If someone in my life is negative and just zaps the life right out of me, I’m moving on and pushing them out.  I just can’t do it!
  5. Laugh ~ I laugh a lot! My kids make me laugh. My husband makes me laugh.  My friends make me laugh.  Heck, some days I laugh at myself.  I have a bit of a sarcastic side…
  6. Listen More ~ When you listen to what people are saying and I mean truly listen to them, you become a much better friend to them.  They will appreciate you more.  So many people want to talk, talk, talk and never listen.  Just listen to what those around you have to say.  Also, I’ve learned that in certain situations, it’s best to just not say anything.
  7. Do What You Love ~ Find what really makes you excited & happy to be alive.  Take that passion and run with it.  Because our “work” takes up most of our lives, you must love what you do and if you don’t, maybe it’s time for a change.
  8. Read ~ Reading is what keeps me going in a positive direction.  I love to read books centered around personal development.  If I find myself in a slump or in a place where I maybe don’t feel so positive about things, it’s usually because I’ve not been reading. I do enjoy reading books for fun too but personal development is what I typically read these days.
  9. Breath Fresh Air ~ Get outside and soak up the Vitamin D [but don’t forget the sunscreen]. Take a walk. Breath the fresh air. Feel the sun on your skin. It does the body and soul good!
  10. Live Fearlessly ~ Don’t let your fears hold you back in life.  No one wants to look back on life and say they wish they would have done this or tried that but didn’t because they were too afraid.  I’ve done many things in my life that scared the crap out of me but in the end those things ended up being the best thing for me. I’m not talking about skydiving or anything like that [although that is on my bucket list]. I’m talking about life decisions…switching careers, moving out of state, walking away from an unhealthy relationship, going back to school, etc.

I truly believe that being happy in life is a choice that we make.  If you’re not living your happiest life, then maybe it’s time to make some changes.  You deserve to be happy.

Happy Life

Have a happy, healthy day!!

~ Michelle

Light & Fluffy 5 Ingredient Banana Protein Pancakes

These pancakes are so light & fluffy and with only only 5 ingredients they are not only easy to make but healthy too. They are low-fat, low-carb and packed with protein.  It’s the perfect meal for anyone who is lifting or working out or anyone who is looking for an amazing low-carb pancake recipe.  With only 200 calories, these will be a favorite meal!

I like to make these after I lift or do a HIIT class.  They would also be great before you workout, but I’m too lazy for that.  I like to top my pancakes with a little natural peanut butter, almond butter, strawberries & greek yogurt, or lite syrup & slivered almonds.  I’m not a fan of fake sugar, so I don’t use the sugar free syrups.  You can top these any way you want and change them up every time you eat them!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops vanilla or baking protein powder
  • 1 large very ripe banana
  • 1/8 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 2 eggs

Instructions:

  1. You will need 2 clean bowls.  Separate your eggs carefully. Egg yolks in one bowl and egg whites in the other. Beat the egg whites on high for 2 minutes until soft peaks form.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the egg yolks & beat until smooth. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture until well combined.
  3. Heat a skillet or griddle over low heat. Scoop 1/4 c. of the mixture & cook for 60-90 seconds on each side.
  4. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Yummy Low-Carb Blueberry Muffins

Who says you can eat delicious muffins when you are living a low-carb lifestyle? When I first made this blueberry muffin recipe, I was really skeptical as to how they were going to taste. To my surprise, they tasted great! My 4 kids even approved!!

The recipe is not only yummy, but it’s also super simple which I love! My 7 year old daughter mixed it all up on her own.  I helped with the measuring but she did most of the work.

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Here’s the recipe:

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Serves: 12

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup powdered Swerve sweetener
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup blueberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line 12 standard-sized muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Combine eggs, cream & sweetener and whisk until well blended.  Let the batter sit for 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Gently fold in the blueberries. Divide evenly between the muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops no longer look wet.

Nutritional Info:

Serving Size: 1 Muffin, Protein: 4.20g, Fat: 7.08g, Calories: 108, Carbs: 5.89g, Fiber: 2.58g  NET CARBS: 3.31g

Why do we fear change?

Why do we fear change? Have you ever been in a situation, relationship, career, etc. and you knew it was time for a change but you just kept doing what you’ve always done? You keep going through the motions.  You keep doing what you do but you know it’s not what your heart really desires.  Change is scary.  Change means leaving our comfort zone & trying something new.  Leaving something that is comfortable for something that is unknown and new can definitely be frightening.  But in my experience with change, it’s never easy but it’s always worth it in the end.

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I’ve had my fair share of big changes over the years…leaving a marriage, moving to a different state, starting a business & then moving on to a new business, etc.  Many times I had to reach a breaking point in order to make a move and make a change.   Something happens and I realize that this just isn’t working for me.  There has to be something better out there for me.  You get to the point that you just don’t care what waits for you but you know that it has to be better than the current situation you are.  Sometimes you just need something new to refuel your passion.  And in the end, all of the major changes I’ve had over the years have always lead me to something bigger and better.

I see so many people living unhappy, unfulfilling lives all because they are afraid to make a change.  They are afraid to upset the status quo.  But life is just too short to live a life of unhappiness or living a life that just doesn’t feed your passion.  Yes, change is hard! Yes, it’s uncomfortable! But it’s also kind of exciting! It’s a second chance at something.  Sometimes it’s a “re-do” or a fresh start.  It’s a new beginning.

If you are unhappy or unfulfilled in some area in your life, take a minute and close your eyes.  Visualize how you’d like your life to look.  What changes would you make? How would it feel if your life was the way you visualize it to be? Would you wake up every morning excited & go to bed happy? What’s holding you back? What are you afraid of? You deserve happiness, success, someone who loves you & supports you unconditionally.  You deserve everything you want.  You just have to decide that you’ve had enough & you are going to go for it.  You can do it! Sometimes you may find that those who are supposed to love and support you, won’t understand your decision to make this change, but you’ve got to do what’s best for you.  This is your life to live and you only get one life. So, do whatever it is that scares you and find happiness again.  In the end, you will look back and realize that change isn’t so scary after all & in the end, it was all worth it.