Peanut Butter Coconut Popcorn

I am unslumped! Finally, out of my funk!  It took a few days of using my funk-kicking tips from Thursday, but I made it.

Oi yoi yoi, to feel normal again.  Hallelujah! Oh, I am me.  Shoot, my mind was so dreary, my zest MIA.

You wanna know what sealed the deal?  Having an energy drink (which I normally avoid) and lettin’ loose with some Pandora.  Seriously, I cranked it up, and the kids and I went cray up all on this.

It was fire to my soul.  “I’m wakin’ up.  I feel it in my bones!!!  Blah blah uh dah dah dah dom.”  I know it’s fuzzy, but it captures the moment, and that’s the point. RADIOACTIVE

Ok, onto popcorn.  Whoa.  Transitions are overrated.

I love popcorn.  Last year I asked for a popcorn popper for my birthday, because I wanted to have 100% air-popped popcorn, as in, no extra oil from stovetop cooking, and no extra chemicals from the microwave bags.

BUT, it’s hard to flavor it.  All the seasonings fall right off, unless you douse it with butter, which ain’t happenin’ after my movie theater employee days.  Vats of butter are imprinted on my memory, along with the sound of it being squirted.  Um yeah.  Moving on.

So, I needed a butter-free version, that flavors would stick to.  And, it needed to be sugar free because of my 30-day challenge, and this deliciousness was created. POPCORN RECIPE The flavors are subtle, but amazing. And, I think it tastes even better chilled because the coconut oil has a chance to harden and create a candy-shell like exterior.

The kids had a blast, and the smell of coconut oil is probably what heaven smells like.  Aijah was very weary of the appliance for the first 2 minutes, but then it shifted to a joy explosion. PRICELESS. popcorn

Peanut Butter Coconut Popcorn
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • sprinkle of salt
  • shredded coconut (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pop popcorn according to directions. In a microwave save bowl, combine the peanut butter and coconut oil. Warm until softened and liquidy, but don't let it get too hot. Drizzle mixture over the popcorn, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt while warm so it sticks. A sprinkle of shredded coconut could be amazing too. For less messy popcorn, allow to cool in the fridge, so the peanut butter and coconut can slightly harden, to create the perfect exterior texture.

I QUIT SUGAR  Day 4, FRIDAY: Um, I am an idiot for not doing this sooner.  I love being sugar free right now.  Basically, sugar has been a domino effect on my eating.  Eat sugar=eat all the things! Well, take sugar away, and I’m a healthy, calm eater.  Kinda crazy how black and white it is for me, but it’s truly the case so far.

I went to my parent’s last night, and I normally go all cupboard-plunder crazy, but I actually didn’t think about even opening the cupboard. WHAT?!

And, my sis and I are planning on making sugar free treats today, just for fun.  Can’t wait!

A’ight folksies, get your dance on today.  I am serious. You should do it.  Right now would be a good time.  Press play on the vid, and do the jig.

Much love, and for all those in a funk, do everything you can to get out it.  Please.  I support you, and you don’t deserve to feel any less than happy.  Okay?  Funks are temporary. and the shorter, the better.  You got this.  And hey, it’s the weekend.  Plan something fabulous.  I totes need a date night with The Chad!  Jumpin’ on that one….uh….the date.  ; )

Much love, Jessica Joy

 

 

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Watermelon Popsicles. Recipes for kids.

Getting children involved in the kitchen can help them eat healthier.  They take pride in what they helped with, making them more likely to eat it. And, they become more comfortable with food in general; vegetables just aren’t quite so weird when you see them often enough, and work together to make them tasty.

A few years back there was an article in Parenting Magazine titled, “Growing A Foodie.”  It was all about making food an adventure for children, how to get them involved, and making it an experience of edible creativity.  It fueled a passion for me.  I wanted to grow a foodie!

So, I started cooking more with Jet, emphasizing the adventurous aspect of trying new foods.  Look how cute he was!  Well, IS.  You know what I mean!

When he was 3, we had a vinegar tasting, as in, we took teaspoon shots of 5 different vinegars and concluded we liked white balsamic vinegar best.  After every one, our eyes would bug out from the potency and we’d say, “Whew, that’s strong!” I figured if I could get him to taste vinegar, tasting anything else would be much easier.  It worked.  He’ll at least try anything now.

I kept it up for awhile, but sadly, he is pretty uninvolved in the kitchen these days.  Well, I’ve been re-inspired. I spend too much time in the kitchen to not have my children be a part of it.  And, every time I do have them get involved, it’s ridiculously messy fun.

Jet wanted to make watermelon popsicles. We all love frozen watermelon cubes so much, and the kids complain about cold fingers, so I thought, “Let’s put a stick in them.”  DONE.  That’s living K.I.S.S. style. “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” It’s a helpful mantra sometimes.

These “popsicles” have no added sugar…haha.  And, they’re fairly drip resistance.  They are better for biting than sucking, but my kids don’t care.

Supplies: popsicle sticks, watermelon, a knife, cookie cutters are optional because you could cut your own shape with a knife.

#1 TIP: The most important part of successful watermelon popsiclage is cutting big, flat, even slices.  I recommend cutting a big piece off the bottom, so you have a flat surface to work with.

HAVE FUN: Have them help as much as possible. They can use the cookie cutters, and put the sticks in, though you make have to make adjustments later. All the leftover edges are great for snacking, or making very random shaped popsicles.

To freeze, lay popsicles on a flat surface, lined with saran wrap and place in freezer for a few hours.

After we put them in the freezer, I was barraged with: “Are they ready yet?”  “Are they ready now?”  “Let’s go check to see if they’re ready.”  “How much longer?” To which I responded: “Uh, just go eat one, even if it isn’t frozen, okay?”

Here are other healthy, kid-friendly options from some of my Sweat Pink Sisters!

From Pretty In Pink Fitness:

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

We made these yesterday.  They lasted um…a few minutes.  Whoa! #betterthanacandybar
-1/3 cup coconut oil
-1/2 cup peanut butter
-1 TBSP honey(optional)
-1 ½ – 2 cups quick oats
Heat 1st three ingredients in a pan on the stove until liquid mixtures forms.
Mix the oatmeal with the liquid mixture and pat it down flat in a freezer safe container, or let come to room temperature and form into balls.
Freeze for about 3 hours or until the mixture hardens

From Lauren at Lauren Lives Healthy

Chocolate Raspberry Snack Bites

Kids can stuff the chocolate chip in the raspberry, and snack away.  Delish. 

From Rachael at Rachael Novello 

Tex-Mex Spaghetti Squash Lasagna and Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

These are two healthy lasagna options that are low-calorie and full of vegetables.  I was impressed and, they only use one dish.  Smart momma!

Try to find a little joy in cooking.  It’s fun.  It smells good.  A big key to get the family to enjoy cooking is finding recipes you are excited about, that are simple.  When you feel like the kitchen is robbing you of fun, then it’s time to find easier recipes.

If you have a go-to kids recipe, send it my way.  I would love to try and share it!

Are your kids involved in the kitchen?

For more Mommy inspiration, check out:

healthy moms series  

Sneaking In Extra Nutrition To Your Children’s Diet

How To Get A Flatter Tummy Without Any Extra Time

Interview with Praskovia. Mom of 3, including twins, dishes the perks of working out, how it’s changed her life & her keys to success.

Cardio Cleaning: A Humorous Take On Housewife-dom

Multitasking While Exercising. How I Multi-cise

Exercise and mom guilt. Is your guilt flawed?

Healthy and Happy Moms Series. Workouts and Recipes for the Week.

 

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

I have a recipe to share.

A real, delicious, knock your ankle-socks off type of recipe.  It’s going to improve your autumn life. pumpkin pie smoothie Look, pumpkin flavored everything is going to be thrown at you starting yesterday.  There are plenty of heavy-belly options, like shakes, lattes, pies, cheesecakes, etc.  This recipe is the perfect way to get your pumpkin fix, without all the heavy consequences like feeling tired, thick-middled, and perhaps over-indulgent.  I’m not saying those treats are bad, but they do come with consequences.  So, feel free to have one on occasion, but a daily basis is not suggested.

Recipes posts have been MIA because my kitchen has been a place of necessity, not creativity.  But, I’m ready to eat more deliciously now.

It’s probably because I started watching cooking shows again. Nothing like those to inspire you to play, “Giada,” for the night.

Honestly, I will choose this over real pumpkin pie, it’s that good, and I feel good post-consumption.  I’m planning on having it every day for the next few weeks.  Dessert EVERY DAY.  A big, tall glass of it.  Yup.  Right here.  I’ll take that.  It will be among many post-workouts rewards.

I am so proud of how this smoothie came out.  The proportions are spot on, and you don’t get that raw pumpkin squashy flavor, just pie flavor.  Phew!

Do you have 2 minutes?  Great!  You can make this. pumpkin pie smoothie recipe

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
 
Just as tasty as pumpkin pie, but with only positive consequences. Clever you!
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup canned pumpkin, unsweetened
  • 1 scoop or serving vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup milk, I used almond milk
  • ½ frozen banana, I keep my peeled in the freezer
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp. almond butter
  • ½ cup ice
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and whiz'n'whir until creamy. Enjoy and laugh at your dessert knock-off capabilities.

Is that not just bliss?

Now you can revel in your dessert knock-off capabilities.

How do you pumpkin?

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Zucchini Hummus with Smoky Bacon

You’ve probably noticed by now, that I love dips and spreads, therefore, I love hummus.  Well, really I love most things that are smooth and creamy.  BUT, I think that’s just a human thing.  Just look how popular Greek yogurt has become because it’s ultimate creaminess, and the vast array of nut butters.  People LOVE CREAMINESS!

So, here’s s’more in a very convenient and healthy form.  zucchini bacon hummus

Huh?  Jess, this one seems weird.

Hey hey, give it a chance.  I think it’s ingenious, but I won’t take credit for the idea.  I found a zucchini hummus recipe at I Breathe I’m Hungry.  This amazing low-carb, gluten free blogger has me drooling, over HER FOOD, though she’s totally cute too! Thanks Mellissa!

Alright, question time! 

  • Anybody been gifted a zucchini yet?  I have!  I’ll take all I can get!
  • Anyone pass by a FREE BOX full of summer squash?
  • Anybody have more zucchini in their garden than they know what to do with? roasted zucchini

This recipe features zucchini, tahini paste, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and turkey bacon.  All delicious on their own, but when combined?  BOOM!  TASTEBUD BLISS.  If you like those ingredients too, this recipe is definitely for you!

The GIST of the Recipe

Cook turkey bacon and cool.  In a food processor, combine peeled, raw zucchini, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, turkey bacon, olive oil and salt.  Pulverize until smooth.  Garnish with fresh herbs and/or more turkey bacon.

You could dip more veggies in your veggie dip.  Double healthy!  Oooh, aren’t you glowing today?

Here’s a handy tip to improve your zucchini consumption.  The bigger the zucchini, the worse the texture is in the center.  It gets mealy.  Ew.  Cut it out!  HACK!  Easy! remove zucchini seeds

Zucchini Hummus with Smoky Bacon
 
Ingredients
  • 2 slices turkey bacon
  • 2 cups zucchini, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini paste
  • ½ Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. more olive oil or water, depending on texture and/or caloric needs
Instructions
  1. Cook turkey bacon according to package instructions. Allow to cool. Combine remaining ingredients in a food processor, leaving out ½ slice of turkey bacon for garnish. Pulverize the mixture until smooth. This may take 5 minutes. I would suggest doing something else while you wait, instead of watching and getting annoyed. If it's too thick, add olive oil or water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

ENJOY!  Yum.  I have been dipping away!  I LOVE this stuff.

The kids, well, it got them to eat cucumbers!  cucumbers for kids

If you would like a vegetarian version, just omit the turkey bacon.  zucchini hummus

How do you like to eat zucchini?

 

CHECK-IN TIME

How is your week going?!  How is your diet?  Are you eating right?  Are you getting some exercise?  If not, here’s a challenge.  Knock out my “Ab-Burnout Challenge” within 24 hours of reading this!!!  TRACK YOUR SCORES and share them!  Mine are below! Commit to a time, RIGHT NOW.  Pencil it in!  Even just do the first 5 exercises!

ab burnout challenge I will be doing this workout 3 times this week, and trying to beat my scores every time.  Doing this has a lot of benefits.  1) I’m more motivated to do it.  2) I can see my progress.  3) It makes me work as hard as I can.  WIN WIN WIN! 

Ab-Burnout Challenge

Take your ab workout to the next level.  14 exercises.  50 seconds work, 10 seconds rest.  Starts off pretty normal, then gets crazy with V-Throughs and Starfish Crunches, and finishes off with a cardio burst of Low-Plank Jacks and Mountain Climbers.  Your abs will never be the same.  Thank goodness, right?  HA!

  1. Side to side heel taps, 43
  2. Sit-up, 2 cross punches, 18
  3. Paddle boats, in-and-out, clasped fists tap floor above the hip, 4 per side, alternate, 30
  4. Oblique plank RIGHT, knee-in, kick, repeat, 17
  5. Oblique plank LEFT, knee-in, kick, repeat, 17
  6. V-throughs, 15
  7. Reverse crunch (legs to the ceiling), legs come down together, open and close at low point, repeat, 12
  8. Sit-up tap floor through your legs, sit-up tap floor outside the legs, 18
  9. 3-Way sit-ups.  Center, right, left, repeat, 17
  10. Starfish crunches, 20
  11. Leg switches, both legs extended, one leg up, one down, switch, repeat, 27
  12. Russian twist, 80
  13. Plank jacks, 25
  14. Mountain climbers, 96

Tonight, I will be doing this workout again.  Eek!  We’ll see if I can do better than my first time!

You up for the challenge?!

 

 

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Deviled Eggs Done Light. Hold the Mayo, Add Some Yogurt.

Traditional deviled eggs are ready for an update.  They’re tired of being held down by heavy mayo.  They want to lighten up, and get a makeover.  Here it is.  Ba-bam!  Ooh, lookin’ good!

Last week I shared this recipe: Crockpot Homemade Yogurt.  This week, I’ll be featuring recipes that USE the yogurt you made.  Ofcourse, you could just buy plain yogurt too.

You may be thinking, are deviled eggs that unhealthy? Well, the eggs aren’t unhealthy, but the mayonnaise is calorie dense.  1 Tablespoon of regular mayonnaise is 90 calories.  If you use 1/4 cup for 6 eggs, that’s 360 calories added.  Whoa. A 1/4 cup of plain yogurt is typically 30 calories.  If you swap these ingredients in your deviled eggs, you will save a whopping 330 calories.  That’s a lot for six wee eggs.

Yesterday, this recipe received “The Chad Taste Test.”  Mr. Picky  He helps me keep my cooking standards high.  Haha.  I brought the whole darn platter to the bed, where he’s been recouping from last Friday’s longboard incident.  He’s quite the vegetable lately, but he hasn’t been eating very many. Poor guy. Apparently being bed-ridden makes you crave pancakes.

“The Chad Taste Test” score:  Thumbs-up!  Alright, he approves!  YAY!!!  Recipe is a winner!

The GIST of the Recipe

  1. Boil eggs
  2. Shell eggs, cut in half, remove cooked yolks and place in a bowl.  Place egg whites on a plate or platter.
  3. Combine yolks with yogurt, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, and salt.
  4. Dollop or squeeze the mixture back into the cooked egg whites.  You can spoon the mixture into a Ziploc bag, cut the tip, and squeeze it out. I use this method for potlucks and parties.  At home, a funky shaped dollop is just fine! ziploc bag
  5. Top with paprika and/or chopped chives

Deviled Eggs Gone Light. Hold the Mayo, Add Some Yogurt.
 
Ingredients
  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • 1½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ⅛ tsp Worcestershire
  • Salt
  • Paprika, optional
  • Chives, optional
Instructions
  1. ) Hard-boil the eggs. Place eggs in a pot covered with water. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 12 minutes. Run under cold water to stop cooking process.
  2. ) Peel eggs, slice in half, remove cooked yolks into a bowl. Place empty eggs on a plate or platter.
  3. ) To the yolk bowl, add yogurt, Dijon, Worcestershire, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Mix until smooth. Taste. If needed, add more salt, a little at a time.
  4. ) Fill eggs by dolloping mixture into eggs, or squirting it through a Ziploc bag with a corner snipped off.
  5. ) Dust with paprika and /or chives. SERVE.

They were so adorable once I was done, I couldn’t help getting snappy.  P.S.  Don’t use a serrated knife to cut them in half, unless you want little ripples on the eggs.  See ‘em?

COOKING NOTES:

I tried this method, it wasn’t any easier, and the eggs were overcooked. baked eggs

I ended up having extra filling, because I don’t like the eggs being too full.  I love putting this “sauce” over a baked yam with some ham, or my delish Yam Hash recipe.

ENJOY, you little Devil!

 

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