Goodies & Treats (Recipes)

Similar dog onesies here & here

Happy November Everyone!

A lot of you responded to my stories in regards to the goodies I was baking/cooking asking for some recipes. So I thought it would be cute to put all details together and give you some background on why we do it. This post will be a long one with all the recipes so please bare with me!

It has been a long lasting tradition for my mom, my aunt, my sister, and I to bake some goodies at my grandparents house and deliver them to family and friends on Mischief Night. When we were really young, my aunt would surprise us and bring us some candy and write “BOO” on our front steps. This was something we looked forward to each year and couldn’t wait for it. So when we got to be a little older, we asked her if we could join in and we started baking goodies to give out instead of some candy. We bake for 2-3 days and make our rounds to friends and family. Our list of stops grows each year and the items we bake get more and more complex, but we love it so much. It has been our tradition for over 7 years, and I can’t wait until I have kids that can do it with us. We then deliver the goodies on Mischief Night and write “BOO” on their front walkway. Everyone looks forward to it each year and we do too! My sister and I dress up in onesies and so the drop off, it’s so much fun!

This year we decided to be a little different, and each year we truly do get a little more complex and crazier. We usually bake a bunch of cookies or halloween goodies, but we switched it up a bit. We baked and cooked Butternut Squash Soup, Homemade Bread, Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, Spiced Pumpkin Seed Brittle, Vanilla Scones, Christmas Jam, Caramel Apples with peanuts, and NY Style Crumb Cake. We also look forward to hearing everyones favorites and depending on their tastes, we hear all different ones. My personal favorites was the jam and the soup. I ate a half a jar of jam all by myself on Monday because it was THAT good.

I will share all of the original recipes, and changes that we made below:

  1. Butternut Squash & Apple Soup – My mom & aunt are huge Ina Garten fans, so we always make some of her recipes. We made some change to her recipe so I will list ours here as well.img_0846.jpg
  2. Honey White Bread – this is another Ina Garten recipe & it’s delicious! We have made homemade plain bread before but wanted to try something a little different so decided to give this a try. I had some with my soup for lunch yesterday and it was out of this world! We followed the recipe exactly except for the fact that we used LIVE yeast and we were making 12 small loaves, so we doubled the recipe. When using live yeast, make sure the water and milk are hot and at the temperature stated in the recipe. We used a candy thermometer and took the temperature of both the water and the milk.
  3. Pumpkin Whoopie Pies– We didn’t change a thing with these. There was a lot of the cream left over and we saved it for a sweet treat on bread.. delicious!
  4. Spiced Pumpkin Seed Brittle– We added in sunflower seeds. It was soooo good!
  5. Vanilla Scones – We didn’t change anything but let me just tell you, these were a huge hit! They taste similar to the Starbucks scones. They taste even better with some jam!
  6. Christmas Jam – When I tell you this is the best Jam I have ever had… I kid you not. I ate half a jar the alone the day we made it. It tastes good on bread, on crackers, on everything. It is to die for!! We ended up adding a bunch of strawberries to this recipe because we wanted more strawberry. I would suggest grinding the cranberry and strawberry and seeing what you need more of.
  7. Caramel Apple – So we changed this up a bit, we had 12 mini granny smith apples so we used about 28oz of caramel (2.5 -11 oz bags), 3 cup of peanuts that we ground up, and instead of lollipop sticks we used witches brooms from walmart. They came out so delicious and good!
  • 8. NY Style Crumb Cake –
  • Let me know if you make any and how it comes out !

Overnight Oats & Fitness Update

This post will be a little fitness update as well as one of my go-to breakfast meals, Overnight Oats. I am currently doing 80 Day Obsession (beachbody program) and it is all about timed nutrition and fueling your body at the right times. As a part of the program they say you should be eating a hearty meal 1 hour prior to working out. I workout everyday at 6am due to my work schedule which means I have to eat at 5am. I obviously do not want to get up and cook something so I have been doing overnight oats and loving it.

Ingredients: 

4 oz Almond Milk

1/2 frozen banana

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1 tsp cinnamon

1 scoop Protein Powder

I make a smaller portion for myself since I am eating so early so you can obviously increase the ingredients based on how you want it. I usually also put almond butter in there but didn’t want to today. I put all the ingredients in and mix them together. I use a frozen banana because I found that when it thaws out overnight, it gives the oats a really good taste. The banana will obviously turn brown by the morning time, but it gives it a really sweet flavor. I sometimes do blueberries and strawberries or other fruit, it just depends what kind of mood I am in. If I am not using any fruit I usually put about a tsp of honey to make it a little sweeter.

I then mix everything together and just put it in the fridge until the next morning. I mix it all together again before I eat it, and it tastes amazing. I use the cinnamon in the morning to top it off. See below for the next day:

ENJOY!

Fitness Update:

So, as I mentioned above, I am doing the 80 Day Obsession by Beach Body. I am on day 11 and loving it! I started doing BBG for the 3 weeks between The Max Challenge and 80 Day Obsession and I didn’t feel challenged enough, and I also wanted something with a set meal plan to follow. There were food ideas but no meal plan and I found myself starting to stray, eat unhealthy, and start to gain a little weight back. I am the type of person who needs consistency and a good plan to follow. Nothing against BBG at all. Once I get to the weight I want to be I will do BBG for maintenance and to maybe gain more muscle.

80 Day Obsession is similar to 21 Day Fix with measuring your food in the given containers and following a set meal plan, except it is much longer. I contemplated doing the 21 Day Fix since I only have about a month until Miami and I want to get more toned, but decided to do a longer program to keep myself accountable.

I am absolutely loving it so far. I find the workouts extremely challenging but in a good way. I look forward to that 6am workout and truly give it my all. I can’t wait to see what the remaining 69 days are like. For me even though I will be going away for a Bachelorette Party, to Miami, and will be in a wedding during the 80 days, I was excited to know that this would end right around the time I go to Aruba and gave me a reason to keep pushing play! I will keep you all updated as it progresses and give updates through the multiple phases of the program. I have not stayed 100% strict. I would say about 95%, but that is what I need in order to stay on a program and be happy!
What keeps you motivated? What workout program are you currently doing? Let me know in the comments below.

Nina (2)

Spring Athletic Wear

Best Spring Fitness Clothing

 

Item Details (click images for direct links):

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Floral patterns and pastels are my favorite colors for spring time. Not only do I tend to focus on those colors for my everyday clothing, but I also do with my active wear. I love the way the colors and prints look when the weather gets warm! I always tend to also go for army green. It matches with most colors and patterns and looks good on!

I just ordered myself the White floral set and the pink cropped workout top. I think they are adorable and needed them in my closet.

 

What is a must have active wear piece for your closet?

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The MAX 10 Week Challenge Results

I HAVE COMPLETED MY 10 WEEK CHALLENGE!!

I have already done an entire blog post dedicated to my fitness routine which in depth describes the MAX challenge hereBut as promised, my 10 week challenge has come to an end and I have been so excited to share my results! I am so INCREDIBLY happy with my results, my changes in health, and my overall wellness. My eating habits have also completely changed and I actually look forward to eating healthy and do not see it as a chore anymore!

I would say I stuck to the diet about 90% of the time throughout the challenge. I had the flu week 6 & during week 9 I had one of my best friends bridal shower and knew I wouldn’t be able to stay good, and then in week 10 I had pizza and wine the night we closed on our first home. I didn’t let it get me down, I just worked that much harder the next day!

Before you get to my picture, I want to mention that the mental change in myself FAR out ways the physical changes. My mental health has greatly improved in the past 10 weeks- something I never thought could happen. I realized that by putting time and effort into myself and into making me feel better, improved so much within me. I was starting to have courage and confidence again! I wasn’t wearing baggy clothes as much and was actually starting to get more dresses up again like I used to. It’s crazy how much we let weight and low self esteem effect us. I know now to never let that happen again. No matter what, I have learned to love me for me and I am so excited to be at that point!

A bit about my before and after pictures. In my before picture I was smiling but not happy. It was right after the holidays, and like always I over indulged and hated how I looked. I had tried so many fad diets and diets to lose weight after gaining ~50 pounds from taking the medication Lexapro. Taking that medication ruined my metabolism and made me gain so much weight. I was just trying to find some quick fixes to make myself feel better not realizing that that wouldn’t do anything. I am kicking myself in the butt for not wearing just a sports bra so you can truly see what my stomach looked like in January! It was constantly bloated and was chubby. My arms had no muscle to them, I hated the skin under my underarms that stick out, and my legs were not toned. My face even looks so round in that before picture.

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Although I hate this after picture because like an idiot I put my hands on my hips instead of down at my side and my fingers are pushing my skin out so it looks like I have a gut, I am so incredibly proud of myself! As soon as I got home from my last MAX class I took another picture so that you can actually see the changes in my body without my fingers pushing some skin out. I would also like to mention that the pants I am wearing in my after picture did not fit me until this challenge. They were always tight and made my love handles stick out, but now I have to keep pulling them up to just keep them up!

Here is a real after picture:

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Sorry for the mirror selfie, but this was after I had worked out. I wanted to come home and get a better picture of what my stomach actually looked like and not what the picture above showed because that did not show all of my changes! My stomach has become so much more toned and defined! It doesn’t feel bloated unless I have a cheat meal which is expected! I have over indulged since my last day of the challenge (Friday), but as of today I am back on to being strict with a cheat meal on the weekends!

In total I lost 5 pounds – which to me is insane!! How does this change only warrant a 5 pound difference. But, I lost mostly in inches. I lost about 4 inches in my waist, 3.5 inches in my hips, 1.5-2 inches in my bust, 3-3.5 inches in each thigh, and 2.5 inches in each arm. That is a total of ~15 inches lost in all!!! How crazy is that?!

My journey will not stop here. I have started Kayla’s BBG program and cannot wait to see my results! I will update everyone around the week 4 mark to show a progress pictures! I cannot wait to see all of the changes that come with this program and I will also continue to do Jen Selter’s Lower Body Program as well.

 

Have you started any new fitness regime? What works for you? What diets have you tried that work the best for you?

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Delicious Smoothie Recipe

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Items Pictured:

Jamba Appliances Blender // Protein Powder // Multi Compartment Shaker Bottle

My favorite after gym meal is a nice green smoothie! I have been obsessing over this protein powder (limited edition) and it’s taste. I have tried various flavors and have never been disappointed.

I came across Ideallean about two years ago when I was looking for a protein with a good flavor so that I could make protein pancakes without them tasting bad. This is now the only protein I will buy. It’s extremely reasonably priced and so delicious!

My go to smoothie is usually:

1 honey crisp apple

1 banana

1 cup Almond milk (unsweetened)

2 tablespoons Almond butter (organic from Costco)

1 cup kale (sometimes a little more)

1 scoop protein (Ideallean)

You can always change this up with different fruits and peanut butter. I also found that this tastes good with pineapple too, instead of the apple. I always add greens into my smoothie to make sure I am getting enough vegetables in my day.

I also have to mention how amazing this blender is. You can juice items in here as well. I put oranges and lemons with the peel in there and it completely blends everything. I highly recommend it!

Hope you enjoy! What is your favorite smoothie recipe?

My Current Fitness Regime

Current Fitness Regime – The MAX Challenge 10 Week Program / Jen Selter’s at Home Guide

** I apologize in advance, this is a long post **

I wanted to talk about my current fitness regime! I will do a separate post in the next week or so about my fitness journey, how I came to love fitness, and how I came to love overall health so much- so check back later for that. I’ll start with the MAX Challenge, then Jen Selter’s Plan and then what I plan to do next, BBG.

The MAX Challenge

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I am currently doing The MAX Challenge, and LOVE it. I truly can’t recommend it enough and it has done so much for me. Not only has it improved my overall health, but the confidence it has given me is beyond anything I could have ever imagined. The confidence to go to the gym and not feel like I do not know what I am doing. The confidence to be myself, which is something I didn’t feel like I could do at a regular gym.

My friends did the MAX challenge in September of 2017 for the 10 weeks and saw amazing results. After trying everything under the sun, I decided I would try it too. I figured why not, what could I have to lose? Through facebook, I entered a contest to win a free 5 week challenge at the MAX. After a week of not hearing from them, I assumed they picked someone else and wanted to commit to something before the New Year, so I ended up singing up for the 10 week challenge that started January 8, 2018 on Thanksgiving Day! Literally the next day I got the call that I won the free 5 week challenge, called the SPRINT, so I was excited that I got to really do the MAX for a total of 15 weeks.

5 Week SPRINT

The SPRINT is basically just the first 5 weeks of the 10 week challenge program. They provided me with literature and documents that included the meal plan, options for eating, how to calculate everything I was eating (based on containers and tbs/tsp), and any other information I may need. They also gave us a MAX sweat towel which I thought was really cute, a coupon for a discount on their protein powder, and some other information about the challenge and the MAX.

For the first 5 weeks, I didn’t really follow the meal plan, although I really wish I did. I kind of just ate whatever I wanted while trying to eat clean but also indulging in things that I loved here and there. To me this was just a start, a way to get back into eating healthy slowly and a way to become healthier prior to my 10 week challenge and the New Year.  I love the workouts and felt extremely challenged everyday that I went. I only missed 2 classes throughout the entire 5 weeks which I was extremely proud of myself.

I wish I gave it my all though, and really pushed myself with my nutrition. In my head, I always have the thought, “I will start Monday.” This time it was “I will start January 8.” In the before and after pictures below, I don’t believe you can see much of a change based on the pictures. I should have taken the before and after in a sports bra so you could really see. I lost 2 pounds over all, but my clothes were fitting looser than ever and I was loving the workouts and how I was feeling. I noticed that my face thinned out a bit, my arms look toned, and my legs and waist look a bit thinner. This is not where I wanted to be, but I am so happy that I have not given up!

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I have horrible anxiety, and going to the MAX everyday really helped me gain some mental clarity, get out of my head, and out of my funk. I could see the old me coming through little by little. I was feeling better, looking better, and just overall happy for what was to come in the 10 week challenge.  Read on below for the 10 Week Challenge!

10 WEEK CHALLENGE:

As of this week, I am currently in my 8th week of the 10 week challenge. In the first 6 weeks I didn’t see many changes on the scale. My weight would fluctuate weekly – I would be down 5 pounds then back up. This was definitely because of water weight and muscle gain. I didn’t let it bother me and just kept pushing! This challenge, I followed the nutrition to a T other than week 6. I got the flu during week 6, couldn’t attend the gym and couldn’t really carb and fat cycle, so I allowed my body to eat what it felt was necessary during that time. I did end up eating badly that week, but I didn’t let it get me down or give up going forward.

See below for the background and overall program – I will update this post or post another based on the end of the program! The cost is somewhat pricey but from all the different workouts and fad diets I have tried, I must say that it is well worth the money. I purchased this for $299 when they were running a special but the cost is $399.

Setup: Usually before the 10 week challenge starts, they will have a day set up and sent out to all the peoples signed up

Workouts: The MAX challenge is a Monday-Friday set up with various class times. This is an IN-PERSON fitness regime, not something that is done at home or at your personal gym. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are cardio days. They have circuits set up that are extremely hard, but such a good workout.. Friday is Cardio kickboxing at the location I attend. Tuesday is all about the arms, ARM day! My favorite day. I am most self-conscious about my arms so I really put my all into arm day. Thursday is leg day, I put the extra effort in on leg day too because let’s be honest, we all want that peach! For all workouts and movements, they have an alternative, so that all members feel comfortable with the workout and feel like they can do it! I truly never feel like the workouts are easy, which is a good thing. If they were too easy, then it would be that they were not challenging and were not pushing me.

Nutrition: The meal plan is extremely easy to follow. There are four stages to the meal plan over the 10 weeks – the first stage is the CONCEIVE stage (weeks 1-3), BELIEVE stage (Weeks 4-5), ACHEIVE stage (Weeks 6-8), and INSPIRE stage (Weeks 9-10). During these stages, there is carb and fat cycling, adding and removing of certain food portions, and TREAT meals (other than the last two weeks)!! Treat meals can consist of anything you want – appetizer, meal, and dessert as long as you do not over eat or eat to the point you will burst. They also suggest cutting out alcohol, but I did not and will only for the last two weeks since there is no treat meals during that time. I included alcohol as a treat and if I were consuming alcohol, I would have that and a treat meal (main course) and call that my complete treat meal!

Motivation: The group of people I have encountered and met during my time at the MAX have been amazing! They are all there to do the same as you, whether it be to lose weight, tone up, or just become healthier, so the empowerment and cheering on really motivates you! I have made some friends along the way with not only classmates but instructors! They suggest that you chose one class time and go to that one so that you become close with everyone and really motivate each other through the program, but with my crazy work schedules and unforeseen long hours, I could never go to one class time so I bounced between the 6:00AM, 6:30PM, and 7:30PM and on days I was traveling or was working 14 hours and missed all class times, I did the workouts from home. Each location has a secret facebook page group, and the manager or owner will post travel workouts. They are just as difficult as the in-person classes!

My experience thus far has been amazing. I have gained so much confidence in not only the way I look, but also how I feel. If there is a MAX challenge near you, and you can afford it, I definitely suggest trying it out or seeing if there is a sample class you can potentially attend!

Jen Selter FitPlan

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While doing the MAX Challenge, I also do Jen Selter’s at home workout plan through the FitPlan app. Because of where I am in my fitness level, (I have always worked out) I wanted to challenge myself even more and do the plan while I did the MAX Challenge. I absolutely love her plans. The only items I needed to purchase were bands for the at home plan were Resistance Bands ( currently sold out but try these Resistance Band Set ) and Loop Exercise Bands. Jen is such an amazing person both inside and out. She is there to answer questions and motivate you throughout your process.  Once you sign up for the fitplan, you are automatically invited into a private group on facebook. The women in this group are all truly so amazing. They are from all over the world and I truly find motivation through them. All of them have had such great success with all of Jen’s Plans! If you are interested in seeing more about people’s transformations through her plan, try searching “#seltering” or #fitplan” or “fitplanfam” on Instagram. Girls all over the world are posting their results! I also love that Jen is so hands on with all of us. She takes the time to comment on people’s transformations and give advice when people ask for it! You can read more about her plans HERE.

My Next Steps

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After the 10 Week challenge at the MAX is complete, you can join legacy. The price drops to $99/month to attend the classes. Unfortunately, as much as I want to, I will not be joining legacy.  A huge part of it is because my husband and I are closing on our first home and I will be about 25 minutes from the MAX location I currently attend which is where I would want to continue. I think if I were to find one closer I would join legacy in a few months. But, I also feel like I have done so well with the program and want to challenge myself with other things like BBG. I have ALWAYS started and stopped BBG because I couldn’t get through the workouts and was feeling defeated. Now after going through the MAX, I feel like I can take on anything! So, I will be doing BBG and starting on March 19th. I am so excited and cannot wait to see what my results will be. I will blog about my journey with BBG as well!  I will also continue to do Jen’s programs and do both together.  Check back for fitness related posts soon and my journey with BBG.

Please let me know if you have any question about the programs at all, I would be happy to help or answer anything! What workouts are you currently doing? Are you trying or doing any of the mentioned ones?


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