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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lacing Your Workout Shoes

Wow. What a crazy week and a half! I went on a 1000 mile road trip (that's one way!) with my family, camped along a stream that my little brothers really enjoyed {they caught all sorts of critters, including salamanders, tadpoles, bugs, and even saw some snakes! Eek!}. It was a wonderful trip! Now, I've been back to reality for a few days. After working and getting daily tasks done, I will soon be back on the road again! This time with my wonderful hubby! :) So excited!!

Since I've been gone for awhile, and super busy in between, I haven't really had a chance to do anything worth blogging about. So, I decided to share a little tip instead. 

If you are a runner (or even a walker!), you probably have a specific pair of shoes for your workout. How do you lace them? Have you ever thought about it?

I've been doing some reading, and it turns out, lacing your shoes like normal may not be the best for your feet. 

This is how I normally lace my shoes. Like normal people. :)

According to and Katie at (just a couple of the sources I found), there are many ways to tie your shoes to more comfortably fit your feet.

Whether your shoes are too tight, too wide, slipping at your heel, or even if you have a high instep, there are ways to tie your shoes that can help!

My awesome hubby bought me some brand new running shoes that I love, but they are fairly narrow. Plus, I have wider feet that doesn't help. Until they get broken in, I've been using Katie's lacing technique for wide feet and, on my last run, I could not believe the difference!

(This lacing technique is for wide feet.)

So, go ahead, click on those sites, and test one out!

Happy running! :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Skinny Strawberry Muffins

Campfire pizzas & pies, hot dogs smothered in mustard, s'mores....these are only a few of the {yummy} reasons camping is so enticing. While getting ready for a trip to Tennessee, I was thinking about ways we could fill our roadtrippin' bellies, while still maintaining (if not losing) weight.

Since it's a long drive, and I'm definitely a road trip snacker, I needed healthier alternatives. Usually I pack sandwiches, licorice, beef jerky, fruit snacks, etc. Sometimes there are apples and veggies, but the junk usually gets eaten first, and the "healthier" stuff gets pushed aside. This time it's really going to be hard to stay on track because my Dad made some of his {first rate...oh so satisfying...melt in your mouth...swear they are magical...} chocolate chip cookies for the trip, too. (Click here for his "secret" recipe.)

This time, it will be different. 
{I mean, come on! Look at these!}

I started making our pile of road trip snacks by cutting up some celery and carrots and dividing them into small snack bags. 
(I forgot to take a picture of the carrots, but I'm pretty sure you're capable of imagining what they look like.)

I also sliced some apples and placed those in snack bags, as well. 
{Be sure to soak them in a cold water/lemon juice/salt solution before packaging, to keep them from turning brown!)
Then, I bought jello shot cups/lids from the dollar store, and scooped some peanut butter into each one for dipping the celery and apples into.

(This way everything is quick, readily available, and best of all...double dipping approved since everyone can have their own!)

Then, after making some peanut butter granola (click here for that recipe!), I added dried fruit, lots of nuts, and some M&Ms for a homemade trail mix, and divided that into snack bags, as well.

I know this is a lot of food, but there are a lot of people going, and it will be nice to have leftovers while camping. :)

And now for the super delicious part.....the low fat, Skinny Strawberry Muffins!


5 c. old fashioned rolled oats
12 oz. strawberry or raspberry yogurt (Greek or plain) 
2 eggs
1 c. sugar (or baking stevia)
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. almond milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 lb. strawberries (cleaned and diced)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove 1 cup of the diced strawberries and set aside. Leave remaining berries in a large mixing bowl.
In a food processor, blend oats until powdery.
Add all remaining ingredients, except the berries. Pulse until well mixed.
Pour batter into mixing bowl with berries.
Gently stir.
Scoop into WELL GREASED muffin tins.
Sprinkle remaining berries on top.
Bake 15-35 minutes (depending on size) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

(Directions with Photos)

Clean and dice your strawberries. 
(Don't fret if you or your husband sneak a couple bites, it happens....)

Remove about a cup of the strawberries and set aside.

Then, add your oats to the food processor.

Blend until it's more like a powder.

Add all the remaining ingredients (except the strawberries!). 

Pulse, and scrape edges, until well mixed.

Pour batter into the large bowl of strawberries.

Gently stir until mixed.

Scoop into WELL GREASED muffin tins.

Top with the strawberries you had set aside earlier.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

The regular sized muffins took about 30-35 minutes in my oven, while the mini muffins took about 15-20 minutes. I got 12 regular sized muffins, and about 62 mini muffins from this batch!

Keep in mind that these are denser muffins. They are chewy, oaty, and sweet (but not overpowering). If you're looking for a healthier alternative when you're craving a muffin, you found it! :)


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Transform Your Hoodie from a Pullover to a Zip Up

With an upcoming vacation, and being required to pack lightly, I've been pondering which clothes to pack.
Even though we'll be going to Tennessee where it's warm, the evenings usually cool off, and it's always nice to have a sweatshirt with you. And I'm a sucker for hoodies. :)

I love the pullover hoodies, but since I had two of this particular one, I decided to switch one of them over to a zip up. You will never believe how easy it is!

This is a pretty basic sweatshirt. In fact, I've seen many people wearing it.
{Old Navy must have loved the sales on this one!}

Cut directly down the center and either serge the edge, or zigzag stitch.

Now just add your zipper!

Yep, that's it!

{Since I feel like I'm being choked if my necklines are too high,
I bought a shorter zipper so I could leave the neckline more open.}

Now, wasn't that easy? :)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

DIY Pie Iron Bag

I think I've mentioned before that I'm not a huge fan of summer. I should correct myself. It's not summer that I don't like, it's the hot & humid temperatures that usually tend to come quite often throughout the season. As far as summer activities, I actually enjoy them quite a bit! One of the things that I look forward to the most is camping. I absolutely LOVE camping! 

We used to camp quite often when we were little, and I guess that's where my love for it grew. Didn't matter if we're staying in a cabin, camper, tent or even under the trampoline like we did when we were kids. I think it's the "back woodsy" feeling that just makes you feel happy and energetic. It makes me feel like I could hike 50 miles. {In reality, I probably couldn't even come close. Especially once the s'mores come out and my lazy self gets planted next to the bonfire....} However, I like the feeling. :)

Packing is a process, but I usually don't get too stressed out about it. The only thing I find to be a real pain in the butt is packing the pie irons and roaster sticks. They're always full of charcoal and they tend to swipe grime on everything they come close to.

Honestly, I didn't even realize they sold bags for them. That does make things a lot easier, right? 
Except for one problem. There is no way you could get me to spend twenty bucks on a simple bag just to keep my sticks in one place.

I have a better idea. 

If you have an old pair of jeans and a little time, you can throw a bag together yourself. 
You can even do a little decorating and make it look cute!

Make sure your pant leg is long enough for your irons and cut one leg off.
If you want to do any letters like this, you can do that now. :)

Sew the wider end closed and either serge or zigzag stitch. 
{Using the wider end will give your irons more room at the bottom.}
I rounded the corners of mine, but you can sew it straight across, if you'd prefer.

On the open end, I added a simple handle and velcro across the the inside to keep the irons in place.
{The bag is inside out here.}

Turn it right side out and smile. 
You just saved yourself $20 and you have your own custom iron bag.

Gather up your irons....

....put them in....

....and seal them inside. :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug!

I'd say I've been doing fairly well at eating healthy lately. I've been drinking my green smoothie each morning, exercising almost daily, and trying to cut carbs in the evening. Although I've been able to cure almost every "craving" with a healthy alternative, I had a hankering for a chocolate chip cookie that I just couldn't kick!

I know myself well enough to realize that, if I was to make a batch of cookies (even a small one), it would just be bad news! Even though I could put them in the freezer, as long as they were in the house, I don't think I have enough willpower to stop at just one.

I've been seeing posts on Pinterest for desserts in a mug. Cookies, cakes, brownies, apple crisp...the list goes on! How sweet is that? No pun intended. :) 
I took a couple and altered the recipes to what I thought would be good.

I figured this would be the perfect way to cure my craving without going over the top. worked! 
The warm cookie was perfectly satisfying without making me feel like I failed completely. 
It was soft and fluffy with gooey chocolate chips....and it was exactly what I needed!

Wanna know the best part about this recipe?
You can be enjoying your warm, fresh cookie in as little as 5 minutes from start to finish!
This whole concoction is mixed and microwaved in the same cup, so there's only one dish to wash, too!
I used our "Love Mug" {click here to learn how to make your own} which worked perfectly!
It's kind of a cross between a large coffee mug and a small soup bowl.
You can use a regular coffee mug, though. (Just make sure it's microwave-safe!)

(Directions with Photos)

Microwave the butter in your mug, just until melted.

Stir in brown sugar, vanilla, and salt.

Add egg yolk.

Stir in flour.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Microwave on high for 30-60 seconds. 
(Do NOT cook longer than one minute.)

Serve while warm.


1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
pinch of sea salt
1 egg yolk
3 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp chocolate chips


Heat your butter, just until melted.
Stir in brown sugar, vanilla, and salt.
Add egg yolk.
Stir in flour.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Microwave on high for 30-60 seconds. 
(Do NOT cook longer than one minute.)
Serve while warm.

*CAUTION: Chocolate chips are very hot, and I am not responsible for how fast you gobble this up!

 Believe doesn't last long!

Roasted Zucchini & Carrots

I know it's summer, and roasted vegetables are probably more "appropriate" for fall, but after making the roasted cabbage slices (click here for that recipe!), I just had to try roasting something else! I had some small zucchini and carrots on hand, and decided to give it a go. 

They were a hit! The zucchini was soft and full of flavor, and the carrots were melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The carrots taste similar to sweet potato fries, but are even better. My hubby doesn't like cooked carrots or sweet potatoes, but he ate most of the carrots for dinner!

They were a bit spicy, so if you don't like too much spice, you may want to adjust the seasonings a bit.

I topped a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment and drizzled some olive oil on top.

Then I cleaned and cut the vegetables.

Put your veggies in a container that has a lid (for shaking).

Add your seasonings and some olive oil to help the seasonings stick.

Cover and shake until coated.

Lay them out on the baking sheet. Try not to let them touch, if you can.
Bake at 425 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.

After 10-15 minutes are up, flip them and roast another 10-15 minutes,
 or until they are as tender as you would like them.
(Don't overcook the zucchini too much or they will just get mushy.)

Remove from oven and serve while still hot.

Mmmm....they are making my mouth water just looking at them. :)


zucchini, cleaned and cut into strips
carrots, peeled and cut into strips
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
your choice of seasonings
(I used a hefty sprinkling of each of these: 
sea salt, fresh ground pepper, 
red pepper flakes, paprika, 
Cajun, garlic powder, and onion powder.)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Toss veggies with oil and seasonings until coated.
Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Roast in oven for 10-15 minutes or until bottoms are starting to turn brown.
Flip and roast another 10-15 minutes or until they have reached desired tenderness.
Serve while hot.

Check these out!