Light and Fluffy No-Bake Yogurt Pie

Like many women, I’ve been trying to slowly overhaul my diet and cut out some of the crap.  It has been a challenge to change my ways, especially when it comes to my sweet tooth.  So recently I was trying to figure out a yummy dessert that was slightly less terrible than some of the other desserts that I typically eat (I’m talking about you, Girl Scout cookies).  That’s when I remembered an easy yogurt pie that my mom and I used to make when I was a kid.  I won’t lie, the fact that this pie is easy enough for a 5 year old to make was a huge factor in my decision.  Lori is the real cook at Running on Laughter.  If it is more than a couple of easy steps, I just don’t have the fortitude to stick with a recipe.

Ingredients:

1 Premade Graham Cracker Pie Crust

1/2 Container of Whipped Topping

1 Container of Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt

Optional: Frozen or Fresh Fruit

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As I mentioned, this receipe is super easy. Just mix your yogurt, whipped topping and any fruit add-ins together.

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Then, scoop everything into your pie crust and pop the pie in the freezer.  You can choose to thaw it before serving or eat it like a frozen dessert (my fave!).  If you’re feeling really motivated, you could even place some more fruit on top to add visual interest.

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Happy Hour Craft – Part 1

I’ll admit it…..I really enjoy a cocktail at the end of a long day.  Or a short day. Or any kind of day really. A good drink is just a nice way to unwind in the evenings.  The only problem is that I’m left with empty bottles and no clue what to do with them.  I’m no great environmentalist, but that doesn’t mean that I love the idea of my liquor bottles clogging up landfills.  So I thought that it would be fun to find uses for various items in a new series of crafts based on Happy Hour.  I also expect them to be simple enough that you can successfully accomplish them DURING Happy Hour if you’re so inclined.  Because really….isn’t everything better with wine?

The first of these crafts is so simple that I’m not even sure that you can really call it a “craft.”  It’s more like a two step process that leaves you with a cute soap dispenser.  This one is great for a man (or woman) cave, personalized gift, or even just adding some fun to your guest bathroom.

Supplies:

1) 1 liquor bottle

2) 1 standard pump

3) soap

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Did you know that most standard liquor bottles are the perfect size for your standard soap dispenser pump?  True story! You can find a pump at any home improvement store.  Then, just fill your empty bottle with your favorite soap and screw on the pump.  Voila! Instant gift for the whiskey connoisseur in your life.

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Now if you’ll excuse me, my faithful assistant is informing me that my allotted blogging time is up.  Apparently it is now playtime.

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Quick and Easy Meatballs

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We finally getting our life back together after vacation. The house is clean (ish), we are cooking regularly again and Peanut is back on his sleep schedule. I also finally got a chance to take him to tot time. I try to go pretty regularly to make sure Peanut gets a chance to run around and socialize with other kids. Apparently, it had been too long for Peanut. I debated whether or not to take him since he seemed tired. But decided he would sleep better for it. We were also trying a new place. At first Mason was pretty shy and clung to my leg. After about 30 minutes though he was practically running from activity to activity while throwing his back with a wild, maniacal laugh. Needless to say we will be returning.

Today’s recipe is quick and easy meatballs. I don’t know why but Peanut really loves meatballs. Whenever I am worried he is not eating enough meat I make meatballs since I know they will be devoured in minutes. He is kind of weird kid. If you offer him vegetables or chicken fingers. He will choose veggies – every time. I realize there are worse problems to have when it comes to a child’s eating habits.

Whenever I make meatballs for a potluck I just buy the pre-made ones and make my own sauce. For my family though I try to stick to the homemade kind. The ongredients in the store bought kind bug me. 1. Why are there so many ingredients? 2. Why are so many of them soy?  I have even seen meatballs with high fructose corn syrup. What the what guys? Why is this at thing. These meatballs take 30 minutes so you can throw them together pretty last minute. We have eaten them hoagies, spaghetti and in soups. Make extra and freeze them then you will have them on hand and dinner will even less time.

Quick and Easy Meatballs

Ingredients

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1lb Ground Beef

2 cloves Garlic

 1/4 cup Heavy Cream (Milk also works)

2 Eggs

1 cup Breadcrumbs (Panko is also delish)

1 1/2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Place all ingredients in medium size bowl and mix with hands

2. Form into balls – I made them about the size of a golf ball but you do you. If you make them larger you may need to adjust the cook time.

3. Place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.

4. Bake for 20 minutes.

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As you can see my kitchen helper is not about that patient life and was ready to dig in.

Non-toxic Spring Cleaning

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Hey there!

Is anyone else loving this warmer, sunnier weather?  I’m so happy that the snow is finally starting to thaw.  The fresh air makes it so much easier to focus on all those things that I’ve been neglecting over the winter.

Now that it’s getting closer to summer BBQ weather, I have to make sure that my house is ready for company and impromtu parties.  And you know what that means?  Spring cleaning.

One thing that I hate about spring cleaning is the nasty, toxic chemicals that are in almost everything.  I want something that will scour my bathroom, but I’d rather not scour my lungs at the same time.  Luckily, it’s so cheap and easy to make really nice cleaning products at home with safer alternatives.  Today, I’m going to share my favorite recipe for a simple bathroom cleanser.

Supplies:

1 cup baking soda

1/4 cup castile soap (I like Dr. Bronner’s)

1/2 cup water

1-2 tablespoon(s) white vinegar

3/4 tsp essential oil (I use tea tree for its cleansing properties)

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Slowly mix together the baking soda, water, and castile soap.  Next, add the vinegar and essential oil.  Pour the mixture into your container of choice.  I personally like to use a repurposed squirt top bottle (dish soap bottle, shower gel bottle, whatev) because it’s easier to use for cleaning.

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The water and baking soda will separate a bit, so just give your container a little shake before using it.  Take that, soap scum!

 

 

Green Smoothies

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Hey Guys! We just got back from vacation and now I need vacation from vacation. We spent a week in Florida visiting my family. It was great to see my family and of course they were excited to see Peanut. But guys, lets be real for moment. The highlight for me was seeing Harry Potter World. If you are fan of the movies/books  and you have the opportunity to go then GO! It was seriously awesome; like walking into the movie. I rode the Hogwarts express and went to Honeydukes. Sorry, my nerd is showing.

Anyways, back on topic. We went on vacation. Peanut got to go to Disney World. For him, the whole vacation was about the Dumbo rode and riding trains. He loves trains. So getting to see and ride so many was really exciting. The one thing we did not do was eat a lot vegetables. So when we came home we really wanted to eat something healthy. B has also wanted me to start making her green smoothies. I was fortunate Kris at The Nerdy Chick lent me her Vitamix to try out. It’s awesome and now on my wishlist.

So today I have two green smoothie recipes. Peanut is obsessed with these smoothies. As soon as I poured the Berry Green Smoothie into a glass he lost his ability to chill.

Pineapple Banana Green Smoothie

Ingredients

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1 Cup Greens (I used a mix of Kale, Spinach and Chard)

1 Banana
3/4 Cup Pineapple Chunks

1/4 Cup Coconut Milk (Almond, Soy or Cows Milk will work too)

6-8 Ice Cubes

Directions:

Wash greens then add everything to the blender. Blend until smooth. Devour.

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Berry Green Smoothie

Ingredients

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1 Cup Greens

1/2 Cup Frozen mix berries

1 Banana

1/2 cup Pineapple

1/4 cup Coconut Milk

4-6 Ice Cubes

Directions:

Wash greens then add everything to the blender. Blend until smooth. Devour.

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Baby Approved!

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Balancing Act

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As I write this post, I’m recovering from jet lag AND daylight savings.  I got hit with this double whammy because I spent most of the week out in L.A. for my company’s Diversity Summit.  The event was actually really wonderful.  I work for a pretty conservative company, but I have to admit that I’ve never been more proud of it than I was this week.  It was awesome to see my company prove its dedication to diversity and inclusion by recognizing so many awesome individuals.  Our teams were recognized for everything from recruitment events for under-served communities to providing education and support services for transgender individuals and their families.  So the severe exhaustion is worth it this time.

One of the sessions that I got to attend at the summit was about “Women in Leadership.”  A large portion of the session was devoted to finding some semblance of work/life balance.  Now, before I jump into a discussion of balance, I want to get on my soapbox for a minute…….

Why is it that career discussions targeted to women are the only times that I ever hear about “work/life balance?”  This actually really bugs me because the unspoken assumption seems to be that things like family and home are “women’s work.”  Why don’t we help everyone find work/life balance?  I’m sure most men would welcome permission to spend more time with their kids, and I’d bet money that having an equal partner at home would really help women find this elusive “balance” much more easily.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, we can move on.  One thing that I really enjoyed about this activity is that it didn’t simply separate things into “work” and “life.”  Instead, it took a much more holistic approach and really focused on the many areas that add up to a fulfilling life: career, money, health, social life, family, personal growth (to include spirituality), and fun.  We rated each category from 1-10 to see where we felt things stand today.  This makes it very clear where your life may be out of balance.

I find that whenever I’m not living up to my own standards in a given area, it’s because I feel like I don’t have enough time.  In reality, it is more like this (just replace “internet” with “Orange is the New Black marathon”):

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The truth is, I don’t have it all figured out. I find that I particularly struggle in the “health” category because I routinely ignore my own good advice.  It’s also OK if everything isn’t always working out like you’ve planned.  Sometimes certain areas just have to take priority over others.  The point is to just be aware of how you’re spending your time so that you can create your own version of success.

What tips do you have for maintaining balance?

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DIY Hand Salve

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Lauren and I seem to be on the same page this week; desperately in need of hand lotion. I suffer from awful hand eczema. Seriously guys, its gross and painful and awful. In general I have become pretty good at keeping it in check. The past couple weeks have become of a perfect storm for one of my worst flare-ups. It was a combination of washing my hands non-stop because everyone was sick, the bitter cold weather we have been experiencing and the lovely timing of my cycle.

Every. single. finger. cracked.

Ugh, it was the worst. I couldn’t put my hands in water because it was so painful, which is impossible since I have small menace running around my house. I tried all my usual go-to lotions: Working Hands Hand cream, nipple cream (normally, this will heal anything) and coco-butter. Nothing worked, my fingers continued to crack open. Finally I remembered I pinned a hand salve recipe on pinterest – from this site. I decided to bust it out. I tweaked it based on what I had in my house.

I started using it on Sunday.

Sweet Jesus guys, it worked. I haven’t had anymore fingers split open and the split ones are healing up. I didn’t take before and after pics because it was gross and I care about your eye sight. You’re welcome. Try it out and let me know if it works for you!

Hand Salve

Ingredients

8 Tablespoons Shea Butter

2 Tablespoon Avocado Oil

2 Dropperful Vitamin E Oil

20 Drops Lavender Essential Oil

20 Drops Tea Tree Essential Oil

Directions

1. Place Shea Butter and avocado oil in a double boiler over medium heat. Stir gently until completely melted.

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2. Carefully remove the bowl from heat. Stir in Vitamin E Oil and Essential Oils

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3. Place mixture in a 4oz jar ( I used two 2oz jars).

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4. Place the cream in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to allow it to firm up.

Enjoy!

Beauty Smackdown – Hand Lotion

I’m not sure about you, but I could not be more ready for spring!  I’m so so so so so sick of snow, 11 degree weather, and having to wear boots instead of my cute flats.  I’m also sick of having lizard skin because of the dry winter air.  No matter how hard I try, by the end of winter I always seem to end up with dry, scaly, cracked hands (sexy, I know).  So I’m always on the hunt for the perfect hand cream.

This week, I’m bringing you the first installment of “Beauty Smackdown” with an emphasis on hand creams.  Kris always tells me that I spend too much money on hand lotion, so I hope that my addiction can help you find the perfect cure for dry skin without the empty wallet.

Category 1: Standard

 

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1. J.R. Watkins Shea Butter Hand Cream in Lemon Cream (~$9.49)

Texture – This cream is super, well, creamy without being greasy. It soaks in quickly and you don’t need to use much. My hands instantly felt softer.

Fragrance – This one smells super yummy. I’m generally really sensitive to fragrances, but this has a nice, light, lemon scent that isn’t at all annoying. The only problem is that it makes me a little hungry.

Price – At less than 10 bucks, this is a bargain for something that feels so luxurious.

Other Factors – Paraben-Free, Dye-Free, Phtalate-Free, Propylene Glycol-Free, Not tested on animals (yay)

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

2. Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream (~$16.00)

Texture – This one has more of a gel-cream texture. It isn’t greasy, but it also doesn’t feel like it moisturizes as well as some of the others. It does leave a nice velvet-y texture, but it might be better in the summer when my skin isn’t quite so dry.

Fragrance – This product has a light camphor smell when first applied. I actually really like it, but it disappears really quickly if you don’t want to smell like a pharmacy.

Price – This product is $16.00 for a 1.25 oz tube which isn’t exactly cheap. But…you don’t need to use a lot.

Other Factors: Formulated without sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, petro-chemicals and phthalates.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5

3. Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Ultra-Hydrating Body Butter in Sweet Citrus (~$35.00)

Texture – As the product name implies, this is by far the most hydrating lotion of the lot. It is also the greasiest due to the argan oil. I personally use this one exclusively at night because it makes my hands oily and shiny. On the flip side, it does make my hands feel like heaven. This is the type of thick lotion you’ll want to slather on before donning cotton gloves at bedtime.

Fragrance – Kris described this one as smelling “like a sweettart.” It’s strong without being cloying. I really like this one.

Price – This is the most expensive cream of the lot. At $35, I’d put this into the “splurge” category for sure. But it is an awfully nice splurge.

Other Factors – Formulated without parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, cruelty-free, vegan

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Category 2 : SPF

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1. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen, SPF 15 (~$9.43)

Texture – This is a great texture for an everyday lotion. It’s thick, but soaks in pretty quickly. My skin felt much softer and it seemed to last through several hand washings.

Fragrance – Almost non-existant. Aveeno products always seem like the comfort food of personal care. They’re pretty bland, but always make you feel well cared for.

Price – Totally worth it.

Other Factors – Contains colloidal oatmeal which is supposed to be soothing

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

2. Garnier Skin Renew Dark Spot  Hand Treatment (~$6.99)

Texture – The texture of this lotion is really nice. It feels more like a fluid than a heavy cream. Maybe a little light for dry skin, but I love the way it soaks in almost instantly.

Fragrance – Ok, Garnier. I have to knock off major points in this category. There’s no nice way to say it. This lotion smells like a urinal cake. And the fragrance appears to be fairly long-lasting. It’s not unbearable, but it’s disappointing.

Price – This lotion is a great bargain if you can get past the smell.

Other Factors – None

Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5

3. Supergoop! Forever Young Hand Cream ($12.00)

Texture – I have really mixed feelings about this hand cream. It seems to do a good job, but leaves me feeling a bit oily and shiny. I can’t decide whether or not the high spf makes up for this.

Fragrance – Meh. Not bad. It just sort of smells like salt water to me.

Price – $12.00 will get you a pretty small tube. Again, the only thing really setting this one apart is the high SPF.

Other Factors – Formulated without parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, cruelty-free

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Now it’s your turn, please leave a comment of some of your favorite hand creams!