Fitness Feature: BodyRock 30 day Challenge!

Hey guys! Just a quick post before the weekend gets here and things get crazy.

I have decided that starting this Monday (December 2) I will be starting the BodyRock 30 day Real Time Challenge. I’ve been following Lisa and Sean on Facebook and have done their HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts, but have never stuck with it. The main trainer, Lisa is AMAZING. She is really great about encouraging people of all shapes and sizes to start on her FREE programs (yes, all of the videos are 100% FREE!) and shows you how to modify the workouts for beginners!

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I’ll let you all know how my first week goes next Friday.

In the meantime, check it out right here and let me know if you want to do the challenge with me!

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Pinterest Post: Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends yesterday!

Since we were unable to go back East to spend the holiday with family, we got together with some Navy friends and had dinner. For this special occasion I made a Chocolate Chess Pie.

What is that? Good question! Imagine your favorite gooey brownie batter baked until just molten in the center. Now combine that with a pie crust shell and whipped topping. Yum, right?!

Make this recipe ASAP, just know it is super rich, so I suggest cutting the pie into at least 8-10 pieces.

Chocolate Chess Pie
from Ezra Pound Cake

Ingredients
1 unbaked pie crust (I used the frozen deep dish variety!)
1&1/2 cups sugar
3 heaping Tablespoons cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
5 ounces evaporated milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, and salt until blended.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the evaporated milk, melted butter, beaten eggs, and vanilla. If you’re like me, though, you’d do all of this in the measuring cup containing the evaporated milk. The less dirty dishes, the better 🙂
4. Pour liquid ingredients onto dry and whisk to combine.
5. Pour pie filling into unbaked pie crust and tap to release air bubbles.
6. Bake for 40-50 minutes. The center should still be a bit jiggly, but the top will be set.
Optional: Once cooled completely, pipe or spread whipped topping onto pie and dust with chocolate sprinkles.

Enjoy!

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Fashion Feature: Chunky Knit Sweaters

Hey guys! Happy Thanksgiving week!

Most of us all around the country are feeling some cooler (and possibly snowy!) weather this week just in time for Thanksgiving! This holiday, I’m obsessing over what to wear this Thursday knowing that I’m going to want to indulge in a bunch of homemade foods without looking like I’m busting out of my clothing from being so filled up!

Enter in my secret weapon: Chunky Knit Sweaters. These versatile, comfortable fashion pieces are loose and bulky in the cutest way possible. Pair one with leggings and boots or skinny jeans and flats to help balance the weight and flow of these chunky tops. Here are some of my favorite Chunky Sweater looks:

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My only advice to enjoy these unique tops? Just make sure you wear fitted bottoms to balance your outfit. Leave the “sack of potatoes” look to the meal preparation 😉

Pinterest Post: Surviving Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is only a week away and I am sure that many of you are hosting Thanksgiving for your family or friends (friendsgiving?)

Here are a few ingenious ideas to help you stay sane while giving you an opportunity to truly reflect on the purpose of the holiday: giving thanks for family, friends, and the little things in life that make it so great!

Kids Table
If you are fortunate brave enough to have little ones coming to your dinner, this might help keep them from running around the house and knocking over fine china.

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A sheet of butcher paper, some crayons, and a little guidance (tic-tac-toe board, crossword, etc.) can keep little bodies busy.

A unique dessert
Most people think of pumpkin and sweet potato pies on thanksgiving, but why not make another option that no one has tried yet? Something safe like this ooey-gooey brownie pie served over vanilla bean ice cream is guaranteed to be a big hit!

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Pre-carving the Turkey
There is something undeniably beautiful about a whole roast turkey at the dinner table, but pre-cutting a slow-roasted bird makes the dinner line or passing around the table go much quicker.

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Understated Autumn Decorations
DIY some decorations that will work for the whole fall season. Put these up at the beginning of October next year and revel in the fact that you won’t have much to do to get your home in the Turkey-Day spirit next year! Even if you haven’t set up your decorations yet, do it this weekend to save time on the day of dinner!

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Have any other good ideas of how to make your Thanksgiving focused on Giving Thanks and not controlling chaos? Leave a comment and I will add it to this post!

Creative Housewarming Gifts

As we continue our search for a home here in California, I have started thinking about all of our friends who are also new or looking-to-be-new homeowners. Since we live far from many of our family and East Coast friends who are on the hunt for a new home, I got to looking around for fun, creative, or unique housewarming gifts that I could send them. Here are a few of my favorites:

DIY & Drinks

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A bottle of wine or their favorite spirit with a hand-tool is a great gift! A cute saying like the one above makes it funny and memorable for years to come!

Welcome Home!

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An inexpensive, plain doormat painted with the couple’s initials really helps make the threshold feel like home.

Burlap & Monogram

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A scrap piece of burlap, a dollar store frame, and a mat from the craft store help make this easy DIY project a unique way to commemorate the year your friends bought their new place!

The Small Things Gift Basket

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A basket or package filled with small, commonly used (but forgotten) items is great for those people who are embarking on their very first home purchase. A flashlight, batteries, Goo Gone, hand soap, and other miscellaneous items are a life-saver for those times when you think you have it all, but don’t!

Have any other great gift ideas for new homeowners? Comment below!

Fashion Feature: Polka Dots

Hey y’all! I hope your week has started out fantastically!

Lately, I have seen my fashion obsessions leaning towards polka dots. I even got my pup a polka dot shirt!

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Here are some of my fave ways to sport this fun fashion trend!

Tops

Peek a boo! Wear a collared polka dot top under a sweater!

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Funky Party Polkas! Mixed color polka dots keep this fashion fun!

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Keep it Classy with Polka dots and a Cardigan!

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Bottoms

Pencil Skirts are awesome with this trend!

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Accessories

We all know how much I love scarves! These two prove how awesome the two are together!

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Recipe of the Week: Bacon Pot Pie

Don’t think your eyes are fooling you. You read that title correct…Bacon Pot Pie.

Bad for you? Definitely (if you use the original recipe). Delicious and indulgent and worthy of a major splurge meal? Totally!

Pictures don’t really do this dish justice, as its hard to make it look pretty, but believe me, it is a great recipe for a cool fall day.

Bacon Pot Pie
Modified from Tammilee Tips

Ingredients
1 lb. bacon, diced (low sodium is the best for this recipe, in my opinion)
1 medium sweet onion, minced (I did this in the food processor)
2 stalks celery, minced
2 potatoes, diced (I actually used leftover mashed potatoes and it still worked!)
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup skim milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 refrigerated prepared pie crust sheet

Directions
1. In a large frying pan, brown diced bacon until crispy. Set aside on paper towels to drain.
2. Pour out all but 1 Tablespoon of the bacon fat, then add in the onions, celery, and potatoes to the pan. Sauté until onions are browned and potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes.
3. Sprinkle flour over veggies and combine until flour is absorbed. Add in the drained bacon, sour cream and milk and simmer until thickened.
4. Take pan off heat and stir in one cup of the cheddar cheese.
5. Spray four to six ramekins with cooking spray and ladle in filling mixture. Top each filed ramekin with remaining cheddar cheese evenly.
6. Using a round cookie cutter or glass, cut out circles of pie dough to cover each ramekin. Once covered, seal the sides to the edge of the ramekins and cut a small “X” into the top of each crust to vent.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until the crust is golden and the pot pies are hot.

Keep in mind I do not advocate eating this often. It is not healthy by any means, even with my “lower calorie” substitutes. It is, however, great for a special occasion or a once-a-year treat! Make it even healthier by adding in more fresh veggies!

Dream Kitchen

Happy Wednesday! As some of you may know, Jeff and I are house hunting since a mortgage on many beautiful townhomes are less expensive than our current rent. We have put a few bids down so far, but no luck yet. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we can get a place by Christmas! The biggest changes that we have been wanting to make in these early 2000 townhomes are details in the kitchen. Now while the appliances are nice, many of these places come with tile counters (eewwwww…), yellowish wood (I think they were going for pine??), and tiled white floors (can you say dirt?!)

We’ve decided if faced with these challenges in our eventual home, here is what we will be doing; aptly named “Modern Country”

thank you Pinterest for the ideas…

Concrete or Butcherblock Countertops

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Dark Wood Laminate Floors

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White Cabinets with Brushed Nickel Hardware

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Extras
Mason Jar Chandelier

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Glass Tile Backsplash

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Over the Sink Utensil Rack

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What do you think? Any changes you’d make? Keep your fingers crossed for us as we are supposed to hear back on a great home that we bid on this Friday!!