Monday, December 30, 2013

Cranberry Mimosas

Orange juice mimosas are so 2013; instead why don't you ring in 2014 with the infinitely more posh Cranberry Mimosa?  I discovered this drink in a Macon restaurant called Dovetail, and promptly proclaimed it my new favorite cocktail.  The cranberry juice is incredibly refreshing and compliments the champagne just perfectly.  Added bonus?  It looks gorgeous in a glass.  Pop in a few fresh cranberries, and you'll be the classiest chick (or dude) at the New Years Eve Ball.

Friday, December 20, 2013

My Favorite Holiday Dishes

Need some food inspiration for your holiday cooking?  I'd love to share some of my absolute favorite things to make for the holidays!


It's very rare to have the experience of being served a truly perfect meal.  I can count on one hand how often I have enjoyed an absolutely flawless restaurant experience, from the service to the drinks to the food.

Last weekend, the 5&10 provided me with my first perfect meal in Athens.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Natural Daily Shower Spray

I don't know about you guys, but my shower gets dirty QUICK.  I think it's because my shower is the type that has a glass door, so it's small and enclosed, meaning that it doesn't dry off as quick, allowing icky stuff to grow faster.  Due to this, I have to do a thorough shower cleaning more than I'd like; using more elbow grease than my lazy body wants to do.  I've thought about buying a daily shower cleaner to help with maintenance, but it's pretty darn expensive and full of chemicals.  So I thought to myself...what if I just make my own?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Savory Roasted Butternut Squash

Last week I decided to make butternut squash for my toddler; it sounded like the perfect healthy finger food.  However, I found myself sneaking piece after piece with my adult fingers, and decided that it was definitely good enough for grown-ups too!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Crack Macaroni and Cheese

I have spent the last few years trying to find THE best macaroni and cheese recipe.  I've come close, but hadn't quite found the one.  I scoured the interwebs, searching through culinary message boards, when I first heard it referenced... "Crack Mac and Cheese".  I blew it off the first time I saw it, but when I saw it mentioned again, my interest was piqued.  Apparently this mac and cheese was so delicious, it was more addicting than crack.  I soon discovered that "Crack Mac and Cheese" was really Martha Stewart's more classily named "Perfect Macaroni and Cheese".  (Maybe there can be some sort of happy medium for its Cocaine Macaroni and Cheese?)  I decided to make it for my family's hugely attended Thanksgiving dinner, where I would get a lot of good feedback.  Of course anything referenced as "crack" and is also made by Martha Stewart was going to be delectable, and it sure as heck was.  It was ahhhh-mazing. I had found the ONE.  My mac and cheese soulmate!  Here's my one big tip: don't be lazy with the topping.  I usually just sprinkle on some panko crumbs or crushed Ritz Crackers, but decided to go all out for Martha's sake, and by golly, it was worth the extra 5 minutes of effort.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Zucchini Lasagna

Many are surprised to learn that I suffered from gestational diabetes during my pregnancy. I've found that a lot of people have misconceptions about gestational diabetes, such as believing that only those who are overweight and/or have unhealthy eating habits can get it.  While those factors can be a cause, some people (like myself), just have rotten (genetic) luck, and get it regardless of our life choices.  I would get so upset when I would hear women saying that they weren't worried about their gestational diabetes test, because they ate healthy or hadn't gained a lot of pregnancy weight.  It made me feel as if it was MY fault for having gestational diabetes; like I was already failing as a mother, before my child was even born.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

If you've been following my blog lately, it's pretty clear that I'm on a cheesecake kick. My guilt-free basic cheesecake recipe is just so easy and quick to make, and it's been fun thinking up new types of cheesecake to bake.  This past week I decided to add in some frozen raspberries, and it was delicious.  Please note that if you make these, it will not have a completely smooth creamy consistency--it will have a raspberry consistency.  You know, since it's pureed with raspberries and all. :)  Feel free to substitute your favorite frozen fruit instead of raspberries.  I bet it would be great with blueberries!  This is a great way to sneak healthy fruits into your kid's (or husband's) dessert.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

I Love Athens Georgia

50 Things I Love About Athens

I have lived in Athens, Georgia for eight years now, making it the longest I have lived anywhere in my entire life.  Usually after a few years of residence, I start itching for a change of scenery.  However, against all odds, I have found myself feeling happily settled here in Athens.  Perhaps I shouldn't have been so surprised, considering there are so many wonderful and unique aspects of this great town.  After reflecting on these qualities, I feel compelled to share some of the reasons I love Athens so much.   

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares

The leaves in Georgia are finally turning red and yellow, allowing it to finally feel like fall.  In celebration, I immersed myself in the current pumpkin-craze, and whipped up a Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake.  Like my other skinny cheesecake recipes, it's low in calories yet somehow still creamy and delicious.  Best of all, it is seriously a breeze to make.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Skinny Cheesecake Squares

Earlier this year, I created a recipe called Skinny Chocolate Cheesecake Squares.  The recipe is ridiculously easy, quick, and low in calories, so it's no surprise that it became the most popular dessert recipe on my blog.  Due to its popularity, I decided to create a basic non-chocolate version of it, for those that prefer their cheesecake more traditional.  Feel free to top it with your favorite fruit!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Buffalo Turkey Burgers with Blue Cheese & Broccoli Slaw

A few years ago, I was traveling up to Canada to attend a good friend's wedding.  I flew into Buffalo, NY and from there planned on taking a train the rest of the way. I had a few hours to kill before my train departed, so I decided to explore the city.  I soon found myself at the famous Anchor Bar, also known as the birthplace of Buffalo Wings. This, my friends, is the moment where my obsession with buffalo sauce begins.  Oddly enough, while I love the sauce, I'm not a huge fan of eating chicken wings (too much work!), so I'm always looking out for other ways to indulge my obsession.  Recently, I stumbled upon a recipe from Skinnytaste that looked so alluring that I had to make it RIGHT THEN.  I altered the recipe just a bit to suit my tastes, by substituting red bell pepper for the carrots, and changing a few other things to make it a bit easier to prepare.  So, what was the verdict?  My husband took one bite, looked at me, and said "I'm so glad you are my wife".

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sautéed Spinach & Mushrooms

The other day I was trying to decide which side to have with my meal:  sautéed mushrooms or wilted spinach?  I ended up throwing caution to the wind and decided to combine both, and voila, my Sautéed Spinach & Mushrooms recipe was created.  This is a very simple and very nutritious side that can be whipped up in ten minutes, and tastes pretty scrumptious too. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

(No) Cream of Broccoli Soup

I'm a sucker for creamy vegetable soups.  Its richness makes you completely forget that it's filled with healthy vegetables.  However, these type of soups are often made with heavy cream and loads of butter (yum, I know), making it awfully high in fat and calories.  Well, this particular (No) Cream of Broccoli Soup has all the richness that you know and love, but is actually made with no cream or milk at all.  You'd never know by the taste though; it's just as velvety and creamy as the higher calorie version.  Plus, it has the benefit of being full of not one, but two, healthy green veggies.  So slurp away without guilt!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Sometimes you have a day where you just need some comfort food.  I had a whole week of those days last week, so after some recipe searching, I decided on Chicken Spaghetti Casserole.  It looked warm and cheesy and filling, and yes, it is made with the "cream of" soups I usually avoid, but darn it, sometimes you just want something easy.  So if you are looking for a filling one-dish meal that has a reasonable amount of calories (and taste), this Chicken Spaghetti Casserole is perfect for you.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Zucchini Tots

I had another great Pinterest find this month: Zucchini Tots.  The recipe is from The Curious Country Cook, and was described as a healthy snack for adults.  However, I took one look at the recipe and decided that those tots were also the perfect side dish for, well, tots.  Tots for tots!  They are the perfect size for little hands, and contain just enough cheese and bread to hide their nutritious secret.  Plus the recipe can be made in bulk and frozen, and reheated as needed.  So basically the Zucchini Tot recipe had everything I look for in toddler food. The only problem?  They were so good that I found myself eating half of every batch I made.  Oops!  Well, at least they are healthy for children and adults.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Enchilada Sauce

Some stuff isn't worth making from scratch (in my humble opinion) because it just takes too long or is too complicated.  Fortunately, enchilada sauce isn't one of those things.  It is surprisingly easy and quick to make, and seriously tastes so much better than the store-bought kind.  I used Tide and Thyme's recipe, because it looked both quick and tasty, and I was right.  It took about 20 minutes to make 4 cups of deliciously rich enchilada sauce.  

Enchilada Casserole

Aren't casseroles are just the best?  You throw various ingredients into a dish, and BAM, you have your entree & sides all in one place.  Plus, for some reason when you serve food together in a casserole dish, the meal becomes comfort food.  Eating healthy shouldn't have to mean denying yourself comfort foods, so I decided to try my hand at creating a healthy Enchilada Casserole that doesn't taste healthy.  That meant that I couldn't decrease the amount of cheese too much (because honestly, that's the best part), so I saved fat and calories by using lean ground turkey.  I made my own enchilada sauce from scratch (surprisingly easy!), but feel free to use store-bought if you're in a hurry.  Just remember that the casserole will only be as good as the enchilada sauce you use (it's a large part of the dish, after all), so buy the good stuff.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Green Chile Egg Casserole

I recently attended a party at my friend Randi's house, where she served a Southwestern Egg Casserole as the main dish.  It was crazy delicious, so of course I had to ask for the recipe.  It was such a hit at her party, that I decided to make it for my daughter's birthday party the following month.   It really is the perfect casserole to make for a crowd; it's the kind of dish where everyone asks for the recipe.  I'm pretty sure it's the inclusion of cottage cheese that makes this casserole stand out amongst all the other egg casseroles; its texture is just incredibly pleasant. It's cheesy, silky, and zesty. Yum!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

I am the human Cookie Monster. When I see cookies, my eyes go googly and I literally will yell "COOKIES!"  My daughter seems to have inherited my cookie love, so for that reason I decided to make her a Cookie Cake for her 2nd birthday.  Since it was a Sesame Street themed party, I didn't just make any old Cookie Cake, I made a Cookie Monster Cake.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

I admit it.  I have a chocolate addiction.  I crave chocolate in the evening as much as I crave coffee in the morning. Thankfully chocolate, in moderation, is not necessarily bad for you.  What is bad for you is the heavily processed chocolate that makes up most of the chocolate sold in the United States.  Chocolate syrup, in particular, is often filled with ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and and scary ingredients.  So imagine my delight when I stumbled upon a Homemade Chocolate Syrup recipe by Kitchen Treaty that proved to be a breeze to make....and was a million times better than the commercially-made kind.  In addition to it being a "cleaner" version, it also has substantially less sugar than the store bought kind. I altered the original recipe by reducing the sugar even further, and upped the salt a little.  The result? Seriously the best chocolate syrup I have ever had.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Zesty Turkey Burgers with Sriracha Mayo

As you have likely noticed, I'm a big fan of Pinterest.  When it's time for me to do my meal planning for the week, I look at my "Healthy Food" board on Pinterest, and make whatever recipe photo catches my eye.  This week, Kitchen Confidante's picture of their Cilantro-Sriracha Turkey Burgers was what made my stomach growl.  Since my tummy had spoken, I made these Zesty Turkey Burgers, and they were fabulous.  Easy to make, healthy to ingest, heaven to eat.  Win, win, win.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Broccoli Bites

I am constantly trying to come up with creative ways to sneak more vegetables into my toddler's diet.  Recently I saw a recipe for "Broccoli Bites for Kids" on a blog called Stacey Snacks.  I was doubtful that this was something my kid would eat, but I gave it a try any how.  Much to my surprise, my picky child ate the whole thing! True, I had to do the "Take a Monster Bite" song and dance (sung to the tune of Monster Mash, obviously) to get her to eat it, but this is a kid who won't even try a bite of pizza.  After she finished, it was one of those parenting moments where you honestly expect a six foot trophy to be presented to you.  I got my kid to eat something GREEN!  Woo!  Even better, the rest of the batch froze beautifully, and reheated easily in the microwave.  Which means I can have a healthy side dish on hand for dinner that only takes 30 seconds to prepare. Now where's my trophy?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

White Chicken Chili

I've always been intrigued by the idea of a White Chicken Chili, but somehow have made it my entire life without making it or even trying a bite of it.  The other day I decided to remedy that situation and make a huge pot of it.  As I have a habit of doing, I looked at many different recipes for White Chicken Chili, and then came up with my own.  Not to toot my own horn, but the chili turned out to be wonderful!  Not only did it taste great, but it is under 200 calories for a huge bowl of it, and chock full of healthy ingredients.  While it does take around an hour to cook, it makes a massive amount; about ten servings.  I recommend freezing half of it, so you have a dinner (or three) for another day.  Don't forget the garnishes for the chili; I really enjoyed mine topped with diced avocado and shredded cheese.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Banana Bread Muffins

A few days ago, I found myself staring at some incredibly overripe bananas, debating on whether to throw them out or try to make banana bread with them.  I knew our family wouldn't be able to eat a whole loaf of banana bread before it went stale, so I came up with the idea to make Banana Bread Muffins and freeze them instead.  I looked at several Banana Bread recipes to get an idea of what sort of ingredients are used, and then using that as a guideline, created my own recipe, using as many healthy alternatives as I thought I could get away with, without sacrificing the flavor. Since I don't eat bananas, I had to rely on my husband and toddler to critique the outcome.  My toddler, who might be the pickiest eater ever, gobbled them down in under two minutes.  My husband pronounced it "delicious!" and was shocked when I told him they were healthy.  Success!  I froze the remaining muffins, so now I have an easy breakfast for them.  I just pop one out of the freezer, microwave, and voila, a relatively healthy breakfast in under 30 seconds.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pimento Cheese

My favorite Southern food (other than Buttermilk Pie), has to be Pimento Cheese.  It saddens me to think that this delicious concoction is not easily available to such a huge portion of our country! Okay, I'm being just a tad dramatic, but for real, y'all, Pimento Cheese is the bees knees.  Some folks like to eat with crackers as a dip, where others prefer it between two slices of Sunbeam white bread. As for me?  I'm a big fan of making it the "cheese" part of a cheeseburger: just spread it on your bun cold, and the warm burger will make it gooey.  My newest favorite way to eat it is to make a sandwich of it--grilled or cold--with a topping of pepper jelly.  I can't take credit for this idea; I had it served to me at a local restaurant (Em's Kitchen) and have loved it ever since.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Avocado Chicken Salad

I kind of love it when I realize that I have no idea what I'm going to make for dinner, and it's too late to run out to the grocery store to get supplies.  The situation forces me to be creative, and come up with a dish using only the ingredients I already have on hand.  It's like I'm a contestant on Top Chef!  This is what happened to me last night.  I had leftover diced chicken, a few limes, an avocado that was about to be over-ripe, and an unopened bag of raw cashews. As usual, my fridge was stocked with cilantro, sour cream, and mayonnaise, and so I created....Avocado Chicken Salad with Cashews.  I topped the finished product with a hefty drizzle of Sriracha Sauce, and found myself fan-girling over my own recipe.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Branded Butcher

When news of the Branded Butcher's arrival in Athens hit my husband's ears, he was pretty darn excited. A restaurant specializing in charcuterie?  My meat loving spouse thought he died and woke up in the Atlanta food scene.  Due to his enthusiasm, I agreed to the Branded Butcher as the restaurant to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary.  We could not have chosen a better restaurant, because the Branded Butcher was absolutely the most fun dining experience we have ever had in in Athens.  Because we have only eaten there once, I'm hesitant to out right say it, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the Branded Butcher might be the best fine dining restaurant that Athens has to offer.  

Friday, July 19, 2013


A few weeks ago, I pinned a recipe on Pinterest for "Broccomole" by Domestic Fits.  Instead of using avocado to make guacamole, she ingeniously uses broccoli instead. I'm always looking for ways to get more broccoli in my diet (some say that it is the healthiest vegetable on earth), so I had to give it a try, even though I was skeptical of the results.  Amazingly enough, it turned out pretty darn fantastic! It was a breeze to whip up, especially since I used a bag of frozen broccoli instead of fresh.  I served it to my unknowing husband, who was shocked to later learn that it was avocado-less.  I personally can taste a hint of broccoli, but it still is incredibly similar in taste to avocado guacamole...except with a quarter of the calories and fat.  While I'm a huge proponent of the healthy fats that avocado provide, it's always nice to to have a lighter dip to gorge on too.  Which is why I set the serving size at a HUGE 1/4th of the entire thing. Eat it with sliced bell peppers, and it's one of the healthiest guilt-free snacks ever.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rhinestone Cowboy Caviar

On of my favorite recipes in the world was created by my amazingly talented friend Jessica.  It's so delicious, inexpensive, quick, and easy to make that it has become a weekly staple in our house for over five years.  No other recipe has managed that kind of longevity in my kitchen.  The recipe is a take on the famous Cowboy Caviar dip, which Jessica jazzed up into an entree, and declared it Rhinestone Cowboy Caviar.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Swiss Chard with Beans & Goat Cheese

Many years ago, after hearing how wonderful Swiss chard was for you, I bought a bunch of it, brought it home, and found myself staring at it in confusion as it sat on my kitchen counter. What on earth was I suppose to do with Swiss chard?  After some research, I decided on a recipe I found on Allrecipes for Swiss Chard with Pinto Beans and Goat Cheese.  I've changed a few things from the original recipe over the years to suit my own tastes, but not much.  The recipe is just a fantastic way to get Swiss chard in your diet, and a great way to introduce the vegetable to wary eaters. The recipe is pretty versatile: don't like goat cheese? Use feta. Black bean not your favorite bean? Use whatever your favorite type of bean is then.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chorizo & Egg Tacos

Like my Tofu & Avocado Tacos, Chorizo & Egg Tacos were created by combining a few foods I had been craving and throwing it together on a corn tortilla.  I had recently read a review about how Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo was amazingly delicious, and I had been hankering for Sweet Potato Hash, while also jonesing for I came up with Chorizo & Egg Tacos with Sweet Potatoes and Avocado.  And it was crazy good!  While I used Soy Chorizo to make it vegetarian (and lighter in calories and fat), feel free to use regular chorizo, but know that it makes the dish not as healthy (obviously).  I can't vouch for other brands of Soy Chorizo, but even my meat-loving husband went nuts over how good Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo was ("it tastes just like meat!"), so I highly recommend using that if you can.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Vegetable Alfredo Lasagna

While doing my favorite evening activity (perusing Pinterest while drinking a glass of red wine), I stumbled upon a recipe that had me literally drooling in anticipation:  a Vegetable Alfredo Lasagna.  Unlike most recipes I "pin", I actually made this recipe just a few days after discovering it.  I'm not going to lie: this recipe takes a long time to make (as most lasagnas do), but it's bursting with so much veggie goodness that you feel like Popeye after you eat a square.  Even the "Alfredo" is packed with veggie nutrients--it's made with cauliflower!  I changed some of the veggies called for in the recipe to suit my own tastes (and what was growing in our garden), and I lowered the amount of cheese and noodles to make it even healthier (I got it under 500 calories for a freaking HUGE serving!).  Feel free to modify the lasagna for your own preferences.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos are my ultimate summer comfort food.  Seriously, is there anything better after a day of playing in the water and baking in the sun? My fish tacos are made with tilapia (our region's standard white fish), but any white fish will work.  I also like use a ton of avocado, and limit the corn tortillas, so I eat mine open faced with a knife and fork.  However, the recipe is easily adaptable to your personal tastes, so increase or decrease the jalapenos if you need to, load up on corn tortillas if that's what you like, and use your favorite taco toppings. Definitely don't skip the jalapeno tartar sauce though--it's the best part!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

There are very few things that my picky toddler will eat, and she seems to have a strong preference for processed foods. *Sigh*  So I try my best to pick out the healthiest out of the processed foods, such as wheat bread for her "Cheesy Bread" lunch.  I had assumed that if the bread's packaging had words like "natural" and "made with whole wheat" and such, it meant that it was you know, healthy.  However, after a little research, I learned that most bread in the grocery store is pretty awful for you, even the ones that call themselves "healthy".  This article from 100 Days of Real Food was one of the things I read that really opened up my eyes.  Frustrated by the commercial trickery, I decided to buy a bread machine and make my own bread. It's been a great purchase: the bread is easy to make, tasty to eat, and healthy for our bodies.  I've tried a few recipes, and played around with ingredients, and finally perfected a Honey Whole Wheat Bread recipe that our whole family loves.  I hope yours does too. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Skinny Fudge

Oh my goodness, you guys...these are so good!  This recipe for Weight Watcher's Fudge popped up on my Pinterest newsfeed the other day, and when I looked at the recipe, I was shocked that I actually had all the ingredients on hand--including items that I usually never have in my kitchen (evaporated milk and marshmallows).  I figured it was a sign from above telling me to make the fudge right that second.  So of course I did, and then fell into a state of fudgy bliss.  While these are little higher in sugar than my normal fare, this fudge is totally worth it!  I did alter the original recipe a little (less sugar, added vanilla & salt), but it's all for the better, I like to think. Also, the original recipe called for cutting the fudge into 36 teeny tiny squares to make it lower calorie, but I prefer normal serving sizes, so I made my servings bigger by cutting it into only 25 squares.  It's still only 137 decadent calories a piece.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Charleston Restaurant Round-Up

My husband and I recently returned from a wonderful anniversary trip to Charleston, South Carolina. While the sights were beautiful, and the history charming, what really stood out for us was the food.  Charleston is seriously a foodie mecca. The only other vacation where we ate so well was in Grand Cayman for our wedding and honeymoon.

But let's focus back on Charleston: we ate at so many great restaurants that I just don't have the time to do them all justice with a full review.  Instead, I'm going to do a restaurant round-up, and hit the highlights.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Apple Almond Fudge

I recently stumbled upon a recipe for All Natural Apple and Almond Butter Fudge on a blog called Inspired Edibles.  I loved that the recipe was completely made up of healthy and unprocessed ingredients.  It was a breeze to make, and every single person I've served it to has loved it: including my VERY picky toddler who pretty much hates everything.  I had originally thought it would make a good dessert, but after trying it, I feel like it makes an even better snack.  It's filled with protein and healthy fats, so it keeps you nice and full during those long stretches between meals.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

African Chicken Stew

African Chicken Stew is absolutely one of my all time favorite dishes.  It is hearty, yet healthy, which leaves your stomach feeling full and happy afterwards.  I discovered the recipe a few years back on AllRecipes, and have gradually adapted it to my own tastes.  The most recent change I made to the recipe was switching white potatoes to sweet potatoes, which in my personal opinion, has officially made the recipe perfect.  Since the recipe no longer needs tinkering, I figured it was time to share African Chicken Stew with you guys!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Open Faced Tuna Melts

Tuna Melts have always been one of my ultimate comfort foods. Growing up, my dad could only cook two things: omelets and tuna melts, and he made both of those things better than anyone else in the world.  I'll never know all my dad's tricks for making a stellar tuna melt, but I'll spend my life trying to replicate it. So while the recipe below is no "Dad's Tuna Melt", it's a pretty tasty (and skinny) rendition.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Natural All-Purpose Cleaner

A few weeks ago, my husband asked if I knew of any natural cleaning sprays that we could make.  Since I have been so focused on natural food, hair care, and skin products, he assumed that I would have several natural cleaner recipes on hand. I told him that I hadn't really worried about it: my commercial all-purpose cleaner wasn't being applied to my skin or digested, so it wasn't a pressing concern.  My husband then pointed out that we use that spray to clean our kitchen counters and tables, which food touches, and my child regularly eats directly off of; and when I do a thorough cleaning, the air is misty with cleaner for awhile, so we are probably breathing in a good portion of chemicals.  Um.....good point.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

While I am no longer dieting, I am still focused on eating healthy food.  However, I no longer define healthy food is as strictly low calorie and/or fat.  Instead, "healthy" food means that it is made with real, unprocessed ingredients that pack nutritional value.  Amazingly enough, I have somehow managed to continue to lose inches on my non-diet, which includes eating Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge nearly every night. That's right, I found HEALTHY fudge!  And it is decadent.  It is made with only 5 ingredients; with no egg, butter, or refined sugar.  It is full of healthy fat, which is great for your metabolism, heart, and even hair.  This fudge is also incredibly easy to make, and has gotten rave reviews from everyone I've served it to.  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Toddler Activities in Athens, Georgia

When my daughter first learned to walk, she was suddenly no longer content to be confined within the walls of our home. I remember panicking, wondering where on earth I could take her every day.  After all, Athens is a town geared towards college students, not children...or so I thought.  It turns out there are actually a decent number of activities in our lovely town, although they can be difficult to spot amidst all the collegiate activities.  I remember feeling so lost in the beginning, trying to find ways to entertain my feisty toddler, and unsure of where to go.  I am therefore motivated to share what I've learned to help prevent other parents from feeling the same way. 

Skinny Brownies

Last week I decided to try to come up with my own Skinny Brownie recipe.  I had several failed attempts (which I mercilessly pawned off on several friends, sorry guys!), but eventually I came up with a winner.  Not only are these brownies nice and moist, they have the added benefit of being vegan and low sugar.  They also don't take very much time or effort to make, which I always appreciate.  I topped my brownies with a generous sprinkle of sea salt, which I felt like added a fun dimension to the brownies.  However, if you are unsure about the (amazing) salty and sweet combination, feel free to leave that part out.  

Friday, May 3, 2013

Natural Baby Wash & Shampoo

I had been using all natural products on myself for a few months, when I began to wonder why I wasn't doing the same for my toddler. I had been washing her hair with Johnson & Johnson's Baby Shampoo, and cleaning her skin with Aveeno's Baby Wash every night.  I did some research on both, and was not happy about what I learned.  I don't have the energy to go into it all on my blog, but let's just say that both are full of unnecessary and sketchy (at best) chemicals, that I'd rather not lather into my child's skin. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pasta Alla Norma

For my birthday this year, my sister-in-law made an amazing Pasta Alla Norma, which translates to pasta with tomato sauce and eggplant.  I always have bad luck when I try to cook with eggplant (it's totally my cooking nemesis), but the pasta was so good, I was desperate to try to replicate it.  The problem is, like most great cooks, my sister-in-law doesn't follow a recipe, she just wings it.  So I pestered her for hours for every tip and ingredient involved, and then armed with her advice, I gave it my all.  I think it turned out pretty great (though not sure if it was quite as good as my sister-in-law's). It's a little higher in carbs than I usually have for dinner, but a hearty bowl is under 400 calories, which makes it diet-friendly.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

All Natural Skin Care

My journey to an all natural skin care regimen began just like my natural hair care regimen did: with pure vanity.  Since I got pregnant with my daughter three years ago, my face has been a wreck.  I've battled acne like a pubescent teenager, and my face has had random dry patches and redness.  I tried every type of face cleanser, astringent, lotion, and spot treatment.  But the more I threw at it, the worse it seemed to get.  Eventually I decided to cut back to a simpler routine, and I started washing my face once a day with Cetaphil Gentle cleanser, and that seemed to have improved my skin the most.  However, my skin was still far from perfect, so I continued my search for a solution.

The Discovery

Friday, April 26, 2013

Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps

This recipe is derived from my former tried-and-true recipe for tacos.  The difference is, my old recipe called for higher fat ground beef, copious amounts of cheese, and absurd amounts of guacamole and sour cream.  And of course I served it all on overly-processed flour tortillas.  Man, were they good.  I'm not going to promise that this healthier version tastes better than the original, but I can promise that it's pretty darn close.  Plus, it's nice to not feel uncomfortably full after a hearty Mexican dinner.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


June 29, 2014 Update:  I wrote this review over a year ago, and a few months after it was published, I noticed that Peppino's pizza's quality had deteriorated.  I held out hoping that I was catching them on a bad day, but it has now been more than a year of nothing but disappointing pizzas.  They have traded out their creamy, thick cheese for a much cheaper, stringier and drier version.  The toppings are incredibly sparse.  Everything I loved about Peppino's pizza is pretty much gone.  So it is with a heavy heart that I have to renounce my positive review.  If you are looking for a good slice of pizza, I now recommend Little Italy's pizza in downtown Athens (ironically owned by the same folks as Peppinos--hopefully their ingredients don't begin to suffer too).

Hand's down, the best pizza in Athens is Peppino's.  Located on the corner of Whitehall Road and Milledge, it is a hidden gem on the Eastside.  I am pretty picky about my pizza, and until I stumbled upon Peppino's, I had found Athen's pizza scene a little wanting.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Oh man, these Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are goooooooooood.  It took everything I had not to eat the entire 16 bars in one sitting.  Even the batter is amazing.  Since it's vegan, it's perfectly safe to eat in dough-form.  My toddler thought she won the lottery when I handed her the cookie dough covered spatula. 

Like almost everything I put on my blog, these cookie bars are deceptively healthy.  They contain no eggs, oils (except to grease the pan), or even flour.  In fact, the bulk of these cookies are...chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans).  You'd never know it just by taste though.  I urge you to give it a try!