Quick and Easy Patriotic Fruit & Pretzels

I had to throw together a quick dessert for a party recently.  I wanted it to be on the healthy side since I knew there would be lots of other sweets at the party.  So I went to where I usually get most of my ideas, Pinterest! I am a bit of a Pinterest addict and I am always so happy when I actually make something from the hundreds of ideas I’ve pinned.  My dessert is a variation of this one I found on Pinterest.  If I made it again, I would try to use strawberries or watermelon for a brighter red color, but the cherries were what looked best at the market so we went with that!

This is a super easy dish to make and it was wildly popular at the party!  You can’t beat fresh, Michigan cherries!  I just washed the fruit, arranged it on a tray with yogurt covered pretzels and it was ready to go!

Fruit and pretzels

So if you find yourself scrambling for an idea for a 4th of July party, give this a try!  Simple, easy, healthy and delicious!  A perfect combination!

Happy 4th of July!   I hope you enjoy some good food, family, fireworks and fun!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

Apple Pie In a Mug

I recently came across this recipe from Hungry Girl called Red Hot Apple Pie In A Mug.  I know it is not exactly apple season but with summer around the corner, what is more American than apple pie!  This recipe took me less than 10 minutes to make and it really does taste like apple pie.  For a mere 140 calories, it is a tasty, sweet treat!

Ingredients:

1 medium apple (I use organic)

12-15 red hot baking candies

1 graham cracker sheet (you can use cinnamon or regular)

cinnamon

whipped topping

Directions:

1. Dice the apples into bite sized pieces and place the apple and red hots into a mug. Cover and heat in microwave for one minute.


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2.After 1 minute stir and microwave for another 1-2 minutes and stir. (I only had to cook for 1 minute).  The one problem I had was that it bubbled over both times I tried this recipe.  I covered the mug with a salad plate and it must not have sealed properly.  This dessert is well worth the little mess though!  When it is done cooking, it looks like this:

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3. Let the apples cool for 2-3 minutes.  Place the graham cracker sheet in a  sealed baggie and now it is time get some frustration out with your rolling pin, by pounding the cracker into crumbs!

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4. Add most of the crumbs to the apple mixture and stir.  Top with whipped cream and add the rest of the graham cracker crumbs and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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Mine was still a bit hot so the whipped cream started to melt, but trust me, it was delicious!

Here is the breakdown of the nutritional information:

PER SERVING (entire recipe): 140 calories, 0.5g fat, 44mg sodium, 47g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 24.5g sugars, 0.5g protein — PointsPlus® value 5*

Have a great weekend!

~Blessings,

Jen

A Tip To Ease Low Back Pain

I incurred a back injury last year and had to go through many weeks of physical therapy to try to correct the problem. While going through therapy, I realized it was the combination of many small tips they gave me that yielded the best results throughout my recovery.

One tip that was so simple and easy, but has made such a difference in my pain relief was to use something for low back support when I was sitting in my office chair at work and home.  If you research on-line you will see many expensive options for special chairs and cushions for lower back support. My physical therapist suggested an inexpensive, small exercise ball for support.  You can find them at any sporting good or discount store.  I am a fan of on-line shopping and I found mine here .  This is what is looks like:

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To use for low back support you partially inflate the ball and then place between your lower back and the chair.  It helps you maintain good posture when sitting and it makes your back feel supported.  It immediately relieved the pain I had when sitting in a chair.  Here is what it looks like partially inflated:

IMG_0151I know it looks kind of weird, but it really worked for me!  I hope you do not deal with lower back pain, but if you do, this a very inexpensive piece of equipment to try.  How about you?  Does anyone have any tips for low back pain relief they would like to share?  We would love to hear from you!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

5 Simple Exercises

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As I was going through some things in my exercise room the other day, I came across a paper with these exercises written on it.  I can’t remember exactly what I copied it from, but I decided to give it a try because it looked quick and easy.

Do 20 reps 6 times each:

  • squats
  • sit-ups
  • push-ups
  • couch dips (tricep)
  • planks (20 seconds)

It wasn’t quite as “easy” as I thought, especially the tricep dips!  I made it through 3 out of 6 sets and it took me about 12 minutes.  You can modify these exercises to meet your current fitness level, such as doing traditional push-ups or on your knees, adjusting how low you go for squats or dips or varying the sit-up position .  Also, I think this would be a great set of exercises for travel since there is no need for any special equipment.  To compensate for my poor memory skills, I moved 6 little rocks  from one pile to another to count down my 6 sets. (or 3 sets! :))

What do you think?  Why not download some tunes from this list of Christian work-out songs, crank up the music and give it a try!   Do you have any quick and easy exercise routines you enjoy?  As always, we would love to hear any feedback in the comments section!

Wishing you a happy, healthy weekend!

~Blessings,

Jen

Fitness App

 

I stumbled upon this fitness app and wanted to share it with you.  It is called POPSUGAR Active.  You can search for this name in the App Store on your phone or Ipad, or you can check it out on by following this link.  This app has choices for strength training, running, yoga or cardio workouts.

The workout choices include videos or exercise guides to choose from.  I like the videos, which give you 10 minute or 40 minute options.  Each area of fitness has a variety of choices from total body workouts or specific body part focus such as arms, abs or legs. One of the main instructors, Anna Renderer, is upbeat and motivating and the videos are easy to follow.  I love the 10 minute videos because they are easy to fit into my busy day.

Below is one of the videos for abs:

 

Wishing you a happy, healthy, blessed day!

~Blessings,

Jen

Breakfast Oatmeal Cupcakes

Hi all!  I wanted to share a new recipe and website with you. This healthy dessert blog has many yummy looking recipes! I have been following the blog, Chocolate Covered Katie, for a while and this is the first recipe I’ve attempted.  Oldest daughter actually texted me the recipe and asked me to make them.  She is in need of a quick on-the-go breakfast and this fit the bill!  The recipe was a hit with three out of four family members (youngest didn’t like it-she is going through a picky phase).  They were so moist and very filling and the chocolate made them seem extra special. I preferred them warm from the oven or heated in the microwave, Oldest daughter and Hubby liked them at any temperature! Here is the recipe and the link for the blog in case you want to check out more of her recipes.

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Baked Oatmeal Cupcakes To Go

from: Chocolate Covered Katie

(makes 24-25 cupcakes)

Adapted from: Cookie Dough Baked Oatmeal.

  • 5 cups rolled oats (400g)
  • 2 1/2 cups over-ripe mashed banana (For all substitutions, see nutrition link below) measured after mashing (600g)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 NuNaturals stevia packets (or omit and use 5 tbsp liquid sweetener of choice–such as pure maple syrup or agave–instead)
  • optional: 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 2/3 cups water (640g) (If using the liquid-sweetener option, scale water back by 1/3 cup.)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp oil (45g) (I really like coconut, but veg oil will also work. For lower-fat substitution notes, see nutrition link below.)
  • 2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • optional add-ins: cinnamon, shredded coconut, chopped walnuts, ground flax or wheat germ, raisins or other dried fruit, etc.

Preheat oven to 380 F, and line 24-25 cupcake tins. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir very well. In a separate bowl, combine and stir all wet ingredients (including banana). Mix wet into dry, then pour into the cupcake liners and bake 21 minutes. I also like to then broil for 1-2 minutes, but it’s optional.

Each cupcake has 88 calories and 2.9 grams of fat.  You can view more detailed nutritional information by visiting the link to the blog.

I did not have enough bananas for the whole 2 1/2 cups , so I used about 2 cups of bananas and 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce.  I also used pure maple syrup as the sweetener and broiled them for 2 minutes which gave them a nice crispy top.

Oldest daughter likes them for breakfast, I prefer one for an afternoon snack with a cup of tea!

Here is to a happy, healthy week!

~Blessings,

Jen