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Get Your Pre-Pregnancy Glow Back!

January 27, 2016
Portrait of beautiful cheerful mother with cute little baby on hands over blue wall background, enjoying parenthood, love and happiness concept

Having a baby is a magical moment in a woman’s life, but it comes with some not-so-pleasant side effects. Your body has to adjust to make room for a whole new person living inside you, only to transform (or attempt to transform) right back to its original form. Whether you’re displeased with your body or you just want to make yourself look a little better, you can use the tips below to regain the glow you had before childbirth. Here are some simple beauty secrets every new mom should try.

Eat Healthy Foods

Your pregnancy cravings have probably gotten your diet a little out of whack. Some women eat nothing but pickles and ice cream before having a baby, and that kind of habit is bound to make you look bad when you get out of the hospital. Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, proteins, and good carbohydrates so you can get your body back on track. You’ll find your skin getting clearer and firmer with every bite you take.

Exercise Regularly

A proper fitness regime can help you get your body back in shape, and it will make you feel more energized throughout the day. With energy comes that healthy glow you’re striving for, so it’s best to stay as active as possible. You may not think you have time to exercise with the new baby, but that’s not the case. You just have to find ways to incorporate workout time with mommy time. Walk around with your baby in the park, or do a round of kiss-the-baby pushups at home. As you search for creative ways to exercise, you’ll be able to get your body in shape.

Exfoliate Your Skin

You need to get rid of any of the toxins and dead skin cells that may be lingering at the surface. That means taking the time to go through an extensive exfoliation process. Microdermabrasion works best in these situations because it gets rid of the outer layer of skin, allowing new skin to grow in its place. By using microdermabrasion, you can create a youthful surface on your face that will reflect the happiness you feel inside.

No matter how few hours of sleep you may get or how chaotic your life as a new mom may be, you can still find ways to make yourself radiate. Show off the glow you once had and the glow you deserve as a new mom. When people ask you what your secret is, just give credit to your new bundle of joy!

Blog Desserts Recipes

Make A Box Cake Mix Taste Homemade

January 18, 2016
Chocolate cake with raspberries on rustic wooden background

Store-bought cake mix can certainly save you time in the kitchen, but it doesn’t always taste like it comes from the heart. If you don’t have hours to spend making something from scratch, you might still be able to get that homemade taste from a box. You just have to put a little twist on the ingredients and present the final result in a straight-from-the-heart kind of way. Here are some tips to help you make a box cake mix taste homemade.

Add Custom Ingredients 

You can use a boxed cake mix as a foundation for other ingredients you want to incorporate. You could add nuts to the cake for extra texture, or you could mix in candy, coconut, or even pretzels. Think about your favorite ingredients and blend them into the mix. Custom touches like this will make people think it’s a homemade recipe.

Note: If you are going to add nuts to a cake mix, you may want to add extra milk or water to the recipe. The nuts are absorbent, so they could turn an otherwise moist cake into a dry one. Test out proportions in advance before serving this at a big party. 

Make Your Own Frosting 

The frosting is the first splash of flavor that hits someone’s mouth. If you can make that from scratch, you might be able to convince someone that everything else is made from scratch. Get a really good frosting recipe and whip something up. This won’t take long, and it will take away that store bought aftertaste that no one likes in his mouth.

Put Thought Into The Presentation 

If a cake looks homemade, it will taste homemade – theoretically. The ingredients will determine how successful that statement really is, but you will have a much easier time convincing someone if your cake looks like it came from your heart. Dirty ice the cake and add some homespun decorations to the top. Just make it look like you put some real time into its development.

You don’t have to be a professional pastry chef to make a great tasting cake, nor do you have to spend hours on end in the kitchen. Put some thought into customizing your store-bought cake in a box, and you will be able to get a great-tasting cake that people think you slaved away for.

Blog Exercise

Creating Your Workout Schedule

January 6, 2016
Word gym on agenda with dumbells in the background. Shallow depth of field. Focus on word gym.

Working out can be tough, and not just because it takes a lot of effort. For most people in the modern world, the difficulty comes in finding time to schedule workouts around real life. Raising a family, going to work, getting an education – all of these tasks usually take precedence over working out. That, however, does not give you an excuse to give up on your body. Rather than freaking out about the time that you don’t have to devote to exercising, come up with a plan that makes your fitness a priority as well. Use the tips below to create your workout schedule.

Plan Short Workouts

Instead of trying to shove all of your exercising into one point in time, you should try breaking it up into short sets that you can squeeze in throughout the day. For instance, you could try to do two 15 minute walks a day, along with small sets of crunches, squats, etc. sprinkled in between. You might be surprised by how much you can do just by squeezing in small workouts as often as possible. Breaking things up like this will make a big difference in your weight loss success.

Alternate Exercises

Avoid doing the same type of exercises every single day. This will make your muscles lazy, reducing the effectiveness of your workouts. If you’re only focusing on cardio workouts right now, you don’t have to worry about changing it up as much. For weight lifting and muscle building though, target a different part of your body every day and give yourself at least two days off throughout the week. This gives your muscles a chance to heal and strengthen before you work them out again. Don’t schedule your workouts back to back, and you will have much better results.

Work Out Early

If you can find time to work out in the morning, that may be the ideal setup for you. That will be the time when you have the most energy to devote to your exercising. Wake up 30 minutes early and start your day with a nice jog around the neighborhood. If you wait until the end of the day, you are more likely to put off your fitness because you’ve spent your energy at work, running errands, etc.

Final Thoughts

You are the only one that knows the limits of your schedule. If you think that you have time to work out at 3 am, then that is when you need to work out. If you only have time for 15 minutes of cardio in the morning, that is what you will have to deal with. It may take you longer to reach your weight loss goals this way, but at least you have goal to strive for. All you have to do is stick to that plan as much as possible, and you will see the transformation you’re looking for.

Blog Recipes Sides

Creative Seed Snacks For Work

January 1, 2016
A lot of watermelon seeds for background

Most people enjoy eating seeds in one form or another. In America, sunflower seeds have become a staple snack food for hot summer days. Regardless of what time of year it is though, seeds can be a great source of protein to help you get through a long work day. Since seed snacks do not spoil, these foods are perfect to store in your desk and eat on a daily basis. Here are a few fun seeds you can plant in your diet when you want something to munch on at work.

Watermelon Seeds

Most people spit out watermelon seeds and focus on eating the fruit. These seeds are actually great sources of nutrients, and they offer a healthy snacking solution for the whole family. You can either buy watermelon seeds to eat, or you can take advantage of watermelon season and collect seeds from this delicious fruit naturally.

Broad Beans

Broad beans are used in many Hispanic and Asian cuisines, and they offer a unique flavor that you cannot find in America. The most common version of this seed is the fried broad bean, but there are other varieties that you can try. Some of them are seasoned, and others are just left to their natural flavors. You should be warned that these seeds can be addicting though, so be ready to enjoy this healthy snack over and over again.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are great foods for health nuts out there that like the taste of pumpkin products. A pumpkin seed has the same cinnamon-type flavor to it that you may find in pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread, but it also has a nice crunch to it like you would expect from a seed. You can get full on a pumpkin seed snack pretty easily, so all you need is one little bag of this to get started.

Take a look at some of the seed snacks from around the world and see if any of them spark your interest. You can always mix some of them together to create your own trail mix if you want to. They should pair well with dried fruits and chocolate candies, so you can get creative in the dish you put together. See if you can work these seeds into your time at the office, and you may be able to find a new snack that you love.

Blog Desserts Recipes

Healthy Holiday Treats Kids Love To Make (And Eat!)

December 24, 2015
Cute girl and her mother reading how to make dough at home

The holidays are a great time of year to show off your cooking skills, but they can also be a fun time to bond in the kitchen with your children. If you want to give your kids something to make for the holidays without an instant sugar rush, the recipes below will be the perfect fit. Here are some simple and healthy holiday treats that kids love to make – and eat!

Grinch Kabobs

Grinch kabobs are a holiday staple in my household, and they are so simple to put together. All you need is a set of toothpicks, some green grapes, a banana, and some mini marshmallows. Rinse off the fruit, slice the banana into small rounds, and chop off the top of the strawberries. Then assemble the ingredients in the following order on a toothpick: grape, banana slice, strawberry (flat side toward banana), and marshmallow. You should end up with a tiny Grinch face that tastes great too!

Strong Cheese Snowmen

If your kids love string cheese, they are going to love putting these together. Just get a set of white string cheese in individual wrappers, making sure that the wrappers are clear and have no advertisements on them. Cut out small top hats from black construction paper or cardstock to put at the top of the cheese, and then use a ribbon to create a scarf about an inch below the hat. Use a black Sharpie to draw on the buttons and the face, and then use an orange Sharpie to create the nose. You should end up with a super cute treat that your kids will want to show off.

Strawberry Santas

There are several ways to go about making these appetizers, and some are a little more complicated than others. For all of the recipes, you need a set of large strawberries, rinsed and sliced so that the pointed end forms a small “hat.” You can choose to hollow the strawberries with a paring knife if you want to fill them up, or you can leave them as they are.

You will need a white, whipped substance to go in between the body and the hat, forming the appearance of a beard. That could be low fat whipped cream, or it could be a beaten mixture of one 8 ox pack of softened cream cheese, 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. For canned whipped cream, you may squirt it directly on the strawberry. For the mixture or whipped cream in a tub, use a piping bag or a freezer bag with a hole in the corner to control the flow.

Squirt your cream into the strawberry so it fills the bottom and covers the top like a fluffy beard. Then put the “hat” on top and add a tiny dab of whipped cream to the tip. You may also add whipped cream buttons to the front of the belly and seeds or raisins for eyes.

Play around with these delicious holiday treats, and you’ll be bonding with the kids in no time!

Blog Diet

Eating Asian Food Could Improve Your Appearance

December 22, 2015
chinese food with various vegetables and rice

Let’s face it – we live in a superficial world. Beauty holds a lot of value in today’s society, and feeling better about you appearance may improve your self-esteem as a whole. One of the easiest ways to change the way you look and feel is to adjust the foods in your diet. Let’s take a look at some of the ways Asian foods can improve your appearance and boost your confidence for the future.

Antioxidants

Most Asian foods are rich in antioxidants because they require fresh, healthy ingredients. Antioxidants can clear toxins out of your body, leaving you with better looking skin and less weight on a regular basis. Tomatoes, leafy greens, garlic, onions, and berries are all use in a variety of Asian recipes. Those foods are rich in antioxidants, and they taste great too. You can enjoy eating healthy and looking better all at once with the right recipes on hand.

Digestion

Your digestion is going to have a large impact on your beauty because it will determine how your body distributes fat, energy, and food in general. Many of the foods used in Asian cooking promote healthy digestion, and they also improve your blood circulation. That means that your food will stay in your body for a shorter amount of time, leaving less fat for your body to hold onto. Any exercise you do from there will go towards helping you lose weight.

Note that having a healthy digestive system will also help clear toxins out of your body, so you can enjoy the benefits from above continually if you keep your diet in check.

Energy

Most Asian recipes involve natural energy boosters in fruits and vegetables. When you have more energy, you are likely to do more throughout the day. Thus all you have to do is get a good set of Asian recipes to stay energized, hydrated, and strong every day of the week. You may not even need coffee or candy to perk yourself up for the day. Your diet can do that for you.

Finding Asian Food To Try

Finding good Asian food to eat is simply a matter of trying new things. There are plenty of recipes and ingredients to help you develop a healthy Asian diet, and that diet should lead to a better looking body for you to enjoy. Check out my Asian Sesame Chicken recipe for a quick start! Take a look at yourself in the mirror and figure out what you want to change about yourself. Then use Asian foods to help you make those changes.

Blog Diet

5 Bad Study Snacks

December 15, 2015
Female student sitting on the floor and making notes, view over the shoulder

Some foods are said to have positive impacts on a college student’s ability to study, but there are just as many foods out there that can have a negative impact. Students are known for pigging out on junk food, but doing so may hinder you from acing your next exam. If you want to get the most out of your study sessions, you need to know which snacks to avoid. Here are five study snacks to avoid.

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods will mess with your stomach and cause you to make instant bathroom runs. You may love the Blazin’ sauce from Buffalo Wild Wings, but you need to reserve that for another time. The last thing you want is an upset stomach while studying.

Turkey

Turkey is very heavy, and it is guaranteed to make you sleepy. You may not have to worry about deli turkey meat, but Thanksgiving leftovers are a big no-no for study time. Try a different meat instead or eat a nice salad. This may not sound as delicious, but it will definitely help you study.

Bread

Bread is highly absorbent, so it will soak up anything you drink after eating it. This will make your stomach feel full, which will either cause a tummy ache or make you sleepy. Try to eat crackers instead of bread. They’re not quite as absorbent, and they still taste great with most sandwich toppings.

Potato Chips

This is more of a mess standpoint than anything else. Potato chips are inherently greasy, and they’re bound to make a mess all over your books. Plus, the fat and grease from the chips are liable to make you feel lethargic and unenergetic. Stick with crackers or at the very least baked chips if you want to maintain some shred of cleanliness.

Candy

The sugar high from candy may be great, but it comes with a crash you won’t want. You will most likely have about an hour of jitters, followed by a quick need for a nap. Try to each fruit instead because it contains natural sugars. Apples, oranges, pomegranates and more are all great for staying alert, and they will keep you awake or a longer period of time. Avoid the Starburst and gummy bears until after your test. Then you can reward yourself with some frozen yogurt or another delicious dessert.

Blog Health

Protect Your Pantry From Pests

December 7, 2015
Canned goods on wooden storage shelves in pantry

The food in your pantry can turn into a buffet for critters in your home. The last thing you want is to open a box of cereal with droppings inside. Consistent pest control will eliminate most of the problems, but there are other steps you can take to protect yourself even more. Here are four products to protect your pantry from pests.

Plastic Containers

Try to put your cereal, pasta, sugar, and other loose items in sealed plastic containers. This will contain the odor so that mice and insects cannot detect food in the pantry. Canned items should be fine on their own. The ones in boxes are what you need to worry about.

Rubber Seals

For some cabinets, you can put a rubber seal between the door and the cabinet, similar to what you have on your refrigerator door. This will block out the tiny bugs that can crawl into the pantry. Not all doors have enough room to put something like this down, so make sure you test one door before you install them throughout the kitchen.

Cleaning Products

Keeping your cabinets clean of crumbs is a big part of pest prevention. You may not think about cleaning out your pantry because you have a lot of stuff in there. Once a month, take everything out of one shelf and clean off all the crumbs on it. Wipe it down with a disinfecting wipe to get rid of the germs and mask the smell at the same time. Try not to use any cleaning products that smell like lemon or orange. They may be better for your nose, but they could draw in some unwanted guests.

Note that you can also take this time to throw away items you no longer need in your pantry, either because they are expired or you just don’t want to eat them anymore. Take care of two problems at the same time.

Child Safety Locks

You can put child safety locks on your pantry doors to make them difficult to open. This will not stop something small like a spider, but it may keep mice and other large critters away. You could also think about making your doors magnetic so that they suck shut whenever you close them. You will still be able to get in when you need to, but your pests will have a difficult time.

Use the products above in your kitchen, and you will be able to keep your food safe and sound.

Blog Exercise

Common Workout Mistakes People Make

November 27, 2015
an overweight young man exhausted with exercising in fitness center.

Working out is a long and difficult process no matter how you go through it, but some people take longer to achieve their fitness goals because they don’t know the right way to work out. Just because you are sweaty at the end of a fitness routine does not mean that your body is actually burning calories and building muscles. Listed below are common workout mistakes people make that could be delaying your perfect body.

Excessive Exercising

One of the biggest mistakes people make is working out too much. Constant exercise is NOT the solution to weight loss, muscle gain, and other body changes. In reality, your body needs rest in order to get all of the benefits out of the workouts you are doing. The time you rest is the time when the real toning and adjustments begin. If you do not take breaks or alternate your workouts in the right way, you may be wasting a lot of energy for nothing.

Sporadic Workouts

Another mistake you might make involves doing sporadic workouts. Some people go into a gym and jump on the first open machine they see. Even though moving as a whole will help you burn calories, you need to have an exercise plan if you want to see results. This is not always easy to do if you have no experience because you do not know what moves will impact which body parts. You may have to do some research to find the best workout strategies for your personal goals. With the right plan in place, you can get a custom workout routine that will make your body look the way you want it to in the least amount of time.

Unhealthy Dieting

While it is logical to go on a diet when you are working out, you need to make sure you your body is still getting the nutrition it needs. Some people try to stop eating completely, or they drastically reduce their food intake thinking that will make a difference in their body shapes. A little drop is fine and necessary, but you need to gradually wean yourself away from food. If you do not give your body the energy it needs to keep going, you will eventually pass out or cause health problems for yourself. Make sure that your diet fits your goals and your body at the same time.

Poor Sleeping

Your body needs to rest in order to heal itself. This doesn’t mean you should take power naps throughout the day. Your body needs several hours of true rest in order to heal after a workout. If you can spare at least five or six hours to sleep a night, do so. If you can afford eight hours, that would be even better. Do whatever you need to do to rest your body, and the benefits will follow accordingly.

Blog Diet Health

How To Control Your Food Intake

November 19, 2015
Concept illustration of a pie chart on a plate, one segment is served.

If you are used to eating whatever you want, whenever you want, it may be difficult to transition to a healthy diet. Learning to control your food intake will allow you to lose weight faster and crave less food throughout the day. Here are some tips to help you monitor your food intake so you can slim down your body.

Drink Water Before You Eat

You can trick your stomach into thinking you have eaten more by drinking a glass of water before a meal. This will give you less room to fill up with food, and it will give the food something to soak up when it hits your stomach. This absorption will make you feel fuller faster, ultimately causing you to eat less. The extra hydration is just an added bonus!

Listen To Your Body

Your body knows when it is full, and you need to understand the signals it sends you at that time. If you feel like you don’t need to eat anymore, don’t. It’s as simple as that. Just because you have food in front of you doesn’t mean you have to eat it all. By eating less, you may be able to reduce your portion sizes in the future. Respect your stomach’s decision to stop eating, and you won’t feel stuffed every time you eat.

Control Your Portions

If you are used to eating huge meals, try to reduce the amount of food you put on your plate. Don’t tell yourself, “Oh, I’ll only eat half of this.” Put half of it on your plate and store or throw away the rest. Even if you still consume the same foods you currently eat, you need to eat them in smaller portions. That will train your stomach to eat less in the future. Ideally, you should also adjust to eating healthier foods throughout the day, but a simple reduction is a good start.

Eat Slowly

If you scarf down your food every time you get a chance, you may not give your body a chance to tell you that it’s full. Put your fork down after every bite and chew it like it you mean it. Try not to watch TV intensely while you want because then you may just pack away the food subconsciously. Think about every bite you put into your mouth, and eventually you will be able to turn down the ones you don’t need.