Christmas Cookie Recipe

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THE BEST Christmas Cookie Recipe

For those of you who have been following our blog and read my many entries about healthy eating, know that I’m all about things that taste great and are good for you. But, I have one BIG weakness…holiday cookies. Not all cookies, but there are about four family recipes I grew up on…and if you put these in front of me, we’re done!

I still say, eat healthy and find balance around the holidays—but sometimes it’s ok to sneak in a cookie (or two, or three!) One of my absolute favorite ‘cookies’ is a SIMPLE and quick bake called Christmas Bark. Not like the other holiday bark recipes that you’ve probably heard of that take tons of work to make…nope, this is simple, fast and easy; and as a new mom, that’s about all I have time for this Christmas. So if you’ve seen me sign up to bring cookies to a party, there’s a pretty good chance these are going to be them as they whip up in a jiffy!

So what’s the secret—Saltine Crackers! Don’t judge it until you try it…and trust me, you won’t regret it (nor will your guests, if any actually make it to their house!)

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Sweet & Salty Holiday Bark

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup butter (real butter, not margarine or Crisco)

1 tsp. vanilla

Saltine Crackers

12 oz bag of chocolate chips

Line a cookie sheet with foil. Line with saltine crackers, salted side up. Boil butter and sugar for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Spread over crackers. Bake at 375 for 8 minutes.

Remove from oven and spread chocolate chips across top of crackers. Return to oven for 1 minute to melt. Remove and spread chocolate chips evenly over crackers. When cool, refrigerate to set chocolate. Score and break apart.

I always like to serve on a cute Christmas plate and try to keep them cool as long as possible (I store them in the fridge too.) They will not last for long though if you like a sweet and salty cookie treat!



Holiday Friendly Dieting

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Holiday Friendly Dieting

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            With the holidays right around the corner, it is extremely hard to stay on track if you’re trying to cut back. You’ve got tons of holiday parties while attempting to maintain that bikini bod (or if you’re like me trying to get it in the first place). While I still don’t understand why all of the best things in life make you fat, here are some tips on how to diet during the holidays.

            It’s all about moderation! Don’t cut out the stuffing or pie, because let’s be real it’s too good to say no to. Giving yourself smaller portions of high calorie foods is a good way to get the satisfaction along with not adding unnecessary calories.

            Don’t eat pie for breakfast (I’M TALKING TO YOU MOM). It’s so tempting because it literally calls your name and it’s so hard to say no. Try hiding it from yourself or if you have a refrigerator in the garage, put it in there so it’s more difficult to get to. Instead of the pie, have oatmeal with sugar free syrup, blueberries and sprinkled cinnamon, I promise it will curb your appetite for hours and won’t make you have eaters-remorse.

          Try to keep the healthiest foods at your own home, but give yourself some grace at parties. You’ve got snacks, alcohol and sweets. All of which are fine if you only have one but we most likely won’t do that. A trick to help you is to eat beforehand so you’re not starving during the festivities. If you’re looking for a buzz without the calories, drink vodka with water and a splash of cranberry. This drink will also keep you hydrated so you won’t wake up the next morning feeling like you got hit by a semi-truck.

            I hope these tips are helpful and that your taste buds enjoy the holidays.

Happy holidays (dieting)!

Amy Tullis



Workout Tips

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Workout tips for your post turkey-coma

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Thanksgiving Dinner—you’ve longed for it, you searched for the perfect recipe, you spent hours in the kitchen and then POOF—all that long work is suddenly inhaled by your guests and you feel like a stuffed bird on the couch after. Anyone else in the same boat?

The day of devouring delicious food after delicious food can be ever so satisfying to the soul when wrapped with the love of family…but it can be a killer on our healthy lifestyles!
So what tips do I rely on to stay fit while making all the fixings? There’s a lot of them, but these are my 3 favorite fitness tips that you can start today!

1. Kick Start the Day with Family: Family still in town for the holiday weekend? Suggest that a family walk be the top priority on the ‘to do list’ before the day gets going. Not only is this a great way for your kids to spend some quality time with grandma & grandpa, but it’s a wonderful way to continue family time from the day before. Make a big pot of coffee, have the grown ups grab their to-go-mugs, and start walking with the family to the park. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the fresh air, with family and burning off some of that extra pie you snuck in before you went to bed!
2. Black Friday Power Walk/Shop: CALLING ALL SHOPPERS…I used to be the queen bee of Black Friday sales…by 11am all my Christmas shopping was done for the year (AND I had power walked my way through the mall and 5 large retailers). Grab your girlfriends and shopping list and hit the stores while squeezing in your steps for the day. You’ll be amazed how far you walk while checking off Santa’s shopping list
3. Create a Holiday Fitness Calendar: This one is my favorite and you’ll thank me when January 1 rolls around and you didn’t gain the “Holiday 15”! Having a pre-set fitness calendar for the holidays can be fun—one of my favorite things to do is to look at Christmas Lights in our neighborhoods. Instead of doing an early morning workout routine, I’ll suggest different neighborhoods that my husband, dog, baby and I go walk instead at night. Not only am I getting to see the lights, I’m fitting in a workout, and getting time during this busy season to spend quality time with the people I love the most. If Christmas lights aren’t your thing, what about setting up a daily challenge to try 30 days of new exercises…come January 1, you’ll be able to kick off the new year with a new workout plan.

So before you start thinking that you’re doomed to fit in fitness around the holidays, start planning. It can be fun, free and keep you feeling well during the holiday season.



Healthy Holiday Tips

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How to (try to) stay healthy this Thanksgiving!

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Food + Family + Football = Every Thanksgiving I have ever experienced. My large family gets together with a lengthy menu of traditional family recipes that make an appearance on every T-day table. Two turkeys, cornbread dressing, potatoes, casserole, breads, green beans, DESSERT… the list is quite lengthy. Needless to say no Thanksgiving in my family is about cutting calories, fat, or carbs.

I refuse to sacrifice not eating any of the menu on Turkey Day nor reject the wine that comes along with it. Sacrifice on my favorite food holiday of the year!? No. Never. However…. I can compromise. Over the years I have come up with some routines and eating patterns for Thanksgiving to lighten up my load a little bit.

Healthy Tips:

  1. White Meat > Dark Meat: My husband hates this, but it can cut out a lot of fat from your meal. Opting for white meat turkey over dark meat turkey keeps lean, low-fat protein on your plate rather than fatty protein. Also if 25% of the plate is white meat turkey, it provides your body with a good protein keeping you full, rather than reaching for that extra piece of pie.
  2. Fresher is better: My grandma makes the most AMAZING fresh jalapeno cranberry sauce. It’s tart, sweet and has a bit of a kick. My aunt makes these crispy sautéed green beans with slivered almonds… that I dream about for months. My mom uses fresh veggies and home made cornbread for her dressing. See a theme? Everything is fresh! Try to eliminate canned or boxed sides, cutting a large amount of preservatives from your plate. Using fresh whole ingredients add more vital nutrients to your plate. So even if you do like to load up on the sides, you can do it without loading on chemicals.
  3. Skip the rolls: Potatoes, dressing/stuffing, pie… Carbs are abundant during our Thanksgiving meal. If you leave out a roll you save yourself from loading up on extra unnecessary carbs.
  4. Slow down your fork: Most definitely the hardest rule for me to follow, but it has kept me out of misery in past few years. During Thanksgiving meals we can find ourselves eating a million miles a minute… getting every bite of goodness as quick as possible. The problem? It takes a while for your stomach to register when it has had enough to eat. By taking time in-between bites and chewing food slowly, it reduces the risk of becoming miserably full.
  5. Walk it out: My new favorite tradition after a T-day meal is going for a walk. Enjoying the cool weather and chatting with the family is a great way to end the day. Nothing too stressful, just a stroll around the neighborhood is great. Walking after eating sparks the digestive organs to get moving and boosts your metabolism, giving your pie less time to sit in your tummy.

I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving and can’t wait to smartly indulge this year! Remember its about enjoying… compromise and don’t restrict yourself 🙂 I hope everyone has a delicious and fantastic day filled with food, family, and fun!

Happy eating, ya’ll

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-Alix Josey



S’mores – A Recipe For Fun

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The Recipe for (Messy) Family Fun…S’mores!

by Tristan Cablay

marshmallows

If you are lucky enough to have little ones in the house, cooking a meal or dish together is really the stuff that memories are made of.  By far, my favorite cook-together items are the easy ones that you can just throw together in a snap!

(Disclaimer: if your family is anything like mine, things are about to get real messy!)

If you’re brave enough for it, pull out the trifecta of yumminess:  Graham Crackers, Chocolate, and Marshmallows.  I generally have at least one of these items in my house at all times, so I throw the remaining necessities in the cart when I know we have BBQ on the menu for that week.  It is a sure fire way for messy family fun!

There are even ways to get creative!  Try adding sliced bananas or using Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups instead of Hershey’s bars.

Whatever you use, have a blast with your family and make some memories along with those s’mores.

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Favorite Fall Soups

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Fall weather means sweaters and soups!

by Amy Tullis

            Will the fall weather finally setting in makes for the perfect time to sit down and enjoy a bowl of hot soup. Well, fall-ish weather if you’re like me and dealing with 75 degrees in November (currently sweating in a sweater). One of my favorites to pick up is Chick Fil A’s chicken tortilla soup. If you’re looking to make your own soup I’ve got some great recipes for you.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo:

1 whole chicken (raw)

1 sausage link

1 can of Rotel

1 bag of frozen cut okra

2 packages of Louisiana gumbo mix

1 box of rice

Boil chicken until cooked through completely (keep the broth). Once finished cooking allow chicken to cool and begin shredding the meat. Begin cooking okra. Bring 4 quarts of chicken broth to a boil. Add gumbo mix and rotel. Once okra has finished cooking add into gumbo pot. Dice sausage into bite sized pieces and microwave for 1 minute. Add cooked sausage into gumbo pot. Add shredded chicken into gumbo pot. Cover and bring to a second boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve over rice and enjoy!!

Chicken Tortilla Soup:

1 can chicken broth

1 can chopped green chili’s

½ white onion (chopped)

1 table spoon chopped cilantro

1 lime (sliced)

1 bag frozen corn

1 Chicken shredded (I used a rotisserie chicken)

1 can of red enchilada sauce

1 can diced potatoes

1 can Rotel

1 chopped jalapeno

Combine all liquid ingredients in a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Add in all other ingredients and bring to a second boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Allow to cool and serve with sliced avocado and tortilla strips.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do! Happy Fall y’all!



Four Easy Halloween Treats

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Four easy Halloween treats for the girl who can’t cook (me)

by Tori Carruth

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As you can probably by tell by our most recent blogs, we love October around here. Between the breast cancer awareness vibe everyone has and the fall weather (in Texas this means 70 degrees and I will take it!), it’s personally one of my favorite seasons. With October comes Halloween, another favorite of mine. I’m a horror movie fiend and a lover of sweets, so this is basically my perfect holiday.

I’ve seen SO many cute Halloween inspired recipes on Pinterest… but I don’t cook. Last night I literally messed up spaghetti and joked with my boyfriend that any future kids would need to learn to use a microwave at age 3 because they may or may not starve. It’s just never been my thing! I blame my mom because she never loved it either. I have many talents, and that is not one of them.

I thought I would share a few easy treats to make if you’re like me and weren’t blessed with a culinary gift. Maybe you have a work party Monday and don’t know what to bring, or maybe you just found out about your child’s Halloween party and now have one night to throw something together! Either way, this is for you. No cooking involved–hallelujah.

Witches Brooms

You’ll need: Small Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, Pretzel Sticks

What to do: Turn the Reece’s upside down and stick a pretzel stick in it. Done! Feel free to substitute the Reece’s for a marshmallow if your heart desires.

Mini Pumpkins

You’ll need: Cuties Mandarin Oragnes, Sharpie Marker

What to do: Draw a pumpkin-esque (new word) face on the orange. Easy and healthy. (I’ve also seen this done with fruit cups and string cheese!)

Monster Mix

You’ll need: Popcorn (sans butter), Pretzels, Peanuts, Candy Corn, Reeses’s Pieces, Peanut Butter

What to do: Mix popcorn, pretzels, peanuts, candy corn, and Reese’s together in a bowl. If you want to add to your trail mix, melt some peanut butter on the stove on a low setting and drizzle over!

Lollipop Ghost

You’ll need: Round lollipop (I like Tootsie Pops), Kleenex, Tiny Elastic Hair Ties, Sharpie, Ribbon

What to do: Place the Kleenex tissue over the lollipop, tie with an elastic, make a face with the sharpie, and tie a cute ribbon around it!

So there you have it! Four super simple ways to celebrate Halloween. If all else fails, throw some candy corn in a bowl and call it a day 🙂

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Healthy Starbucks Pink Drink At Home

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A healthier twist on the Starbucks Pink Drink…at home!

by Erica Johnson

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Who isn’t in love with the new Starbucks Pink Drink? The gals here at the iGoPink offices surely are…so I decided to take on the challenge to find a way to make this at home for less money and with as healthy and organic of products as possible. The result? COMPLETE success (at least in my books!)

Since I’m due with our first baby in 3 weeks, caffeine is still being kept at a minimum in my world. So I went to my tried and true base of bai Coconut Flavored water with the raspberry hint of flavoring too. Then for the rest of the ingredients I used all natural items from our grocery store to make it pretty darn close to what Starbucks has to offer…try it for yourself. Would love to hear any recipe changes or ideas!

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Starbucks Pink Drink at Home
1 cup of bai Coconut-Raspberry flavored water (note there is some caffeine in this, just lower than brewed tea—but if you want the extra boost replace with 1 cup of brewed Green Raspberry Tea)
1/3 cup of Almond-Coconut Unsweetened Milk
4-6 drops of All-Natural Lemon Juice
1 ½ tsp of organic honey
½ cup of fresh sliced strawberries mashed with a fork

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Blend the liquids together then add the honey to dissolve into liquid. Lastly add the strawberries and really mix thoroughly. Finish by pouring over crushed ice and add a strawberry for garnish. And voila…a sweet pink treat that’s healthy, delish and just like your local coffee stop!



Healthy Dessert Recipe

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October Means Apple Desserts

by Tristan Cablay

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OCTOBER is here! This year, I am definitely falling for fall! The leaves are changing. There is a new found crispness in the air. The kids are back in school. I can finally start pulling out my sweaters and scarves. The smell of apple and nutmeg are everywhere. Fall is a good time of the year! It’s even better with this recipe to nibble on! Go ahead, indulge.

Stuffed Baked Apples
· 4 large Granny Smith apples
· 1/4 cup steel-cut old-fashioned oats
· 1/4 cup chopped pitted prunes
· 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
· 2 tablespoons maple syrup
· 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
· Pinch of ground nutmeg
· 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Before you begin your preparation, preheat oven to 375ºF.
1. Core 4 Granny Smith apples and be careful not to cut through bottom of apples
2. Stir together oats, prunes, apricots, 2 Tbsp. maple syrup, cinnamon and cloves.
3. Place the mixture into the cored apples tightly with some extra lumped on the top
4. Place apples in a baking dish and pour 1/2 cup water into bottom of dish.
5. Dot tops of apples with butter and loosely cover with foil.
6. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until apples are tender but not falling apart, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Let cool slightly.

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Sushi in September

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Sushi for a fun September Dinner Fix!

by Tristan Cablay

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Sushi just sounds like the perfect September dinner! As the summer heat starts to cool down and the days are still long, rolling sushi and dining on the patio just sounds like heaven to me!

Never rolled your own sushi? You should give it a go! This sushi recipe is packed full of healthy fats and great vitamins and minerals! Avocado is a great source of heart healthy fat! Nori (the seaweed wrap) provides fantastic minerals such as calcium and zinc! The brown rice is a great source of fiber, and seafood is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids.

There are so many great benefits to eating sushi! Give this recipe a try! Even if it comes out lopsided on the first few tries… It will still taste delicious and be full of “good for you” foods.

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What you need to get started:
• Makisu (A bamboo rolling mat)
• Saran wrap
• A sharp knife

Ingredients:
• 3 cups short-grain brown rice
• 3 to 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
• ½ pound raw sushi-grade tuna or salmon (Don’t care for raw fish? Substitute with crabmeat.)
• 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into long strips
• 1 Avocado
• 1 package of Nori (Dried seaweed wrap)
• Soy sauce for dipping
• Wasabi if you want some extra UMPH!

Instructions:
• Cook the brown rice, once done ad the rice wine vinegar and set aside to cool
• Chop the fish or crab, cucumber, and avocado into long strips
• Split the sheets of Nori (Bend them in half and they will fold and break)
• Cover the bamboo mats with plastic wrap
• Stack the Nori first followed by rice, spread evenly over the entire piece of Nori
• Then add your fillings to the middle
• Roll with a slight pressure
• Remove from bamboo mat and cut with a sharp knife
• Tip… dip your knife or spoon in water to help “unstick” as your cut or serve

There you have it! What are your favorite family meals?