Monday, April 27, 2015

Juice Party!

By Lisa VanWilliams

Get your kids excited with these cute juice drinks. Who doesn't love an umbrella in their drink? Use your child's favorite fruits cut up in funny shapes or use a melon baller and match it with their favorite juice. Keep them hydrated in a fun way this Spring/Summer. You can find the fancy umbrellas for under $2 near the mixed drinks section at your local grocery store. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Edible Butterfly Wafers

By Lisa VanWilliams

My daughter and the rest of her Pre-K class are watching as Monarch butterflies undergo the four stages of metamorphosis, and I get an update on their progress everyday when she leaves school. I am going to surprise her an order these cute edible butterflies from ETSY. You can add them to practically anything like cupcakes, macarons, meringues, cookies, & cakes. They range in price from .40 cents to a couple dollars depending on how many you need. You can get a 24 count for under $10.

Check them out here and you can look for a style/colors you like:

Heart Rate Target Zones

By Lisa VanWilliams
Do you need to step up your game on the elliptical, treadmill, or stair climber to lose those last few winter pounds? This can help you as a guideline to monitor your fitness level and avoid anytime undertraining or overtraining. Get your heart pumping harder than normal because that's when the health and fitness benefits start to happen. Start on the low end of the zone and work your way up to the higher end over a course of time. Give your body time to make the adjustments. The American Heart Association uses these averages as guidelines:

AgeTarget HR Zone 50-85%Average Maximum Heart Rate, 100%
20 years100-170 beats per minute200 beats per minute
30 years95-162 beats per minute190 beats per minute
35 years93-157 beats per minute185 beats per minute
40 years90-153 beats per minute180 beats per minute
45 years88-149 beats per minute175 beats per minute
50 years85-145 beats per minute170 beats per minute
55 years83-140 beats per minute165 beats per minute
60 years80-136 beats per minute160 beats per minute
65 years78-132 beats per minute155 beats per minute
70 years75-128 beats per minute150 beats per minute

Some machines will even have the tools & guidelines posted right on them at the gym. If you need to do it yourself, the Mayo Clinic says,
"To measure your heart rate, simply check your pulse. Place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery - which is located on the thumb side of your wrist.
When you feel your pulse, count the numder of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by 4 to calculate your beats per minute. "
What does working out at 60-70% capacity do for you? It improves the ability of your heart to pump blood and improve the muscles' ability to utilize oxygen. The body becomes more efficient at feeding the working muscles, and learns how to metabolize fat as a source of food.*

70-80%? This is where you want to be for the most effective overall cardiovascular fitness. Increases your cardio-respitory capacity: that is, your ability to transport oxygenated blood the muscle cells and carbon dioxide away from the cells. It will also increase your overall muscle strength.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Honey Boost

By Lisa VanWilliams

Not only is it a natural sweetener, it offers several other benefits. You can add it to tea, put on toast or a graham cracker, add them to your sweet potatoes, add some to your bread, pair it with your favorite cheese, the possibilities are unBEElieveable! If your ever feeling extra sluggish, honey provides instant energy.

Why else honey can be good for you:

  • natural sweetener
  • energy food (carbs & fructose)
  • great for skin care & topical uses in lotions (humectant so attracts and retains moisture), burns, bites, & wounds.
  • natural cough suppressant
  • boosts immunity with antiviral/antibacterial properties
  • may help you sleep better
  • promotes digestion (stimulates growth of probiotics)
  • anti-cancer properties

Honey is one of those items you might not use all the time, but it's great to keep in the pantry. It's a sweet treat that offers some great benefits.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Engineering Prints - Big Impact, Small Price

By Lisa VanWilliams
Have a great family photo or a wonderful landscape photo? Here's a super cheap incredible way to showcase any piece. You can make engineering prints at Staples or any office store and mount them on some foam board. The prints range from $1.99-$7.79 depending on the size you go with.  Make your kids feel like rock stars and hang a special picture of them in your home. Here are a few of our fav's:

Friday, April 17, 2015

Roasted Butternut Lasagna

By Lisa VanWilliams
This is wayyyy better than I thought it was going to be. Savory, rich, cheesy and filled with lots of flavor. The nutty sweet taste of the squash pairs great with the cheese, spinach, garlic, & Alfredo sauce. Butternut squash is a great source of fiber, vitamin A C & E, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. I originally tried the Mezza Luna Lasagna recipe on Trader Joe's site, but changed a few things to give it a creamier texture.You can use the no boil lasagna but the boil ones work better, I tried them both. They both taste great the next day, the no boil noodles just need to sit a while before the sauce softens them.

1 large Butternut squash (one I used was 3.87 lbs) peeled and cubed
olive oil
15 ounces ricotta or more

Creamed Butternut:
2 cups roasted squash
¹/³ of ricotta
½  cup milk
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Spinach ricotta:
rest of ricotta
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 cup frozen spinach
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 jar of Trader Joe's Alfredo sauce
1 box of lasagna noodles
2 cups mozzarella
1 cup Parmesan

Peel and cut the squash into small ½ inch cubes. Coat them in olive oil, salt & pepper and bake them in oven on 350 for about 45 mins until they soften and start to brown (I will broil them for a few minutes before I take them out).

Cook your noodles before you start the next few steps.

I take half the pan of roasted squash (around 2 cups or so) and put it into the blender and save half of the whole cubes for later. I think some chunks of butternut squash add a meaty texture but to much is overkill. Add milk, ricotta, nutmeg, salt & pepper and mix until creamy. Spoon in bowl.

Mix the rest of the ricotta, spinach, garlic, cheese, and salt & pepper.

Start to layer it up. I put the creamed squash on the bottom with some roasted squash cubes.

Then noodles, some ricotta, some Alfredo sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan, repeat. Top it off with some sauce and cheese.

Cover with foil and bake in the oven on 350 for ½ hour or so. Remove foil and broil until golden brown. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Chicken On Roids

By Lisa VanWilliams

My mom swears that "back in her day" young girls were definitely not as stacked as they are nowadays. She's always blamed the production changes that have happened to chicken and milk over the course of several decades. The statistics match the evolution of changes that have occurred as a result of these environmental pollutants now in our food.

The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics did a comparison study* over a span of 25 years that measured breast development to gauge the start of puberty and the results were staggering:

"In that time span, the rate of white 7-year-old girls entering puberty doubled, from five percent to more than 10 percent.
Black and Hispanic girls are, on average, maturing at an even faster rate, with nearly 25 percent of black girls and 15 percent of Hispanic girls entering puberty by age seven!
The average age of the first period has declined as well. In the 19th century the onset of menstruation occurred around the age of 15. Now the average age of the first period is around 12."*

The scientists say that factors such as hormones in food, pesticides in produce, obesity, and phthalates in plastics and cosmetics may be to blame.

The US FDA allows the following hormones to be used in food production*:

  • Estradiol
  • Progesterone
  • Testosterone
  • Zeranol
  • Trenbolone acetate
  • Melengestrol acetate

We have always gotten organic milk for our children, but just recently made the switch to organic chicken. After handling chicken for many many years, there are some major noticeable differences between non-organic and organic chicken. Some of the differences in my opinion:

  • organic is way less slimy/meat is dryer in texture
  • organic has less fat/waste
  • meat is leaner on organic chicken

Here is a great video on Youtube that goes into more detail:

You end up getting a fraction of what we were use to for the price, but it's worth it. Two organic chicken breasts run around $10. I used to be able to buy the family pack at my local grocery store with 6 chicken breasts on roids for the same price. You get what you pay for.

Organic steak is pricey as well and we are only doing organic ground beef at this time. Someday maybe a nice steroid free steak won't cost $50 for two. Until then, we will limit our intake on "juiced up" beef, or splurge on occasion with organic beef.  We try to do the best we can for our family :)


Monday, April 13, 2015

Ten Movies That Rock From 1980's

By Lisa VanWilliams

If you were lucky enough to be a teenager in the 1980's, these are some of the top hits of the era to bring you back in time for a moment. You might have forgotten about some of these little gems. These are some classics and totally represent the 80's at it's finest.

#1) Just One of The Guys - 1985
Terry in her convertible and how could you forget her brother Buddy!

#2) Little Darlings - 1980
Ahhh who will be the bad girl first?

#3) Weird Science - 1985
"You know, there's going to be sex, drugs, rock-n-roll...chips, dips, chains, whips....You know, your basic high school orgy type of thing. I mean, uh, I'm not talking candlewax on the nipples, or witchcraft or anything like that, no, no, no. Just a couple of hundred kids running around in their underwear, acting like complete animals." Lisa

#4) Once Bitten - 1984
Jim Carrey was just in his early twenties here when he got to star with Lauren Hutton. 

#5) Can't Buy Me Love - 1987
Who knew Patrick Dempsey was going to be hot back then ??

#6) The Lost Boys - 1987
The two Corey's !!

#7) Sixteen Candles - 1984
Jake knew how to throw a rager.

#8) The Legend of Billie Jean - 1985
Who wanted to hop on the station wagon band wagon??!

#9) Summer School - 1987
Classic summer school with the perfect underachieving bunch.

#10) Revenge of the Nerds - 1984
"So I say I gotta be free. So I say I gotta be me."

Friday, April 3, 2015

Curry Chicken With Basmati Rice

By Lisa VanWilliams
Somebody take my fork away please!! This was so good, I will definitely be making this husband approved dinner again. Rich curry flavor, with a hint of spice, and healthy & fragrant supergrain Basmati rice. You can add any variation of vegetables you prefer, and it's fairly simple to throw together. The hardest part was cooking the brown rice.

1 pack of Trader Joe's Curry Chicken Tenders
2 cups steamed broccoli
1 small can sliced water chestnuts
½ cup petite peas
¼ cup diced onion
½ cup diced peppers
½ of a hot pepper finely diced
Sprinkle chicken with Bob's Red Mill Fine Macaroon Coconut
olive oil

Brown Basmati Rice

Start the rice before anything else, brown rice takes forever (40 mins).
In a pan add the olive oil, onion, peppers, salt & pepper and cook until they soften.

Add in the chicken and then sprinkle it with the coconut.

When the chicken is almost cooked I cut it into smaller bite size pieces. Add the water chestnuts, peas, & steamed broccoli and mix well. Serve over Basmati rice. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Chrissy Teigen Style - 6 Things You Didn't Know

By Lisa VanWilliams
Hot model Chrissy Teigen loves her some bulldogs, likes to cook (she is a foodie), and is married to singer John Legend. She has a food blog called which is hysterically funny (I can't wait to try her prosciutto figs recipe & then a bacon,meatball, & mozzarella skewer recipe), and we hear a new cookbook could possibly be hitting the market soon. She's a 2014 Sports Illustrated cover girl and host of MTV's cooking show called Snack-Off. She's graced dozens of magazines and she campaigns for several top fashion brands. We found a few of her favorite things and we wanted to share:
  1. What she uses on her lips: Aquaphor Lip Repair
  2. Eye treatment: SK-II Signs Eye Mask 14 treatments found @ Sephora for = $115 
  3. Givenchy Nior Couture 4-in-1Waterproof mascara = $33
  4. Favorite healthy snack: wasabi seaweed sheets
  5. What she brings to a dinner party: Momofuku Crack Pie! from Milk Bar  She also likes to bring one of her own homemade dishes along. 
  6. What's always in her fridge: cilantro, green onion, oyster sauce (every sauce really), a wide assortment of hot sauces, eggs, soda water, bacon and Jimmy Dean sausage!

What's not to love about her killer lifestyle. Look out for her co-hosting SPIKE TV's Lip Sync Battle along with LL Cool J that premiers this month!

BONUS feature = Bon App├Ętit actually shared the Crack Pie recipe if your wondering what the _^*! is in there:

Chrissy Teigen's Blog here:

Here's the GREAT song her husband dedicated to her called All Of Me ♥: