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Birthday Month + Healthier Punch



I have come to find that most Cancer's are alike; attention-loving, outgoing and kind hearted pretty much sums us up. What more could you want? I mean, the new Prince George is a cancer. I have always made a big announcement of my "birthday month" (because I love attention no doubt), and this year was no different. Some may frown upon the thought of turning 25, since it's halfway to 50 and all, but I decided to celebrate in a completely age appropriate fashion (rather Mal decided for me); Blow up slides reminiscent of a middle schooler's dream birthday, pool party, and Healthier Hunch Punch were the main characters, but the star of the show was the birthday cake home made and decorated by my little sister. All made possible by my family and friends, who put time and effort into making sure it was a fun-filled day. Birthday parties are never fun alone.

{Healthier} Hunch Punch
Serves: 20+ people
3 gallons of water
2 (2 liters) of Sprite Zero
10 large Crystal Light packets (makes ~20 Quarts)
Chopped fruits of your choice
1 Handle of Vodka

Chop fruits into edible pieces. I went with Pineapple, apple, grapes, and oranges.
Mix all ingredients is a large pitcher. Stir well and enjoy.
Stir often, throughout the party as the vodka tends to settle and can get a little dangerous. 


Do you think you share similar personalities with your birthday buddies?

Nacho Average Couple


Mallory has been my friend since I can remember. We could be found running in the dirt, playing softball, riding four- wheelers through the strip pits, taking fully clothed, spontaneous dips in the pond or jumping from the rope swing to the water below. She has always been the logical thinker to my irrational ways. We decided to try to be a little classier and went to Bama sophomore year, but that never really worked out and our country girl ways still win over most of the time {sometimes she feels the need to remind me of that}. Now, years after she met her Colin Farrell looking boyfriend {at least we thought so} in the Big Lots parking lot on a summer night when we were 16, they're getting married! 

They truly are not your average couple because they actually still like each other after a decade of dating! And they eat Mexican food. A lot. {but so does everyone in Jasper}
So the theme of the night became: Mallory + Jeff- Nacho Average Couple. We started with a nacho bar, topped it off with some alcoholic lemonade and a homemade, hand decorated cake by my little sister, Janey. {Want a made from scratch cake for your special occasion anyone?}

Nacho Bar Ingredients:

Fajita chicken:
Chicken breast x 8, boneless, skinless
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Fajita Seasoning (we made homemade but didn't measure. oops.)
Onions and bell peppers, chopped

Bake at 350 degrees* for 20-30 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Cut chicken into slices and put in crock pot to keep warm.
*preferably in a cast iron skillet

Other Crock Pot items:
Queso (from Mexican Restaurant)
Grilled onions and peppers

For the sides: (in that sweet Lazy Susan!)
Chips, of course
Tomato, diced
Guacamole (2 avocados, mashed + 2 teaspoons lime juice)
Salsa
Sour Cream
Cheese, Mexican blend
Lettuce
Jalapenos

Later, we retreated to the fire pit for S'mores, beer, and gossip. I really need to stop being so sociable and remember to take more pictures! Good night, great friends. Here's to more parties in honor of this duo!


What goes in your Nacho Bar?

Red, white, and Blue-berry

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays! I had great plans for a family trip to float down the Cahaba river (dreaming of my college days!) and then make it to Thunder on the Mountain here in Birmingham, but then the rain came. So instead of Thunder on the Mountain, my sis and I went to Yogurt Mountain- logical replacement. I love frozen yogurt, but I think I love banana ice cream even more. Check out the recipe here!

With the abundance of blueberries currently growing in JT's mom's garden, it only made sense that I make blueberry-banana ice cream to celebrate the old red, white, and blue! Here's to you, America.




Ingredients:

1/2 Cup fresh blueberries1
1 large frozen banana
1/2 Cup almond milk2
2 Packets of Splenda

Directions:
Blend all ingredients until well combined and serve immediately.

*1 I used fresh blueberries that I froze the night before
*2 or any other low fat milk 

Happy 4th of July!
the American story
What's your favorite 4th of July treat?!

Insanity: Day 1

Today, was day 1. I borrowed the Insanity DVD set from a friend, and a co-worker and I stayed after work and did the Plyometric Cardio Circuit in an empty clinic waiting room. It was intense insane. Do-able, but hard!

The good news is that it goes by really fast. I'm too busy wondering if I'll make it through the circuit to be concerned with the time. Overall, it was a great workout and I am excited to see changes that will come after I complete the 60 days. That being said, I need my workout buddy Kathleen to stick with me. I would totally back out faster on my own!  Active friends are the best friends! Need more proof? After Insanity, I was beat! I went home where my roommate, Lauren, wanted to go on a walk so I joined her! There's no way I would have gotten in those extra steps without her.

Do you have a workout buddy? Find one. It will really help keep you motivated and accountable. Surround yourself with active people and commit to meeting each other at the gym, park, or on the sidewalk after work. It will be easier to workout on those days when you don't have the energy if you have already told someone you would meet them. It may take a couple of weeks to get into a groove, but you and your friend will find it easier to stick with a routine if you do it together! After all, friends don't let friends get fat.

Half Marathon running buddies!


We are planning to do Insanity every Tuesday and Thursday together after work, and I will keep you posted on how it goes!

Have you tried Insanity before? What did you think?
Do you think it's easier to stick to a routine if you have a friend to join?

Protein-Colada


I walked outside at dusk and the sound of children playing and laughing outside filled the air. Then, I realized that the sound was strange. Then, I realized how sad it was that the sound of kids playing outside was strange.

I spend every weekday talking about healthy eating and exercise with families of overweight children. It is really pretty simple. Go play! When I was little, we ate what I would now consider junk crap, and then we (unintentionally) spent hours outside working it all off, and we didn't have the obesity problem of today. I am all about healthy eating, but if your family is not ready to make healthy food changes, start by getting your kids outside and away from the TV, computer, Iphone, xbox, or whatever it is that keeps them sedentary. It is so sad to me that a common goal I set with a family is “exercise at least 30 minutes every day”.

And they aren’t even sure they can do that! "We don't have time for 30 minutes of exercise..." Seriously?  Do you have time to watch TV? Do you have time to check Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest?

If you don’t think you have time for it, just try to make time for 1 week. Make yourself do something (and make your kids do something), even if it’s just walking around your house. 1 hour, every day for 1 week. Before you know it, it becomes a habit. Then, you exercise daily, you feel better, eat less, and look better. 

Make. Time.

After you neighborhood walk, come in and make this Protein Colada!

Protein smoothies are my go to breakfast on hot mornings. They're simple, cool, tasty, and kid-approved!
230 calories, and about 24 grams of protein

Ingredients:

- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1, 6 oz. container nonfat pineapple coconut yogurt, frozen
- 8 ounces water, or coconut almond milk!

Directions:

Blend all ingredients until smooth and enjoy!

Tips:
* choose a protein powder that is less than 150 calories per scoop, and stick to one scoop.
*for great and cheap frozen yogurt, put regular 6 ounce yogurt containers in freezer overnight, use the frozen yogurt for the smoothie and you won't need ice.


What was your favorite outdoor game as a kid?