Fit Friday – Low-calorie Microwave Berry Dessert

•April 11, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Do you ever have a craving for a berry cobbler or pie but don’t want to go through the trouble to make a whole dessert? And/Or you’re trying to be good, so that’s not an option anyway?

Enter  SUGAR-FREE PUDDING MIX and MICROWAVE to save the day!

I saw a recipe recently that used corn starch with berries in the microwave. I didn’t have any, but I did have sugar free pudding mix. It not only thickened the fruit, but it also added some lovely flavor! And at only 63 calories and 8 grams of sugar! Delicious! You can then top the warm, pie filling-type fruit with cool whip, sugar-free chocolate syrup, granola or other crunchy cereal, or my Greek yogurt based fruit dip (see recipe below). Either way, this dessert is easy, quick, and low in calories and sugar.

First, put your berries in a microwavable bowl. I used 1/2 cup blackberries and 1/2 cup strawberries.

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Second, sprinkle 2 tsp sugar free vanilla pudding mix onto fruit and stir it in until coated.

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Third, microwave for 1-1 1/2 minutes (preferably with a microwave cover because it tends to boil up). Watch it carefully. This is what it will look like.

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Last but not least, top with whatever you want or eat by itself. You’ll probably want to let it cool down for a few minutes though…unless you want to burn your tongue.

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You could use that cool-down time to make my fruit dip to use as a topping! It’s only 68 calories and 2 grams of sugar. This makes a pretty big portion, so if you used it with these berries, it would be more like berries and cream rather than a topping. You could do half. Here’s the basic recipe.

  • 2 Tbsp Plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3-4 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free cheesecake pudding mix
  • 2 Tbsp Cool Whip light

Stir the first 3 ingredients together until lumps are gone. Then stir in the cool whip. (You can use any pudding mix with this for different flavors!)

 

LOW-CALORIE MICROWAVE BERRY DESSERT

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup berries (I used half strawberries and half blackberries)
  • 2 tsp sugar free vanilla pudding mix

Directions:

  1. Mix berries and pudding mix in microwaveable bowl.
  2. Microwave for 1-1 1/2 minutes.
  3. Let cool and top with your favorite toppings!

 

 

Teen Tuesday – Facebook is Life?

•April 1, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I just read this thought-provoking article written by a teen who, heaven forbid, doesn’t have a Facebook account! I have a Facebook account and have had one for a few years now, and although I use it daily, I am completely aware of the massive way it has affected not only my life but society as a whole and the way we interact as humans.

What she has to say is quite interesting and worth a read! Check it out! Click on the Teen Ink icon to take you there. :)

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Fit Friday – Herbalife Chocolate Chip Cookie Shake

•March 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Fit Friday post coming at you a tad late. If I haven’t shared this shake recipe with you yet…shame on me. It’s tastes amazingly like a chocolate chip cookie and is only 279 calories with 10 grams of sugar! I’m eating/drinking it as we speak, actually. :) Okay, without further ado…

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Shake (Herbalife)

  • 2 scoops Vanilla PDM
  • 2 scoops Cookies and Cream HM
  • 1 Tbsp SF Butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1 Tbsp quick oats
  • 1/2 Tbsp mini chocolate chips
  • vanilla extract to taste

Variations:

  • Add 1/2 Tbsp chopped pecans
  • Use 1/2 Tbsp butterscotch and 1/2 Tbsp vanilla pudding mixes
  • Add 1 tsp cocoa powder for a Double Chocolate Chip Cookie shake
  • Add 1 Tbsp PB2 for a Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie shake

Tuesday Toddler Tip for Teething!

•March 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

No this is not a new weekly feature. In the past I’ve done Teen Tuesday posts, usually YA book reviews or some post relating to teens. I’ll still do those, but who knows! Maybe a Tuesday Toddler Tip or even just a Tuesday Tip post will show up again. :)

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I just had to share this because I know how many frustrated parents go through teething, especially the molars around 1 year of age! I’m going through that right now, and it’s horrible! Little angels become holy terrors with irritability worse than a woman on PMS and tantrums worse than a 3-year-old spoiled brat. Parents wake up 10 times at night to a screaming baby, barely getting any sleep. Random vomiting, diarrhea, fevers, and other strange physical issues.

But worst of all is them crying out, “Mama!”  clearly in pain, and you’ve got nothing left up your sleeves to help.

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I’m here to add one more trick to put in your Super Mama bag!

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Now, I can’t take credit for coming up with this myself. I read a stranger’s comment on a friend’s Facebook post about her child teething. Also, after googling it, I’ve found it’s a fairly common thing, but I’d never heard of it before. Anyway, I decided to give it a go. And…it worked wonderfully! I’ve used this trick 4 times so far (once just last night), and each was a success!

Okay, so here it is. Ready? Brace yourself. It’s mind-blowing.

Frozen Waffle.

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I know, right? Super simple, yet brilliant. It’s something most mom’s of toddlers have in their freezer anyway. It’s cold to soothe their gums without being shockingly cold like a teether (which my little one pushed away several times while crying in the middle of the night). It distracts them from their crying by giving them something to suck and chew on and gradually eat. Plus, it puts food in their bellies and soothes their tummies to help them go back to sleep! Every time I’ve used this trick, I give her about a third of one and let her chew on it while I sit down with her and let her relax. Then I give her a quick drink, and off she goes to bed again! If you’re giving her ibuprophen/tylonel too (if you haven’t just a few hours earlier, lol), give it to her first and by the time she’s done with the waffle it will have kicked in.

I’m sure it won’t work for everyone as every child is different, but, hey, it’s worth a try!

Fit Friday – Refreshing Citrus Herbalife Shake Recipes

•March 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been craving fruit and citrusy things lately. I think I’m just anxious for the cold weather to go away. Seriously, here in Oklahoma we’ve gone from snow days to 70s to freezing rain back to 80 degrees and then back down to the 30s…all within a few weeks! As I write this, it’s spring break, yet it’s raining and 36 degrees out.

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I’m not a huge fan of the smoothie-type shakes, though. I’m more into the shakes that mimic desserts! So, to appease my fruit and citrus cravings, I decided to experiment with some different Herbalife shake concoctions using lemon and/or lime juice. Basically, I just google different types of desserts and then try to mimic them as a shake. These turned out wonderfully! I included pictures of the desserts that inspired these shakes. If you click on them, it will take you to the recipe for that dessert. :)

If you’re craving spring and summer like I am, maybe these will tide you over until it actually gets here for good!

Coconut Lime Berry Cake Shake

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  • Vanilla PDM
  • 1/2 Very Berry HM and half French Vanilla HM
  • 1 Tbsp SF White Chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice (remove 1 Tbsp of the water for this)
  • splash of coconut extract

 

Lemon Pistachio Cookie Shake (Or Lemon Blueberry Muffin Shake)

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  • Vanilla PDM
  • French Vanilla or Dulce de Leche HM
  • 1 Tbsp SF Pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 Tbsp pistachios (I used almonds and it tasted just fine)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (remove 1 Tbsp of the water for this)
  • (You could add 1/4 cup blueberries instead of the nuts and it would be a lemon blueberry muffin shake!)

 

Lemon Cheese Bar Shake (saw recipe for lemon cheese bars and they looked amazing! This shake is amazing too!)

  • Vanilla PDM
  • French Vanilla HM
  • 1 Tbsp SF Cheesecake pudding mix
  • 1 Tbsp pecans, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (remove 1 Tbsp of the water for this)
  • I added 1/4 tsp butter buds to add to the whole crumb topping thing – you could probably do 1/2 tsp)

 

Lemon Berry Cake Shake (I haven’t tried this yet, but I don’t think you can go wrong with lemon and berries. I have to try this dessert too!)

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  • Vanilla PDM
  • Very Berry HM
  • 1 Tbsp SF Vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (remove 1 Tbsp of the water for this)
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • A few shakes of cinnamon
  • (Adding 1/4-1/2 tsp butter buds  probably couldn’t hurt with this recipe too)

 

Key Lime Pie Shake (I linked the recipe for the Weight Watchers Key Lime Pie on this one for you!)

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  • Vanilla PDM
  • French Vanilla HM
  • 1 Tbsp SF Cheesecake pudding mix
  • 1 square graham cracker
  • 1-2 Tbsp lime juice (remove 1-2 Tbsp of the water for this)
  • (you could add coconut extract for that coconut lime flavor)
  • (For a Coconut Lime Cake Shake – I would add coconut, use only 1 Tbsp lime juice, and change the cheesecake pudding to vanilla.)

 

Key Lime Cinnamon Roll Shake (saw this Pillsbury recipe for Key Lime Pie Cinnamon Rolls, so I had to try it! I will warn you, this shake has a very unique taste but is still good if you want to try something different.)

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  • Vanilla PDM
  • Cookies and Cream HM
  • 1 Tbsp SF Butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1/2 Tbsp SF White Chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 square graham cracker
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice (remove 1 Tbsp water for this)

 

Lemon Cookie Shake (I’ve shared this creation before – Awesome!!)

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  • Vanilla PDM
  • French Vanilla HM
  • 1 Tbsp SF White Chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 Lorna Doone shortbread cookie
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (remove 2 Tbsp of the water for this)

 

Chocolate Lemon Cake Shake (So weird! You can’t taste the lemon juice like you’d think. I put 1 1/2 Tbsp in it, and all it did was add a refreshing crispness instead of having a heavy chocolate cake flavor. Interesting… Maybe I’ll try 2 Tbsp next time?)

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  • Chocolate PDM
  • Dutch Chocolate HM
  • 1 Tbsp SF White Chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice (remove 1 Tbsp of the water for this)

Teen Tuesday – UnSouled YA Dystopian Book Review

•March 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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First, if you haven’t read the first two, you may want to check out my review of Unwind here, and/or my review of UnWholly here (or just scroll to the post before this. Lol!). Otherwise, this review may not make much sense since I’m not going to go into the basic premise of the series again.

Let me now say that I absolutely love the world Shusterman has created here because it is so appalling, repelling, and mind-blowing. The great things about dystopian books is that you can always see a little bit of our society in the way the world is structured and the way the people act and interact. In a way, that’s what dystopian books are for – to remind us we could be headed there if we’re not careful. To make us take a long look at ourselves in the mirror and reflect. To let us not remain complacent and passive, letting the media manipulate us into whatever it wants us to believe.

Maybe that’s one reason I’m in love with and identify so much with this series. A big part of it (at least in the 2nd and definitely the 3rd) is tied to the media and the big players behind it manipulating the masses…which if you haven’t read much on my blog, is a big passion of mine.

Okay, enough about dystopian books in general. Let’s talk about UnSouled.

Things I loved about UnSouled: The increased information and insight into the way the media is involved; the love triangle that popped up (although that kind of started in the 2nd one), Lev and Connor’s relationship and banter, and Grace’s character and how she is so dang clever despite being “low-cortical” (I think she must be autistic or something similar and they just pegged brain issues all together – anybody else think that?). One other thing about the whole series I haven’t mentioned before that I love is the random articles and documents he throws in from our time that are real and incredibly shocking! It just makes the whole thing seem so much more plausible.

Things I didn’t care for as much: Really, the only thing I didn’t care for was the massive amount of plots and sub-plots.

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Plot+and+Subplot

 

 

 

 

 

 

It just seemed overbearing and annoying at times. Now, granted, the second book had several sub-plots as well, but it still focused mainly on the three main ones: Cam and Risa, Connor and everyone at the Graveyard, and Lev. This time you had Risa, Cam, Connor and Lev, Starkey, Nelson, and a few others like Argie and Hayden before they converged with Nelson and Starkey, respectively. I think part of the problem with this was that I found I liked some of the plots more than others, so when it stopped one I liked and took a detour to one I didn’t like, I had to force myself to continue through it.

Part of my issue with the million plots and the jumping back and forth between them was that it was kind of jarring to be moved back and forth like that, in and out of stories. The other, and probably main, problem I had with it, though, was simply that I didn’t like being inside the antagonists’ minds for too long.

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I hated arrogant and completely selfish Starkey by the end of the second book, and, of course, Nelson has always been a psychotic creep who for some reason thinks he’s Mr. Man of Integrity. With Starkey’s plot not really involving any of the main characters, and then Nelson’s plot adding the nauseating Argie, I just found that I wanted those sections to be over quickly. I understand those sub-plots were necessary, and for a book with an obviously omniscient point of view, I think Shusterman did an amazing job still getting the reader involved with main characters and making sure everyone had a different voice. I guess I just think these sections with the antagonists could’ve been shorter, and, in Starkey’s case, more of them could’ve been told through Bam’s or Hayden’s eyes. I didn’t feel as uncomfortable seeing it through Bam or Hayden since they aren’t psychotic narcissists.

Well, there’s my two-cents anyway. :)

YA Dystopian Book Review: UnWholly

•March 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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If you loved Unwind, you will love UnWholly! I am so getting sucked into this crazy, messed up, dystopian world Neal Shusterman has created with this series – a world where teens can be “unwound,” or, essentially, killed and parted out for people who need or just want replacement limbs/organs/parts. It’s interesting because after reading Unwind (see review here), although I loved it, I didn’t feel there was too much of a cliffhanger that made me just dying to read the second book. In fact, I waited for a while to read it, choosing a few others before it. Unwind just had such an amazing ending that I didn’t feel it needed to go on. Imagination could take care of that.

However, once I got into UnWholly, I could see the series starting to take shape with new information that started to put the pieces together (no pun intended…), making a clear journey definitely worth taking with the characters. In fact, I found myself not only going on the journey with them, but also cheering them on as they endeavored to fulfill their own personal missions to save the society from the horrific mess it had gotten itself into.

Part of what I love about this series is its depiction of such a corrupt, selfish, and twisted society. I’m glad I read the second book because the first one didn’t do a good job of explaining fully why they went to the policy of unwinding teens as a concession to both sides of the abortion issue. I mean, he kind of explained it, but it didn’t seem very plausible. UnWholly, explains this issue more, providing much more believable, albeit totally screwed up, justifications. With all of the different points of view, the reader gets to see first-hand how twisted these people’s minds are, when they are completely blind to it. Although we’re meant to despise these people, it’s not too hard to see a bit of our society in them as well. One excuse given by a mother for why she chose to unwind her unruly teenage boy really stuck with me. She said, “We tried to be good parents. We really did. But there comes a point when you just give up trying.” I couldn’t help but think about the parents in our society today who give up on their kids. Some may even get them taken away and try to get them back, but only try so hard and eventually give up. We are far from sending disobedient, “worthless” teens to be unwound, but there’s enough realism there to make you sit and ponder.

Another aspect about this series that I think Shusterman nailed is the various points of view. If ever there was a story with an omniscient point of view that was truly successful, it’s this series! Each chapter goes back and forth between not only the main characters, but also some of the minor characters, the antagonists, and a few random people or even objects like a plane. He also even throws in some advertisements for unwinding that are so jacked up it makes you want to punch someone in the face. In light of reading Allegiant (3rd in Divergent series – see review here), where the dual point of view of Tris and Tobias failed to have any differentiation in voice, this book shows you just how many different ways a writer can change his/her wording, details, and sentence structure to fit the voices of different characters. They all had such distinct thoughts, vernacular, temperaments, feelings, etc., and I was amazed at how Shusterman was able to pull this off with so many different people. 

I am anxious to read the third book, but apprehensive at the same time because I know I’ll have to wait until October for the forth one! Oh well…such is life.

 
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