Enjoy the Season and Stop Cringing at Calories: Try my Peppermint Bark!

Enjoy the Season and Stop Cringing at Calories: Try my Peppermint Bark!

Sooo…I don’t typically post a lot of recipes (my fault) especially dessert recipes but its the holiday season so how could I not?! Everyone loves treats this time of year so I figured why not make some! This recipe is not “healthified” whatsoever. Instead it is full of a of good reasons to try it that will put you in the holiday spirit instead of cringing at the calories. I feel there so many “approved” and “diet-friendly” desserts, which is great because we all have “get healthy” type goals…but sometimes it nice to give up that label for something indulgent anyways. The key is moderation. This recipe is indulgent, but it is also simple, fast, requires no baking, and won’t break the bank/budget friendly! However, it IS very addicting and yummy so enjoy at your own risk, aka moderation. 😉

I tried this recipe using only one bag of white chocolate and one of dark chocolate and it came out too thin. I used two bags of each chocolate instead and it came out perfectly thick! The peppermints also didn’t stick well in the first batch so I sprinkled them on when the white chocolate was warm and gently pressed them in with plastic wrap to eliminate direct contact with my hands. It took me about a half hour to whip up, and while the chocolate set in the fridge I was able to multi-task. For gifting, I bought christmas-y goodie bags from the dollar store and gave them out to some friends and my landlord (who doesn’t like getting food as a gift?!). A win-win I’d say!

Get In The Spirit Peppermint Bark

2 14oz bags of white chocolate chips

2 14 oz bags of dark chocolate chips

1 tsp of peppermint extract

1 Tbsp of vegetable oil

14 oz of peppermints or candy canes

-Start with crushing 14 oz of peppermints in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or heavy mallet until you see small chunks. If you have food processor, pulse 10-15x  (I used my ninja and it pulverized them very efficiently and quickly)

-Start with melting both bags of dark chocolate chips in a microwave save bowl with a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Melt in microwave for 1:30 sec at at power level of 50 until melted or in intervals of 30 sec. Combine well to make sure there are no lumps. Spread dark chocolate onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let set in fridge for 30 min. 

Once dark chocolate has set, in another microwave bowl, melt both bags of white chocolate with a tsp of peppermint extract for 1:30 sec or intervals of 30 sec at a power level of 50. Combine well to make sure there are no lumps.Take out the set dark chocolate from fridge and spread evenly the white chocolate over the top, making sure to get every edge 😉

-Sprinkle peppermint chunks over top of the white chocolate. Using plastic wrap (not your hands), gently press the chunks into the chocolate so they stick. *It’s important to sprinkle the peppermints into the warm white chocolate so they stay*

-Pop the tray back into the fridge until set. Once ready, break apart into irregular pieces and devour [moderately] (or share and devour with others). 

Enjoy & Merry Christmas!12371131_10207069418070674_3047505519158374543_o

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Reap Benefits of Recreation

Reap Benefits of Recreation

Friday is here YAY! That means more time for sleep, catch on work, fun things to do, and new ways to get FIT! Sometimes getting into a gym after work can be a drag, especially when friends or co-workers invite you to happy hour.

If we wanna maintain goals and stay on track, its good to have back-up plans or new ideas to have in mind that will keep us focused. So what if we can’t get in that 45 min spin class we wanted? Maybe a walk or a bike ride on Saturday will work. Its a about balance. Something is better then nothing right?! That’s where recreation comes in! No one seems to use that word anymore…lol. I have my minor in it, so I’m used to calling any activity (gym or no gym) that name.  I mean running, cycling, dance, hiking, swimming, walking, stand-up paddle boarding (another fav!), roller blading, fitness in general etc. is considered recreation. (btw who still roller blades?!?). So when you dread heading into the gym, re-think it and see if any of these activities seem, hmm…fun-er? 😉

  • Running—the whole foundation of my blog is top of my list!
    • Benefits: aerobic, anywhere, only need shoes, quick!
  • Swimming—a great summertime sport that includes some resistance, not just aerobic
    • Benefits: aerobic, low impact, some resistance involved, total body type movement
  • Walking—anyone can do it!
    • Benefits: somewhat aerobic, great/easy way to get moving for any fitness level, no special clothes or equipment required, fun, convenient
  • Hiking—not really here in FL (although in some parts, yes!), varying terrain makes this activity tough and invigorating
    • Benefits: aerobic, great way to see the outdoors, good for doing in groups, challenges balance, works small muscle groups in the legs and foot
  • Stand-Up Paddleboarding—A Floridian’s favorite, or can be done on any flat lake or calm inlet.
    • Benefits: somewhat aerobic, great for balance, core, and posture, good for groups, great workout for upper body
  • Roller Blading—An oldie, but goodie!
    • Benefits: aerobic, great strength workout for legs, convenient, good for balance and core

Yes, these activities do NOT require a gym, but who said to improve you had to be in one?? Not here! This time of year can be tough getting in a workout, so the options above offer something for everyone without completely ditching your workout altogether…better then no workout, AM I RIGHT?! They might not create the strength training, heavy sweat sesh workout all of us crave, but they do offer tons of benefits. A good thing to keep in mind around the holidays, when you’re with family, friends, co-workers, etc and want to do something together!

YOUR TURN: Any good go-to activities you guys do that help with staying on track during the holiday season?? Comment below!

 

Holiday Motivation: Maintain Don’t Gain (or lose sight of your goals!)

Holiday Motivation: Maintain Don’t Gain (or lose sight of your goals!)

Hi There! I took a small hiatus from blogging over the holiday, now I’m back with some new topics to share with you. Everyone knows the holiday season is upon us. For most people, that usually means more eating out, falling off of a workout routine, other seasonal stressors, and other ways to put health and fitness on the back burner. I myself, find it hard to juggle my workout schedule among a lot of things going on, especially during this time of year. SO, I’ve decided to share some motivation, tips on setting small goals for each workout, and why staying fit over the holidays matter.

Starting to feel that “dread” or “guilt” upon starting a workout or run or for not getting your workout in? I’m already there on some days honestly! #keepingitreal…LOL. Marathon training during this time of year has its pros and cons (burn off those christmas cookies right?) so I get it.

  • Motivation wise:
    • Get half of the workout done anyways. Thirty minutes or less? Make it hard, fast, intense. This goes for HIIT workouts and speed/tempo runs.
    • Holiday fun runs or a 5k—so many good reasons for a 5k! Holiday runs are especially fun since they’re seasonal and allow you dress up. Get a group together or your family.
    • Experiment with *healthy* holiday recipes–a lot are re-created with healthy substitutes. My mom does roasted brussel sprouts with cranberries. It a festive dish and its healthy.
    • Holiday Challenges—I’ve done a running streak (with clothes on–LOL!!) where you run a mile a day from Thanksgiving till the new year. Not into running? Try doing a set of ten push-ups, holding a plank, etc. every day till the New Year instead. Get your friends together and make it fun.
    • Out of the box ways to motivate yourself: make your phone screen something motivational, a good quote maybe? Seeing it often helps you focus on your goals.
  • Go in the gym with a plan…Okay, so you made to the gym. Now you’re trying to figure out what you wanna work on. You might be feeling that “dread” set in but you know you need to do something. Instead you wander around and might not be efficient with your time. Aside from just showing up, plan your workouts ahead of time (see post on using a planner). For example, know you’re gonna do an upper body HIIT workout. Its okay if you don’t have the exact plan in front of you  (sometimes I don’t) but knowing what you’re doing *somewhat* makes it easy to get it and get it done.
  • Staying fit matters…Yes, we like to indulge this time of year. We should!! Tasty, wonderful food and treats are among us. It’s special. Try not to completely let it go to the point you hate yourself for it. All those thirty minute or less workout/runs, walks, and push-up  challenges, etc matter. Healthy food choices count too. Starting the new year with maintaining your goals is much better then having to start all over again with everyone else at the packed gyms etc. That thought alone makes me cringe! #packedgyms.

No one is perfect, but its the moments you don’t want to do anything that count the most! Plan it out, get it done, feel great, repeat…all season long. 🙂