Does everything Kirkland/Costco do hit it out of the park? Pretty much, yeah. (No, this post is NOT sponsored… I just like finding yummy new treats and I’m betting you do too).
I saw these bars all over Instagram and they looked amazing; I had to pick them up. I’ve been trying to stay away from Costco lately because…well, see the budget post :). I have a tendency to impulse buy there and that is NOT a place you want to impulse buy. This time, I went in with a purpose: protein bars.
The box comes with 20 bars in 2 flavors: chocolate chip cookie dough and a brownie bar (ten each). The price of the entire box was about $18 dollars making each bar about .90 cents. Not too shabby.
My immediate reaction to the cookie dough flavor was that it looks just like the chocolate chip cookie dough Quest bars. Quest fans, am I right?? Do they taste as good? YES they do.
The flavors are different, but in my opinion, both bars are delicious. This Kirkland bar had some major chocolate chunkage which I am all about. They actually tasted a bit fresher to me too…which I don’t even know how to describe to you, but it was a good thing.
The nutrition facts are very similar to Quest bars too:
Fat: 9 grams
Carbs: 22 grams
Fiber: 15 grams
Sugar: 1 gram
So, these Kirkland bars (at least this flavor), are a win. They are significantly cheaper than other bar (for example, Quest bars are about $2.40 a bar depending on where you buy them), taste great, and have good nutrition stats.
Will I buy again?YES!
I haven’t tried the brownie flavor yet, but once I do, I will post a review on that one too!
Have you tried these bars? What did you think? What’s your go-to protein bar?
Hey guys! Sorry about the major lack of posts lately. I go out of town (in this case, back in March?), then fall out of the habit of posting regularly. I’ve been meaning to before today, but to be totally honest, have just been lazy. Typing on a computer? Ugh. So much work (but not really).
My new goal is to post 3 times a week on the same three themes. Right now I’m thinking 1.) eating healthy on a budget, 2.) a food review (like, a new protein bar, for example), and 3.) a recipe. What do you think? If you guys have suggestions on posts you’d like to see, I would love to know what you think!! Gotta give the people what they want :).
Anyway, let’s talk about grocery budgets. Or in my case, lack thereof.
Ugh, where do I begin? I’ve followed a budget for groceries before but always fall off the wagon. I’ll be honest here, I never grew up understanding budgeting and definitely didn’t follow one in college. So, my “adult years” have been a little inconsistent when it comes to spending.
At this point in my life, I spend the most on food. Should I be embarrassed about that? Gone are the days when clothes and makeup made up the pit that my money would fall into…now it’s food. But food is awesome so nope, no shame here.
Of course, food can and DOES add up quickly. Especially when you start shopping at places like Costco or Sam’s Club. You have to have a budget for those places otherwise the money just vanishes. Or you can take my approach and steer clear of them unless you really need something (my approach for now).
Average Food Budgets for American Families:
For someone like me, who really doesn’t know how much is considered “a lot” when it comes to food budgets, it’s great to know what a typical family spends on food per week. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) actually posts a breakdown of the average individual and families cost of food at home by week and month.
My family is a family of four with two kids- 2 and 4. Under this group, here is the breakdown of average food costs at home per week (info was from February 2015):
Just looking at these numbers, I believe we would (or could) fall into the Moderate-Cost Plan. We eat most of our meals at home or pack lunches, so we should be able to pull this off.
My Current Situation
My current “budget” for grocery shopping is…I have no budget. True Life: I’m 32, a mother of two, and have no grocery budget (does anyone else miss that MTV show True Life? True Life: I have calf implants..ha! Maybe they still have it… I donno..again, I’m 32).
My guess on how much I spend weekly on groceries is probably around $300. Some weeks more, some less. That is only groceries. So, you can see that we go above and beyond liberal.
Of course, what you spend on groceries depends on your personal income. Without getting into too many details, I will say $300 ish a week, is too much. We could and need to shave that down.
The real issue for me is just keeping track of where the money goes. Instead of going to the store and buying whatever catches my eye, therefore spending who knows how much, keeping track will give me and my family a good idea of spending, budgeting, and self control.
My Weekly Grocery Budget Goal:
My NEW goal for groceries only is $200. Two hundred dollars for a family of four (2 small kids). That’s basically the moderate-cost plan.
I could do this the hard way: show up, buy some stuff, and whatever amount is left for the week will have to get us through. Or, what I assume is the easier way: take an inventory of food we have (hello, pantry!), plan out meals for the week, shop accordingly.
For now, I’m only going to shop at our local store-NO Costco. Costco is another beast for another day. Baby steps.
I’ll update you next week with how the week went! Anyone want to join me on this budget challenge?
*This post was originally posted back in 2012. But hey, I still like training my abs in 2016…anyone else? 🙂 *
I am NOT a fan of working out my abs. To be honest, they are the weakest part of my body (legs coming in close second) so exercising those muscles is just plain hard.
Since I hate doing them, I make myself do it. A strong core is extremely important, especially after having kiddos when all your ab muscles are obsolete. I try to give my abs/core some attention at least a couple times a week.
Like I said, this workout is one I posted on YouTube back in 2012, but the exercises are still good to go! Speaking of, I should get back on YouTube..right?!
This workout should take you about 10 minutes if you run through it once. All you will need is a pair of light dumbbells and a swiss ball but if you don’t have equipment, I show you some modifications you can do.
Here are the exercise:
Hand to Toe Touches– Switch sides after 30 seconds
Side Plank Dips– Switch sides after 30 seconds
Swiss Ball Passes
Side Plank with Shoulder Raise– Switch sides after 30 seconds
Supermans with Shoulder Press
That’s it! I hope you guys like it. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns!
How young is too young to help in the kitchen? There’s obviously no real answer to that question. I do think, however, that getting those kiddies in the kitchen with you early on is a good thing. There’s something about making a dish or creating something, that fires kids up and actually makes them want to eat their food. They may destroy your kitchen in the process, but hey, it’s worth it :). (clean kitchens are overrated…oh wait, no they’re not).
My oldest daughter is going on four (come September) so she is definitely ready and old enough to be recruited for some kitchen work. The best part is, she wants to participate. The minute she hears a blender, food processor, or mixing bowl going at full speed, she drags her stool in to see what I’m making.
I don’t make too many “kid-centric” meals. Meaning cutsey, stereotypical, fun kid food. Honestly, I should probably do it more. There’s a reason people make “kid food” or food cut into shapes, made into animals, whatever it is! IT WORKS. I guess food tastes better when it’s shaped like a heart.
I saw this recipe on the Disney Channel actually. I thought it looked pretty cute but my daughter was the one who said she wanted to make it. So make it we did!
Just a head’s up, our pizza was not as cute as theirs, but we all got the idea. It still tasted good!
Obviously, you can go more of a homemade route with homemade pizza dough and homemade hummus, but I was all about store bought.
First, we broke the pizza dough into three equal pieces and molded each section into the shape of a magic carpet.
Next, I baked the pizza dough for about 12 minutes at 400 degrees (or until they were slightly browned).
Now for the toppings! We spread some hummus on each pizza, then topped it off with raisins, figs, and finally cheese.
The original recipe is super cute with the raisins alternating colors around the edges of the pizza and the figs sliced and placed down the middle. We sort of went for that…then just piled them on. 🙂
I baked the pizza’s for another 5 minutes or until the cheese was nice and melted then topped with a little parsley.
This was so fun and such a cute idea! My daughter loved every minute of the prep and then of course, the eating. But I think she would pick prep over eat any day. It’s so easy to get caught up in day to day stuff and just to focus on “getting dinner on the table.” Sometimes it’s nice to take a step back and let kids join in on the fun. It’s messy, but again, worth it.
** This review is my personal opinion of this product. Flapjacked did NOT send me items to review. I just like talking about fun, new, products out there! :)**
*One more disclaimer: I’ve only tried the chocolate, apple cinnamon, and maple pumpkin flavor*
I’ve been buying these Flapjacked Mighty Muffins now for a couple of months. There are tons of things I love about them…and a few things I don’t. So, I’ll share my thoughts!
What are Mighty Muffins?
Have you seen mug cakes/muffins? I feel like they were a rage for a couple of years there…as they should be! What a brilliant idea. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, there were recipes for mug cakes popping up all over the place. A mug cake is basically a single serve piece of cake (yes, the size of your mug). You throw together a few ingredients, mix in your mug, microwave, then eat it up! They are awesome when you need some dessert in your life, but don’t want a whole cake in your house. Anyway, Mighty Muffins are basically mug cakes (or muffins in this case).
They pack way more nutrition though! Mighty Muffins are gluten free, high protein, high fiber, and super easy to make. The muffins typically pack around 200-240 calories, 20 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of sugar.
I love the high protein count. The other thing I love about these muffins is how quickly you cook them. All you do is add a little water (very little. There’s a line that shows you) then microwave for 35 seconds. That’s it. You could take these anywhere and cook them. So easy!
They come in 6 flavors: double chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, cinnamon apple, peanut butter, maple pumpkin, and s’mores. (I’ve only tried double chocolate, maple pumpkin, and cinnamon apple).
In case you don’t have time to read any of those paragraphs, I’ll break down my pro’s and con’s:
Added probiotics to aid in gut health/overall immunity. I don’t know the details on their patented strain of probiotics, but I’m sure they couldn’t hurt.
Take 35 seconds to cook.
The taste! Maple Pumpkin is the bomb. Seriously. I thought it would taste kind of funky and artificial, but it’s really very tasty. I think I like the apple cinnamon better than the chocolate which surprises me. Chocolate is good, but I love getting those bites of cinnamon sweetness.
Price: I’ve been buying a pack of them (6) from Amazon at $21.99. That comes out to $3.66 a muffin. On their site, I don’t see the 6 pack only 4 or 12. They are slightly cheaper there. Vitamin Shoppe sells them too, but I believe only single muffins at $3.39. So, yeah, they’re not cheap.
Adding the right amount of water is crucial: So, this might be user error….I admit, it’s possible. There is a line on the side of the cup showing you where to add water to. Clearly, sometimes I’ve gone over this and am basically left with sort of a doughy mess. That’s a bummer..considering the cost I just told you about. I usually eat it anyway because I’m gross. 🙂 Every now and then too, I notice too little water? The muffins can be a little dry. Overall though, they’re good.
I like these Mighty Muffins although I have to control my consumption since they are pricey. I usually save them for a busy morning when I want something quick or an after snack when I’m madly craving chocolate.
I may or may not continue to buy them. I’d love to keep them around, I’m just not sure it makes sense given the cost.
I sort of disappeared for a couple of weeks, right? The fam and I went to California for almost 3 weeks. That’s right. Pretty epic. It was a great trip! We saw lots of family, showed off our kiddos to some friends, and even enjoyed a wedding sans children. It was a nice, long trip, but we’re happy to be home and back into our regular routine.
Speaking of routine, trips can definitely throw you off your game when it comes to workouts and eating right. I feel like there’s always so much to do, so many people to see, delicious foods to eat, etc. that the time flies by and you find yourself missing your regularly scheduled workouts.
Like I said, my husband and I were able to sneak away for a wedding weekend. We stayed at a hotel, so I definitely tried to make the most of their gym. Most hotel gyms are pretty weak, but hey, at least it’s something! This hotel actually had a few items that were really helpful like a bosu ball, swiss ball, cable machine, and (small) weight rack.
I put together a couple workouts for our time there and they were actually really hard!! (<—my husband was not a fan). No slacker hotel workouts here! Of course, you can do this workout at your regular gym or even at home if you have some equipment. Here’s a breakdown:
There are two sets of exercises. Perform the first set of 4 moves as many times as possible in 7 minutes. Once your timer goes off, head into the next set of exercises (for 7 minutes). Then repeat the whole thing one more time for a total of 28 minutes. This workout structure (the 7 min. chunks) is basically how Kayla Itsines outlines her workouts.
Ten reps for each exercise
Squat with Cable Shoulder Press
Skater Jumps with Medicine Ball Twists (10 reps both sides)
Reverse Lunge with Cable Row (10 reps both sides)
Bench Jump with Burpee
Lunge Jumps with Medicine Ball Twist
Swiss Ball Roll-Ins with Leg Lift
Pushups with Medicine Ball
Some of these sound a little complicated so I’m going to break them down further:
Squat with Cable Shoulder Press- So, you’re going to need a cable machine, which can be found at probably any gym.
This is basically the same thing as a squat and press, which is typically done with free weights. Instead, you’re pressing with the cables. (If you don’t have this machine accessible, you can use free weights). So, you’re going to stand in between the cables with them set pretty low (you’re facing away from the machine).
Squat down, grab the cable handles and bring up above your shoulders. Once you stand, press the weight up, then squat back down. Repeat.
Skater Jumps with Medicine Ball Twist- Grab a medicine ball (or 1 free weight). Starting on the left foot, jump to the right landing on your right foot (try to keep the left off the ground), and twist the medicine ball to the right. Jump off the right foot back to the left twisting to the left.
Reverse Lunge with Cable Row– Start in front of one of the cable handles. Hold the handle with your right hand. Lunge your right leg back and when you come back to standing, row the cable, then right back into the lunge.
Bench Jumps with Burpee- Stand in front of a bench or sturdy box. From there, jump onto the bench, landing lightly with knees slightly bent. Then jump back onto the ground and immediately perform a burpee. Repeat.
Lunge Jumps with Medicine Ball Twist- Grab a medicine ball. Start in the lunge position with right foot in front holding the medicine ball at chest level. Jump up and switch legs so the left foot is in front. Twist the medicine ball to the left. Repeat.
Swiss Ball Roll-Ins with Leg Lift- This is an ab exercise. Get into pushup position, placing your feet on top of a swiss ball. From there, use your abs and legs to roll the ball in towards you, then roll back out. Once back out, lift one leg, then the other, squeezing your glutes. Repeat the roll-ins.
Bosu Burpee- Grab a bosu ball, black side facing you. Lift it up over your head and perform a burpee with it. So, you’ll bring the bosu ball to the ground, jump out into pushup position, jump back towards the bosu, then come back to standing and lift the bosu overhead.
Pushups with Medicine Ball- Grab a medicine ball and get into pushup position placing one hand on the medicine ball and the other on the floor. Perform a pushup, then roll the ball to the other hand and perform another pushup. Switch back and forth.
Sometimes these exercises are difficult to explain in text so if you have any questions, please feel free to shoot me an email!
This was a great, hard workout. Exactly what I was looking for! I hope you try it!
*I originally posted this back in 2013, but thought it was a good one to revisit. The “diet” struggle is real friends*
These tips can apply to starting/keeping a workout habit OR your eating patterns. I, personally, don’t have a problem with the workout aspect but the diet, yes, yes I do. Not huge problems, but it could absolutely be improved. Unfortunately, diet is a huge part of leaning out and getting in shape. Probably more so than working out. I’m sure you’ve all heard the terms “abs are made in the kitchen” and “you can’t out exercise a bad diet”…what a shame! That would be super convenient.
As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m going to really try to stick to a workout AND diet plan. Since I’ve never really done this before, it’ll be interesting to see what the results will be (if any). Part of being able to see results is (obviously) sticking to the plan. Really committing to it!! Not committing for 2 days then giving up like I may or may not have done in the past..oops. I’m hoping posting it on the blog will help keep me accountable!
So, how am I going to keep myself committed? Lord, I wish I knew…just kidding here are a few things I’m trying to keep in mind to help me out:
Set Small Goals
This is huge for me. Basically, taking it 1 day at a time is soooo much easier for me than thinking, “I’m dieting for 3 months.” For some reason, long term changes to my diet intimidate me and I give up easily. So, instead, I’m going to focus on smaller chunks of time. For example, “I’m prepping my meals and writing my workouts for this week.”
Since I’ll be breaking up my goals into smaller chunks, I’m also going to try and record the weight (amount and reps) I lift each weeks and what foods I’ve been eating. Then at the end of the 3 months (or whatever) I can look back over the progress I’ve made.
One day at a time is way less overwhelming than “for the next few months” or even 30 days. Isn’t that funny? You’d think a 30 day challenge would be no problem since it’s really not long at all. I’m sure it depends on your personality. For me, it’s tough.
I’ve prepped my meals a couple of times lately and I have to admit, it helps a ton!! You basically have no excuse when there’s 6 pounds of chicken breast already cooked in your fridge (and veggies cut, and fruit, etc.). It’s also pretty nice to just open your fridge and have food waiting for you to stuff in your face.
That being said, chicken breast can get old. It’s a favorite of fitness folks since it’s high protein and low fat but man, it can get old. Some other great options to have around to mix it up are fish, lean ground meats, tofu, turkey breast, and eggs!! I love eggs. Hard boiled eggs are basically the best snack ever-delicious and high protein!
(For more meal prep ideas check out Lindsay’s blog. She does meal prep Sunday every week!).
This takes time and planning, but if you can bang it out on one or two days a week, it really will save you time and headaches during the rest of your week.
Meal prep for me also means planning to-go snacks. We are in the car a lot and those are the days I struggle the most. If I don’t plan and bring food with me, I find myself sneaking chocolate graham bunnies out of my kids snack bags. It just gets too difficult. Gotta plan!
Eat Every Couple Hours
I like this one the best (since I like to eat 🙂 ). This is a great idea because it never really allows your body to go hungry. When I get famished, that’s when I pig out. When you eat 5-6 mini meals a day, you’re always keeping your metabolism rockin’. Not to mention it helps you keep your energy up and it’s fun to eat.
When I say “mini meals,” you can theoretically eat a mini meal like some chicken breast and salad. Or you can make yourself a nutrient dense snack like cottage cheese with almonds or an apple with almond butter. Both will keep you feeling satiated without packing another 500 calories to your day.
Exercise in the Morning
Obviously this is not always possible. We all have different schedules and sleep is so darn important that sometimes, it’s worth sleeping an extra hour in the morning. If you can swing it though, it’s so much better (and easier). I’m sure you’ve all been there: planning on working out in the afternoon, then it comes and you’re so tired it’s just not gonna happen. That pretty much happens to me every time I plan to workout later in the day. So, if you can make it happen in the a.m., it’s definitely worth it! It sets the tone for the rest of your day too. I definitely think if I have a great workout in the morning, I’m more likely to eat healthy throughout the day. I especially feel like this when I take a yoga class. Anyone else? Yoga majorly changes my mood-for the better! Now that I’m writing this I realize I need to do more yoga.
Measure Your Progress
Take a picture! Grab a tape measure and literally measure your biceps. That sounds kinda weird, but when you measure them again after a few weeks of working out, you’ll feel pretty good about yourself when you’ve seen how far you’ve come. It’s important to measure the progress you’ve made because sometimes, it’s hard to tell since you see yourself every day. Literally measuring your muscles and knowing you’ve become stronger is a great motivator!!
You can also use apps like My Fitness Pal. I know some people are critical of “counting calories” or tracking your food, but even just doing it for a few days or a week is a great way to see what you’re really eating. This is another one where it depends on your personality. If you feel like tracking your eating habits may trigger something serious in you (like disordered eating), stay away from it.
Consistency is Key
I wish one week of good eats and workout resulted in a 6 pack but it just doesn’t. Think of it this way: it took several months to gain the weight, it’s going to take several to lose it. Stick to the plan! Stay consistent! Workout and eat right….it works…that’s basically the bottom line.
Any advice for sticking to healthy eating or working out?
That’s right…sweet hummus. Have you every tried this? I personally think it really works and is delicious. I find myself eating it with a spoon but also serve it with sliced fruit. I love it, but my kids like it too so it’s a win-win.
I’ve made maple hummus before (recipe here) but this time around, used less sugar. My first time I used maple syrup AND a little brown sugar, this time just maple syrup. I also added natural peanut butter instead of sweetened pb so overall, the sugar content should be lower.
It is definitely sweet enough for me, but by all means, if you want it sweeter, add more maple syrup or even a little brown sugar.
Sweet Maple Hummus
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed, and germs taken off
2 Tbsp. of maple syrup
2 Tbsp. of natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Add all the ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
My advice would be to taste along the way. If you like more cinnamon, add a little more, maybe a dash of vanilla, possibly nutmeg, more/less sugar, etc. Lots of possibilities!
I’ve also made pumpkin pie hummus in the past and that is delicious too. I’m tellin’ ya, sweet hummus is where it’s at. My husband was grossed out by the idea but then he tried it and agreed it was tasty :). He’e usually a hater so you know it tastes good if he likes it!
This is great way to get some more fiber into my kids diets too. If I can get them to dip apple or pear into the hummus, that is a perfectly healthy snack. Makes for a happy momma.
Have you tried sweet hummus? Do you ever make your own? Any fun flavors?
I wanted to create a lower body workout that uses heavy weights. It’s easy to underestimate what kind of weight you can move especially when you’re a chick. Your legs are made up of the biggest muscles in your body…put those babies to use! Not only will they grow stronger, but you’ll be torching tons of calories.
It’s tough to go heavier when using free weights or in this case, kettlebells. Barbells are great for adding on more and more weight. That being said, you can still push yourself and the weight you typically use when picking up kettlebells. My challenge to you for this workout is to challenge yourself. if you usually pick a 25lb. KB for squats, pick a 30 or 35. Go as heavy as you can and perform as many reps as possible. You can always drop down in weight. Here’s the workout:
You’re going to perform each set (the 2 exercises paired together) as a superset with a total of 5 rounds. Yessss 5 rounds. Your leggies should be jello. Once you finish your fifth round, move on to the next set of exercises. As you can see, this workout is a leg exercise paired with 30 seconds of a classic double KB move. If you’re not comfortable using two KB at once, you can do these with one arm (switch at 15 seconds).
Here’s a breakdown of a few of the exercises:
First up: kettlebell squat.
My three year old demanding more popcorn. I swear kids can sense when you’re trying to do something NOT related to them. They must have a radar.
This Kettlebell was heavy for me: 80 pounds.
There are different variations of a KB squat, but since I’m using one very heavy weight, I kept the weight in front of me the whole time and squatted from there. Just make sure NOT to round your back. With each squat, I would tap the Kettlebell on the ground then lift back up.
Kettlebell Deadlift (single leg or both)
So, I’m showing this as a single leg deadlift. SL deadlifts are more difficult since you’re really isolating one muscle AND throwing in balancing on one foot. If you’re up for the challenge, try SL. Just keep in mind that you’re hinging forward at the hip, keeping back straight, then really using that standing leg (hamstring and glute) to bring yourself up to standing. Don’t forget to keep your hips square too.
If you’re doing a regular deadlift with both legs, the same rules apply (back straight, hinge at the hips). Choose a weight that’s heavy and challenging for you!
Grab a KB that’s heavy, but light enough that you can hold it up in front of your chest. For this entire exercise you will be holding that KB in front of your chest. Try not to rest it on your body. Yes, your arms will start to burn a bit along with those legs.
Your legs are slightly wider than hip distance apart with feet turned out (see above). Squat down as low as you can go…ass to the grass 🙂 while keeping proper form. So, whatever is low enough for you.
Here’s a link for descriptions on the other exercises (those are tough to take pictures of): http://healthyhungryhappy.com/2016/01/trx-and-kettlebell-workout/
I hope you try it! Let me know what you think!
By by the way, who watched the Super Bowl? Probably every person in this country? Can we talk about the best part? Yes, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars. Oh and Coldplay was there too..ha! I think we’d all be ok with Beyoncé just doing the show every year…right? Right.
I love arm day, anyone else? I can’t get enough of that arm pump and feeling sore makes me feel like I really accomplished something. For some reason, it’s harder for me to get excited about leg day…but that’s a different story.
Anyway, when it comes to weight training, sometimes I fall back on the same exercises. I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with using the same exercises as long as you’re increasing your weight over time, but sometimes it’s nice to shake things up. Enter: the drag curl.
Have you guys tried this? It kills my biceps and I love it. I show the move using free weights but you can use a barbell too. Here’s how to do a drag curl:
Start holding weights, standing nice and tall with shoulders down.
Keep elbows behind your body and close by. Begin the curl by “dragging” it along your body basically until the weight hits chest height.
Keep elbows back the entire time and think about squeeeeezing your bicep at the top.
Bring back down to starting position.
Think about dragging the weight along your body.
Squeeze your bicep at the top of the curl.
Keep your elbows behind you.
Keep your shoulders down.
Perform the move slowly so you really feel that burn. This helps you concentrate on squeezing your bicep too.
Add this one to your next workout!! You’ll love it, I swear!