Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Countdown HIIT

 HIIT workouts are my love right now because they are fast, effective, and hit major muscle groups while keeping your heart rate high - cardio and muscle training all wrapped in one.

I can't lie - this particular HIIT is a killer.  You will be dripping in sweat by the end - the sign of a great workout!  

Monday, September 26, 2016

Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple Farro Salad

It's finally fall!  my favorite time of year is here and the first thing I reach for is all the apple recipes! 

This one is really special because it uses Granny Smith apples in a savory dish.

This salad is literally perfect for a fall side dish or add some roasted chicken or pork and make it a meal! 

It's also so colorful and gorgeous, am I right?

Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple Salad
Serves 6

2 cups farro
4 cups chicken broth
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 large sweet potato, skinned and cubed into bite sized pieces
2 Granny Smith apples, skinned and roughly chopped into larger pieces
1/4 c Apple cider vinegar
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c candied pecans
1/3 c crumbled blue cheese
Handful fresh parsley, chopped


1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425.  Place sweet potatoes and apples in a bowl with 1/4 c apple cider vinegar and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix and spread on cookie sheet.  Roast until tender and just starting to brown, 15 minutes or so. Remove from oven and set aside

Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add 1/4 c olive oil to pan along with onion and garlic.  Sauté until onions are opaque and soft.  Add farro and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, to toast slightly.  Add chicken broth to the farro mixture and stir.  Bring to a boil then decrease heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until all liquid is gone.  Place farro in a large serving bowl.

Add sweet potatoes and apples to farro mixture and toss with cranberries, pecans, and parsley.  Top with crumbled blue cheese.

Make vinaigrette by placing all ingredients in a mason jar and shake!  Drizzle salad with desired amount of vinaigrette and toss.  Enjoy warm, at room temperature or cold.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Crady's Eclectic Cuisine

Photo pulled from Crady's website
A few weeks ago, Steve and I dropped the little one off at daycare and had a Mommy-Daddy day to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary.  We immediately decided to head out to Conway to one of our favorite little spots for lunch: Crady's Eclectic Cuisine.  This place is really special... From their homemade desserts crafted with love by baker Barbara, to their impeccable service (owner,  Heather, literally swiped a straw paper off our our table with the skill of a ninja when she was walking by), they hit it out of the park every time.

At lunch we feasted on Marinated Flat Iron Steak Bruschetta, Fried Green Tomato BLT and the Main Steeet Burger.

The Bruschetta was divine and could be a meal in itself ... Perfectly cooked beef piled on perfectly toasted crostini and topped with red onion marmalade, horseradish cream sauce and hunks of crumbled blue cheese.

The Fried Green Tomato BLT was a Southerner's dream! Thick cut maple bacon is topped with crunchy fried green tomatoes and smeared with house made pimento cheese, all on toasted sourdough bread. Be still, my heart! 

The burger was the star of the show.... So much so that I didn't snap a picture before it was consumed.  Oops.  

The burger was perfectly cooked and so juicy... It's topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato jam, horseradish cheddar cheese and cracked pepper mayo.  We were so pumped about the burger and raved to Heather about it.  She excitedly told us that the chef is putting 3 new burgers on the menu: Classic American {American cheese, shaved onion}, a blue cheese burger and a burger topped with melted Brie. I couldn't be more excited to get back there and wrap my hands around one of those beauties ... And maybe get a picture this time!

Check out their website here -- including delicious menus', specials and restaurant hours!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

DIY: Dressers from Drab to Fab

I have a solid rule that I live by.  If a piece of furniture is in decent shape, and is solid wood, I will not throw it or give it away without a good DIY try.  I love repurposing furniture so when we moved, I knew the cargo dressers that have been in my family for years weren't going to match the esthetic for my daughter's room.  Instead of getting new furniture, I got inspired.  

Originally the furniture was stained a dark brown by yours truly.  (I wish I had snapped a before photo to show you the difference but I completely forgot to do so!  The photo below with the paint brush is the original dark brown stain.)  I wanted my daughter's room to be light and bright.  The dark brown had to go.

Oil base stain isn't always the easiest or most fun finished to deal with.  I used to sand it down which was a huge mess and time consuming!  One trip to Lowes in Myrtle Beach changed that task forever.  
Below are the step by step instructions on how I DIY'd my daughter's dressers in one day without the fuss or mess of sanding them down!

I first brought up a tarp from the garage and laid it across the bedroom floor as to be sure not to ruin the brand new carpet.  My husband travels for work so hauling the heavy furniture down a set of stairs by myself was not an option.

Once I have moved the dressers and drawers onto the tarp and spread them out I was ready to work!

I did not have to fill in any holes and I had decided not to redo the hardware on these pieces.  If you have deep dents, or if you are going to use new hardware be sure to fill in the old holes with a putty like Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty.  It is amazing and pretty easy to work with!

(Tip:  When changing out hardware, be sure to check if the new hardware will fit into the existing holes.  If they don't, fill in the holes so that you can re-drill them later once the furniture has been refinished.  The worst thing is to completely redo the furniture and then realize later that the new hardware won't fit!)

I came across the DIY, time-saving, love of my life in Lowes, Kilz Original Primer | Sealer | Stainblocker in Interior Oil Base.  Oh M Geeeee.  This allows you to paint the primer right over the stain.  YES!  I was able to paint this primer on which locked in the oil stain allowing me to just paint over it.  No sanding + No Mess = LOVE.

I did one coat of the primer and then once the primer dried, switched to the paint color of choice.  The rest is up to you!  I chose to use Valspar Ultra White as my base color.  The drawers I decided to do an ombre of purple.  The colors I chose (All Valspar) were:  Spring Parade, Playful Petal, Fancy Pansy, and Gleeful Joy.

The best part about redoing these pieces is that you don't need a ton of paint so it keeps the project inexpensive.  Each of the purple colors were the sample sizes that I had mixed to match the colors desired and I only had to purchase One Quart of the white.  I have plenty of paint left over in each color which is awesome.  I will be using one of the purple's to re-paint the wood letters on the wall that spell out my daughter's name!

Operation design my house is underway and I cannot wait to share more projects with you as I navigate through some more DIY!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Red Wine Spritzer

It's no surprise to those who know me that I am not a beer kind of girl.  I am always looking for new ways to do wine especially during football season!  I love this spritzer because it is a light and fun take on my fall red wines.

2 oz Red Wine of Choice – I used a Pinot Noir
2 Tbsp Frozen berries – I use blackberries, rasberries, or blueberries
6 oz Berry Flavored Sparkling Water


Over ice, add in berries.  Pour in wine and sparkling water.  Mix & enjoy!

Tip:  I use a spherical mold to make my ice balls.  The sphere melts at a slower rate than a traditional cube so it chills your drink without it quickly diluting!


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

 On the Ball with Abs 

On top of cardio, I always end my session doing abs.  Let's be honest.. after two kids and being almost 30, my body ain't what it used to be.  It's an up and down journey.  I can't make it to the gym majority of the time so I try and use smaller equipment at home.  One of my favorite, low cost pieces of equipment I use is my weighted stability ball.  The sand inside the ball helps to give me an extra bit of weight for my session.  Try these moves doing 3 rounds of 20 reps each after your next cardio workout to switch up your at home ab routine!

5 of my Favorite Stability Ball Ab Exercises:

Plank Shoulder Taps
With your feet on the ball, bring yourself into a plank position.  Hold this position while tapping each should with the opposite hand.  Repeat a total of 20 times (10 per side)

Hamstring Roll outs
Laying on your back with your hands out to either side, put your feet on the ball so that your body is raised with your booty off the ground and the weight resting on your upper back.  (The picture above is an example of this!)  Keeping your abs engaged, roll the ball toward your butt and then back out.  Repeat 20 times.

Back Extensions
            Laying with your belly on the ball, bend your arms and place your hands behind your head.  Set your feet in a wide stand and rest your torso against the ball.  Using your abs to stabilize, lift your chest up as high as your can and hold for a second before returning to the beginning position.  Repeat 20 times.

Leg Lifts
            Laying flat on your back, hold the ball in between your ankles.  With legs straight, life the ball up toward the ceiling until you reach a 90 degree angles and then slowly lower back down until you are hovering a few inches above the ground.  Repeat 20 times keeping the ball off of the ground the entire time.


            Starting in the same position as the leg lifts, bring your arms and legs up off the ground keeping both straight.  Transfer the ball from your feet to your hands and lower back down.  Repeat 20 times.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatballs

Okay so easy is the name of the game when it comes to tailgating and Monday Night Football.  I don’t want to be stuck cooking while everyone else is socializing so I try and find make ahead or easy appetizers to feed the crowd.  This takes no time at all and can be assembled easily without a mess.  This is one of my favorite appetizers for game days and is a crowd pleaser!

Meatballs (frozen is easiest)
Bacon (either cook or buy precooked and heat)
Cherry Tomatoes
Toothpicks for assembly and serving

Cook meatballs and bacon.
Assemble in order:  tomato, lettuce, bacon, cheese, and meatball on toothpick

Can you believe that's it?!  Place on a cute tray, serve, and enjoy your guests!