Saturday, August 25, 2012

Whine Without Wine

Welcome to my Friday night.

Simple yet sophisticated.

After an extremely long and tiresome work week I was exhausted by the time I got home. I was too tired to meet up with friends for a quick happy hour drink. I was even too tired read my book. However, I was not too tired to open up a bottle of wine and pop a mini bag of popcorn.

Such a treat!

I bought this vino at Kroger and was a little iffy since it was only $3.99. Yet, I'm on a mission to find inexpensive wines that taste as if they cost much more. The end result of this Tisdale Chardonnay? Mission accomplished. I am quite the wine connoisseur and was pleasantly pleased when this medium-bodied Chardonnay hit my palate. It has the perfect amount of oak and bite to it. My mind was screaming we have a winner! 

If I would have gone out with friends for one glass of wine it would have easily cost me about $6 plus the tip. I think my quiet evening in was much more entertaining, relaxing, and easy on the wallet.

Aly's Night In
Glass of wine: $1
Bag of mini popcorn: $0.33
Watching Say Yes to the Dress: Priceless

Budget friendly night of fun!

Question of the Day

Do you have something that is inexpensive yet nobody would realize it?

Besides finding tasty treats on a budget I also love finding decorations that are quite the deal. I wrote about dollar decor previously. I love it!

I whine when I'm without wine.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Frozen Vanilla Yogurt Covered Blueberries

I have been so incredibly busy lately and I'm sorry for the lack of posts! Sincerest apologies. I have been working full-time with Kraft Foods (Nabisco specifically) and just found out on Wednesday that I got the promotion of Sales Associate! I start tomorrow morning. Yikes!

Yet, I didn't realize how difficult it would be juggling a full-time job with exercise and a social life. It's not easy at all especially when I have to wake up before 5 every morning. I don't even think the roosters are up that early to being their wake-up calls! I haven't been able to have my hot bowl of oatmeal in the morning either. Double whammy.

So whenever I have a day off I try to find the time to recreate various recipes. Today I finally tried this out and it made quite the scrumptious snack or delectable dessert. It's so versatile and took no effort whatsoever to make it. The great thing about it is that the entire recipe is roughly only 270 calories! In case you didn't read it correctly, that's the entire recipe and this makes quite a few servings and will last a while! It's also important to note that once taken out of the freezer they melt after 10 minutes or so. So take out only what you want and put the rest back in the freezer!

Frozen Vanilla Yogurt Covered Blueberries
1 pint blueberries
3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tsp sugar free fat free instant vanilla pudding mix
1/4 tsp + a splash of pure vanilla extract
*NOTE: Can you 6oz cup of nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt instead of last 3 ingredients if desired.

The ingredients! That's the pudding mix in the envelope!

-Wash blueberries.
-In a separate bowl combine yogurt, pudding mix, and vanilla. Stir.
-Add berries and stir until well coated.
-Place berries on a large cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
-Put tray in freezer for an hour.
-Once completely frozen, put in a container or freezer bag and keep frozen until consumption.

Eat them plain or top your ice cream with these!

I love being able to have a few of these suckers to satisfy my sweet tooth and not feel guilty at all about it. I cannot wait to try different versions of this using different pudding mixes such as chocolate, cheesecake, and butterscotch!

There was this much even after I ate some a ton :)

Question of the Day

What is your dream job?

If I could do anything for a living I would want to be a chef. I absolutely love cooking and finding ways to make recipes healthier with a few simple swaps. I hope to one day create a cook book showcasing all of my recipes.

Aly's Healthy Eats and Treats

But until that happens I'll just go ahead and enjoy my Frozen Yogurt Covered Blueberries.

Frozen Vanilla Yogurt Covered Blueberries
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Oven Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Psssstttt...I have a secret.

Do you want to know? I'll blurt it out and you can tell anyone that you want. I love vegetables. Veggies are my friends. I love peppers, broccoli, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, the list goes on and on. But that's really no secret about my love obsession with these nutritious treats. The secret is: I ♥ Brussels sprouts.

GASP! I know. This cruciferous vegetable has such a bad rep among everybody. But give these babies a chance people! So delicious and extremely nutritious. They are packed with fiber, protein, potassium, vitamin C, along with many other nutrients.

As you all may know, I'm always looking for a good deal so when I saw the 16 oz container of fresh Brussels sprouts for only $1.49 at Kroger, I had to snatch those suckers up. They were so inexpensive because they were on Manager's Special and needed to be used up within a day. So off to Pinterest I went and BOOM, a masterpiece was created.

Oven Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Oven Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
16 oz fresh Brussels sprouts, quartered
2.5 Tbsp light butter, melted
2.5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Dash of salt, pepper, and (generous) garlic powder

The ingredients!
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Line cooking sheet with aluminum foil and place sprouts on it.
-In a separate bowl add butter and vinegar. Stir.
-Pour over sprouts and give them a nice toss.
-Sprinkle spices over sprouts and place in oven for 25 minutes stirring halfway through.


Hopefully after giving this recipe a try you'll gain a new appreciation for this yummy vegetable!

Question of the Day

What vegetable did you not like as a child?

When I was little I did not like mushrooms at all. I partially blame this on my mother since she doesn't like them either (Mom is quite the picky eater). But a few months ago I tried them on pizza and didn't mind them. Then I started adding them to multiple recipes and have grown to greatly enjoy them!  

Try it! You may end up loving it.

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Farewell Freshman 15

This was me 4 years ago about to start my college career at The Ohio State University.

Mom obviously wasn't happy to leave me.

I cannot believe that it's already been that long! I still think it's crazy how fast time flies and that I'm already a college grad. Pondering on the past, I realize how much I matured and became the person who I am today. College was not all easy peezy though. There were definitely ups and downs but I truly believe that this is how a person grows, learns, and matures.
All smiles here!

Not only were there ups and downs emotionally, but physically as well. As we all know, when taking that first step into college worrying about the dreaded Freshman 15 is apparent. Yet, there are a few ton of ways to combat this crisis.

Once you wave goodbye to your parents you are beginning a brand new chapter in your life. Your parents are not there every day to help keep you on track, feed you, lecture you...this is all you.

There are great resources at colleges that students should take full advantage of: the gym. At OSU, we had multiple workout facilities and I took full advantage of them. This was one of the ways that helped keep a few of those unwanted pounds off. I would make sure that I would workout 4-5 times a week and incorporate both weight-lifting and cardio to get full maximization.

Cardio Canyon at Ohio State

Sometimes though, one may think "Oh I went to the gym, now I can eat whatever I want at the school cafeteria..." WRONG. It's difficult to say no to all the delicious, prepared foods staring right at your face screaming eat me, eat me. But just be conscious of your food decisions. Instead of getting fries with your burger, have a piece of fruit or some type of veggie that is not doused in butter and oil. If you do go to a buffet-style eating facility, limit your consumption since one is much more likely to eat until they are stuffed silly. Portion control is where it's at people!

Fill your body with the nutrients that it deserves.
So I've mentioned working out and eating to help combat the Freshman 15 yet there is one more huge component of college that everybody knows occurs: alcohol.

Sorry Mom and Dad, I hate to break it to ya this way but as crazy as it sounds I did drink as a freshman. Oops. One thing I didn't know though was that alcohol is simply empty calories and they quickly add up. So if you're not going to go to the gym or eat healthy, make sure you at least limit your alcohol consumption. And please play it safe. The legal drinking age is 21 and although most college students consume before this age at least be smart about it. Do not leave your drink unattended. Do not try and out-drink others. Do not drink and drive.

Take all of these helpful hints into consideration and you will succeed at beating the Freshman 15.

Question of the Day:

What is your favorite college memory?

My favorite would have to be graduation. I know it sounds so typical, but the emotions that come with receiving a diploma after four hard years of school...nothing beats that feeling.   

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Breakfast Ideas

Got the breakfast blues? Sad that you had to wake up and leave your comfy bed? Dreading work? Have no fear! Zap that sunrise sadness and kick start your day with a big breakfast!

Breakfast love

As previously promised, I am going to mention some great meal ideas. This was a favor to my sister-in-law who needed help with quick, easy, and inexpensive meals since she and my brother have a 2 week old son.

Too cute for words

A few posts ago, I gave out multiple snack suggestions and today you are going to find out numerous breakfast meals.


This is the most important meal of the day! I've raved about this here. My breakfasts are substantial. They are big huge. Whenever I have too little of this morning meal I am ravished within an hour or two. I like to make it a complete meal by combining whole grains, dairy, and fruit.

Oatmeal: instant oatmeal is quick. If you like the flavored kind, get the reduced sugar type. You can also check out more oatmeal recipes here!

Blueberry and Walnut Oatmeal

Yogurt Parfait: combine any type of fruit with a container of yogurt.

Yogurt Parfait
Cereal: try and opt for types with 9g of sugar or less per serving. I would try and go even lower than that if possible.

Top with fruit for an extra boost of nutrients!

Bagel: try to go with whole grain type bagels since they will keep you fuller longer. Top with low fat cream cheese, light butter, natural PB, or reduced sugar jelly.

 So many different ways to spruce a bagel up!

Greek Yogurt: extremely filling due to its protein content. I have a yummy recipe for it that I’m going to post soon. It’s a cheesecake Greek yogurt parfait. So filling and delicious! As you know, I'm all about saving pennies any way possible but I personally do not like Kroger's Greek yogurt. I love Chobani. So I cut out coupons and buy when it's on sale. Chobani is a little expensive but so good! Get the 0% fat kind.

Buying the economy size helps save money too!
Eggs: I prefer liquid egg whites since it’s much less in cholesterol and calories, but whole eggs are great too! Make yourself a veggie omelet or scramble 2 eggs with some lots of fresh veggies and pair with a nice bowl of fruit!

Healthy breakfast!
So if you're ever in a bind for breakfast, just remember these few helpful hints and kick start your day the right way!
And always remember...

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

PB&J Parfait

Peanuttttttt, peanut butter and jelly!

Peanut butter and jelly. Better known as PB&J. This is one of America's staples that will live on for centuries. Yet, I know that I sometimes crave for this staple sandwich but I don't want it in its original form.

Welcome: PB&J Parfait

PB&J in a glass!

I love yogurt and I love peanut butter flavors. So this is possibly one of the tastiest creations that I have made that was adapted from this recipe.

So prepare your taste buds for a delicious breakfast or snack!

PB&J Parfait
1 6oz. strawberry yogurt (I like Kroger's Carbmaster)
½ cup chopped strawberries
¼ cup PB cheerios
2 tsp chopped nuts

The ingredients!
Layer each ingredient continuously and enjoy!

Delectably delicious

This is a tasty and simple recipe that is sure to surprise your taste buds!

Question of the Day: 

What is your favorite sandwich? 

For me, it really depends on what I'm in the mood for at that particular time. I do love crunchy peanut butter and jelly yet sometimes a simple turkey or ham sandwich topped with lettuce, tomato, and onion hits the spot as well.

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