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Monday, December 28, 2015

Pumpkin Protein Cheesecake

Pumpkin Protein Cheesecake!

I LOVE cheesecake! What I don't particularly love about cheesecake is the crazy amount of fats and carbs it usually contains. So, in an effort to "have my cheesecake and eat it too" I finally decided to try baking a healthier version and boy am I so glad I did! I had seen numerous protein cheesecake recipes floating around on social media so I combined a few I found appealing and tweaked some of the ingredients to my taste and voila! Super scrumptious, creamy and delicious Pumpkin Protein Cheesecake! Just a heads up, you may want to double the recipe and make two cheesecakes because this has been a huge hit with my family, friends, and co-workers. So if you end up sharing, don't say I didn't warn you! :)

·         1.5 Containers *12 ounces* of Fat Free Cream Cheese (Great Value)
·         2 Containers *8 ounces* of Pumpkin Cheesecake Greek Yogurt (Yoplait Whips)
·         2 Whole Eggs
·         2 Egg Whites
·         1 Scoop *23 grams* of Protein Powder 
(VPX SRO Whey – Graham Cracker)
·         ½ Cup *122 grams* 100% Pumpkin (Libby’s)
·         1 Tbsp. Natural Sweetener (Zing)
·         1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
·         1 Tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
·         1 Tsp. Cinnamon

1.       Preheat oven to 250F.
2.       In a large bowl beat cream cheese, greek yogurt, and pumpkin thoroughly until smooth.
*Tip* Make sure the cream cheese sits out and is room temperature before you begin. This will ensure the batter is lump free and a creamy consistency!

3.       Once clump free and pudding like, add in the eggs, egg whites, and vanilla and mix well.
4.       Next add your dry ingredients – protein powder, sweetener, and spices, and mix until incorporated.
5.       Pour mixture into a greased pie/cake tin and bake in the oven at 250F for 30 minutes.
*Tip* To prevent surface cracking: Bake the cheesecake in a water bath to keep the oven moisture high and the heat gentle. (A water bath is using a larger pan containing water in which to place the smaller cheesecake baking pan).

6.       After 30 minutes, change the oven temperate to 300F and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
7.       Finally, turn the oven back down to 250F and bake for a final 20 minutes.
8.       Let cool and enjoy!
*Tip* Let your cheesecake set and chill overnight for optimum enjoyment. :)

Nutritional Data
Candy's Pumpkin Protein Cheesecake
Calories: 122, Protein: 16.5 grams, Carbs: 9 grams, Fats: 1.3 grams


Cheesecake Factory's Pumpkin Cheesecake
Calories: 750, Protein: 10 grams, Carbs: 95 grams, Fats: 32 grams

I think mine "takes the cake!" Lol! :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Raw by Rae - Nutrient Balanced Treats

Raw by Rae

One of my fabulous fit friends, miss Rachel Dora, was kind enough to send me several flavors of her delicious Raw by Rae nutrient dense desserts!  I was really excited to try these because I have a HUGE sweet tooth (I certainly live up to the name Candy) lol!  As you can tell from my blog, I love eating well.  I think it is very important to eat whole, all natural foods to fuel your body and mind in order to perform proficiently.  But let's be honest, like most people in this world I crave "junk" food too, especially desserts like cakes, cookies, and brownies.  Yet we all know those aren't exactly the best choices for our health and/or waistline.  That's why I love these Raw by Rae treats!  Not only do they taste heavenly, but they are HEALTHY, 100% RAW, ALL NATURAL, REAL food that everyone's body can benefit from.

So far, I have had the opportunity to try 4 flavors:
1) Chocolate Chip Cookie
- Chocolaty goodness; I just love the bites of raw cacao nibs!
2) Pecan Pie
- Sweet southern comfort! Chewy and decadent.
3) Orange Chocolate
- Just the perfect blend of chocolate and orange flavor. Rich and refreshing.
4) Coconut Brownie
- Rolled in unsweetened coconut shavings for a burst of coconut on top of a fudgey "brownie".

There are a variety of other yummy flavors to choose from too, such as; Original Brownie, Banana Split, Pumpkin Spice, Salty Caramel, Cinnamon Roll, Tiramisu, Lemon Coconut, and Mint Chocolate Chip.  Basically, whatever your favorite sweet treat is, Rachel has most likely turned it into a nutrient-packed gourmet dessert.  Although I must say, I recommend making a S'mores or Chocolate Peanut Butter treat!

Every treat is made fresh daily, with completely raw and unprocessed ingredients which allows the abundant amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids to remain in their optimum natural state . All the desserts are dairy free, egg free, gluten free, grain free, and soy free with no artificial sweeteners, no preservatives and no trans fat, which works well with specialty diets including raw, vegan & vegetarian diets.

My first bite of Raw by Rae - The Chocolate Chip Cookie!
An example of the ingredients you'll find in a Raw by Rae treat would be: dates, cashews, flaxseed, cold-pressed coconut oil, maple syrup, cacao, cacao nibs, vanilla extract, and grey sea salt, which is exactly what the Chocolate Chip is comprised of.

Pecan Pie!

Close up of the Raw by Rae Pecan Pie treat.
Packed with raw pecans, which are a rich source for energy, health benefiting nutrients, minerals, anti-oxidants, and vitamins that are essential for wellness, this treat was so moist and delicious!

Having an Orange Chocolate treat with my post-workout breakfast!

Here's a close up of the Orange Chocolate! Let me be honest by saying, I was hesitant to try these ones due to the fact that it was orange flavoring, I'm more or a strawberry or blueberry type gal! But, I was very pleasantly surprised by these! They were REALLY GOOD. The orange extract was not overpowering and it was just the perfect mix of cacao and orange. So tasty! Ingredients are dates, cashews, flaxseed, cold-pressed coconut oil, maple syrup, cacao, vanilla extract, orange extract, and sea salt! The texture to me is like a fudgey brownie. Two thumbs up for these healthy treats!

The Coconut Brownie treats makes me smile :)

To order online and have these treats shipped directly to your door, visit

Monday, March 2, 2015

Gender Reveal Party!

Gender Reveal Party!

Good morning and happy Monday!!!  Yesterday was my sister's Gender Reveal Party so I have some great appetizer recipes to share with you along with a little how-to guide for making a fabulous homemade gender reveal balloon box.

We made three healthy & easy appetizers:
1) Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing
2) Capreese Bites

All three of the recipes were found on Pinterest (Check out all of my boards here.) which we adapted in order to work with ingredients we already had or were more readily available at our local grocery store.  They all provide different flavors for guests to enjoy.  Also, they are all natural, gluten free, vegetarian friendly, and Paleo approved!

Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

- 1 pt. container Strawberries
- 1 pt. container Blueberries
- 1  bunch (about 1 1/2 lbs.) seedless grapes (green, red or a mixture of both)
- 1/4 cup honey
- Juice from 2 Limes (about 2-3 tablespoons)

- Rinse strawberries, blueberries and grapes.
- Gently pat the fruit dry.
- Hull strawberries, then cut each in half; if large, cut into quarters.
- Remove stems from blueberries, if any.
- Remove grapes from stems.
- Combine fruit in a large bowl.

- In a small bowl, whisk together honey and lime juice.
- Serve on the side for guests to pour over fruit as they please.
- Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Capreese Bites

- 2 packages of Mozzarella Balls *We used Formaggio Marinated Mozzarella Salad*
- 1 large container of Cherry Tomatoes
- Fresh Basil Leaves
- Toothpicks

- Slide one mozzarella ball, one basil leaf, and one cherry tomato onto a toothpick.
- Assemble neatly onto a serving dish.
- Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Sweet Potato Avocado Bites

- 6 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into ¼-inch thick pieces
- 1 Tablespoon Cumin
- 1 Tablespoon Paprika
- Sea Salt, to taste
- 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 2 large Avocados, pitted
- ¼ cup fresh Lime Juice
- ½ teaspoon Sea Salt
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Alfalfa Sprouts

- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the sliced sweet potatoes, cumin, paprika, olive oil, and sea salt to a bowl. Toss to coat.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the sweet potato slices out into a single layer. - Bake for 15 minutes or until tender.
- Scoop the flesh of the avocado into a medium bowl. Add the lime juice and ½ teaspoon sea salt and mash together with the back of a fork.
- Spread the sweet potato slices out of a serving platter.
- Top each slice with a dollop of smashed avocado, half of a cherry tomato, and a sprinkling of alfalfa sprouts.
- Serve and enjoy!

Gender Reveal Balloon Box

My sister really wanted to reveal the gender of their first baby to friends and family with a box filled with balloons.  So, what my big sister wants, she gets!  My mother and I were in charge of creating the balloon box so we got to work on it right away.  We searched high and low for a box big enough and got lucky at Lowes!  I just want to say that the staff at Lowes in Sunrise, FL is wonderful!  They were so incredibly kind and helpful, going out of their way to save us boxes (they compact all the boxes, so my tip to you would be to call ahead in the morning and nicely ask them to hold a box for you!).

We ended up getting a dishwasher box *for free at Lowes* that did not have a bottom/top so we went back the following day and got a refrigerator box which we cut to fit for a custom box top.  While there, we purchased a large roll of brown masking paper to cover the entire box.

After covering the box, we created a uniform heart but folding a piece of paper in half, drawing one side of the heart, then cutting like so.

Next we created several sizes of circles using simple household items such as bowls, cans, and lids which we outlined on various shades pink and blue construction paper.

After that, I printed out the letters (you can write them yourself, but my handwritting is not the best, therefore I decided to print out out the lettering, cut them out, then glue them onto the heart.

Lastly, we decorated the box with cute little baby charms and ribbon that we found (try the dollar store, craft stores like Michael's, Party City, Target, and WalMart for inexpensive decorations).  

And here it is at the party right before the reveal!


It's a GIRL!!!

Crystal & Jimmie!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Summer Salad

Hello my dears and happy Friday!  Today I would like to share with you a delicious and nutritious recipe I received from my sister's mother-in-law.  The first time I tried this yummy salad I was like OH. MY. GOSH.  It is just THAT good :)  So thank you very much Mrs. Kelderhouse for sharing your recipe with me and the family!

I figured I had to post it when I decided to make a big batch of Summer Salad for my co-workers to serve at our "For the Love of Diversity" Pot Luck Luncheon today.  Technically, we are supposed to, and I quote, "Bring your favorite dish, dessert and/or appetizer, that represents your Heritage or background as we take a trip around the buffet table!!" Well, heritage wise I am mostly German, Swedish, and surprisingly a little bit of Native American, but to be honest I consider myself "American" lol! #Merica! So, since this is a favorite dish of mine that has been introduced into our family, I thought it would be perfect to bring!

Summer Salad

- 2 packages of Publix Coleslaw (Green Cabbage, Red Cabbage, and Carrots)
*Jimmie's mother uses freshly chopped cabbage but I took the easy way out haha!*
- 5 large Green Onions, chopped
- 1 package of Ramen Noodles, crushed (I used the chicken flavor)
- 1/2 cup Sunflower Kernals (I used Planters Dry Roasted)
- 1/2 cup Sliced Almonds, toasted

- 1/2 cup Olive Oil (Jimmie's mother uses Peanut Oil)
- 3 tablespoons Pomegrante Red Wine Vinegar (Jimmie's mother uses regular)
- 2 teaspoons Truvia Sweetener (Jimmie's mother uses sugar)
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
- Ramen Noodle Flavor Pack

- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Toast slivered almonds for about 4-5 minutes watching carefully so they do not burn.
- Combine all of the salad ingredients together (cabbage, chopped green onions, crushed Ramen Noodles, sunflower seed kernels, and toasted sliced almonds) in a large bowl.
- Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together (oil, red wine vinegar, sweetener, salt, pepper, and Ramen Noodle flavor pack) in a small bowl or container.
- Pour dressing over salad prior to serving and mix throughout.
- Cover salad and refrigerate until you are ready to serve!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Shredded Chicken Tacos

As a follow up to my previous post which I shared my Healthy & EASY Crock Pot Chicken recipe, on Tuesday, my family and I decided to use that same shredded chicken as the base for some yummy tacos!  Arriba Taco Tuesday!!!!

THE ONLY THING YOU HAVE TO DO IS ADD LOW SODIUM TACO SEASONING TO THE CROCK POT CHICKEN!  That's it!  Mrs. Dash even makes a salt free seasoning mix.  And, if you don't care about salt content, use whichever seasoning you please.


Taco topping suggestions:
- Shredded lettuce
- Cabbage
- Fat free cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Diced tomatoes
- Chopped peppers
- Avocado
- Salsa
- Low sodium beans

As for the actual taco shell, I prefer soft wraps.  Now-a-days there are soooo many healthy options you can choose from.  Whether you're on a diet or not, low-carb, or even gluten-free YOU CAN HAVE TACOS!

Personally, these are the ones I normally use.  You can find them at your local Publix grocery store.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Healthy & EASY Crock Pot Chicken

Wow!  My oh my has it been a LONG time since I have posted a recipe.  Too long in fact!  I have just been incredibly busy.  My priorities have been with God, my family (my sister is expecting her first child and very soon I shall be AUNTIE Candy!!!), my amazing friends, my wonderful boyfriend, my new job that I am loving, I moved, I had surgery... so much has happened!  I feel great though, I recently had my blood work done and I am indeed very healthy inside & out which makes me feel like I am on cloud 9!  It has taken a long time to feel such joy and contentment and I am just so happy to be where I am at today :)

Anyways, you're not here to read about my life.  I know you want this super easy, healthy, and of course, delicious slow cooker chicken recipe!  Just a quick background explanation about it though :)  I have always either baked or grilled my chicken breasts in preparation for meals throughout the week.  Recently, since I have been so short on time, I have begun to utilize my crock pot more and more!  And boy am I glad I did.  This is by far the most convenient way I have ever cooked my chicken breasts, so I figured I would share it with you.  It's perfect for anyone!  If you're on competition prep, you're single, married, a busy mother or father with kids, this is just GREAT!

As I've stated before in previous posts, I usually buy my chicken breasts in bulk and cook them all at once so I have protein ready to grab and go at any time.

Healthy & EASY Crock Pot Chicken

- 4 lbs of Chicken Breast (You can always cook less if you don't want to make a huge batch)
- 1 to 2 cups of Low Sodium Chicken Broth (Enough to almost cover the chicken)
- Herbs & Seasonings You Like! (I usually use Mrs. Dash)

- Place fresh, unfrozen all natural Chicken Breasts in your crock pot.
- Season to taste.
- Pour Low Sodium Chicken Broth over the Chicken Breasts.
- Cover.
- Cook on Low for 6 hours.
- Use two forks to pull apart the Chicken Breasts.  It will practically fall apart because it is so moist and tender.

Place chicken in a covered container and use in any recipes throughout the week that call for shredded chicken!

Recipe Examples:
- Shredded chicken salad.
- Shredded chicken tacos.
- Pulled chicken sandwiches.
- BBQ pulled chicken and veggies.
- Pulled chicken pizza.
- Chicken quesadillas.
- Pulled chicken pitas.
- Shredded buffalo chicken sliders.
- Slow cooker chicken nachos.

I mean really, the list is ENDLESS!  You can make this for yourself, your spouse, kids, friends, parties, office potlucks, etc.  It's just really super easy shredded chicken!