Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 12 of 2012

Okay, I'm going to be lame and do a Top 12 of '12 round up because I'm still in Sickville with the Mr (who has a different type of cold than I do) and I lack creative intellect to come up with something snazzy on my own.  Without further adieu in order from 12 to 1 (most read) posts, here are the top 12 of `12!

12.  Christmas Wrapping, Scream Eggs and bingo

11.  Sharing the Aloha

10.  Lightening the Emotional Load

9.  What was supposed to be here

8.  Tri-Color Potato Salad

7.  Childhood Realizations

6.  How to Cook the Perfect Holiday Turkey

5.  Candy Corn Oreo Fudge

4.  Seven Layer Truffles

3.  Corn Potato Chowder

2.  You Got Peanut Butter in my Chocolate Pudding - Two Ways!

and the most read post of 2012 is...

1.  Lemon Shake Up

If you're celebrating somewhere awesome like I was supposed to be (miss you Chicago!), at a party, bar or wherever, be safe!  Don't drink and drive!  Call a cab or have a designated driver!  Etc.  Etc.  I know, seems redundant but given how many people still do it each year, it bears repeating.  ;)

I think it's safe to say we're hanging out at home breathing on each other and hoping we make it until midnight.  We'll probably watch CNN because Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve just is NOT the same the past decade.  (Well that and I've turned into an old lady who can't handle talentless hack music for whippersnappers!)

See ya in 2013!  (aka-tomorrow)

Do you have any plans for the last night of 2012?

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Three strikes - Non weigh in

Because I'm dealing with enough on my plate with the nerve issues and cold and I porked out for 4 of the last 7 days so a third strike by weighing in today would send me over the edge.

So yeah, I'm taking a pass on this week's weigh in.  Call me a coward, chicken, etc.  I never do so I'm entitling myself to this one.  I know I'm up an ungodly amount but I'll deal with it visually next Saturday.  I've already gotten back on track with the food, doing what I can no impact wise with the exercise due to the injury but my water has sucked so bad I'm bloated everyday from my body trying to hold on to any bit of moisture I have available.  I hate drinking liquids when I have a cold even though I know it's the best thing for me.  I'll work on it.  Promise.

Now it's time to reapply more chapstick to my lips and vitamin E oil to my nose so I can continue mouth breathing and blowing the nose trumpet.  Jealous?

I hope you guys have a great weekend and thank you so much for the support in yesterday's post.  You'll never know what it means to me.

Feel free to share what upright people are doing this weekend in the comments!

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Cheese and Whine

I am struggling to find something to write that doesn't sound weak, whiny and make people want to hit unsubscribe.

I'm on day 3 of the Christmas cold.  Colds aren't usually too big of an issue for me because I feel relief when I stand up to exercise.  Oh yeah, that's right.  I can't stand up to exercise for the foreseeable future.  I'm a weepy mess.  Everything I read on the internet about Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome offers little hope and even the last resort of surgery has very mixed results sometimes making the original pain seem like a cake walk.  Hell even cortisone shots can end up doing nerve damage!  So I do searches like "can people recover from Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome without surgery" and just end up on sites with horrendous pictures of gaping surgery visuals.  Or you'll have sites that tell you the conservative therapy (ice, elevation, rest, anti-inflammatories, etc) but no time frame for recovery.

We had to cancel our New Years Eve plans in Chicago.  I was cleared by the podiatrist to go but only if I taped up my foot.  Well, taping up my foot pinches the nerves and makes it worse.  I can barely stand long enough to make my lunches so walking 3-5 miles per day is out of the question.  I begin wondering if our summer trip to Hawaii is going to be an issue.  I pray it's not.  I pray I'm healed by then.  The 2 weeks of altering are coming to a frustrating end and while I'm not limping, the soreness I wake up with or the little nerve firings are enough to sink me back into a slight depression.

We have an ultrasound thingy coming that will hopefully help.  Several sites say it speeds healing.  I hope so. I don't even want to go back to the over the top workouts.  I'd be happy adding back in Walk Away the Pounds!  At this point, low impact Turbo Fire seems like an impossible dream.  I never thought I'd  envy people running onstage after 'coming on down' on The Price is Right or even grocery shopping.  I had to send the Mr alone last Sunday because I knew it wasn't in the cards.  I mean how pathetic I just want to go on a normal grocery run?

I would be insane by now if it weren't for the Mr.  He has really been wonderful and has put up with my daily crying jags.  I'm trying to be strong but I'm so weak.  I told him I just want to lay in bed all day in his arms and weep.  What a wonderful way for a man to spend a day.  I'm trying to reward him for all of his help by watching Total Recall for the first time.  You know, the real one from the 80's in which everyone are horrible actors?  (Though I hear the reboot is about the same)  But I'm trying to take it like a champ because my honey has been as well over the past week or so.

I don't know what source of inspiration I can really be to anyone right now.  I'd ask you guys to hang in with me but I honestly don't know how long this recovery will take.  I don't know if I can stand long enough to try out and photograph new recipes without undoing healing.  So there is my cheese and whine.  I really feel like I'm letting you guys down.  I try to be strong but this has truly beaten me down mentally and physically.

Have you had an injury that felt like it would never heal?  How did you get through the low points?

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sentimental Journey

I don't know if you guys remember me talking about getting a gumdrop tree like my grandma had when I was a kid.  I looked on several websites and they were either out of stock or people were price gouging.  I thought about checking with my grandma at some point to see if she still used hers or not but I decided against it.

After watching my family open presents on Christmas Day from the 2nd level so my foot wouldn't get knocked around by toy crazed children high on adrenaline, I realized the few pics I took were focused on grandma.  They were from behind but I didn't care.  I love just seeing the back of her frosty hair perfectly coiffed from the hairdresser a few days before and her red sweater she'd chosen for the holiday.  It was an okay day for her and we learn to cherish the calm to good days.  There are times I wanted to run downstairs, scoop her up while inhaling her scent of perfume and take away this horrible condition.  I would do it if I could.  I found thoughts of wondering what next Christmas would be like creeping in just like they had the year before.  I had to stop myself before I started tearing up.

My grandma, the woman who babysat me while my parents finished out their senior year to graduate, who supported me in any endeavor I took on and made many childhood memories with special touches she never battling dementia.  She has her good days and her bad days but the disease is progressing much faster than we thought it would.  We're having scares with her and it's horrible to watch this woman you love so much struggle so much with daily things.  Every moment with her is precious especially when glimpses of her true personality shine through.  You learn to soak it all in in ways that go well beyond the concept of "oh, they're getting older."  You never know the day she may look at you and not be able to remember who you are...and you're scared.  I have always been very sentimental, it's well known in my family but with this, you get even more so.  My mom and cousin came upstairs to where the Mr and I were sitting and we were just talking.  My aunt and other cousin sat down and we were enjoying our time together while Grandma and Grandpa were watching the kids bliss out with their new toys.  I apparently missed some kind of signal because the next thing I know there are 2 bags in front of me and an envelope with instructions from my mom to open the envelope first.  Inside is a note that says "I'm passing the gumdrop tree down to you now.  Enjoy the memories.  Love Grandma."  I bust into full blown ugly cry complete with vein poppage.  In the one bag is gumdrops and decorative rocks and in the other is this...

The bottom is missing for now so it's jerry-rigged but I guess my mom was thinking of sentimental things that people might like to have in the future and she knew grandma no longer used the gumdrop tree so she asked her what she thought about passing it down to me one day.  Even when it was explained to her, she didn't seem to remember the concept so it wouldn't be missed.  She said I could have it now.  So my whole family looked for it one day and they found it, wrapped it up and gave it to me Christmas Day.  It brought back all of the memories of seeing it on the table at Christmases from my childhood.  My mom and aunts reminisced about it always being on the table when they were kids too and that it was 42 years old.  Grandma came up and I thanked her for giving it to me and she smiled and said 'you're welcome!'  I don't know if she knew what I was referring to or not and I wasn't going to make a big deal over it in front of her but the rest of my family knows what it means to me.  I asked if they were sure one of them didn't want it and they all agreed it would mean more to me.  It does...especially now.  It will have a good home for as long as I have it and I will cherish all of the memories I have of Christmases past.

Have you had something passed down to you that means the world to you?

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Haul

What a nice Christmas!  

We got together with my mom Christmas Eve, enjoyed our spread, chatted for a while then opened presents.  I got the hip strap for my big camera I wanted, the Rod Stewart autobiography, a shirt I wanted, some movies and music, kitchen stuff and some stocking stuffers.

Here's my haul from my Santa on Christmas Day:

A Boos cutting board, marble cheese board, Rosewater dusting powder I've had on my list for 3 years, the Cookie Dough Lovers cookbook, Rick Springfield autobiography, John Taylor from Duran Duran's book (of which I'm about 150 pages in), a shirt from Duke's Canoe Club on Kauai, The Police in concert since we missed them live, a tin cake plate, The Big Year, Jack, Heathers, Teen Witch and The Witches DVDs.

Today will be filled with reading my books while the Mr plays video games.  I'm so glad he took today off.

How was your holiday?  What did you get?

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Just a quick message...

Now get to your merriment!  Enjoy it all...the good/heartwarming/laughter inducing and the bad/awkward/irritating.  It's all part of the memories you'll talk about for years to come.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Eve of Christmas

How is it Christmas Eve already?

It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating way early (mid-November) with my friend on a road trip and now it's like "welp, tomorrow it'll all be over!"   Boo!

We're keeping up with the "new normal" of no impact exercises.  I'm starting physical therapy exercises to strengthen the muscles in my foot because I can feel weakness setting in.  The Mr has dedicated himself to doing them with me because he's feeling sympathy pains in some of the same places.  I cannot begin to express how much his support and love are helping me as this looks to be a longer process than I anticipated.  This injury has really made us re-think our approach.  I want it to heal ASAP knowing we have taken the lessons it was supposed to teach and are changing our ways.  (In case any deities are reading)  Today and tomorrow aren't going to be the best food wise but tis only once a year that we make rather merry.  I'll try to flush my bod with water and remember to take some chia seeds to keep the pipes runnin' smooth.  Sorry, probably TMI.   I should probably keep up with tradition and open all of the advent calendar windows I've neglected on since mid-December.  I always go in with good intentions and lose interest midway through the month.  Slacker.

Tonight we have my mom over to exchange gifts with her and have a little appetizer spread.  Well I guess it's not little per se but I'm always required to make chicken rumaki (I make mine with TJ's tenderloin breast, a water chestnut wrapped in bacon then baked), BBQ weenies (we're cutting up TJ's no nitrate chicken hot dogs), coconut shrimp and chipotle potato bites.  Then my mom brings veggie pizza.  (Baked crescent roll crust, sour cream "sauce" with veggies on top.)  I hit one of my culinary goals this year and made yeast cinnamon rolls.  I made one batch already and tested them on the Mr's co-workers who had them demolished by 10am.  (They were still warm when they got there)  Cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning breakfast have always been a tradition for my family.  Last year we got some for my mom too and sent her home with some.  So today I will pre-bake and wrap them in airtight containers so they'll be ready to roll after present opening.  I found a great recipe that utilizes a bread machine to do all the kneading (this works especially well since I can't stand up for long).  If they turn out, I'll pass the recipe along!  ;-)

Welp, lots to do today and not enough time to do it.  We need to workout so we can take tomorrow off from exercise since we flipped around rest days.

If anyone is reading today and I haven't just been babbling to myself, I just wanted to say thank you so much for the gift of your support, readership and camaraderie.  We're all in this together and knowing the Mr and I are not alone in this adventure makes it easier to bear in the hard times and sweeter to celebrate with you all in the good ones.  We wish you the Merriest of Christmases or whatever you should happen to celebrate!

I'll leave you with a Christmas song that I've loved since I was a kid called Happy Christmas Eve.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Twas the Weigh In Before Christmas

...and I was miraculously down 3 more pounds!

I thought I was, yeah I'm not going to try to rhyme!  LOL

I know this is going to be very temporary with the upcoming holiday and possibly a small side trip the following weekend depending on how the foot is feeling.  I think I may have pinched my sciatic nerve yesterday when I foam rolled before and after my workout because I have a bit of tingling in my left leg today.  (No I don't have diabetes and I think it'd be pretty coincidental that MS would rear it's head the exact same time I'm having nerve entrapment in my tibial nerve which is part of my sciatic nerve)

Today is the beginning of Christmas family gluttony.  No one knows I'm injured except for my cousin so I'm hoping I can pull off normality.  I'm making 2 healthier dishes.  I'm throwing together 2 bags of quinoa duo from TJ's so we have a healthy option as well as my cousin.  I made a spice cake using applesauce in place of oil and bananas in place of eggs.  Now the frosting won't be low cal but it's about balance right?  :-)

Welp, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and feel free to let me know your plans for the weekend below!

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Unhappy Feet

If you're reading this, apparently we didn't succumb to the Mayan end of days.  Whew!  Now, what do I do with all this spam?  ;-)

It's been quite a while since a normal weekday post!  If you're not a Facebook follower, I'll catch you up on my foot situation.  I went back to the podiatrist yesterday.  While waiting to go back for my appointment it was geriatric day.  Now I love me some old people, especially sassy ones but when your new shoes match the 65 year olds sitting across from you, it doesn't do much for your confidence, ya know?   I was SO happy to get that damn flexible cast cut off.  I seriously think the tightness of it was impeding recovery.  I was having more problems with the top of my foot than when I went in there.  So I'm hoping having the vice off will expedite things.  The girl said she suggested I get scanned for the orthotic inserts and I asked how much they were, she said $340.  When I came to, she asked if I knew if my insurance covered it or not and I said I had no clue so she called for me.  Another lady came back and said my insurance didn't cover it (surprise) and that unfortunately most don't cover them anymore and only a few will cover them if you're diabetic.  I asked if there were any over the counters I could try first and she said to ask the doc about that because she wasn't allowed to tell me one way or the other.  She said she had bad feet as well and even had surgery.  I asked for what and it was for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (TTS) and nerve entrapment (same thing I have) and she said it didn't help and it's actually coming back and the doctor told her it probably would.  Awesome.  I've done a LOT of research and I know for sure if my case was bad enough, I still probably wouldn't want the surgery because of the rate of complications.  The doctor came in and was very pleased to hear I was doing everything she asked.  (What, do most people not??)  She was excitedly writing down all of the things I said I was doing...things she told me to do.  I told her I felt the tape job was holding back my recovery and she said that was fine it didn't need to be taped up again if I felt uncomfortable in it.  (Good because I would've cut it off when I got home!)  She said I have to continue my current regimen (no impact exercise, ice, elevation, rest, stay off of it as much as possible, never walk around the house without ortho slippers/shoes) until I am 100% pain free.  At that time I can re-introduce low impact to see how I do but not until I feel I'm 100% recovered.  Awesome.  :-(

She said she was going to hold off on ordering a nerve test because I haven't complained of numbness or tingling which is a major tell tale of TTS and to keep it stretched.  Though the nice shooting pain I experienced last night while standing making dinner didn't give me much hope but I need to remember yesterday was the first day I had the tape off so who knows if nerves will fire or not.  It was quite a mental setback because it kind of knocked me off of my feet but I will do whatever it takes to get better and  hopefully my body won't punish me for it.  I'm very nervous for tomorrow's weigh in since it's the first weigh in after a full week of modification.  I've been eating fish like almost everyday this week except we had quesadillas for the first time in a while.  I don't know how those got out of rotation but they're comin' back in,  fo' sho!

I'm trying to look at it as a blessing because it's taught us how critical it is to have good foot care.  I admit to being guilty of cheaping out on good shoes in favor of mid-range shoes and running them into the ground.  I never gave exercising on a hard surface a second thought.  But I can't wait for the day I'm recovered from this, assuming I will.  Internet research has also freaked me out but I'd rather be armed with knowledge than go in blindly.

Other than that, just trying to get ready for the holiday and keep my spirits up as much as possible amidst my frustration.

What have you been up to?  

*I am not a doctor and all information in my blog posts regarding Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome should not be construed as medical advice, only my personal experience as stated in the disclaimer tab.*

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Interview with Powerstrike/Atletica creator Ilaria Montagnani

I discovered Ilaria Montagnani’s workouts a few years ago on a morning show.  It was on in the background and the journalist was talking about the ‘new sword workout sweeping the nation.’  This perked up my ears because I thought it would be right up The Mr’s alley since he had samurai swords as a kid and I’d had him doing some pretty ‘girlie-centric’ workouts at that time.

As I watched, I saw Ilaria and developed an instant girl crush.  She was confident, strong and made it all look effortless.  I immediately searched online and found the Forza Workout and surprised the Mr with it.  We didn’t have the ceiling clearance (and I didn’t have the confidence) to use the wooden swords so I used 2 reinforced…are you ready for it?...wrapping paper tubes.  Yep.  I wanted to get the moves before I invested anything else in this workout.  You could use a broomstick or paint roller extender or something similar if you don't have swords laying around.  When you do it, it seems like “okay, chops and cuts.  Big deal.”  Oh yes it is!  The repetitive motion had our arms, shoulders and delts screaming and had me looking up any workout that I could find by her.  We got Powerstrike 5 and it is by far one of my favorite workouts.  I remember different audio cues that I used to say "just get to this part or that part" or when the angelic chant came in toward the end we used to giggle with relief that the end was near!  Anything Ilaria puts out, I will buy, sight unseen because there is this way about her when she teaches that makes you feel like she believes you can do it so you do it as best you can. 

I was so excited to see that she had new DVDs coming out and watched some of the live streaming when she was filming them.  I knew we were in for it and I can’t wait to get to it!  

I am lucky enough to be able to interview the woman behind these workouts and without further adieu, Ilaria Montagnani.

Photograph by Michael Brian

I am such a huge fan and I have to say that when I think of the word “strong”, your physique comes to mind instantly.  What made you become so passionate about fitness?  Did you ever struggle with your weight at any point in your life?

I started my journey in fitness in my teens because I was always very active and then a car accident, when I was still living in Italy with my family, forced me into rest and I started gaining weight.  At that time I didn't really know anything about nutrition and the only way I knew to get into shape was by being physical, so I started my own "routine" of exercises.  Then I moved to America and I started gaining weight again because the food here and the portions are very different than what I was used to eating in Italy.  So again I found myself having to lose weight, lots of it this time.  But this second time around I knew that I didn't want to just lose weight; I knew I also wanted to build a stronger body, so I got into Martial Arts and weight training.  Karate became my life and that combined with weight training started to transform my body into a stronger machine. 

Do you follow a specific eating plan?  What would be on your plate on an average day?

I am now a vegetarian, I have been for almost 8 years, but I still eat fish. The only reason why I am vegetarian is for ethical reasons.   I cannot stand how animals are treated by the food industry, even when it comes to fish my choices are extremely limited.  I now mostly eat tons of vegetables and fruits, lots of fish (wild caught-sustainable, not farmed-raised) occasionally I will have eggs if they come from a reputable farmer, rice, stone wheat bread, tons of nuts (probably too many!) and yes, of course,  dark chocolate.  Sweets are not my weakness, so it's easier for me to resist cakes, I don't care for ice cream or candies but fresh baked bread or pizza are very hard to resist!  Also I don't drink sodas, diet or not, too many artificial chemicals in it, they are just bad for you.

What does your typical workout schedule look like?

I teach 6 days a week 3-4 times per day and on Saturday 5 classes a day, in addition to that I do my own training, which consists mostly of interval training and heavy lifting and sword practice.  I am at the gym many hours every day.  Good thing that I love it or I couldn't do it, it's hard work and I am not 20 anymore. I put my body through a lot.

Do you have any fitness related goals for yourself or is maintaining your physique your main focus?

My main focus is to stay strong and healthy, and it's to prove that women of all ages can and should be strong and healthy.  Most people don't realize their potential.  Regular individuals can push 20 times harder than they are doing, we don't really know how much more we have in us.  We just scratch the surface and find reasons (excuses) why we can't push harder:  “No time, I have kids, I have work, I don't know how to do it....” but if your goal is to be healthy and also to have the strength to do things that you love in life, staying in a fitness regimen is much more possible and following a good diet becomes much less of a challenge.

What inspires you as a fitness instructor?

My students inspire me!  People that I meet that never like to work out and then start changing their lives, lose weight and love their bodies inspires me, people that have the will power to overcome any physical limitation and do any kind of workout inspires me.  Working out and pushing past the comfort zone will get  you a strong good looking body, but more importantly will shape your spirit and get you ready for all the challenges that life throws at us. Working out is so much more than a physical act, it trains you for life.

What advice would you give someone wanting to begin their journey to being healthy?

Start by writing down your goals: why do you want to start your journey to being healthy?  Keep the answers to that question written and look at it many times every day, let that help you when you don't feel like waking up and do your workout, when you don't want to start sweating a little every day, when you want to eat that piece of cake or hamburger and instead you have an apple and go for a walk.  Just start doing something, do it, don't dwell on it, put it in your schedule like the shower that you take every day, the sleep that you need every night, the 30 min - 45 min - 1 hour - 15 min...!  Whatever you can do, do it.  Once you get started and create a little of a habit, you are much more likely to stick to it.  But remember always all the benefits and why you are doing it.  You will always need some motivation because exercising is sacrifice.   Oh and get some good fun workout DVDs that will motivate you!!

How do you decide what exercises are featured in your DVDs?

I choose the workouts I like the most and the ones that will deliver the best results for people at home. I have cardio workouts, like Powerstrike Kickboxing and Bodystrikes, strength training workouts like Atletica and a very unique workout which I created over 15 years ago: Forza. This DVD will teach you how to work out with a sword like a real samurai, one of the most amazing workouts, mind and body completely involved.

Tell us about your new DVDs!

I have 5 new DVDs coming out: 3 new Atletica, which will work your whole body and are 30 to 45 minutes. Atletica is my toughest class -it consists of a series of high intensity interval training exercises -and it will deliver the most amazing results. I encourage everyone to try them out, even if they need to do all the moves with light weights or take break between sets, nothing will make them stronger faster - Atletica will also make you lose tons of weight! I also have a new Powerstrike Kickboxing (Vol 7) coming out and Bodystrikes (Vol 3).  Anyone can do them!

We will post more about the new DVDs on our Facebook page, please join for information, stay in touch and "specials"

If someone wants to take a class with you in person, how would they do that?

Right now I only teach in NY City at the Equinox Clubs and Reebok, if they come to the city they can take class at these gyms, but first they need to email me at so I can guest them in since these are membership only health clubs.

Thank you so much Ilaria for taking the time to chat with me.  It was a pleasure and I hope to be able to see you in person one day to give you a big hug to thank you for the inspiration you have given me to stay motivated on this weight loss ride!

To order the new DVD's you can click on any of the links below to be taken to each individual DVD:

POWERSTRIKE KICKBOXING Vol. 7  (affiliate link) 

BODYSTRIKES By Powerstrike Vol. 3  (affiliate link) 

To out more about Ilaria, you can find her here:
Powerstrike Facebook Page
Ilaria's Facebook Page
Powerstrike Web Site

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There are affiliate links in this post that I get a nominal kickback from should you choose to use them.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 12: Stocking Stuffer Crescents

Can you believe we're on the last day of the 12 Days of Treats?  This is a super simple recipe and while you can certainly make them for others if you're hosting a gathering, I'm betting you'll appreciate this way to turn your favorite (or even not so favorite) stocking stuffers into a yummy treat.  Ever since those chocolate oranges came out, the community tables at work have always had at least one or two of them a couple of days after Christmas.  People either love them or hate them or don't know what to do with them.  Enter this bad boy.

 Super easy, super cute and most importantly super delicious!  I don't even like those chocolate orange thingys and we both liked this!  Let's wrap it up!

Stocking Stuffer Crescents
(makes 8)

1 Chocolate Orange
1 tube of Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls

I'm down with any ingredient that has the word "whack" in it's directions for use.

So whack it and set aside.

Pop open your crescent rolls.

Lay them out on a Silpat or lightly cooking sprayed cookie sheet.

Add 2 wedges of "orange."

Fold in the sides to keep the chocolate from oozing out.

Roll forward until the chocolate is completely covered.


If you're using the orange, a sprinkle of cinnamon is a nice touch before baking.

You'll have a few wedges left.  You could grate them to top off a sundae, snazzy up a dish or just leave 'em whole and put them in your pie hole your honey's lunch.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool for 5 minutes then enjoy the gooey goodness!  It's almost like a smaller pan au chocolate!  Oui!

Now I know some of you may get other stocking stuffer candies from Santa so if that's the case, I've included nutritional information featuring some other popular candies.

Nutritional Information per crescent using 2 chocolate orange wedges:  Calories 178  Total Fat 9g  Sat Fat 5g  Cholesterol 2g  Sodium 220mg  Total Carbs 23g  Fiber 1g  Sugars 12g  Protein 3g  Iron 6%

Nutritional Information per crescent using 1 chocolate orange wedge:  Calories 134  Total Fat 7g  Sat Fat 3g  Sodium 220mg  Total Carbs 18g  Sugars 7g  Protein 2g  Iron 5%

Nutritional Information per crescent using 1 fun size Snickers:  Calories 150 Total Fat 7g  Sat Fat 3g  Sodium 250mg  Total Carbs 20g  Sugars 9g  Protein 3g  Vitamin A 2%  Calcium 2%  Iron 6%

Nutritional Information per crescent using 2 miniature Reese cups:  Calories 178  Total Fat 4g  Sat Fat 2g  Sodium 220mg  Total Carbs 12  Sugars 2g  Protein 2g  Iron 4%

Nutritional Information per crescent using 1 fun size Milky Way:  Calories 170  Total Fat 7g Sat Fat 4g  Cholesterol 3g  Sodium 248mg  Total Carbs 24g  Sugars 12g  Protein 3g  Calcium 1%  Iron 4%

I hope you've enjoyed the 12 Days of Treats as much as I enjoyed making them for you!  Grab a few for yourself and give some to others.  There's no bigger thank you than a big smile or sweet note telling you how much someone you care about enjoyed a little tin o' love!

This recipe was linked up with 52 Mantels and  The Shabby Creek Cottage.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day 11: Egg Nog Cookies

I thought when it came to egg nog there were typically two camps...egg nog lovers and non-egg nog lovers.  The Mr lies firmly in the egg nog lover and I was in the non-egg nog lover camp.  I say was because while I don't like to chug down thick, gaggy nog, I may have found a third camp...egg nog enhanced food lovers.  That camp is one I have set up shop in.  We're talking tent, firepit and lantern.

These babies have that smooth, holiday flavor of egg nog with a nutmeg kick but in cookie form.  This became a new favorite for us this year and hopefully yule like it too.  (Wah wahhhh!)

Egg Nog Cookies
(Makes 42- Adapted from

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp Hain baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg  (then extra for topping)
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup light egg nog (CF Burger Creamery Light)
1 tsp vanilla
2 egg yolks

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients from flour to nutmeg.

In a separate bowl, cream your butter and sugar.

Ready for action.

Pour in your light egg nog.

Stir until combined and try not to scoop it out with your hands and eat it raw.  If it's too soft, chill the dough for about 15 minutes.

Then get a small cookie scoop and get down to business.

Place on silpat or cookie sheet about 2" apart.

Sprinkle on a little nutmeg before baking.  It makes all the difference.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.  The bottoms should look glassy but not brown or they'll dry out.

After 2 minutes, transfer them to a rack to cool.

Enjoy with your favorite assorted beverage.  Egg nog for him...skim milk for me!

Nutritional Information per cookie:  Calories 83  Total Fat 4g  Sat Fat 2g  Mono Fat 1g  Cholesterol 20mg  Sodium 27mg  Potassium 22mg  Total Carb 12g  Sugars 7g  Protein 1g  Vit A 3%  Calcium 1%  Iron 2%

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Day 10: Candy Cane Oreo Truffles

I know what you're thinking... "another truffle recipe!?"  It's the last one, I promise.  I went truffle crazy this year because of a few reasons.  1)  They're the perfect bite.  2)  They're easy to make.  3)  They're less calories than bars of the same ilk.  (I said ilk)  4)  I have truffle fever and I'm not sure I want the cure.  These babies are wonderful and give you that sink in your chair feeling if you're a mint fan.

 I am definitely a mint fan and I was looking for a reason use the peppermint Jet Puffed mini marshmallows I picked up in June of all times of year yet I can't find them now.  Weird.  But feel free to use one cute small peppermint marshmallow (the soft kind) that seem to be in abundance right now.  Let's get to 'em.

Candy Cane Oreo Truffles
(Makes 15)

1 package Candy Cane Oreos
2 tbsp unsweetened Almond Breeze Milk
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (you'll have 2 oz left if you tap off the excess)
Paraffin wax
3 mini candy canes, crushed
20 Jet Puffed Peppermint Mini Marshmallows

Hello lovelies!

Put your Oreos in a food processor or blender and pulse until it resembles dirt.

Add the milk and pulse until the mixture starts to bind.

Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out your truffle.

Ball them up.

Insert toothpicks in the middle of each truffle and put them in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

In a double boiler, add your chocolate chips and few shavings of paraffin wax.

Ready your toppings.

Give the chocolate one last stir to make sure there's no lumps.

Dip the truffle in the chocolate up to the toothpick.

Insert into a styrofoam block.

Top with your candy cane pieces and/or marshmallows.

Like so.

Repeat and put in the fridge to set up.

When they're set, twist and pull out the toothpick.  Mine left a particularly heinous hole to fix.

Dab the chocolate in the hole to cover.

Christmas cheer in a truffle.

Nutritional Information per truffle:  Calories 126  Total Fat 5g  Sat Fat 2g  Sodium 85mg  Potassium 32mg  Total Carbs 22g  Sugars 15g  Protein 1g  Iron 5%

This recipe was linked up with Crazy for Crust.
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