Sweet n’ Salty Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Seeds

I just love this time of the year, who doesn’t?!

Despite Halloween being a ‘Blah’ holiday for me/the excuse for girls to dress like slores, I would much rather bypass and enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I know that I’ve got to start making this holiday special for Baby Boo!

Last year, Baby Boo was only 3 months, but that didn’t stop me from dressing her up!

Look how small she is!!

Aweeee… :(

Now we are only a few days from Halloween, and I have yet to decide what Boo is gonna be for Halloween.

We tossed around the idea of the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba…But I just couldn’t get the hubs to put on an orange jumpsuit and be DJ Lance.

I suggested homeless bums, since we basically can’t afford the 40 dollar costumes at target…

But Hubby didn’t want to get dirty…

(Can we all say, sissy la la?)

Despite costumes being so fudge popsicle expensive, it didn’t stop me from buying a $9 halloween candy basket at Target for Baby Boo!

Target is like the everything store version of Whole Foods…

I shouldn’t be allowed to shop there. I just end up spending more than I need, hiding things in Baby Boo’s closet, and secretly hoping the hubs doesn’t notice my new jacket, shoes, top, and purse….

But despite the expensive baskets, I was looking forward to taking Baby Boo the the pumpkin patch this year, carving pumpkins, and eating pumpkin seeds.

And to top it off, Baby Boo can now sport the pigtail look!

I swear, the day I can curl her hair, will be the happiest day of my life! :-)

The petting zoo was Baby Boo’s favorite…

I stood back and took pictures with my zoom lens. I love animals, but have a slight fear of them too…Something about a childhood experience involving a goat…

Those cute ugly fur balls are baby chickies.

I wanted to sneak one in my purse, but then I decided there was NO way I could hide THAT from Hubby…

The tractor ride was my favorite, but it wasn’t Boo’s…

And it probably wasn’t anyone else favorite ride, for those that were in the cars behind us.

Baby Boo has never been one to like sitting in one place…

That includes staying on a single bushel of hay.

But if tractor rides didn’t do it for her, than not being able to pick up a 10 pound pumpkin sure did…

You don’t want to know what happened next.

Really.

You don’t.

Later that night we carved pumpkins with the hubby.

We all had our different jobs…

Some jobs were a little more disgusting than others…

But, my job I believe was the most important of all…

You can’t carve pumpkins without roasting pumpkin seeds.

And, now I am going to add to that statement.

You can’t roast pumpkin seeds, without covering them in chocolate afterwards…

Sweet n’ Salty Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredeints:

Pumpkin Seeds( we had about 2 cups worth)

Salt and Pepper or Seasoning Salt

Non Dairy chocolate (about 1/2 C. per 2 c. pumpkin seeds)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Wash and dry pumpkin seeds, then spread on coated(with baking sheet or parchment paper) baking sheet. Sprinkle salt and pepper, or some seasoning salt through out, and toss to coat.

2. Bake for 30 or so minutes (depends on how many pumpkin seeds you have. More time for more seeds.)

3. When done, let cool.

4. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, and once melted add pumpkin seeds to the bowl.

5. Toss pumpkin seeds in chocolate until coated.

6. Spread seeds onto covered baking sheet (with mat or parchment paper) and set in fridge for a few minutes, or until set.

These are dangerous.

Like, you will eat these in one sitting of Beverly Hills Housewives…

And then regret you did it.

Then you will want more.

Happy Pumpkin Seed Making!

Pumpkin Macaroni N’ Goat Cheese, and Bloggy Seasonal Eats Link Ups!

For the past 14 months i’ve been surprised with how little sleep my body, and Baby Boo’s body,  have been able to survive off of.

I know I joke about how Baby Boo made a deal with the devil when it came to sleep, but I just want you to know…it’s no joke.

I’ve seen the contract…in my sleep. That is, if I was sleeping, I might have been hallucinating.

Lack of sleep does that to you.

Come wednesday night, Baby Boo woke up around 12:30 crying. This was nothing out of the normal, so I got out of bed, walked into her room, and picked her up. When I picked her up, i quickly realized her body temperature was extremely hot. Not your average fever hot..

I turned on the light, and noticed that she was having little convulsions and twitches, and her heart was racing a million miles a minute. Of coarse, I lost it, and ran to hubby asking him what was wrong. We decided to take her to the ER, thinking her fever was extremely high…

This was wednesday night.

Now, it’s friday morning, and Baby Boo is doing a little better. We aren’t really sure of the cause for the fever spike, but she had shots this week, so we are thinking that might have been the problem. Right now we are just trying to keep her little body cool..and get her some sleep.

And if you were wondering, none of us have slept since wednesday night. But more so, I am glad that Baby Boo is ok!! My life wouldn’t be worth living if I didn’t wake up to see this precious face everyday:

Needless to say, our little fam damn needed some comfort. Of coarse we relied on food for that…

And nothing says comfort more than a bowl of Macaroni and Cheese! :-)

It’s actually Baby Boo’s favorite meal! She LOOOOVES macaroni and cheese!

So does the hubby..But he prefers the one in the blue box, which will go unnamed…But if you must know, it rhymes with KrAp-ft…

Pumpkin Macaroni N’ Goat Cheese

Ingredients:

1 1/2 C.dry pasta of choice or 3 C. cooked pasta

(for the sauce)

1 C. pumpkin puree

1/2 C. + 2 TB. Non dairy milk

1 TB. chopped garlic

3 TB. hummus (I used roasted garlic)

4 TB. Nutritional Yeast

2 tsp. Paprika

1 tsp. dry mustard

salt and pepper to taste

3 TB non dairy butter (i use earth balance)

1/3 C. Goat cheese (or for kiddos you could sub non dairy cheese(such as daiya), or organic cheddar cheese)

1 TB. Nutritional Yeast(for topping)

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to directions. While pasta is cooking, prepare sauce.

2. In a food processor, blender (or even by hand), blend pumpkin, milk, garlic, hummus, nutritional yeast, and spices until blended and creamy. Then in a sauce pan, pour sauce and add butter and cheese and stir until melted and combined. Remove from heat.

3. In a baking dish, add your pasta and mix with sauce. Fold sauce into pasta until incorporated. You can eat as is (I think kids like it this way the best) or for the adults you can bake it. We like to take out a little portion unbaked for Baby Boo, and then bake the rest of the pasta for us.

4. If you decided to bake, preheat oven to 350. Top pasta with a little extra nutritional yeast (about 1 TB) and a little bit of seasoned bread crumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Purely Comfort.

And in case you were wondering, hubby took that whole casserole dish, added avocado on top, doused it with tabasco, and dug in. I looked at him and said,  “ummmm…Can I have some, or did ya think I made that whole thing for you?”

I haven’t been the only one in love with this fall/comfort season…

A few of my BFF bloggy friends have some delicious eats this fall too!

Heather at Get Healthy with Heather, who AlWaYs has something delicious to share, made this Chai Spiced Hot Chocolate!

And to top that off, she made Pomegranate and Almond Butter Deep Dark Chocolate Brownies!!!

Heather-you get brownie points for SURE!!

Ragnhild from Vegan Aphrodite (who is super cute might I add) loves to make this pumpkin pasta that she found from Green Kitchen Stories!

Can’t go wrong with Pumpkin Pasta! :-)

Anna from The Guiltless Life made TWO different kind of seasonal pies, because she is amazing like that, one being savory and one being sweet.

First one is a Leek, Spinach, Lentil, and Potato Pie:

Right up my alley!

And the next one is a Chocolate Fudge Pie inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie:

You can see now why Anna is amazing!

Alyssa from Fashion Fitness Foodie made a Pumpkin French Toast:

Hey Alyssa, can I come over for breakfast?

And last, but more certainly not least, Kate from A Healthy Passion made Sweet Potato Overnight Oats:

Kate, may I come over for breakfast TOO!!??

Thank you to all these fabulous bloggers that shared their tasty seasonal eats with us!! Everything looks so delicious, and I expect invitations to all your houses for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert in the near future!!

:-)

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Workout Wednesday!! Guest Post STUFT MAMA

Hey Guys!!

Right Now Sickly Baby Boo and I are in the middle of traveling, but I have the most AMAZING guest post for you today! She is a close friend, personal trainer, has a killer body, cutest family ever, and the most adorable Kitty :)

Meet Kristin!

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Hello Diva Dish readers! I’m Kristin, the “mama” behind STUFT mama.  I’m so excited to be a guest here at the sophisticated Diva Dish today.  The pressure is on and I’ll try my best to live up to Ari’s professionalism, marvelous recipes, beautiful photos and wonderful writing.

Oops. Excuse me. That’s his bad side. Let me introduce Kitty.

Ha ha ha! Well, I guess there’s no use in trying to hide it. My life is a little nutty. Here’s a peak at what I’m dealing with on a daily basis around here.

It’s okay to be jealous. Ha!

A quick little introduction and then I’ll get to business. I’m a busy, race running, fitness instructing, mom of these troublemaking energetic twin boys who loves to experiment in the kitchen and take care of my family. My pictures are not always the best, and more often than not I’m cleaning up a mess somewhere in the house, but I keep my blog buddies entertained. J

Here’s the boys and I at our last race on the 4th of July.

I pushed them 9.3 miles (and almost ran over a couple racers in the process). Don’t mind the pajamas, I was a little late getting to the race and barely made it to the starting line in time (a typical Kristin move being LATE for everything). You can read more about our adventure here.

Okay, so on to the main reason why I’m here:

“Workout Wednesday”

I’ve been in the fitness industry (teaching group fitness classes and personal training) for over 11 years now and exercise and feeling good is something I’m really passionate about.  So…….. I thought I’d write a little fitness post for you all. This past weekend my husband Andrew and I escaped for a night away (our second one without our boys and holy cow I never thought sleeping without a monitor by my ear would be that awesome). It made me think though about how sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation or time to fit in exercise, but simply just knowing that a little work can go a long way can make a world of difference. Instead of throwing in the towel because you’re tired or your day didn’t go quite as planned or you put if off because tomorrow would be a better day to start a new routine (that seems to be a popular one and I’m guilty of it myself sometimes), take 10-20 minutes and make the most of it. Chances are you’ll actually like what you’re doing and go a little longer. Even if you just move for 10 minutes or so, you’re doing SOMETHING and I promise you’ll feel that much better.

If you’re limited on time (and space) doing some high intensity body weight training is a great choice. Some of the main benefits of this type of workout are:

-        It takes little time to burn A LOT of calories

-        It boosts metabolism up to 24 hours after you finish your workout (in addition to the calories you burn while doing it- I use this excuse quite a bit when I sit down with my huge plate of food)

-        It helps retain muscle mass (which is really important as we get older, wait, we’re getting older? WHAT?  Why do I still think of myself like I’m in my 20’s? Oh man, I remember when I thought the characters on Friends were old. Ha ha ha.)

Anyway………………  retaining muscle mass is extremely beneficial in weight loss and this type of exercise does just that (as opposed to just moderate-intensity cardio workouts).

Enough jibber jabber. Oh wait, one more side not. Have you heard of the website JibJab? If you ever need a laugh you should check it out.  I made this cool video of Kitty and I dancing here. (I know, I know, you’re welcome.)

Okay, here are my top 5 exercises to burn the maximum of calories in the least amount of time. You can do each one for a minute and go through 2 or 3 times. No equipment needed, just a little bit of space, comfortable shoes (cross trainers are best) and a watch.

It’s important to warm-up with a light jog or walk (or some kind of cardio or big body movements to prevent injury).

Disclaimer: These pictures are not the best. Andrew took them (with A LOT of hesitation) in the hotel gym this past weekend. I had to bribe him with a buffet brunch afterwards.

1.     Burpies- Stand with feet hip width apart. Step or jump feet back into plank position. Step or jump feet back to starting position. Jump (optional).

2.     Reverse lunges- Stand with feet hip distance apart. Step back with one leg and lower down until front knee is bent 90 degrees. Bring foot back to starting position and repeat with other leg. You can also add a jump to this so the legs switch in the air (these are a killer).

3.     Slow jacks- Stand with feet hip width apart and jump or step feet out wide (making sure to keep your knees behind your toes). Step or jump feet back together to start position.

4.     Curtsey lunges- Stand with feet hip distance apart and step diagonally behind with one leg. Lower down until front knee is bent 90 degrees. Most of the weight should be on your front foot. Hop or step to opposite side and repeat with other leg. These are great for your outer thighs and glutes. You’ll be thanking me (or saying bad words in your head) when you’re squatting or sitting on the toilet the next day. Ha ha ha! My one friend said she thought of me every time she went to the bathroom. Aww…. How nice.

5.     Mountain climbers- In a plank position with your shoulders over your hand, bring one foot towards your upper body. Alternate feet with a toe tap or a little hop. I really think you’ll like these too!

Well, there you have it- a quick calorie blasting workout. You can make it 10 minutes if you go through twice or 15-20 if you want to go through a couple more times.

I have a couple similar workouts posted over at STUFT mama. Feel free to stop on by and say “hi” or email me anytime at stuftmama@stuftfitness.com !  Thanks Diva Dish readers for letting me visit and a thanks to Ari for letting me be a guest!

Bye from all of us here at the STUFT house!

 

Thank you so much Kristin for doing this guest post for me :)!!

 

Fitness On Vacation

Good Morning Friends!!

Baby Boo and I are taking a quick break from blogging this morning.

BUT, we aren’t leaving you hangin’, I promise!

We have a WoNdErFuL guest post scheduled for you today from Jess at In My Healthy Opinion.!!

She is super GoRgEoUs, great smile, delicious vegan eats, and she is here today to share some FiTnEsS Tips with you!

I’ll miss you all dearly, but will be back soon!!

Thanks Jess!!

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Hey, Diva Dish readers!  My name is Jess, and I blog over at In My Healthy Opinion.  I’m a vegan and lover of exercise,

and my blog focuses on living a healthy life with people I love the most.

I’m honored to be guest posting for Ari today!  Her blog never fails to make me laugh, as well as drool over the amazing recipe creations. J  I love her take on healthy foods that look and taste incredibly decadent, and of course, pictures of her adorable Baby Boo!

My husband and I recently returned from a trip to Myrtle Beach, and I thought I would share my tips for fitness on vacation.  There’s a fine line between enjoying your vacation and staying healthy, and it can be challenging when you just want to lie on the beach all day!

 

  • Minimal Equipment: I wasn’t about to lug tons of weights on our trip (although I don’t use big weights anyway, my husband sure does!)  I brought my little 2.5 lb weights, a yoga mat, and my exercise ball.  My husband was allowed to bring one 35 lb. kettle bell. :)

 

  • Walk It Out: Since we were at the beach, we had miles of sand with surrounding paths and roads around us.  Every morning or afternoon, we took a really long walk.  Walking is definitely acceptable exercise – vacation or not!  Whether you’re at the beach or visiting the mountains, there’s always somewhere to walk.

 

  • Something Small: I find it’s best to just fit in small amounts of fitness whenever possible.  On our trip, I was always awake before my husband in the mornings, so I’d do a workout DVD before he was even out of bed.  You could put together a small circuit workout, or just dance around to some music – one of my favorite activities!

 

  • Use Your Surroundings: For example, if you’re on a ski trip – that’s built-in exercise that utilizes your surroundings.  On our vacation, we went to an alligator zoo; it was a (very) different place to walk around and explore!

I’m lucky I didn’t have to run from this guy!

There are also tons of water sports, as well as endless shopping centers.  That’s definitely the most fun way to get a calorie burn. :)

My number one fitness tip for vacation would be to just have fun!  I’m always so surprised at how naturally active I am on vacation.  I always want to get out there and enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery.  My husband has a pedometer on his phone, and most days we were walking 7-8+ miles without even realizing it!  Don’t stress about it too much – just find little ways to sneak in some exercise to keep your energy up.  Most of all, enjoy your vacation!

 

Thanks so much again, Ari! I hope you have a safe trip, and I’m sending good thoughts your way! :)

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Cream Pie with an Almond-Coconut Crust

I am truly honored to introduce you to a good friend of mine, Kelsey, who is doing a guest post for you guys today!

She is a new blogger over at Hoboheart, and I owe a big thank you to her husband who helped give this blog a much needed makeover!

Get ready to drool, because Kelsey has an AMAZING dessert she is sharing with you!!

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Hi everyone! My name is Kelsey and I blog over at the Hoboheart!!

I’m a health nut who truly believes you are what you eat! So eat healthy and fresh!

I  love to work out, thrift and go on adventures with my husband and pups!

But more than anything I love eating healthy and being happy!

Today i’m going to share a healthy dessert (what?!?! No- it cant be!)

Ooooh yessss! It can be.

Banana. Cream. Pie.     Hevean….

If you know me you know I’m part monkey. Yes. I eat that many bananas. We seriously have to make a banana run at least 3 times a week.

Unfortunately, as much as i love banana cream pie i hate the calories and unhealthy fats every bite my little guilty pleasure had.

So i went on a search for a healthy version of the pie and thanks to the help of some brilliant people out there, I was able to find this raw cashew cheesecake recipe!

Seriously guys… this is the perfect treat for those hot summer day!

 

 

 

 

Recipe adapted from Whole family fare

for the crust:

1/2 cup raw almonds, soaked for 2+ hrs and drained
8 oz. raw, flaked coconut
1 heaping tbsp. raw honey or agave
2 heaping tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
generous pinch of sea salt

for the filling:

2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 2+ hrs and drained
1/2 cup raw honey or agave
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 tsp. extract)
filtered water
pinch of sea salt
2 bananas sliced

2 large bananas sliced for layering and garnish.

To begin, place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and grind them. Add the coconut and process for a minute or so. Then add in the honey, coconut oil, vanilla and salt. Process until everything is incorporated. Remove from bowl and press into the bottom and side of a 9 inch pie pan. Place in the freezer while you make the filling.

Next, place the cashews and about 1/4 cup filtered water in the pitcher of a blender. Blend well, then slowly add in the lemon juice, coconut oil, honey, vanilla, bananas and salt. Add a little more water, if you need to. Blend until very creamy. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour in about half of the filling. Scatter about half of the bananas on top, then the rest of the filling. Arrange the remaining bananas on top. Place in the freezer for a few hours, and leave at room temperature for at least an hour before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, up to a few days.

serves 6-8

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THANKS Kelsey!! This looks so creamy and amazing!!!

Have a great day everyone!!

 

Guest Post! Oatmeal Banana Muffins

Hey Guys!

So moving is progressing slowly..slowly…slowly..

I tend to “Go through things,” when we move, that way I can get rid of un-necessary crap that the Hubby I have.

I also realized I have a special connection, relationship, and love for each.and.every.one of my things…

So, needless to say…I should be done packing by the time Baby Boo is in pre-school.

If i’m lucky.

Or by tomorrow..That’s what the hubby said anyways..

haha he is so silly.

So due to the fact that I can’t decide whether to keep my high school gym shirt or not (because it brings back SO many good memories..NOT), I am honored to introduce the FIRST EVER guest post here on DiVa DiSh!

I would like you to meet Ashley from The Thrifty Wife!

She is, in one word, amazing! She has a wonderful website where she shares deals, and coupons, tips on how to save money, and she even has yummy yummy recipes!

So without further ado…here’s Ashley!

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Confession time: I have never been a good baker. Even now, my baking skills are questionable. Maybe it is because I am not good at science or have a hard time following a recipe (why follow a recipe when you can create your own?)

 

If you ask the my long time friends, they can tell you of the “play dough cookies” I made for the convalescent home or the time I brought odd-colored blueberry muffins to church. Well, the odd-colored blueberry muffins were not too bad, but people were unsure about them because of the color and my past experience. I decided to throw them away while no one was looking. The only problem was that  whole church hall of high schoolers saw and applauded loudly. I guess my lesson that day was humility.

 

Let me not even tell you about the vegan cake I tried to make with my husband reading me the ingredient list (Michael, Tsp. stands for teaspoon, not Tablespoon).

 

Anyways, even though I have had countless number of baking fails, I have learned one thing to be true and consistent. If the batter taste bad, then end product will suck too. I am sure that is probably common cents, but if I had followed that rule, instead of praying that the oven would magically fix my problems, I would have saved myself some time and humiliation.

 

Furthermore, here is a hearty muffin recipe that has a tasty batter and end result. It is like eating a complete breakfast in a tiny muffin shape.

Oatmeal Banana Mini Muffins

 

Ingredients:

About 4 overly ripe bananas – mashed

1 1/2 Cup of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

¾ cup of rolled oats

2 TBSP of Flaxseed Meal (or more if you desire)

2 Tsp. of Baking Soda

2 Tsp. of Baking Powder

2 Eggs

1 Package of Unsweetened Apple Sauce (I think it is ¼ to ½ a cup)

¼ Cup of Raw Sugar (You can substitute if you so desire)

Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Vanilla to taste



Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray your mini or regular sized muffin pan.

Mix all of the dry ingredient, not including the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium sized bowl.

Now, if you are using raw sugar, you do not just want to add it in the recipe lest you want muffins with crunchy sweet rocks in them. Instead, measure out the raw sugar and add boiling hot water a few tablespoons at a time. The goal is to get the sugar to dissolve.

Once the sugar is dissolved, pour into a large mixing bowl followed by apple cause and 2 eggs. Add in mashed bananas.

Finally, pour the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. If you feel you need a bit more liquid, add a little bit of milk or almond/soy/coconut/rice milk.

Pour the batter into the tins and bake for 15 minutes. (Time may be longer for larger muffins).



These little fiber bombs have very little sugar but a lot of substance. You do not have to make mini muffins, but they are so much fun (not to mention one feels a whole lot less guilty eating four of these little guys).  Pair them with a glass of milk (almond for me please) or eat them alongside a smoothie. I keep mine in a bag on the counter for a quick snack.

 

**Thank you so much Ashley for doing this post for me! I can’t wait to try these muffins :)!!**