My New Years Resolution Twist

Every year since as long as I can remember, I made a new years resolution I “promised” to stick through the whole year. From giving up soda pop or candy to working out more frequently and eating healthier. Two weeks into January, I’m still respecting my goals and pushing towards it, but by my birthday in March, I’m back to my old ways, already forgetting I even made that goal in the first place.

Now, I don’t think I’m alone here. We all make these goals and wishes- I will diet, I will recycle, I will this, I will that, but once its been a few weeks, we lose any spirit the “new year” brings and revert to our old habits. That is why this year, I’m choosing to NOT have a grand New Years Resolution. Since my trip out to Denver, I’ve focused on slowly improving small aspects of my life. From eating healthier, to being more active on a daily and weekly basis. Trying to improve each of these one by one has made it easier to grow. Since my time out here, I’m cooking more and eating MUCH healthier and not snacking.

So here’s the plan. I still want to rock out 2015, and by doing so, I want to continue to focus on growing, but rather than making some grand plan to how I’m going to improve my life, I’m going to make mini goals throughout 2015. Since I usually forgot about everything after about a month, each one I’ll make a new goal and attempt to continue the last. Let’s see how well I can keep this one up!


 

January: Weekly Meals Under $100

This has already been a goal of mine for sometime, but this month, I’m going to make sure it happens. Whether I use coupons, search for specials, or make my 3 ingredient meals, it’s gonna happen, and I’ll post all the meals to assure you can too.


 

February: Start Reading a New Book Every Month

This used to be a great old habit of mine, but I have gotten distracted with jobs, social invitations, and just general life shit that has gotten me to stop. On my flight home for the holidays I enjoyed two books which made me realize how much I missed reading. Working on this… If you have any solid book suggestions, please comment them!


 

March: Go Somewhere I’ve Never Been

So, I’ve got a big birthday coming in the spring, and I want to make sure i make the best of it. I usually go out with lots of friends, throw a party, etc. I love a celebration, but this year I want to adventure to somewhere unknown. I’ve been looking up a few places around Colorado and I think I’ve found a few spots that will hit the spot.


 

April: Only Check Social Media Once A Day

Working in technology, I have so many stats about how we interact with our devices. The average consumer spends up to two hours of their day on their phone… Seriously? That’s 14 hours a week, at least 56 hours a month.. And thats not including laptops, televisions, and your tablets. We spend so much time staring at screens instead of having real interactions. This goal is certainly going to be a tough one, but I think it can be done.


 

June: Adventure a new hiking trail every weekend

Being in CO, I think its an obligation that  should be enjoying the great outdoors. We are in one of the most beautiful places in the country, and I should be taking advantage to be exploring every part of it.


 

July: Make the Bed Every Morning

I mean I know it only takes a few minutes, but come on, there is no excuse to not come home to a clean bed.


 

August: Stop Checking My Phone when I’m out with friends

You’re with the all the people that matter and this present moment. Think back when your parents were growing up. They maybe had a single house phone that everyone shared. If you were out with friends, you weren’t checking up on the 200 bagillion other people you know… You were enjoying the present and living it up with those who surrounded you.


 

September: Working out 3 times a week

Alright, I know this is extremely below average, but we all have to start somewhere! I used to be so active through school, but in the working world, I just come home exhausted every day and barely have the energy. Exercise releases endorphins that not only make you happy but give you more energy, meaning at the end of the day, maybe I won’t be completely exhausted. Regardless, at least one day a week and Saturday/Sunday, I’ll be found at the gym jogging.


 

October: Start Doing Morning Stretching (and yoga.. if I can remember it)

Being a dancer, I used to stretch out at least 2 times a day. I felt so limber and my muscles never felt too tense. I wish to go back to that. Im a young spritely women, I shouldn’t be a lazy fat bastard when I’m not even 25.


 

November: Make a Turkey

This will be my second Thanksgiving without the family, and hopefully my first time hosting a pot luck event. As the hostess, I’ve deemed to be the turkey as the priority of the meal (duh!) and with that, I must ACTUALLY buy a turkey and somehow figure out how to cook/broil such a monstrosity. Challenge Accepted.


 

December: Help put a smile on someones face everyday

Back in Ohio, seasonal depression was a real thing. If you’re not around family or friends for the holidays, this month can be tough! I want to make sure I’m doing my best to make the best of the holiday season by bringing christmas cheer to anyone I can. Whether its complimenting a coworker, or helping someone with their bags, we all could use a little pick me up here or there.


 

 

 

 

Puppy Chow

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This recipe is perfect for almost any occasion. Whether you need something for your friends and coworkers, or something to dress the table with throughout the holidays, this sweet treat is perfect.

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When it comes to the holiday season, I love being that Christmas elf gifting what I can to friends and coworkers. Over here at Signpost, we have quite a few people (over 100) in our office. With this is mind, I knew I wanted to make a sweet treat for my team members. This recipe is perfect to make a bunch of (easily doubles).

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Ingredients


  • 1 1/2 cups powdered Sugar
  • 9 Cups of Crispx or Chex (I use a mixture of honey nut and vanilla flavored)
  • 1  Cup of chocolate chips
  • 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (I prefer having extra chunky so there are some nuts in it as well)
  • A dash of Vanilla Extract
  • A dash of ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

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Instructions


  1. Melt the peanut butter, chocolate chips and butter in microwave
    1. Add vanilla extract and cinnamon (should be less than a tsp each)
    2. Microwave for another 20 seconds
  2. Pour cereal in large bowl
    1. Stir in chocolate mixture until almost all is coated
  3. Put powdered sugar in a large (gallon sized) bag
    1. Pour in cereal chocolate mixture
  4. Shake until powdered sugar is completely coated on everything
  5. Lay out on wax paper and let dry
  6. For Gifts: I went to the dollar store and bought little buckets and put it in there and handed them out

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Crock Pot Spicy Potato and Corn Soup

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Why You Love This Recipe:

  • This recipe can be for the meat lover and the vegetarian. On my first try for this recipe, I really liked the original recipe below, but after experimenting with the leftovers, bacon or sausage can be a great addition.
  • All the ingredients are cheap!!
  • Perfect for the cold season. Come home to something to warm you up!
  • Easy clean up.

What You Need: 

  • 5-7 Idaho Potatoes (roughly 24 oz)
    • (I also really like Red Potatoes, but I was going with what I already had around)
  • 16 oz frozen corn
  • 6 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp italian seasonings
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Kosher Salt & Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Dice up potatoes into 1/8-1/2 inch piece
  2. Put into slow cooker with corn
  3. Toss in flour, salt & pepper
  4. Add broth, garlic & onion powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper & italian seasoning.
  5. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
  6. Stir in heavy cream & butter.
  7. Serve immediately.

Idea from Damn Delicious

Crock Pot Beef Teriyaki with Pineapple

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Why You Love This Recipe:

  • Slow Cooker Recipes are always great if you are out and about all day at work or doing something fun for your weekend. You come home to a almost entirely prepared meal awaiting you
  • This is a fun twist off an Asian Style Teriyaki meal. Similar ingredients but with a fun, flavorful twist
  • Rice is cheap, and that’s all it really takes to make a great meal.
  • Make it spicy or sweet- change up the recipe VERY EASILY to your own preferences (I always like having a nice spice to mine, which is why I prefer the chili powder)
    • I know some recipes I’ve done – add honey for a tangy sweeter flavor

What You Need

  • 2 lb Beef
    • I used the best deal- the original recipe suggested Stew Meat, but Walmart had a deal on Chuck Roast, so I took it!
  • 20.5 oz jar Teriyaki Sauce
  • 20 oz Canned Pineapple Chunks, drained
  • 2 1/2 medium sized carrots, sliced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cayenne pepper
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • Make it a meal:
    • Rice
    • Canned Cut Green Beans
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If you do buy a chuck roast, or bigger slab of meal, be sure to dice it up!

How It Happens

  1. Rub meat down with salt and pepper
  2. Combine with teriyaki sauce, chili powder, cayenne, & carrots in slow cooker.
  3. Cook on low for 6-7 hours
  4. Add pineapple in last 30 minutes.
  5. Serve on rice (optional)
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Pick Teriyaki Sauce to preference- I like the one with seeds and is ‘Hot’n’Spicy’

 

10 Crock Pot Meals, 10 Ingredients or Less

 

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Regardless of how busy your holiday season may be getting, it shouldn’t mean you have to sacrifice pleasing your stomach due to lack of time. As the days to Christmas countdown, I have too many chores to be making a mess in the kitchen every night. I mean come on, I already have to bake cookies for 2 days. Slow cooker meals can solve this concern by providing short prep meals, little clean up, and little cooking. I throw my slow cooker on low in the morning before heading to work, and when I return, I already have dinner ready to go. And I’m not just eating, I’m eating some delicious, flavorful dinners that cost me less than $10 almost every time.

Now for the other worker bees out there, having dinner isn’t the only meal you really have to prepare for. I am not able to go out to lunch every day of the week. Slow cooker meals not only provide enough food for two, but I have enough lunches for us for other a week and a half. That puts more than half my meals about $2.50 each. Not a bad deal right? Now don’t forget, being frugal isn’t only about picking the right recipes but being aware as a shopper.

I honestly can’t wait to try out these recipes and see what twist I can make to them. Being out in Colorado, I surely haven’t been used to having a 55 degree average week in the late beginning of December. That being said, this week is supposed to finally bring snow. I love nothing more than a White Christmas. I can deny soups are one of my favorite aspects of the winter- to just cuddle up by the fireplace and enjoy a hot, fresh soup with some egg nog.

Make every night of the holiday season a delicious treat.

 


 

 

1. Teriyaki Beef with Pineapple on Rice

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Sunday: Beef Teriyaki with Pineapple on Rice

 

2. Potato & Corn Chowder

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Monday: Potato & Corn Chowder

 

3. Jalapeno Popper Chicken Taquitos

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Tuesday: Jalapeno Chicken Popper Taquitos

 

 4. BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwichs

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Wednesday: BBQ Chicken Sandwich

5. Crab Dip

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Thursday: Crab Dip with Bread

6. Salsa Chicken

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Friday: Salsa Chicken

7. Tomato Basil Tortellini Soup

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Saturday: Crock Pot Creamy Tomato Basil Tortellini Soup

 8. Chili

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Other Great Options: Slow Cooker Chili

9. General Tso’s Chicken

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This recipe looks so easy and delicious- definitely on the list for next week!

 10. Mango Chicken Tanga

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Flavorful spice up on a chicken dish!

 

12 DIY Holiday Crafts to Gift

Christmas is my favorite holiday. Between the snow capped mountains and holiday cheer, Christmas time brings welcoming feelings to share with friends and family. Now when it comes to the office, it can be a challenge to give something to all those people around you, which is why crafting sweet treats and thoughtful jars filled with love mean more than a cheap something bought from the store. The ideas below are some that from my experience, people have really enjoyed and they weren’t terribly expensive either.

 

1. Hot Chocolate Mix

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Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix by Liz

2. Brownie Recipe Mix

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Brownie Mix Recipe by Linda

3. Mint Body Scrub

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Mint Body Scrub

4. Pancake Mix

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Delicious Pancake Mix

5. Money or Hidden Treat

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A truly special center

6. Cinnamon Scrub

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Cinnamon Vanilla Body Scrub

7. Red Velvet Cake 

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Red Velvet Cake

8. Candy Sleighs

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Ellyn’s Candy Sleighs

9. Hot Cocoa Cones

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Hot Cocoa Cones by Jess Marie

10. Crayon Ornament

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Crayon Colored Ornament by Falafel and the Bee

11. Metallic Ornament

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Mercury Glass Ornament

12. Tinsel Ornament

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Tinsel Everywhere!

 

 

Honey Walnut Shrimp

—Pictures on the way!!–

Why You Love It


  • It’s not a normal weeknight meal, but it really doesn’t take that much work.
  • Instead of ordering Chinese, combine with noodles and enjoy!

Ingredients


  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp condensed milk
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

Instructions


 

  1. Heat vegetable oil in large skillet- bring to medium-high heat
  2. In a smaller saucepan, heat 1/2 cup of water- bring to a boil
    • Add sugar and stir constantly, until golden and thickened
    • Add walnuts and gently toss
    • transfer to parchment paper-lined plate
  3. Whisk mayonnaise, honey and condensed milk in small bowl
  4. Season shrimp with salt and pepper to preference
  5. One at a time, dip shrimp into egg, then dredge in cornstach
  6. Working in batches, at shrimp to large skillet, (8-10)
    • fry until golden brown
    • about 1-2 min each side
    • transfer to paper towel lined plate
  7. In large bowl, combine shrimp and money mixture,
  8. Serve immediately

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

–Pictures coming soon!–

I love slow cooker meals. If you work a full time job, like me, I’m sure you’ve been faced with the issue of coming home exhausted from a long day and just not looking to cook up a whole meal. This is why slow cookers are the best. Spend a few minutes in the morning getting everything together, throw it in the slow cooker, and leave it for the day. When you come home, getting your meal ready will only take a few minutes, and it will be a healthy, full flavored meal. Crock pots are also great because it makes so much, you usually will have leftovers, meaning AWESOME lunches in the office.

Ingredients


 

  • Corn Tortillas
  • 4 lb boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Anaheim peppers, sliced & seeded
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 head lettuce of choice (I prefer romaine or kale)
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Salsa (I prefer spicier foods, so i choose the hot)
  • Carrots, shredded

Instructions


 

  1. Combine all ingredients (besides corn tortillas, salsa, carrots, lettuce, and ranch dressing) in slow cooker
  2. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  3. Serve on corn tortillas with shredded lettuce, carrots, ranch, and salsa

Lady Glazed Honey Chicken

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What You Need

  • 2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chili power
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder (or a garlic clove, chopped)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp honey

How it Happens

  1. Stir brown sugar, paprika, oregano, salt & pepper, and garlic powder in mixing bowl
  2. Marinate chicken & put in fridge for 30 minutes, min.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes
  5. Top with chili powder and honey, bake for 5 more minutes
  6. Remove & serve

Honey Glazed Carrots

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Why You Love This Recipe


 

  • Bagged Carrots are cheap and most of the ingredients you should already have in your pantry/season shelf
  • It’s the perfect way to spice up a side dish from the usual!
  • You don’t dirty many dishes. It’s a quick, clean process

Ingredients


 

  • 1 bag Baby Carrots
  • 2 tsp Fresh Dill
  • 2 tsp Fresh Thyme (I used a mix of ground thyme and fresh)
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp oregano

Instructions


 

  1. Combine all dill, thyme, brown sugar in bowl
  2. Heat skillet to medium, melt just butter
  3. Add all other ingredients
  4. Cook, stirring occasionally, under carrots tender (15-20 min)
  5. Serve (& enjoy!) immediately.