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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Restaurant Impossible Visited Spunky Monkey

Rick and I had date night last Saturday, the boys were at the YMCA Kids Night Out and we had a free night.  I love watching Restaurant Impossible and they came to a town not to far from us and we had to go check it out.  

The Spunky Monkey is in Auburn, Washington.  It's a Bar / Restaurant.  I used to go hang there with friends pre kids.  It was what you would expect a bar to be like dark and greasy food!  Robert and his crew did a great job sprucing the place up.  It was a fun night out, the staff were very nice but the food was way over priced.  We walked out around $52, which I thought was crazy high.  

I started with the hummus for $8 it was a good deal, the salmon I had was like $17 and you had a small amount of sweet potato (really it was yams but they can call them sweet potatoes).  Which I guess is the going price but I'd expect that in a big fancy place not a bar / restaurant.  We had fun and that is all that matters, we don't get many date nights out.  Rick is usually working 2 jobs and doesn't leave to many free night.  You may have saw him on the SeaHawks game 2 weeks ago (he was the security guard that opened the gate for the 2nd injured player, see pic below).

Here are some fun pictures of our date night!

Rick on TV :)
Photo: Ricky on tv!!

Have a great day, I'm recovering from eye surgery!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Left Over Candy Canes ... No Problem We Make .. Candy Cane Crinkles

As most of you know I'm having laser surgery Wednesday night.  My dear friend is going to help me on Thursday AM getting the boys to school just to be on the safe side.  I am always so grateful to have her help and know she and her family love treats.  I had some left over candy canes from a project that I pulled out of the pantry earlier this week that I wanted to use.  Why not make cookies?

I went on a Google Search and came across a Candy Cane Crinkles recipe on Lauren's Latest.  She adapted her Lemon Crinkle recipe for this recipe, yes I so will be making the Lemon one's next!!

Candy Cane Crinkles

yield: 2 DOZEN SMALL


3 whole candy canes, crushed
½ cups Butter, Softened
1 cup Granulated Sugar
½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 whole Egg
¼ teaspoons Salt
¼ teaspoons Baking Powder
⅛ teaspoons Baking Soda
1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
½ cups Powdered Sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non stick cooking spray, line with parchment paper or use silicone baking mat and set aside.
Place candy canes into a plastic food storage bag and crush using a rolling pin. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla and egg. Scrape sides and mix again. Stir all dry ingredients together in a small bowl and then in pour into mixer and slowly mix until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Stir in crushed candy canes. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte {not melty or shiny}. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
*If using a non stick darker baking tray, reduce baking time by about 2 minutes.
ALEXIS NOTES:  I used a silicone mat.  My oven must not have been running hot enough and it took around 13 minutes to bake (mine also may have been on the larger side).  I used a box of candy canes so mine are extra peppermint flavored.  I also used my ninja to break up the candy canes.
The boys were my testers and gave these cookies a two thumbs up!  So you have some extra candy canes laying around don't throw them out try this recipe!!

Thanks for Stopping by!

Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE

Monday, January 27, 2014

Noodles on the Skinny Side ... Slow Cooker Cheesy Spaghetti with Turkey

Here's another skinny noodle dish that will fill you up but not fill you out in those jeans!  It's not pretty but it sure was yummy.  I must admit I'm the worse at making the dishes look food photo ready.   These ladies must spend hours getting their food ready to take a photo of it, me I'm lucky I get 5 seconds to take the photo before everyone runs in grabbing the plate from me.  So I know I won't be the most pinned or traffic to my site but I know I've passed on a yummy recipe!  

I found this Slow Cooker Cheesy Spaghetti on Skinny Ms's website.  This is one of my favorite site's for Weight Watcher recipes.

1 lb lean ground turkey sausage (see recipe below)
1 (24 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce (no sugar added)
8 ounces (uncooked) 100% whole wheat spaghetti, about 2/3 of a 13.25 oz box, break into small pieces before adding to meat mixture
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
1 cup skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon chopped (fresh) basil
Kosher or sea Salt to taste
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 lb lean ground turkey or chicken
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano

Add all the sausage ingredients a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Cook ground turkey sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking into small pieces while cooking. Ensure the turkey loses its pink color before removing from heat. Drain, discard any fat and set aside. Combine meat with marinara and broken spaghetti pieces.
In a medium bowl combine cooked turkey sausage with the remaining ingredients, add to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 2-3 hours or until spaghetti is al dente and cheese is bubbly.
Serve and sprinkle with Parmesan if desired.

ALEXIS NOTES: I skipped the making of the turkey sausage and just used some ground turkey I had cooked up that I needed to use up.  Just reminder when putting noodles in a crockpot I find that if you put them in an hour before you serve the dish they won't be gooey and soggy.

Enjoy you will love this one!
Something to keep your belly warm in this cold season.

Thanks for Stopping by!

Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Noodles on the Skinny Side ... Spaghetti Pie

On my goal for the year is to get back on the healthy side I have been really good about meal planning.  On that planning I've been looking at weight watcher meals that will help me and also be good dinners for the boys.  I hit up my favorite websites for ideas.  I went to Emily Bites for Spaghetti Pie.  Mine is not as pretty as her's but it sure was yummy!

I skipped the spaghetti noodles for fettuccine noodles that where rice noodles, because that was all I could find at Grocery Outlet.  Well they had spaghetti noodles but not whole wheat ones so I used the rice fettuccine noodles.  I'm trying to stay away from carbs where I can and go for gluten free options if possible.  I mixed everything up instead of saving some sauce to top in the end, what can I say I'm all about the easy!

Enjoy you will love this one!
Something to keep your belly warm in this cold season.

Thanks for Stopping by!
Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Featured on Pin Me Party 69

I'm so excited my Avocado Hummus  was featured on my friend (also an amazing webpage designer, check mine out she did it) Diana Rambles Pin Me Party 69.  I loved this recipe so much and glad that other's loved it too.  It was so simple to make and I'm sure if I would have shared the kids and Rick would have liked it too ... teehehe.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

Rick's bday is next Friday but the Kids Night Out at the YMCA is this weekend so it looks like date night for us.  I think we will go to the Spunky Monkey in Auburn, WA that was just on Restaurant Impossible last week.  I'm so excited to go see it I haven't been there since my party years (pre kids).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

An Oldy but a Goody ... Bacon Macaroni & Cheese

I've made and posted Bacon Macaroni & Cheese a few times here but I always love to share a different version of it.  My kids LOVE mac and cheese and I try with all my might not to make box version for them (some days hey I'm human and life is what it is).  I have gotten in the habit of meal planning which helps reduce the number of food outings we have or dinners that are ready by dinner time.  

Saturday nights are usually relaxed around here. I work in the am for 3 hours, then we hit the YMCA for Swim and Martial Arts.  So by the time we get home it's time to just relax.  I usually rent a movie and the boys and I just hang.  Rick usually is working at his 2nd job. So an easy meal is needed but I don't want to do fast food.  

This was a simple meal to make and the kids loved it.  The picture below is the version with shell pasta (Cole requested penne pasta for his).  I found this Bacon Macaroni and Cheese on Changing a Life and the best part it was a Weight Watcher recipe so I could join in for the meal.
It may not be pretty but it sure is tasty!!


2 c Elbow Macaroni, dry
1 tbsp Smart balance light butter
10 slices turkey bacon
3/4 c fat-free half-and-half
3/4 c Sharp cheddar shredded cheese, reduced fat
3/4 c Pepper Jack shredded cheese
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 400°. Lay bacon strips over wire rack on top of baking sheet. Cook in oven for 17-20 minutes or until crispy. 
2. While bacon is cooking, boil macaroni in a large pot according to package directions until al dente. Drain and return noodles back to pot. Stir in butter until melted.
3. Add half and half and cheese to cooked macaroni. Stir until well combined and all cheese has melted. (TIP: I kept my burner on the lowest setting when stirring in the cream and cheese to keep it hot and help the cheese melt.)
4. When bacon is cool enough to handle, crumble or dice into small pieces. Add it into the macaroni pot. Stir until it’s well incorporated. 
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste (I probably added about 1/4 tsp each).
Yields 12 servings, serving size 1/2 c 
4 points on Weight Watchers Poitns+ System

Something to keep your belly warm in this cold season.

Thanks for Stopping by!
Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Getting my Eyes on

I've been wearing glasses for 7 years now.  NOW I should probably have always worn glasses but I could function and see "good enough" to drive and function.  Until one day when I was about 6 months pregnant with Caden I woke up and couldn't see a thing.  YUP FREAK out moment!  Called my doctor who so nicely reassured me it's just part of the pregnancy and the swelling it will go back to normal soon.   YUP well normal didn't come!  I tried contacts but they are a pain, I'm also a lazy person when it comes to me things I just want quick and easy.  So glasses became my thing, I found funky ones that became my personality.  I like my funky glasses but since I'm reinventing me why not my style too.  My mom has offered to buy laser surgery for my eyes!

I went to get a consultation yesterday to see if I'm a candidate.  I was and was told I could do Lasik or PRK.  Since I have a stigmatism it looks like the PRK would be a better out come for me.  The recovery is a little longer (not instant like Lasik) but I won't have the flap on my eye and less chance of infection.
PRK was the first type of laser eye surgery for vision correction and is the predecessor to the popular LASIK procedure. Though PRK recovery takes a bit longer than recovery from LASIK eye surgery, PRK is still commonly performed and offers advantages over LASIK for some patients.
Like LASIK and other types of laser eye surgery, PRK works by reshaping the cornea using an excimer laser, allowing light entering the eye to be properly focused onto the retina for clear vision.
The main difference between PRK and LASIK is that in LASIK surgery a thin, hinged flap is created on the cornea to access the treatment area, whereas in PRK the cornea's entire epithelial (outer) layer is removed to expose the area and no flap is created. For both PRK and LASIK, the excimer laser then sculpts the stromal layer of the cornea to correct your refractive error.
So the surgery is scheduled for next Wednesday afternoon (thankfully with me working with a 3 hour time difference it will be the end of my day) and I'll take Thursday off work and work my half day on Friday and Saturday.  I'm a bit nervous but so excited to have clear vision!

Bye Bye Glasses I'll miss you!!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Spelling Made Fun ... Using Crossword Puzzles

Again I can take no credit for this, this was all the doing of our amazing tutor for Cole.  She took home Cole's spelling words of the week and inserted them into a Instant Online Crossword Puzzle maker program.  

I NEVER thought about the meaning behind the words and I would have to go over that too with Cole.  YUP Mother of the year award ... lol.  Yes they have test on the meaning of the words and he needs to know that also.  I just quizzed him  on the spelling words.  Yes this again is why we have a tutor!

So mom's here is another fun way to do the spelling words with your kids.  You can just print out the puzzle, but our tutor is a bit like me and on the OCD controlling side and made her's by hand.

Spelling Test on the fridge!!!
NOT all of our test have been this amazing 
but we have seen some awesome improvements!

More fun things to come :).

Thanks for Stopping by!
Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Spelling Made Fun ... Using Alphabet Cookies

Some of you who follow me on facebook know about a great gal we have that tutor's Cole.  She really is a saint with Cole and has found different ways to help him want to learn with his ADHD.  She actually did a bunch of internet searching to find ways that help kids with ADHD learn.  She came up with this really cool and inexpensive way to learn his spelling words.  He loves this game and really it's fun for him.  I take no credit in this but had to share.

She went to the dollar tree and picked up a box of these alphabet cookies they are in a rather large box so you have several letters in there.  She then lays them out and he spells the word and she confirms if he did it correct or if he needs to redo and grab a different letter.  So much better then the pen and paper I was doing and the stern look to get this going dude :).

Spelling Test on the fridge!!!

More fun things to come :).

Thanks for Stopping by!
Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Shiny Ball Syndrome ... Gym + Resolutions

I know I shouldn't complain everyone is trying to get healthy which is GREAT!  But man I want my gym back ... LOL.  I don't mind walking really I don't but I hate parking in the back of the lot when it's dark out and with the kids (always freaks me out).  Then finding a machine (OK I'm OCD have you noticed I have quirks and one of them is a machine I go to every time) yup it's never available now ... hehe!  I so can't wait until the shiny ball syndrome is over and we keep some of the newbies but maybe in waves instead all at the same time. Yes I'm getting over myself and will be fine when it goes back to normal and I will stop complaining  .... ok well I'll try at least!

A gym funny to make you laugh.
And something I'M REALLY excited about is a Christmas gift the blew me away this year. I would never have expected such an amazing thoughtful gift but when this arrived I almost fainted.  Along with my OCD I have a issue with people in my personal bubble, so I never use the hot tub or the steam room at the YMCA.  Now I have my own infrared sauna in my garage.  It was a little bit of working to get it set up.  We had rent a storage unit to clear the garage out and have a buddy come over and work on cleaning and organizing but it is coming together (still more organizing but my sauna's in!).

Photo: Did an hour on elliptical then came home to sit in the infrared sauna.  LOVE I don't have to sit next to another sweaty person!

Hope you all have an amazing weekend!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Getting my black bean on ... WW Crockpot Chicken Chili

I posted how I made a BUNCH of black beans in the crockpot.  I did the hummus using them, and since my crockpot had the beans in them I decided to add them to a recipe that was already on my meal plan for the day.  I found this WW Crockpot Chicken Chili that worked perfect with my addition of black beans.  I actually think I liked it more with them in there, it probably through off the points on this so I can't give you an accurate point to go by but at least it's high in fiber and low fat.


Non-stick cooking spray
(12 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 (1.5 oz) envelope chili seasoning
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 (15.25 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (15.25 oz) can kidney or red beans, drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup water


1. In a skillet cook chicken just until seared.
2. Spray crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.
Add chicken and all other ingredients to crock pot and mix well.
3. Cover and cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours.

Yield: 8 servings
Serving Size: 1-1/2 cups per serving.
Weight Watchers PointsPlus+ = 4 per serving.
Nutrition Information:
Calories 160.4, Carbs 23.6 g, Fat 1.9 g, Fiber 5.6 g, Protein 14.3 g

ALEXIS NOTES: I use a crockpot liner MOST times, I recommend them highly.  I added the back beans, skipped the water.  I put whole frozen Chicken in and when time to serve I put the cooked chicken into my mixer with the paddle and shredded the chicken (best pinterest tip ever!!).  You can see in picture me taking chicken out and what it looks like after I put in my mixer.

You can skip or add canned black beans if you don't have some cooked black beans on hand.

Thanks for Stopping by!
Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Day I wanted to SCREAM ....

As most of you know I've been on a weight loss journey last year I lost 105 lbs.  Since then I have gone from a no carb and no sugar diet to a lower calorie diet I've gained weight.  It's been so tough, I even tried to go back to my previous diet with no luck.  I've been struggling and trying very hard to keep to it and not let it get me down.  

I had to share something that happened to me yesterday.  I'm a stress eater and I was very happy with myself yesterday how I handled a situation.

I went to the doc in a box yesterday to get my birth control shot.  It's been 3 months since I've been in so the weight gain has been there.  I weighed in and it was more then 8 lbs since I was last in.  I heard the nurse actually walk out of the room and told the girls at the front desk.  WHO then proceeded to talk about my weight gain.  YUP they were like oh my that is  a lot, and on and on!  They talked about it for about 5 minutes, it felt like a lifetime of my biggest enemy self doubt!

I was hurt I was mad, these ladies don't know me they don't know the journey I've been down.  They don't known that I lost a 100+ lbs and now fighting my way to get back on track.  It was a lesson to me out not judging you never know the other person's journey.

NOW usually I would go home and eat, but I immediately kept to my plan to go the gym.  Even though it was packed and I didn't want to stay I did.  I did my hour on the elliptical and then went home to a weight watcher meal.

I wanted to share with my friends who are on the same journey, don't let people bring you down with their ignorant comments or looks.  They don't know what we have been through.

NOT me but how I felt yesterday ... lol
Thank you Google Search for the Photo

Monday, January 13, 2014

Getting My Hummus On ... Black Bean Avocado Hummus

Since I had good like with a white bean avocado hummus, I thought why not try my hand at black bean!  Well of course I couldn't do the simple way (but don't worry it does work with canned if you want).  I hit up my bulk section at Winco for some dried black beans.

First on my mission was to make my dry beans into beans ready to use. I found on Pea's and Crayon's a way to make Crockpot Black Beans. Which is simple and easy ... JUST remember the beans will expand so don't over fill your crockpot like I did with the dried beans. YUP had to do an emergency transfer to my smaller crockpot to give some room for the beans to expand.  (YUP I'm human and I will share my human / Blonde moments).

First I did the black beans (you can skip this step and just do canned if you would like).

step 1  grab a bag of black beans - rinse with water and pluck out any broken ones
step 2  pour into crock pot
step 3  fill with water to about 2 inches above the beans
step 4  turn on to HIGH and set a timer for 3.5 hours

Come back drain the liquid, use the beans then or freeze them!  I did a combo of both.  I made a HUGE batch of hummus (since I eat it every day), some for dinner (Chicken Chili, recipe to come) and then put the rest in the freezer for future recipes!

Now onto the hummus, I found this recipe on Intuitive Cooking for Black Bean Avocado Hummus.

-One 15 oz. can of black beans (drain most of the liquid)
-3-6 cloves of garlic (to taste- how much do you like garlic?)
-1/2 an avocado or one small avocado
-small handful of cilantro (or to taste)
-lime juice (1/2 lime)
-1 tsp of each of the following: cumin, paprika, seasoned salt
-1/2 tsp chili powder
-1/4 cup of olive oil

-Throw all of your ingredients (minus the oil) into the food processor
-Begin blending the ingredients; while blending, slowly add your olive oil to the mix
-While you are blending your ingredients, stop and take a taste: is it smooth enough? spiced enough? If it's too thick and not creamy enough, add small amounts of olive oil while you blend until it is the right texture (more lime juice can help thin it out too)

ALEXIS NOTES: I used my crockpot beans instead of canned.  I used my Ninja to blend up all the ingredients.  I also added some tahini since I keep seeing most hummus recipes having it.  I'm not sure if I'm a fan of it, but it was darn expensive so I will have to use it up ... lol.

Give it a try, I promise you won't buy store bought again!

Thanks for Stopping by!
Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Getting My Hummus On ... Avocado Hummus

I've been working on ways to get my veggies in and not wanting to dip them in ranch or something too bad for me.  I saw a friend post Humus she bought and being who I am I of course had to take my hand at making it.  I posted one on FB that was just a regular hummus and a friend commented on one she makes with Avocado.  I thought that sounded real yummy!  So I went with a Avocado Hummus on Family Spice.  

A pretty simple recipe, She topped her's with tomatoes which I'm not a fan of so I skipped that part.


  • 15 oz cannellini beans, canned, drained
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, fresh, loosely packed
  • 3/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBS cilantro, fresh, chopped
  • 1 TBS onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice


        Purée until smooth in a food processor:
  1. 15 oz cannellini beans, canned , drained
  2. 1 avocado
  3. 1/4 cup lime juice
  4. 2 garlic cloves
  5. 1/2 cup cilantro, fresh , loosely packed
  6. 1/4 tsp salt
  7. 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  8. While the food processor is still running, pour in slowly:
  9. 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  10. 1 TBS cilantro, fresh , chopped
  11. 1 TBS onion , chopped
  12. 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  13. 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  14. 1/8 tsp salt
Spread hummus into a shallow serving bowl. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

ALEXIS NOTES: She used tomatoes with the onions, cilantro, lemon and salt as something she added on top.  I added (minus the tomatoes) into the my food processor I liked the taste it all mixed in. I also squeezed 1/2 a lime in.

Give it a try, I promise you won't buy store bought again!

Thanks for Stopping by!
Don't forget to see the parties I link up to HERE

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Calories Burned Funny

With the weather being so cold and everyone hitting the gym I thought I'd throw out a funny for the day.  

Funny Seasonal Ecard: Here's to shivering under blankets on the sofa burning as many calories as going to the gym.

It actually hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be at the gym, there has been more people but not as many as I thought would be there with their new years resolutions. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Unique Gift Time ... House Warming Gift

A while back a friend from high school got married and bought a new house.  I wanted to do something fun as usual not the normal gift card or a bottle of wine.  So I went on my favorite google search and found a housewarming bucket on Hoosier Party Girl. Simple enough to do, most items can be picked up at the Dollar Tree or Grocery Outlet (a bargain Market here in town).

What You Need:
  • Spic & Span Spray
  • Spic & Span Liquid
  • Palmolive Dishwasher Detergent
  • Brillo Pads
  • Magic Erasers
  • Matches
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Air freshener
  • Light Bulbs
  • Furniture Polish Wipes
  • Pledge
  • Trash Bags
  • Duct Tape
  • Scented Jar Candle
  • Fly Swatters
  • Extension Cord
  • Level
  • Nails (I put a picture hanging kit)
  • Measuring Tape
  • Furniture Pads
  • Lighter
  • Champagne – a new house is something to be celebrated!
  • Glasses for Champagne!
  • Bucket

Happy New Year!

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