Month: January 2014
Crock Pot Cookbook Review
January 28, 2014
This is my new favorite crock pot cookbook. The book is Fix It And Forget It New Cookbook by Phyllis Good. I actually have had it for a couple of months now and use it at least twice a week or more. The first week I had it I think I used every day for about nine or ten days in a row. There are some great recipes in this “new” version of the book.
I really like the lay out of this book and that there are color photos throughout the book of most all of the recipes. The previous versions of the Fix It And Forget It books did not have photos, as I recall. I do not own any of those I have only checked them out from the local library in the past.
There are some great guidelines in the book for slow cooking and how size of your cooker matters for different recipes. This influenced me to go and buy another crock pot as the one I had was a huge 7 quart one. I went and bought a 3.5 quart crock pot and this one also has a built in timer that turns off and switches to warm when the timer goes off so your food is not overcooked. This is also nice for cooking side dishes or desserts, which there are lots of great recipes for in this book.
So far I have tried these recipes and my family (1 husband and 3 teenage sons) have loved them all:
- Asian Chicken Breasts
- Wild Rice with Chicken
- King Turkey – I have made this three times
- Keilbasa and Cheese Pasta Sauce – I have made this twice
- Baked Ziti – I have made this three times and it is very good!
- Green Chili Rice (kids didn’t want to try this but it was really yummy!)
- Hearty Beef Barley Soup
- Exotic Sweet Potatoes – these are awesome!
- Colorful Rice Pilaf
- Party Walnut Broccoli – kids don’t like this but my husband & I do
- Moist Stuffing
- Fast and Fabulous Brussels Sprouts – I have made these three times
- Cranberry Almond Bread – I have made this twice
- Baked Oatmeal – I have made this twice – it is so good!
- Zesty Bean Dip – I have made this twice
- Pumpkin Pie Pudding with Streusel Topping – I have made this three times-very good!
- Apple Cranberry Crisp
- Apple Coconut Pudding
- Slow Cooker Basic Beans
As you can see I have tried quite a few of the recipes and still have many pages marked of other recipes I want to try. I really like how there are lots of great recipes for breads, grains, desserts, and sides in this book. Sometimes I use both of my crock pots at once and do the main course-meat in the larger crock pot and a side dish in the smaller one.
The photo above is of the Cranberry Almond Bread that you make in the crock pot. It is really simple to make and tastes so good. My husband even liked it and he does not normally eat things made with fresh cranberries.
I have not taken any photos of the other recipes because my family eats everything before I remember to get out my camera and take a picture. If you get the book though you can see photos of all the recipes in there.
I also have lots of slow cooker recipes pinned on pinterest that I have tried if you want to check out other recipes on there.
I really like this book and think it is a wonderful cookbook to add to my shelf of cookbooks. What cookbooks do you use a lot and really like? Please let me know by clicking on Leave A Reply.
Have a great day!
Working Out Week 4 of 2014
January 25, 2014
The end of this week marks the 4th week of 2014 and the 3rd week of doing the P90X3 challenge with my facebook group. The exercises this week were the same schedule as the past two weeks. You can read my post on Week 1 of P90X3 here to see the complete schedule for weeks 1 – 3.
My favorite workouts from the first three weeks were CVX and Isometrix. I love how CVX uses a light dumbbell throughout most of the 30 minute workout. It is a great combination of cardio and weight training. My shy cat decided to get in one of the photos for this workout – see if you can find her below…
Below in the photo I was getting ready to start CVX – listening to the beginning instructions and here is my cat doing his downdog pose. I thought that was funny.
Isometrix is unlike any type of yoga I have ever done. In this workout you have to hold the poses for about 45 seconds each. The downdog with one hand on your ankle is one of the hardest for me to hold that long as well as standing on one foot with your eyes closed and other foot raised up two or three inches off the floor. It is harder than it sounds – try it. The day I did this workout it was cold that morning and I was freezing when I woke up so I dressed in my fleece pants to keep warm. I may not look very fashionable but I was warm. My black cat decided to participate and get in these photos. He is quite the workout cat.
I have started reading a new book – along with about 2 other books I am reading (I read a lot) called Success Principles. In the book I found this great quote and wanted to share it:
I have written this down and posted it on the wall behind my computer. I think this is a great reminder that there are certain things we can not change in life and that we have no control over but I believe that our health and fitness is something that each and every one of us can choose to control and take responsibility for.
Overall I am still really enjoying P90X3 and my fun challenge group. Next week is called the “Transition” week and the schedule changes some. We are going to be doing some of the same workouts along with two or three new ones. I will update the end of next week on that schedule.
I am not affiliated with this workout program. I am just participating with a group and like to share my workouts and hope to inspire others to exercise.
Have a great weekend!
Sewing Fleece Tops
January 21, 2014
Sewing is something I love to do. I have been sewing since I was in 7th grade. I love to create things with fabric and I make a lot of my own clothing.
Some of my favorite patterns to use are Kwik Sew patterns. They are a little more expensive than other brands but they are written very well and they always fit good, at least for me.
This Kwik Sew pattern is one of my favorites and very, very easy to make. The pattern is #2992 and there are three different versions of this top. All three have the same general look but the necklines can be varied. You can choose to sew a tradition round neckline , which is in the above photo, a boat neckline or a funnel neck. So far I have only made the round and the funnel neck and not the boat neck top. The pattern recommends using polar fleece, berber fleece, or heavy fleece to make this top. All of mine are made using anti-pill polar fleece.
The turquoise top (above) is one I made several years ago and still love to wear. I used my embroidery machine to embroidery a design on the lower front and back sides and on the sleeves.
This top has a dolman sleeve so there is no separate sleeve to sew in. This makes sewing go a lot faster – especially if you have a serger.
The light blue top above is the funnel neckline. I made this one a couple of years ago – it is hard to see the neck well since I have a scarf on. I like to wear this top on cold days because it keeps your neck warm, especially with the added scarf layer.
The navy blue top above is the one I recently made. I also embroidered a pretty cross and angel design on the front of this one. Since these tops are sort of basic I like to add my own embroidery designs to them.
Currently I have another pair of leggings cut out to sew and a knit cardigan jacket. I am hoping to get those finished before February. What sewing projects are you currently working on? Click on Leave a Reply and let me know.
Have a great day!
Working Out Week 3 of 2014
January 18, 2014
This week is my second week of my P90X3 challenge with my facebook group. The exercises this week were the same schedule as last week. You can see this post on Working Out Week 2 of 2014 for the complete schedule list. The first 3 weeks of the program you do the same schedule. Each day you do a different workout for 30 minutes 6 days a week. There is an option to workout on Sunday or take a rest. I usually take the rest day.
I think CVX is still my favorite in this rotation so far. I love how you use a dumbbell throughout most of the workout. I use 5 pounds which sounds like nothing but when you are doing cardio with that in your hands it feels heavy. There is also an option to not use any weight or just use a basketball. Tony says you could even grab a cat but I don’t think my cat would like that. Although my one cat was present for most of this workout – he sat on the ottoman supervising my form. Tony is funny throughout this whole workout with his comments. I enjoy having a laugh or two while I am working out.
This week I switched Agility X and the Isometix workout days. I did the Agility X on Friday and the Isometrix on Saturday. I had a busy day Saturday with my one son and his schedule for Orchestra so I wanted a workout on Saturday morning that was not a hard cardio session where I get drenched in sweat. Isometrix is not easy by any means but I do not tend to work up a huge sweat doing that one.
Last week I did not care for Agility X but I liked it a little better this week. You have to have tape on the floor to mark where you stand, step, jump, etc. It is a hard workout in my opinion and takes some coordination with the footwork. You also really get the heart rate up and sweat a lot.
My other favorite workout in this three week rotation is called Isometrix. It is a yoga based workout where you hold each pose for 45 seconds. The poses are challenging and to hold them for almost a minute is very hard. It is a great total body workout that you can really feel in your core.
I was able to do one of the moves in Isometrix better this week called bound downdog split. You have one hand on the mat and the other on your opposite ankle and the leg that doesn’t have a hand on the ankle in the air. Last week my hand on the mat would sweat and slip a lot so this week I remembered that I had some yoga gloves that have grips on them. The gloves were a gift last year from my husband – they go with my yoga grip socks that I use in the winter. I had not ever used the gloves and decided today was the day to try them out. They worked really well for the bound downdog split and for doing the crane pose.
I hope everyone is having a great weekend and keeping up with their workouts. I will post again next weekend on the results of week 3 of P90X3. Also, just to let you know I am not affiliated with the workout I am just posting my thoughts and sharing my own opinions.
Knitting Scarves with Ruffle Yarn
January 16, 2014
Ruffle yarns have been around a while now. I know I have knit a lot of scarves with them in the last two or three years. I knit so many I kind of got tired of making them. Although they are an easy thing to work on especially during my knitting meeting night once a month.
Recently I designed a new scarf that has the ruffle yarn just on the edge and the rest of the scarf is knit with a worsted or sport weight yarn. The one below I made for a gift for a family member that is an MSU fan.
The idea of making a knit scarf design came to me when a lady requested a pattern for one. I have had a pattern design for a crochet version for a while but not a knit version. The crochet scarf is in the photo below – in blue. My mom has this scarf and says whenever she wears it people stop her and ask her about it.
Any type of ruffle yarns can be used for the edging on these scarves. The white one above is a Boutique Sashay yarn and the blue one is Paton’s Pirouette yarn.
The other version I recently knit for a friend is done in team colors. Another great way to show your team spirit with a pretty ruffle scarf. This one is done in Texas Tech colors since her daughter is going there.
I am calling these scarves Spiral Knit Scarf with Ruffle Yarn Edge. They are really fun and easy to knit if you have basic knitting skills and are familiar with working with the ruffle yarns.
I have also been working on a lot of other new knitting patterns and crochet patterns. Please subscribe to my blog via bloglovin, email or RSS feed to receive updates on my latest patterns.
Have a great day!
Green Smoothie Challenge January 2014
January 14, 2014
This is day fourteen of my green smoothie challenge for January. I believe I mentioned in one of my fitness posts a couple of weeks ago how I was participating in a challenge with my green smoothie group on facebook. The challenge is to have at least one green smoothie per day the whole month of January. I actually started mine on the 31st of December so I guess today would be my fifteenth day.
I will say that since we are now about half way through the challenge I am in a habit of having a green smoothie every morning. The green smoothies have not always been good – as I have tried out some of my own creative recipes and some were a success and others not so great. There was one I made with a cooked beet that looked so pretty and I just knew it was going to be awesome but it was hard to get that one down. It didn’t taste as good as it looked. It was a very large smoothie, too, and I was able to choke down about half and dumped the rest. I decided to cross that recipe off my list.
One of the recipes I created is very good. The smoothie is a pretty green color and it has a pleasant taste to it. I am calling it Tropical Green Smoothie. Here is the recipe:
Another recipe that is sort of a stand by for me is to just blend the following ingredients for a simple green smoothie:
- handful of spinach
- 1 Tblsp peanut butter
- 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
- 1 Tblsp Spectrum Decadent Blend (optional)
- 3/4 c. regular almond milk
- 1/2 c. crushed ice
The recipe above is one I usually have at least once or twice a week. Adding the greens makes it a little more healthy but it does not have a pretty color – it tastes good to me though. Like a peanut butter and chocolate smoothie.
The benefits of having a green smoothie every day are noticeable to me. I seem to have more energy, brighter eyes and better skin tone. These are just some of the physical benefits I have noticed. I know that it is also doing great things internally as well.
What healthy changes are you trying to make this new year? Please click on Leave a Reply and tell me about them.
Have a great day!
Working Out Week 2 of 2014
January 11, 2014
This week was the start of my new workout challenge with my facebook challenge group for P90X3. This a 90 day challenge using the P90X3 program from Beachbody.
I chose to do the Lean schedule for the program. There are 4 different programs to choose from using the various 16 dvd’s that come in the set. The programs are: Classic, Lean, Mass, or Doubles. Most of the people in my group are doing the Classic or the Lean schedule.
For the Lean schedule the workouts you will use for the first three weeks are:
- Day 1 – Accelerator
- Day 2 – The Warrior
- Day 3 – X3 Yoga
- Day 4 – CVX
- Day 5 – Isometrix
- Day 6 – Agility X
- Day 7 – Rest or Dynamix
All of the workouts are 30 minutes long. A very reasonable time that is easy to fit into your schedule. The workouts are not easy, by any means. I am glad they are challenging – that is why I like to do a variety and try new workouts – to give me more challenges.
I think that out of this weeks workouts I have two favorites – CVX and Isometrix. CVX is a cardio workout done with a dumbbell – I used 5 pounds. Isometrix is a yoga type of workout done in bare feet where you hold each pose for 45 seconds. That may sound easy but trust me it is very challenging. Especially one of the poses on one leg with your eyes closed. Try that for 45 seconds – you are sure to wobble. There is also a one hand downdog called “bound downward dog” I believe and it is hard – my hand sweats and that causes me to slip on the mat.
Below are some of the other photos from the workouts. I didn’t take any from the CVX day as it was faster paced and I wanted to learn the moves.
Accelerator is a fun cardio workout that had me sweating a lot. The donkey kick thing at the end was pretty hard.
Warrior was the workout for day 2 and another good heart pumping cardio workout.
Day 6 was Agility X and probably my least favorite. This is a pure cardio workout that has you sweating a lot. You have to have tape on the floor to mark where you jump, step, etc. My cat really liked the tape on the floor. He was either scratching at it or sitting in between the two pieces of it as seen in the one photo where I am doing the cooldown at the end. This workout will be a challenge for me to learn the moves and get better at it.
I am thinking I am going to take the rest day tomorrow instead of doing the optional Dynamix. I have already done the Dynamix workout about a week or two ago and I know I like it but Sunday is usually a rest day for me.
This information is my own opinion. I am not affiliated with this program I am just sharing my weekly workout and my experience with it.
Have a great weekend!
Fleece Scarf with Crochet Trim Edge
January 8, 2014
I have been busy creating lots of new crochet, knitting and sewing patterns. I had to make some time to post my new fleece scarf with crochet trim. This scarf is very easy to make if you know how to crochet and can cut some fleece fabric. There is no sewing required with this scarf only cutting fabric and crochet.
Supplies needed to make this scarf:
- 3/8 yd of fleece fabric
- worsted weight yarn in multi color – I used Hobby Lobby I Love this Yarn in Denim Plus
- size US H crochet hook
- applique scissors or some small very sharp scissors
- fabric cutting scissors
- Cut the fleece 12 inches wide by the width of the fabric. Trim off selvage ends.
- Using the applique scissors poke (or make a very tiny clip) across the lower edge of each scarf end approx. 1/4 in. from the edge and 1/2 in. apart – I made about 20.
Using the size H crochet hook and a yarn that works well with this size hook follow these instructions:
Row 1: Pull yarn through one corner hole (leave a 6 in. tail to weave in later), ch 5, *slip stitch into next hole, pull up yarn and through ch on hook, ch 5, rep from * across, slip stitch in last hole at the end, turn.
Row 2: *ch 6, sc in next ch 5 sp, rep from * end with sc in last ch 5 sp, turn.
Row 3: *ch 8, sc in next ch 6 sp, rep from * across end with sc in last ch 6 sp, turn
Row 4: *ch 10, sc in next ch 8 sp, rep from * across end with sc in last ch 8 sp, turn
Row 5: ch 1, *9 sc in next ch 8 sp, rep from * across to last ch sp. Fasten off, Weave in ends.
Pattern Abbreviations: ch – chain ch sp – chain space rep – repeat sc – single crochet sp – space
I really like how this turned out. The crochet trim gives some color and fun to a plain fleece scarf. I hope you enjoy the pattern. Please follow my blog for future updates and patterns. The buttons for bloglovin, email or RSS feed are on the right.
Have a great day! Kimberlee
Working Out Week 1 of 2014
January 4, 2014
Happy New Year! It is now the end of the first week of 2014. My workouts this past week were a combination of my new P90X3 dvd’s and my Cathe Friedrich dvd’s. Workout’s this week were as follows:
- Monday 12-30-2013 – P90X3 Isometrix – 30 minutes
- Tuesday 12-31-2013 – Cathe X10, premix 37, cardio blast & hi-lo – 37 minutes
- Wednesday 1-1-2014 – P90X3 Dynamix – 30 minutes
- Thursday 1-2-2014 – Cathe Flex Train, warm up, legs & shoulders, legs & biceps, disc lunges, core-abs, stretch – 40 minutes
- Friday 1-3-2014 – P90X3 Pilates – 30 minutes
- Saturday 1-4-2014 – Cathe Great Glutes, warm up, bonus chair-band, floorwork, stretch – 35 minutes
This is my 3rd week of alternating the cardio and the yoga or pilates and I really like this routine. Starting next week I will be doing the P90X3 for the next 90 days. I am starting the workout plan with my workout group on facebook. The past couple of weeks since receiving the workouts I have just been trying a few of them out. I didn’t want to start all of them yet since I will be using them for the next 3 months.
Below are some photos of the P90X3 workouts I did this past week.
The Isometrix workout looks easy when you just watch it but it is a challenge. You have to hold each pose for 45 seconds. That may sound easy until you try it. It was very different from any workout I have done or the type of yoga I normally do. I really liked it. As you can see from the photos my cat liked it too. He is my little workout buddy every day.
The Dynamix workout was another great dvd in the P90X3 series. There were some exercises that were very different to me and some that I have done before, too. This was another excellent workout, in my opinion, that I will really enjoy doing in my P90X3 rotation. I told my husband he should do it to help him improve his flexibility for his golf game – not sure if he is going to try it or not though.
I have also decided to do a green smoothie challenge the month of January with my friend Joanna’s green smoothie group on facebook. Here is the link if you are interested in joining: https://www.facebook.com/groups/117834925060273/ The challenge is to have one green smoothie a day for the month. I started doing this on the 31st of December and so far I have had one per day. This is a really great way to get back into a healthier diet for the new year. There are recipes on the page and I have tried a couple of them as well as my own.
The smoothie I made in the photo above was my own concoction. I am calling it Green Citrus Smoothie since it has a citrus flavor. Here is what was in it:
- half a grapefruit, peeled & seeded
- juice of one lemon
- half a banana
- 2 dates soaked in 1/4 c. of water for 10 minutes (also add water to smoothie)
- 2 pineapple ice cubes – made from pineapple juice
- 1/4 c. plain greek yogurt
- handful of spinach
- 1/4 to 1/2 c. crushed ice
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
Blend all the ingredients until smooth in a high speed blender.
This smoothie was pretty good but next time I think I will leave out the banana. I was trying to add them in my smoothies this week thinking I would like them but I just do not care for bananas. I will have to stick with other ingredients I like.
I am looking forward to the start of next week and my next fitness challenge of P90X3. Changing my workout routine and program is always a great way to keep me motivated and on track with my fitness goals. What workouts are you planning to do this year? Let me know by clicking on Leave a Reply. I would love to hear about them.