Decorative Christmas Tree Craft
POSTED ON December 24, 2013
It’s a known fact that I have a really had time relaxing, and giving myself the much-needed ME time that I need. Yesterday, I did something about it … I spent a little time on something that was long overdue – Christmas crafting Thanks to many ideas on Pinterest, here’s what I came up with:
I basically took three different sized cones and decorated each differently and then threw some tinsel and extra ornaments around them and created this! MUCH easier than you might thinks, and super cute
Here’s how to make your own:
Tinsel Christmas Tree
- Styrofoam cones in varying sizes
- Hot glue gun
This tree is really as simple as covering the Styrofoam cone with hot glue and wrapping the tinsel around it. Ta-da!
Glitter Christmas Tree
This idea stemmed from my Glitter Pumpkin craft.
- Poster board
- Mod Podge
- Hot glue gun
1. Cut the poster board to the size you want the tree to be. Then roll it into a cone shape and hot glued it together to get the cone.
2. Paint the cone gold. Let the paint dry.
3. Cover the cone in Mod Podge and sprinkle the glitter all over.
So pretty, huh?!
Ornament Christmas Tree
- Small Christmas ornaments
- Styrofoam cone
- Hot glue gun
- Matching paint
1. Cover the cone in green paint. Let it dry.
2. Starting at the bottom, hot glue the ornaments to the tree. I did it in horizontal rows and worked my way up.
And there you have it! This one might just be my favorite!
Happy Christmas Crafting!
My Top Ten Tips for Holiday Survival
POSTED ON December 19, 2013
The holidays are finally here! While I love this season more than any other, I have to admit that the multiple gatherings and parties can make it tough for even ME to stay on track. No one wants to go into the New Year with extra baggage, right?
Not to fear, help is here!
Behold, my top 10 tips for holiday survival
- Plan your meals ahead of time so when the holiday craziness sets in you’ll be prepared to make better choices.
- Eat before you go to parties and gatherings, and take healthy foods. Not only will you have a non-diet busting option, but those with similar goals will thank you!
- Eat breakfast. You’ll start your day out right and will be less tempted to overindulge on all those holiday goodies.
- Pack your shopping cart with lots of fruits and veggies, and make sure you eat at least five servings every day. Make them easily accessible: keep fruit in a bowl on the counter, keep cut up veggies in the fridge, and take them with you wherever you go for a quick and healthy snack.
- Move, move, move. Make time for exercise—at least five minutes—every day. Rev up your metabolism by exercising before and after holiday dinners so fewer of those holiday calories will find a final resting place! And remember, exercising is a great opportunity to spend quality, non-screen-involved time with family and friends, so involve them too!
- Give neighbors and family non-food treats—they will probably thank you for this! Some ideas: a coupon for an act of service, an ornament, or other inexpensive items that will last longer than the holidays. Or if you must give treats, give something that can be enjoyed post-holidays like frozen cookie dough, mixes, and so on.
- Stay hydrated to fight hunger and holiday fatigue by drinking half your body weight in ounces of water every day (150 pounds = 75 ounces of water).
- Do enjoy your holiday favorites—in moderation. Often a few bites will satisfy that craving for those foods you’re so fond of, and honestly, a few bites won’t blow your weight loss goals!
- Since many traditional holiday foods are loaded with calories, give your favorites a healthy tweak. I already shared our Powell Pack Twist on Thanksgiving Dinner, and you can find other yummy (and calorie-reduced) recipes here.
- And last, but certainly not least, stay focused on your goals throughout the holidays. While you might not have total control over what foods you’re served, you always have control over what you choose to eat and do (exercise!). Be sure to keep your promises to yourself, and you’ll have a healthy and rewarding holiday season and an awesome start to the New Year!
Day 22: I’m Thankful for Such a Wonderful Thanksgiving Day…
POSTED ON November 28, 2013
Day 22. I’m thankful for such a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with the people I love most.
Happy Thanksgiving!!! Love, The Powell Pack
A Powell Twist on Thanksgiving Dinner
POSTED ON November 21, 2013
Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and I am getting so many questions on how to enjoy this Day of Gratitude without breaking your calorie budget! Not to fear, help is here . Today, I’m sharing with you our Powell Thanksgiving family favorites that will save you unnecessary calories, while pleasing even the pickiest eaters.
Before I share though, I have to remind you that it IS okay to indulge every now and then, and Thanksgiving Day is one of my favorite times. Remember – every single one of our carb cycles include a Reward Day. Chris and I highly suggest swapping around your Reward Days, making T-day your Reward Day this next week .
Now for the good stuff. Here are some of our secrets…
For the turkey…
Instead of roasting an entire turkey, and basting (and even filling) it with butter and sauces, try Chris’ and my favorite: Slow-Cooked Turkey Breast. By sticking with boneless, skinless breast and cooking in a slow-cooker, you can get all of the juiciness without the extra calories. And it’s all white meat…my favorite! Season and cook on low all day for an evening meal, or bump it up to high heat and have it ready around noon.
For the stuffing…
What’s Thanksgiving without stuffing? Since half of our family is gluten-sensitive, I cook a delicious gluten-free version of stuffing that we all love. Try our favorite Cranberry Quinoa Stuffing to cut the gluten, the fat, and the calories on this Thanksgiving classic. The best part about this recipe? Gluten-lovers will never know the difference. Chris loves this so much that I make it year round for him!
For the mashed potatoes…
While I won’t be leaving mashed potatoes out entirely this year for those that insist upon their dreamy and creamy potatoes, I love to keep Mashed Cauliflower on the table for those trying to watch their carbs. You won’t believe your buds aren’t tasting spuds when you swap vegetables for carbs. My kids love it and I have a feeling yours will too. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back for getting the kids to devour their vegetables.
For the sweet potatoes…
By far and away, our family’s favorite side dish is my Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes. This is a delicious twist on a Thanksgiving Dinner tradition. Trust me, these are SO tasty, you’ll be making them year round, like us . Honestly, I consider this dish my dessert…yes, they are THAT good!!!
For the green beans…
While Green Bean Casserole is not my absolute favorite thing in the whole world, I do have a recipe that my entire family loves – sans the fat and cals that come with the traditional recipe. Try this healthy twist on the traditional Green bean Casserole.
For the small sides…
Along with the must have sweet potatoes, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and all other sorts of yumminess, you can add some smaller dishes too! Beets, raw veggie trays, black olives, and cranberries, are a few ideas to spruce up your table and keep smart food choices in front of you .
For the rolls…
Thanksgiving dinner just isn’t complete without the rolls. With 4 kids and a full-plate (no pun intended), this is where I lean on trusted gluten-free brands. Udi’s Frozen Rolls are amazing, and are always a hit with the Powell clan. Simply heat your oven and bake the frozen dough balls. They will perfectly complete your Thanksgiving dinner.
For the desserts…
I’m all about indulging in moderation, occasionally, and Thanksgiving is one of my occasions. I have to admit though, when it comes to Thanksgiving dessert, I crave this tasty treat over pie! Chris and I make a Sweet Potato Pudding that tastes just like pumpkin or sweet potato pie, but with a fraction of the calories! Enjoy this incredible dessert for just around 150 calories of real, whole, natural food.
From our home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! And enjoy
Cranberry Quinoa Stuffing
POSTED ON November 5, 2013
A holiday favorite of ours is back just in time for Thanksgiving! This perfectly sweet and salty combo will make your taste buds dance…and will save you the calories of traditional Thanksgiving stuffing ☺. Win-win all around!
Bonus for my gluten-free friends – this is one stuffing you can eat! Yup – Chris and I have been making this recipe for years, and regardless of the fact that he is no longer gluten-free (this topic is a blog post, or novel, in and of itself) we STILL make it!
Cranberry Quinoa Stuffing
(Quinoa pronounced keen-wah)
What you’ll need:
1 package Pancetta (bacon)
1 container Trader Joe’s Stuffing Starter Mix **
2 cups (dry) quinoa
1 quart low sodium chicken broth
1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
**TJ’s Stuffing Starter mix is about a 14.5 oz container of prechopped onions and celery seasoned with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
How to make it:
1. In a large pan over medium heat, saute the Pancetta and stuffing starter, until veggies are wilted and the Pancetta is crisp, about 10 minutes.
2. Transfer to the rice cooker (or if you want to cook it on the stove top, a large pot)
3. Add the quinoa, broth, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Cook on the “brown rice” setting, or until light and fluffy (stove top, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20-25 minutes).
5. Gently stir in the cranberries.
Glitter Pumpkin Craft for Moms!
POSTED ON October 15, 2013
Sparkly Halloween Pumpkins? Yes, please! Don’t let this adorable craft scare the amateurs and first-timers away though. Heck, I am as much of an amateur crafter as it comes. If I can make three pumpkins look so good in glitter, you can too. What family doesn’t want to add a little sparkle to their Halloween décor?
Here how I did it.
-Garbage bag: I cut it open to protect the table and it makes for a quick and easy clean up
-Mod Podge Matte (there are other types of it, ie: glossy)
-Your favorite Pandora station, T.V. show or complete silence (whichever is more relaxing) [not picture]
Step 1: Cover table with garbage bag. Glitter travels quickly so this makes for easier cleanup and you won’t have to worry about Mod Podging your table.
Step 2: Clean the pumpkin so all dirt, dust, etc. is off the pumpkin.
Step 3: Apply Mod Podge in sections to pumpkin using a foam brush. Don’t skimp on the Mod Podge but don’t drown the pumpkin in it either. You want enough so the glitter will stick but you don’t want it dripping down your pumpkin.
Step 4: Pour glitter on top of the section you just Mod Podged (not sure that’s a word but right now it is. For the parts of the pumpkin closer to the bottom, I found it helped to pour some glitter on the table and roll the pumpkin it it. As for the very bottom of the pumpkin, you don’t really need to worry about it because no one is going to see it.
Step 5: After you have applied Mod Podge and glitter to the entire pumpkin, you may notice that there are spots that are missing some sparkle. One of the beauties of this project is that you can keep fixing it until you get it just right. (My kind of project for an amateur crafter like myself. All is not lost if it’s not done the perfectly the first time.) So, just apply more Mod Podge in the areas you see fit and pour more glitter on top.
Note: I did the orange pumpkin first as a tester to see how the process would work. Because I used orange glitter and the pumpkin is orange, the small spots the glitter didn’t stick to aren’t very noticeable. However, when it came time to do the black glitter I found that it was more difficult to cover the entire pumpkin because of the contrast of colors (orange underneath black). If I were to make another black glitter pumpkin, I might try painting the pumpkin black first and then applying the glitter. Then if there are a few spots that the glitter didn’t stick to, it isn’t noticeable.
Step 6: Let the pumpkin sit for a while and then shake the pumpkin to get any lose glitter off.
Step 7: Display your sparkling masterpiece for all to see.
Step 8: Step back and admire your work. Then pat yourself on the back for being crafty, festive, and giving yourself some much deserved “me” time.
Pumpkin Pecan Pie
POSTED ON October 2, 2013
I can’t believe October is already here! What does this mean for most of us? Baking season and holiday festivities (along with those unwanted holiday pounds) are waiting for us around the next corner. While we could always try to resist the deliciousness of pies, cookies, and festive foods, I must say this method is not for me. You tell me I can’t have a cookie…I will want it even more! I am a believer in the occasional indulgence without overdoing it! If I can find or create a healthier version of my favorite dessert, this is a huge bonus! This holiday season, I’ll be sharing healthier versions of my favorite recipes so you can enjoy the holidays without breaking the calorie meter!
First up, three of my favorite things combined into one: pecans + pumpkin + pie = one heck of a decadent (and lower calorie) pecan pumpkin pie! Before I realized there was a healthier version of this pie, I was consuming over 400 calories per slice (ouch!). With a little tweaking and a few substitutions, the calorie count was reduced to 279 for this heavenly treat .
So, if you have any interest in leaving some of the guilt out of those guilt-free days, give this recipe a try!
Pumpkin Pecan Pie
What you’ll need:
2 cups low-fat graham crackers, crushed until fine
1/2 cup melted butter
Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
4 oz low-fat cream cheese
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon Splenda OR Baking Stevia
4 egg whites
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash of salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons Splenda OR Baking Stevia
2 tablespoons almond flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
How to make it:
Make the crust
Preheat your oven to 325* F. Place crushed graham crackers in a large bowl and pour melted butter over the crackers. Mix together well until all of the crumbs are coated with butter.
In a 9-inch pie pan, cover the bottom and sides of the pan with the crumb mixture. Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool.
Make the Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
In a mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese, Splenda and maple syrup until very smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and continue mixing scraping bowl periodically. Add eggs, gently mixing until incorporated. (Do not over mix.) Pour into the crust and place in the freezer. Freeze just until it is firm to the touch. (The freezing will keep the pecan mixture on top of the pie and not sink into the pumpkin mixture.)
Make the Pecan Topping
Preheat oven to 350* F. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the pecan filling ingredients until well mixed. Pour the topping mixture onto the frozen pie and place it in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes then open ove, rotate the pie 90 degrees, close door, and continue baking for another 23-28 minutes, or until the filling doesn’t move when jiggled.
Allow the pie to cool before serving. Enjoy!
What’s in it:
Each slice has 279 calories, 5g protein, 31g carbs, 16g fat, 2g fiber and 277mg sodium
Women’s Health: How Not To Gain Weight This Thanksgiving
POSTED ON November 22, 2012
As featured on Women’s Health Magazine
Thanksgiving is a holiday focused on one of the most important meals of the entire year – celebrating our gratitude and giving thanks. Unfortunately, for many people it’s also an open invitation to overindulge. The average American will consume more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day alone, according to the Caloric Control Council. That’s 3 DAYS worth of calories in just one day!
How NOT to Gain Weight This Thanksgiving
Here’s the shocking part, though: Most of these calories come from the all-day snacking in front of the TV—not necessarily from the big meal itself.
To help keep these extra, unnecessary calories in check, use these smart snacking tips:
Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Your body may think it’s hungry when it is actually thirsty. If you need to drink something other than water, choose naturally sweetened beverages over sugary drinks and limit alcohol to just one glass.
Don’t “Save Room”
Make sure you start the day with breakfast, and eat smaller meals every 3 hours thereafter until Thanksgiving meal. Don’t skip meals trying to save room for later. This guarantees that you won’t be starving by the time the turkey rolls out, and you may not pile your plate as high as you would otherwise.
Get Up and Move
Enjoy your day by staying active with friends and family. Get off the couch and go for a brisk walk or participate in a Turkey Trot. It might not offset all the calories you eat, but it’ll help!
Make Smart Swaps
Use sugar substitutes instead of sugar when cooking (Stevia is our sweetener of choice). Choose non-fat milk or unsweetened almond milk over heavy cream, 2% or whole milk for Thanksgiving dishes.
With a little planning, you can create an ideal Thanksgiving surrounded by good friends, family and food that doesn’t leave you regretting it the next day. Make a plan and stick to it. As you can see, just a few simple tricks will help make this year healthy and enjoyable. Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy Thanksgiving.