Happy Chinese New Year to My Fellow Rats!

Tomorrow celebrations will be held for the year of the rat!!! So to all my fellow rats out there, this post is for you where we’ll take some time to learn a little about the Chinese Zodiac as well as some fun ideas to celebrate it!

To start off, let’s discuss what the Chinese zodiac even is. It’s actual orgins are foggy at best but the story itself revolves around 12 animals. These included the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Chicken, Dog, and Pig. There are several versions of the story, told by anyone from the Jade Emperor to the Buddha but the basics is that the animals are invited to the palace for either a dinner party or a race. On the way, The Rat came firt because he road on the nose of the Ox.

While I’m not Chinese, I found that my zodiac animal is pretty accurate, and it’s kind of fun to see all the celebrations in Chinatown!

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Cantaloupe with Mozzarella and Prosciutto Salad

In this season of dieting, I wanted to talk a little about this new salad for those who don’t like tomatoes or greens.

A traditional Caprese Salad has mozzarella, tomato, and basil and it’s delicious, but not everyone likes tomatoes. My husband for example really doesn’t like them and I don’t always want a traditional green leafy salad so finding this was a major win for my home.

I would like to give credit to the website I found this on, but unfortunately, this recipe was removed and I had to remember it from scratch. I’ve seen variations on this where people have added basil or mint, and even balsamic vinegar, but I’m going to give you the recipe I like to put together when I want a sweet and savory meal. This salad serves 4.

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Feel Healthy and Full with this Detox Green Smoothie with Chia Seeds

Okay guys, for this Foodie Friday I’m going to be really honest, I liked the idea of having a smoothie BUT I was usually hungry a couple of hours later and then I’d buy a hamburger, or I’d cook up a whole box of mac n’ cheese.

Recently I’ve been trying to eat healthier and I came across this recipe. It doesn’t have any super unique things like protein powder, or seaweed or anything special….it was just really simple and straight forward and Ally from Ally’s Cooking claimed it would “Keep you full for hours!”. To be honest, maybe it was because I was hangry, or maybe it was because I just have this natural ability to distrust everything anyone says to me, but I was really not thinking this smoothie was going to be good. I expected it to taste weird, and that in a half an hour I’d be chowing down on a Big Mac (sorry Ally). So I made the smoothie and the first sip was “Oh Wow! This actually tastes great!”. I honestly was surprised. I thought for sure I’d be able to taste the spinach, but NOPE! It was the perfect tropical lunch smoothie I was hoping for and I even set up a little photoshoot with it in my garden. I wasn’t even going to write about it, and didn’t even put it on my editorial calendar yet here I am writing about it because January is the month of diets, fads, fasting, and working out till you pass out and if there’s anything I can offer that makes all this pressure plus the winter blues melt I will. So here’s what’s in it!

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How to Make a Healthy Aussie Breakfast

Hello Everyone! Today I’m going to share a little about what I learned on healthy eating during my trip to Australia. I went to Canberra, then Sydney and even had a chance to scope out the local beach bodies on Bondi. Let me tell you, when it comes to healthy eating and living these guys have it down. The beaches start filling up at 5 in the morning with runners, people doing yoga, swimmers and even some high-intensity interval training. While there I was looking for a cookbook to bring home and the person helping me said that Vegetarian and Vegan cookbooks are their top sellers.

As any good social media contributor does, I made sure to take a picture of everything I ate. This breakfast I’m about to show you, however, was pretty easy to recreate and I felt good eating it. So as my first Foodie Friday post of the year, let’s get it started with a healthy breakfast!

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Christmas Morning Crockpot Cinnamon Roll Recipe

Christmas morning for me involved getting up, opening presents under the tree, and playing while my mother whipped up a sugar and cinnamon monkey bread. Sometimes she would even let me help by letting me roll the pieces of dough and then dunking them in butter and then cinnamon and sugar before arranging them and baking them.

Unfortunately, I live in a home where my oven isn’t exactly reliable. I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong with it, but the outside of my monkey bread will burn, while the inside is still raw. So while I would LOVE to give you that recipe, I was fortunate to find this delicious Christmas Morning Crockpot Cinnamon Roll Recipe. You’ll still get the smells of cinnamon, and sugar, and the frosting and not sacrifice any of the morning’s festivities to do it either!

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The Best and Incredibly Easy Cinnamon Sugar Pecan Recipe

One thing I love during the holidays, or really any time is candied nuts. You can usually find them in these clear plastic bags and they’re EXPENSIVE! I’m talking $5 for a little bag! So as always, when I find I really enjoy something expensive, I set out to see if I could possibly make these myself at home. Then I wouldn’t have to spend so much money, AND I could have them whenever the mood struck!

Thankfully I was able to find a wonderful recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Pecans featured on the food blog Joy, Food, Sunshine and I decided to put it to the test. The results were not only easy, but better than I expected, and can I just say that my home smelled DELICIOUS too! An added plus is that they are FREEZER FRIENDLY!!!! YASSS!!! This means that as you try to keep healthy during the holidays, you can still sprinkle these over your cranberry and blue cheese salad to give it a little extra holiday sweetness! Running at 119 calories per serving these are also not a bad mid-afternoon snack option, way better than the leftover office donuts in the lunchroom (just sayn’).

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The Most Decadent Coconut Kahlua Cake for My Birthday!!!

Today is my BIRTHDAY!!!!! I’m turning the big 35 and I wanted to do a knockout kind of cake that embodies everything I love. When I found this recipe I knew I had to make it. It has a delicious coconut sponge cake that is soaked in Kahlua and wrapped in a French Frosting made with a coffee extract and semi-sweet chocolate chips. It has everything I love, tropical coconuts, Kahlua, and chocolate. What can go wrong!

This is cake is not the easiest to make, but if I can do it, you can too. Just try to see the whole cake in segments. You can totally make the sponge, that’s easy. The frosting is a bit more difficult and also “sets” in the fridge, so that has to be done after the sponge, and the ganache is a classic element that isn’t too difficult to make. So my perspective is that you have two easy things coupled with one difficult thing and with a little finesse this is definitely do-able. So let’s take a deep breath and get started!

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Dangerously Delicious Brownies that Come with a Warning

These brownies come with a warning! These are Espresso Brownies and they contain a lot of caffeine and for someone like myself that is caffeine sensitive, it can have pretty intense feelings with it like increased anxiety, jitters, heart palpitations, and other symptoms. But if you have a late-night studying, or at the office, then this is the brownie for you! It’s chocolate packed and the bittersweet glaze balances the sweetness of the brownie.

I found this delicious recipe on the Better Homes and Gardens website (so you know it has to be good).

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Better than Take Out Fried Rice!

I always feel bad throwing out leftover cooked rice that as gotten hard. You know the type. Maybe you ordered take out and while leftovers for the next day seem fine, the rice is hard as a rock and no matter how much you microwave it, it never comes back to what it once was? This recipe uses that to make something absolutely delicious and once you prep everything it’s super easy to assemble. It easily serves four people and at 394 calories for a big bowl, this is a winning recipe for me.

I also used a little metal sakura flower cut out to make the bigger pieces of carrot look cute. This is a nice trick to try if you have little ones who are prone to not wanting to eat their veggies.

I found this recipe on Gimme Some Oven if you want to view the original recipe, and this post also contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one and purchase something, I get a small commission. Thank you! πŸ˜€ Read more

Super Easy and Delicious Lemon Chicken Picatta

I am not a fan of chicken. I don’t know why, maybe because everything tastes like chicken, or because it’s one of the few animals in America where you can buy a whole one at the grocery store and disassemble it yourself which my mother often did and it freaked me out. Whatever the reason, it’s just not my favorite thing to eat. I mean I will, if that’s the only thing on the menu, but it’s not my first choices. All that to say, if I’m putting a chicken recipe on my blog, you better believe that I found it to be mind-blowing. So I am very happy to bring you this Easy Lemon Chicken Piccatta which I found on Chunky Chef.

The first thing going for this is that it’s a pasta recipe, and I’m a fan of all things carbs. The next thing is the spices that go into this chicken are delicious and lemony which is perfect for a summertime dish. Next, it uses capers which is a new food I realized I really enjoy, and it pairs extremely well with even a cheap bottle of chardonnay which is mostly what I get. Lastly, the leftovers even taste great! So this is an all-around win!

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