2014 Review: What Happened and What Didn’t

With 2015 approaching, I couldn’t help but think about what 2014 has brought, what I have accomplished and where I’ve failed. It is that time when we all reflect, analyze, think, and hope.

So I decided to do a 2014 review: go back to my 2014 Resolutions and see what happened in 2014 and what didn’t.

2014 review Continue Reading

Baked Apple Oatmeal Protein Bombs and GNC PUREDGE Giveaway

Hey guys! It’s Tuesday again!

Which means we’re talking tasty stuff here on this blog.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been indulging in delicious cookies (both at work and at home) lately. With me teaching 2-3 cycling classes a week those are not hard to burn off, but what the what, right? 🙂

So. Since it’s holiday season and treats are mandatory, I’ve decided to make my treats healthy. HUGE thanks to GNC and their PUREDGE line of products for helping me create this recipe for Baked Apple Oatmeal Protein Bombs!Continue Reading

Mezzetta Memories: Salami Pasta Salad Recipe

Hey guys! Happy Tasty Tuesday to you 🙂

Today, I’m cooking with Mezzetta as part of the Mezzetta Memories campaign.

mezetta memories

With another big holiday upon us, it’s time to start thinking about the holiday menu already!

Together with Mezzetta I’m sharing my family traditions when it comes to holiday cooking.Continue Reading

Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe and Tasty Tuesday Linkup 43

Hey guys!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a nice holiday.

We ran/walked the Turkey Trot on the Thanksgiving morning:

turkey trot

And then we got home, put the turkey in the oven and snuggled with the kitty for a bit:


Our turkey was 15lb, but this year it was just the two of us on Thanksgiving, so we had plenty of leftovers!

Since ’tis the season of soups, and our bodies were begging for something lighter after the Thanksgiving feast, I made soup.

But! Before I could make soup – I made turkey broth. The wise and awesome friend of mine named Jennifer had an awesome idea which I used to make my broth. Check it out here – I promise, you’ll never use store bought broth again!

See? I told you that girl was genius!

So, back to the soup recipe. This one is super easy and quick to make, as most of my recipes.

Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe

leftover turkey soup recipe Continue Reading

Roasted Carrots with Tahini Drizzle – Recipe

Hey-hey, my friends! Happy Tasty Tuesday!

Tasty Tuesday 2000x2000

It is that time of week when we celebrate great food with a linkup party. I hope you join us today for the linkup below or just share your recent tasty finds with me in comments.

In light of recent Easter holiday, I wanted to share my tasty discovery with you today – roasted carrots. I generally LOVE roasted vegetables. I could eat any roasted vegetable every single day and twice on Sunday. 🙂

So, it wasn’t actually Easter that prompted my search for a recipe for roasted carrots, but rather a poor bag of whole carrots sitting in my fridge for a while. I felt bad for them so I needed to cook and eat them. 🙂

After searching the internet for a good recipe, I found one over at High Gate Hill Kitchen. I have modified the original recipe just a tiny bit, but otherwise, it is a great find and definitely goes into my recipe box.


roasted carrots


1 bunch (basically as much as you have/want to make) of whole carrots
2 tbsp. tahini
Juice of one lemon
10-20ml ice water (I added 10 to make the drizzle not as runny)
2 tbsps sesame seeds
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Wash the carrots, half if needed and place in a single layer on your baking sheet.

Drizzle with olive oil and toss until coated.

Sprinkle with salt and bake for 40 minutes, turning them after 20 minutes.

While the carrots are in the oven, prepare your tahini drizzle: combine the tahini, lemon juice, pepper and water in a bowl.

Whisk until there are no lumps left and the drizzle is smooth. It should be thin enough to drip off your spoon.

Toast the sesame seeds in a pan over high heat until they start to brown, 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.

To assemble: lay your roasted carrots on a plate and use a spoon to drizzle the tahini mixture over the top.

Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top and serve immediately.

roasted carrots

I made these carrots for the Easter dinner and they were a HUGE hit with my family (and I am talking 2 kids who are not big fans of vegetables, especially if they’re cooked).

Give this recipe a try, guys! And don’t forget to visit the recipe author’s blog and thank them!

Have a great week, friends!


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This post was shared on: Fairytales and Fitness, A Humble Bumble


Five on Friday

Hey guys! Happy Friday!

I hope you had a wonderful week and are ready for an even better weekend!

While you’re still waiting for it to come, here’s my “Five on Friday” – a weekly post about 5 things that I have been loving, liking, enjoying, etc.. lately.

{{ONE}} EOS – Lip Balm



Love those things! Carmen got me hooked on those – she started collecting them a while ago. I got her a set of lip balm and hand lotion by EOS for Christmas. She already had the lip balm flavor that was in the package, so I kept it for myself 😉

I am not a lip balm/chopstick kind of person at all…But I LOVE this series! It is sweet, too!

{{TWO}} Nike Air Total Core Cross-Trainers


$70 at Kohl’s.

I have shoes for running and walking, so I was looking for something light and easy to slip on for my cross training. Found it!

I love these shoes! They are extremely lightweight, comfortable and stylish!

Let's go lift some heavy stuff!

Let’s go lift some heavy stuff!

{{THREE}} CND Creative Scentsations Hand & Body Lotion – Pear & Dandelion

It looks like this post is going to be about girly stuff 🙂 Oh well, let it be. Next on the list is this magic hand and body lotion.


What’s interesting – I don’t like any other kind from this CND series – just pear and dandelion. I absolutely cannot survive the winter without it! I use it mainly as hand lotion, but it is good as body lotion as well. I buy it in 31 OZ bottles. Seriously!

{{FOUR}} Naval Oranges


Image and Oranges Source

I made my husband go to Walmart at 9:00 PM and get me those the other day. It says it all!

I crave them, I eat at least one a day and I don’t see the end of it in the near future.

{{FIVE}} Ceramic Candle Warmers (Electric)

LOVE those things! After searching everywhere – Target, Kohl’s, Walmart, etc., I got mine from Amazon.

You put in a candle in a glass jar into this thing, plug it in, it heats up and melts the candle. I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful it makes my house smell! I got a candle with the holiday season scent and we enjoyed it so much! It also lasts a lot longer that if you would light up that candle.

Your turn! Share links to your “Five on Friday” posts with me or just comment here! I would love to hear what you’ve been loving lately.


Five on Friday or I Am Back

Hey, guys! Long time no post, huh?

I know…I know… Time to catch up and get back to my blog!

Today I am back with Five on Friday, which pretty much sums up what I have been up to while I wasn’t here with you. So, here we go!

{{ONE}} Christmas!

Where I come from, New Year is a lot bigger celebration than Christmas, and Christmas is celebrated on a different date, too (January 7). However, I came to love this wonderful holiday since I moved to the US. I love seeing smiles on people’s faces, giving and receiving presents and, of course, eating all the yummy things being cooked around this time of year!

We had a beautiful Christmas tree with a lot of presents under it!


And the kitty who thought those were all his gifts:


I got a great present (one of many)!

Braun Single Serve Blender!

Braun Single Serve Blender!

Oh, now you just wait until I start blending those wonderful smoothies and sharing recipes with you 🙂

{{TWO}} Christmas Food – That’s Right, a Separate One for This!

Don’t you love Christmas for all the wonderful foods that bring back the memories of childhood, and make you feel safe and happy? I do! And since I am not American, I brought a little bit of my home to this year’s Christmas table.

Russian potato salad - "Olivye"

Russian potato salad – “Olivye”


Crepes stuffed with cottage cheese and raisins

Crepes stuffed with cottage cheese and raisins

Oh, and of course we had to make cookies to honor the American traditions!


By the way, did you know the story of the Peanut Butter Blossoms? Check it out here!

We also had a beautiful center piece for the Christmas table that I brought back from my company’s Christmas Party:


{{THREE}} The Evil Stepmother Speaks

A little over 2 years ago I became a wife to a wonderful man, and a step-mother to 2 great kids. As great as they are, it wasn’t all cakes and flowers between us. The kids struggled with getting used to having me in their life full time, having to share their daddy with me, finding a place for me in the new family paradigm, adjusting to the changes I brought into the family….Throw in the adjustment due to being newly weds who had never lived together before and you got a pretty “explosive” mix there. I was blessed with great kids who were trying their hardest to adjust, be nice and loving.  With the most wonderful husband, who has been my shoulder to cry on, my biggest supporter and The Man of the family. With an understanding and kind ex-wife who stayed out of the way when it came to our house vs. her house, our life and our decisions. Who has been my silent supporter all the way for the sake of her kids’ happiness.

Even with all that – we have had and are still having issues, difficulties, tension and disagreements, which are bound to happen in any step-family.

Having no friends around to vent to, what do you do? Right, you get online and Google the “happy step-family”. So I did.

I am very happy to have found Barb Goldberg’s blog that I read as a book – cover to cover. I am thankful for the feeling of not being alone on this anymore that reading her blog gave me. (And for oh so many “Thank God, I thought I was crazy” relief sighs that I took while reading her blog).

I don’t agree with everything she writes about. Not everything she writes about applies to me and my situation, but I can certainly relate to a lot of what she is saying. Thank you, Barb, for the hope you gave me with your blog posts! They are so inspiring and motivating!

{{FOUR}} Dr. Kevin Leman and the Birth Order Factor

To continue educating myself on the subject mentioned above, I grabbed my Nook and started looking for books to read to find answers to the questions I have about stepfamilies and step parenting.

I stumbled upon Dr. Kevin Leman’s works on birth order and how it effects the relationships in families. I downloaded his book “Living in a step family without getting stepped on”, and even though the book is mostly about blended families where both spouses have kids from previous marriages, I found it to be a great resource to understanding how the whole family dynamics works, and where the issues come from. Great read!


{{FIVE}}  Back to Working Out

For the past month (oh my God…was it really THAT long?) my exercise has been very sporadic…2 weeks in Russia where all I did was walking from dinner table to dinner table, then Christmas with all the cookies and other delicious foods and practically no activity! It is time to get back on track here!

I did go to my regular Monday spin class!

I did go to my regular Monday spin class!

Tonight – yoga, and my usual Saturday Double tomorrow with my hubby joining me for the spin class part of it. How exciting is that?

And that concludes my Five on Friday post!

Your turn!


Five on Friday

Hey, guys! Happy Friday!

It’s “Five on Friday” time here.

{{ONE}} Crab Crackin’ Cruise on the Pride of the Susquehanna steam boat

That's her

That’s her

You get as much crab as you can eat (tell me it's not paradise)

You get as much crab as you can eat (tell me it’s not paradise)

You get to enjoy the view while it is still light outside

You get to enjoy the view while it is still light outside

and also this stunning view after it gets dark

and also this stunning view after it gets dark

all that makes you just about this happy

all that makes you just about this happy

{{TWO}} Watching Carmen play with Vodka the Kitty


There is a sort of a love/hate relationship between these two 🙂 Well, not like hate-hate, but she’d be chasing him, he’d be running for his kitty life, but when she catches him he gets this kind of face as in the picture above. Yes, that is his very happy face 🙂

{{THREE}} “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan


Photo credit

I have to say, this book is changing my views on food and nutrition. I am still reading it, and I am not anywhere near done, but it is changing my eating habits already.

Highly recommended reading!

{{FOUR}} English Muffins


I seem to be eating a lot of those lately. I must be just tired of my oatmeal for breakfast (I know it is REALLY hard to believe). 🙂

Also, I tried putting some almond butter and some chocolate coconut butter that Heather sent me on a toasted English muffin, and I must say – it is to die for!

{{FIVE}} Carmen’s choices of what to go as on Halloween – no pressure/ideas from anyone – it’s all her.

Ziggie Stardust, 2012

Ziggie Stardust, 2012

Sir Elton John, 2011

Sir Elton John, 2011


Mick Jagger, 2013

Mick Jagger, 2013

What’s your Five this Friday?


Breakfast in a Glass Recipe, Retro Candy Store Adventures and the 4th of July

Hello, friends!

I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July! I had a great day with my husband at the Swim Club, casual dinner party for 3 people (the 2 of us included) and some good food!Continue Reading

Weekend Round-up: Father’s Day, Orzo Salad Recipe and a New Yogi in the Family

Hello, friends!

Where did the weekend go? It feels like it was Friday night just 5 minutes ago!

We were busy this weekend! Lots of pool time, yard/patio work, planting, Father’s Day fuss…So here are the highlights of the past weekend.Continue Reading

Memorial Day Parade+Household Project and Sunday Yoga

Hello, friends!

I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend or just a nice weekend if your country doesn’t celebrate this holiday, and a good start to the short work week.

We had a busy couple days here…

As I told you before, we were working on our new patio this weekend. Here is what it looked like just when we started on Saturday and took off the layer of weeds we had there:Continue Reading