How Are Those Healthier Lifestyle New Years Resolutions Working For You?

Honestly I can't believe we are about to enter March 2014! Where did the time go the past two months? I don't know about where you live but for us we've had extreme cold temps and a lot of snow given to us in spurts. These long, cold days and nights have been rough on my healthier lifestyle plans. How about yours? What were your new years resolutions? Are you sticking with them? Disclose: I am participating in the Blog Forward 2014 Challenge program and have received complimentary product and ZonePerfect promotional items. My own tasty words and opinions will always be shared.

Keep in contact by joining my FREE Fitness Group!

ab exercises
Healthier Lifestyle includes working out! This is our arms & abs class.

For me, I had a few resolutions that I wanted to focus on for 2014. They are:

1- Continue going to the gym 4 times a week. Keep up with walk to run app.
2- Drink 1/2 - 1 gallon of water a day.
3- Turn family favorite recipes into healthier recipes.
4- Focus on no bad sugar with exceptions in moderation.
5- Blog more about healthier lifestyle options.
6-JOIN MY 60 Day Challenge!

NEED help getting started running or want an accountability partner? Connect with me below:

  1. Joining this ab challenge which includes 4 different exercises to do daily.  Anyone can do it. It also involves squats which work your leg muscles. (more on that at a later post) Follow the Make Time for Abs challenge group to get inspired and have accountability partners.
  2. Clean up your every day eating so that when it comes time to go to parties you can enjoy the company, holiday spirit and food without gaining the average weight gain. Follow the Make Time for Clean Eating challenge group to learn more.
  3. Learn about overall health and nutrition and join our FREE Fitness GroupMake Time for Healthier Lifestyle.
Do yourself a favor and do this today! Why not be above average and ahead of the weight loss group at the office by starting to get healthy now instead of January 1st. Either way you can find me here and at all of the above groups to help inspire and motivate you daily.
Drink water to lose weight
How to drink a gallon of water - my friend sent this photo to me and I'm using it for March. If you know who this photo belongs to, please let me know so that I can give proper credit.

I am not a fan of cold weather. I loath it. I am always cold and wear many layers all the time. It has taken every ounce of motivation to get to the gym 4 times a week. I am proud to say that I have kept that resolution at least 90% if not 95% of the time. I've struggled getting in my walk to run program but doing cardio and strength training like a beast! I'm at about 25% for everything else. I could whine and tell you why I'm only at 25% but I won't do it. I own my desires to be healthier and I accept my bad choices. I do want to get all of those resolutions to at least 75% for the month of March. 

To help me with my resolutions I'm going to write a letter to my future-self to help me get on track to meet my goals. I will then read it later to see how well I did. If you want to see what I have been doing for the almost 2 years of my healthier lifestyle journey then click the link. 

how to exercise

Letter to my future-self

Dear SusieQTpies

Way to go pushing through the winter and working out at the gym. Keep on going you are on the right track to increase your strength, decrease your weight and to become a personal trainer. Keep on going 4 times a week. Don't stop.

There are some things you need to do each day and I know that you can do it. Drink your water and stay away from sugar. Use your phone app to track your water and stick to your target. You want to feel better so stay away from sugar. If you need a sweet snack, grab a Zone Perfect bar. You love that they are high in protein and perfect for your after gym workouts. Remember to use food as fuel for your body to recover from your workouts. Don't fuel your body with junk food. Keep one in your purse so you aren't tempted to buy a candy bar at the store.

Take time this month and turn 4 family recipes into healthier alternatives. Do this for your family and blog about it. It will help you keep your commitment to yourself and share it with your readers. Use your blog to keep on track and encourage other bloggers. I know you got this if you just focus on it. 

Remember to take care of yourself so that you can take care of those around you. Smile!


your future-self

I'm so excited to participate in the Blog Forward campaign. You can join along! If you blog, blog about your resolutions, write a letter and share it with your readers. If you don't blog, do this on paper. Leave comments below and let me know how things are going for you so far this year. I would love to follow your progress and help to encourage you along the way.

Have you tried ZonePerfect nutrition bars? Which ones are your favorite? I plan on sharing some of my favorites in March so stay tuned! Click over to the ZonePerfect Facebook page and check out their coupon opportunities to save a little at the store!


Happy National Chili Day! 20 plus Chili Recipes to Celebrate! {February 27}

My family calls fall in Southern Illinois Hot Dog and Chili Season! Almost every event we go to someone had hot dogs and their famous chili. We honestly do not get sick of chili until mid winter.  When that happens, I'm done adding it to our family menu plan until the next fall. How about your family? Do you like chili? Do you have a tasty recipe to share? Happy National Chili Day!

Best Ever Chili Recipes
Click over and get the Best Chili Recipes Ever!

In the fall, October to be exact, is National Chili month. I put together some of the best chili recipes ever! You must take a peek today. Even if you aren't in the mood for chili, save or pin the post for later! They are delish!! Check out these 20+ Chili Recipes today!

Share your chili recipes in the comments below. If you have links, share them. I'll check them out! Happy National Chili Day!

Best Kahlua Recipes for Kahlua Day {February 27}

Kahlua coffee liqueur is one of my favorites! It can be added in recipes, cold drink recipes and of course, hot drinks such as coffee. I have several favorite kahlua recipes of my own to share as well as some from other blogs. Do you ever use kahlua when you cook or for drinks? I so, what is your favorite? Enjoy this happy Kahlua Day!
Kahlua Drink Recipes
Kahlua Day February 27 

Kahlua Drink Recipes - Add a shot of Kahlua to any of these drinks!

Kahlua Drink Recipes

Kahlua Drink Recipes

Kahlua Drink Recipes

Kahlua Drink Recipes

Kahlua Drink Recipes

kahlua recipes

Iced Coffee - add in a shot of Kahlua

kahlua drink recipes

Coffee Iced Cubes (to add to your glass of Kahlua)

Kahlua Dessert Recipes

kahlua dessert recipes

tiramisu recipes

Kahlua Tiramisu Recipe - quick and easy

kahlua dessert recipes

gluten free desserts

fondue recipes

gluten free brownies

Fudgy Kahlua Brownies - gluten free

dessert kahlua recipes

kahlua dessert recipes

How do you like your Kahlua? Share your ideas in the comments! If you have any recipes on your blog, leave your links! Happy Kahlua Day!


Festive Banana Split Dessert Cups Recipe

Do you love banana splits? My husband loves banana splits. I love all of the ideas out there for desserts that taste like a banana split. The dessert recipe below is super easy to make and you can serve it at any party! Would you make this banana split dessert? Do you have any banana split desserts on your blog? If so please share with me in the comments!

recipes for banana split desserts
Easy dessert recipe

Festive Banana Split Dessert Cups


1/2 cup thawed whipped topping
3 ounces softened cream cheese
3 Tablespoons powdered instant vanilla pudding
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons small diced banana
3 Tablespoons drained, crushed pineapple
15 Athens® Mini Fillo Shells (1 box)
1/4 cup thawed whipped topping, for garnish
2 Tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, for garnish
8 whole maraschino cherries, drained and cut in half, for garnish


In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat whipped topping, cream cheese, instant pudding and powdered sugar until well blended. 
Stir in bananas and pineapples, mixing lightly. 
Chill 1 hour. 
Spoon 1 Tablespoon of filling into each Fillo Shell. 
Garnish each with dollop of whipped topping and chocolate chips and top with a cherry half. 
Serve immediately.
Yield: 15 Desserts
This is a guest post recipe.

More Mini Dessert Recipes and Appetizer Recipes

Petite Pulled Porkies
Phyllo Wrapped Baked Brie with Red Pepper Compote
French Silk Phyllo Petites
Calzone Bites
Maryland Crab Bites
Easy Smore Cups


Do You Struggle With Menu Planning? Here Is An Easy Family Menu Plan

Time for a menu plan! Last week I didn't make a menu plan at home and it was NUTSO around here. Seriously, nutso! We had a crazy scheduled week but it is nice to have the supplies on hand with some sort of meal ideas. To keep it real, I don't always make the menu of the week here at home because some recipes that I make during the week are new and need photos. I like to try out recipes on my family before sharing here unless they are a guest chef recipe. 

what to feed the family
Family Meal Ideas

For my blog's Menu Plan Monday I'm usually sharing a previous week menus. IF I do not post a menu for the week here then chances are I didn't even plan one at home which led to my crazy week last week. How about you? Do you struggle with menu planning?

We are back at Menu Planning Monday! Thanks to all for stopping in, check out the recipes and other menu plans to give you some new ideas! 

vietnamese recipes
Vietnamese Recipe 
MondayVietnamese Pho - chicken or seafood - Honestly people this is a super easy recipe! Have you ever had pho or heard of it? If not, try this recipe and then you'll know what I'm talking about. We love Pho and it cost around $10 a bowl at restaurants. I didn't do the math but I'm sure it cost $10 to make a huge crock pot at home. My family would eat this once a week if I made it for them. I'm not sure why I don't because it is so healthy! 

Thai recipes
Thai Recipe

TuesdayThai Basil Fried Rice and will toss in the leftover chicken and use any leftover rice or noodles from yesterday

summer salad recipe
Easy Salad Recipe

Wednesday-Pork Roast with Cranberry Dressing and Aunt Salad (Freeze leftover pork for Pork Nachos)

turkey burgers
Easy Burger Recipe

salad recipes
Fruit Salad Recipe

Thursday-Honolulu Burgers and Skinny Spinach Strawberry Salad

asian recipes
Easy Asian Recipe

FridayAsian Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing (teen requested this!)

Six Sisters Stuff recipes
Easy Cupcakes

Weekend- Crazy weekend planned! Check out my Recipe Box for Dessert RecipesEaster Recipes and an easy Skinny Cupcakes recipe. Oh and I just updated the Dessert Recipe tab on top of my blog! I now have pictures of my recipes instead of just links!!! Lookin' tasty! Take a peek!

cookbook sister sister stuff
Six Sisters Stuff Cookbook

Featured Cookbook of the Week- Check out the Six Sister's STUFF cookbook. This one is no longer a giveaway but I do have their newest cookbook and it will be shared soon on my blog. I'll have some new recipes and another giveaway! Stay tuned!

monday menu planning
Easy Family Menu Plan
I've linked up at OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday


Returning To The Work Force? Check out Mom Corps YOU #mc #sponsored

For the past 7 years I have found and created jobs which I could do at home and around my family schedule. By doing this I had some independence for myself and a way to increase our family income. Now that our 3 daughters are all almost out of the nest I'm looking into the future and what I want to do next. How about you? Are you currently looking to return to the work force or leave the work force? I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Mom Corps YOU. I received a free trial to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

I'm content with our choice for me to be a stay at home and work at home mom. I have been out of the work force full time since 1994. Over the years I've had to balance home schedules, school schedules, homeschooling, volunteering, part time local jobs and even work at home positions. As I mentioned, I'm starting to think ahead and wonder what I will do as all the girls leave.

Thinking ahead I've been given the chance to check out content on the Mom Corps YOU website. Mom Corps is a national award-winning professional talent acquisition and career development firm with an online community for moms! The online community is to help professionals better integrate their professional and personal lives. 

Mom Corps believes that work-life satisfaction is best when we are in control of our career, finances and health. They assist in this with their subscription based website which provides education, resources and tools for moms just like you and me.

The thought of returning to the workforce is scary and can be overwhelming. On the site you can find articles, videos, seminars, books, helpful resources and more to give you support in the work force and at home. You can access the Mom Corps YOU site and resources with an online subscription. Right now the introductory annual price is $99 (regularly $149.99) or $19.99 a month. 

With the Mom Corps YOU resources I'm looking forward to the support as I embark in a new career. I'm wanting to become a personal trainer within the next year or so and need all the support I can get. How about you? What is in your future?


Need a Ceiling Makeover? Get Rid of Old Popcorn Ceilings! Makeover Giveaway #mc

Do you have ceiling issues in your home? We do! We have old, outdated popcorn ceilings. It would be awesome to win the Armstrong Residential Ceilings Makeover, "Style Is Looking Up" Giveaway! I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Armstrong Residential Ceilings. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

We have inherited the most awful popcorn ceilings in our home. We've done renovations but not to the ceilings! This would be a great opportunity for us to give our ceilings a makeover. How about you? Do you have a need for a ceiling makeover? I'd love to know!

Armstrong Residential Ceilings offers a wide selection of affordable makeover options for your home. Now through March 15th we can all enter to win a $2,500 room makeover grand prize. They also have weekly winners so enter today! Enter here: at the "Style is Looking Up” Giveaway!


The Five Meat Smoking Commandments

I'm so excited to bring you this list of 5 must do if you are going to smoke meat. We have never smoked meat but have a lot of friends who do. Maybe a smoker is in our future so we can try this, too. I know that hubby would enjoy it.

Do you smoke your own meat? Do you have any tips or recipes to share? Feel free to leave them in the comments! 

The Five Meat Smoking Commandments
Chef Ted Reader’s brings on the smoke and the flavor with these tasty tidbits

Meat smoking is becoming very popular in local restaurants this season, and Chef Ted Reader has come up with these five easy tips from his new book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Smoking Foods, to help you get rolling the first time you fire up your smoker, and every time to follow.

1.      Be prepared: As we have always been taught, proper and thorough preparation is very important, especially to be successful in meat smoking. Assuming you already have a smoker, the first step would be the food preparation. Your final result out of the smoker will only be as good as the ingredients you put into it, and it is important to always buy good-quality ingredients – or the best you can afford. Before bringing your food out to the smoker, a fire will need to be created to prepare the smoke. You’ll need to prepare your smoker ahead of time, keeping in mind how long your meat will take to smoke, and what fuel sources you will need during the process.

2.      Be patient: Timing is crucial, that’s all there is to it. Waiting for foods to smoke, and tending the fire to maintain a consistent temperature can be tedious, but are important to successful smoking. If you have the perseverance to wait it out, you’ll discover the art of creating truly delicious foods.

3.      No peeking: Do you remember baking cookies, and being yelled at by your mother to stop opening the oven? It’s easier said than done, but meat smoking follows the same guidelines. A seemingly-harmless 30 second peek could add approximately 20 minutes to your smoking time. The less you peek, the sooner you eat!

4.      Practice makes perfect: “Every time you smoke, it’s a chance to improve on what you did last time and create new flavours that will make you and your guests deliciously happy” exclaims Ted Reader, in his new book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Smoking Foods. Perhaps try challenging yourself by timing how long it takes for charcoal to reach its perfect white-hot temperature. Keeping track of what you have done will only help make you a better smoker, so try keeping notes and set goals to improve each time you cook.

5.      Have fun! It takes the right combination of ingredients, time and patience to infuse wonderfully smoky flavours. A job well done is only measured by how tasty the food is and how much fun you had while preparing your meal. “The sweet smell of smoke, tending the fire, and smoking food to delicious perfection—that’s what it’s all about!” says Ted.

smoking foods

Loaded with over 60 mouthwatering recipes, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Smoking Foods has everything you need to know for preparing tender meats, sensational side dishes, and other delicious foods to become a master smoker.

About Ted Reader
Ted Reader is an award-winning chef and food entertainer, who’s parlayed his passion for food into a culinary tour de force that includes more than a dozen cookbooks, shelves of food products, live culinary performances, TV and radio cooking shows and appearances as well as culinary demonstrations, a catering company and teaching.

Known for his pyrotechnic charm and fearless culinary spirit, it’s no surprise that GQ magazine labeled him the “crazy Canuck barbecue kingpin.” The dude just loves to cook!
Ted’s quest for creating “real food for real people” has seen this high-profile culinary barbecue guru demonstrate his flair for grilling in all venues from swanky ball rooms to the Pacific Ocean to a downtown Toronto parking lot. Today, he owns more than 100 barbecues, grills and smokers in all shapes and sizes and never goes anywhere without one in the back of his truck.


{February 13} National 'Italian Food' Day Recipes #ItalianFoodDay

How appropriate to have a National Italian Food Day right before Valentines Day! How many of you think of love, Paris, Italy, Spaghetti, Pizza and more around this time of the year? One of my favorite Italian desserts is Tiramisu. I made this recipe a few years back for a friend's birthday. Here is my version of tiramisu and a few other "Italian Food" ideas to make your sweet love or even for yourself on Valentine's Day!

Italian recipes

Kahlua Tiramisu - click over to get the recipe with step by step photos!
Italian Tiramisu recipes

Scallopine with Peppers, Mushrooms and Tomatoes - This is so tasty!

Italian Recipes

Herb Frittata - This bread smells mouth-watering

Italian Bread recipes

Pasta with Matriciana Sauce - Honestly I could eat this once a week! 

Matriciana Sauce recipe

Italian Sub Salad - Kids love making and eating this one.

Pasta Salad recipes

Antipasto - Never found a plate I didn't love.

antipasto recipes

Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs - Our family favorite recipe!

easy spaghetti meatball recipe

Lazy Lasagna - Yes please! The recipe had me at lazy :)

easy lasagna recipe

Focaccia - Family favorite homemade bread!

Focaccia Bread recipes

Affogato - Yummy espresso drink!

So what are some of your favorite Italian foods? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below! If you have some on your blog, feel free to share the links so that I can come visit! That's Amore! 

Italian Recipes

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