Sunday, February 7, 2016

Skinny Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

If you're anything like me, you're still trying to recover from the sweets bender you went on during the holidays.  But there's just something I can't resist about boxed chocolates and heart cookies on Valentine's Day. I came up with a recipe for sugar cookies that won't bust your resolution to maintain a healthier lifestyle.  This Valentine's Day, you can have your cookie and eat it too. 

Skinny Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

1 box white cake mix (You can substitute with a vanilla gluten-free cake mix.)
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup light margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1tsp almond extract
1 egg white


8 ounces fat free cream cheese
16 ounce bag of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla or coconut extract
food coloring

Cut into your favorite shapes and bake on a greased pan at 375 degrees for 5-7 minutes.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

4 Ingredient Super Bowl Truffles

Regardless of which team you're cheering for, you can't go wrong with these Orangesicle truffles wrapped in BRONCOS colored chocolates.  Obviously I'm a little excited about the Denver Broncos making it to the Super Bowl, but these truffles can be dipped in the colors of your favorite sports team or tailored to any themed party.  It's almost embarrassing how easy these are to make, and they are super yummy.  When they're chilled, they really do taste like a Dreamsicle.

4 Ingredient Super Bowl Truffles
1 Can of Orangesicle Frosting
1 bag of white chocolate chips or white melting chocolate wafers
1 bag of dark blue melting chocolate wafers
1 bag of milk chocolate chips or melting chocolate wafers

Reserve 1/4 cup of the white chocolate chips and set it aside for later.  Melt the rest of the white chocolate chips in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.  Stir and add frosting.  Microwave for another 10-20 seconds and then stir until smooth.  Pour the mixture into an 8x8 baking dish and let chill in the freezer for 20 minutes.  Once the mixture is cold enough to handle without being sticky, roll into bite sized balls and football shapes.  I found the easiest way to form the footballs is to make a ball, put it on the baking sheet, and then gently pinch both sides. 

Melt the blue chocolate in the microwave and dip the balls.  Repeat the same process with the milk chocolate and the footballs.  Once the footballs have cooled, microwave the reserved white chocolate chips and then pour the melted chocolate in a Ziploc bag.  Cut a tiny hole in a corner of the bag and use this to pipe the laces on the footballs.  Once the chocolate has hardened they are ready to enjoy.    


By Janet Schlosser @

Monday, January 25, 2016

Valentine's Day Pallet Sign

If you're looking for a unique and simple piece to add to your Valentine's Day decor, this pallet wood craft is for you.

There are four pieces that make up the interior of the sign- two front pieces (20 inches) and two back pieces for structure.  You don't need to measure exactly for the two smaller pieces, they just need to mount to the back for support.

I used wood glue and 3/4 inch staples to adhere the structure pieces. 

For the sides of the trim, I cut two pieces that are exactly the width of the sign- (the measurement for the trim pieces will be different depending on the pallet slats you are using).  I measured for the top and bottom trim pieces once the side trim was attached to get a perfect fit.  Then I glued and stapled with 3/4 inch nails.  Once the glue was dry, I sanded and used an exterior wood stain.

I found these pre-assembled pearl letters at Michael's for $1.50 each.

I also found these stamped doilies at Michael's in the Valentine's aisle, and they were 40% off! 

I hot-glued the letters and doily and before I knew it, I had a romantic sign to add a little love to my home during the month of February.  And it was so easy, I'm tempted to make another that says, "XOXO."  By the way, if you're not interested in building a sign, or you don't have the tools, the craft stores are full of premade pallet signs that you can personalize.  The point is- get creative and have fun.  Happy Valentine's Day!   

By Janet Schlosser @

Sunday, January 17, 2016

"Resolution Buster" Chex Mix

I'm really not trying to ruin anyone's New Year's resolution, I promise, but this might just do it.  If you're looking for the perfect game night snack, this is it.  Trust me- you can take this recipe to the bank. 

"Resolution Buster" Chex Mix

6 cups Vanilla Chex Cereal
6 cups Chocolate Chex Cereal
1 bag mini marshmallows
1 bag white chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini m&m's
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light karo syrup

Combine cereal, marshmallows, and white chocolate chips in a large bowl.  Bring butter, sugar, and karo syrup to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Let boil for 3 minutes and pour over cereal mixture.  Stir until the cereal is evenly coated by the caramel and the marshmallows and white chocolate have melted.  Pour onto wax or parchment paper and sprinkle with mini m&m's.  Let cool for at least 20 minutes and enjoy!   

By Janet Schlosser @

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Living With 50% Less Stuff

The other day, as I was wrestling with the clothes in my closet, trying to jam the laundry I had just washed, back into the mess of clothes I never wear, I accidentally knocked over a white hat box from the top shelf that used to belong to my grandma.  Instead of a hat, the box holds a jeweled crown that my grandma used to wear to her Amaranth dinners and fancy Masonic dances.  As I opened the box, I couldn't help but celebrate the fact that I'm related to a woman that legitimately wore tiaras and crowns well into her 80's.  As I continued tasking, I couldn't stop thinking about her.  As elegant and amazing a woman as she was, I remembered her home, and how she lived during the last few decades of her life.  My grandma battled a severe case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder until she passed away at the age of 97.  In her later years, the disease manifested itself through compulsive hoarding.  I remember visiting her home as a 12 year old and realizing just how devastating OCD can be.  I'll spare you the details, but imagine an episode of "Hoarders, Buried Alive."

I spent the rest of this weekend reflecting on my grandma.  It must have been torture to have felt compelled to endlessly shop- to be forced to maintain so much excess.  It's interesting that I had been focusing so much on my grandma that had already passed, because I got a call last night that my other grandma, died, just one month shy of her 101st birthday.  Among the kaleidoscope of feelings that I'm experiencing right now, the one thought that keeps tapping my shoulder is the fact that "stuff" really is just stuff.  All of it.  And you can't take it with you when you leave this earth. 

Suddenly I felt suffocated by how much of my precious mortality has been wasted while shopping for, and taking care of material things that are so insignificant in value.

Listen- I'm not saying that I'm selling all my assets and buying a traveling tiny home.  I like beautiful things just as much as the next person, and I truly adore the act of shopping.  But enough is enough!  I just can't dedicate any more of my time to things that don't carry meaning, or serve a purpose.  Considering the fact that clutter doesn't have the ability to love me back, and it tends to exacerbate feelings of anxiety and depression, it's time say bye-bye.

I started my personal downsizing project about a year ago by first attacking my ridiculous closet.  I mean...seriously, what one person needs this many articles of clothing?  Would you believe that I took this picture after undergoing a handful of previous purges?  I probably had three times as much.  I realize that to some of you, this may not seem like a lot.  And so I ask you- have you worn each and every article of clothing in your closet at least once this year?  If not, let those unloved pieces go.  Donate them.  Let someone else treasure them.

I found that the most important thing to do during this process is to try on every piece of clothing.  Literally- set aside an afternoon when you can stand in front of your mirror and actually wear the clothing.  Critique every aspect.  Do you enjoy the way it feels?  Does it make you happy?  Does it fit?  Are you hoping it will someday fit?  Make this a general rule- If you don't feel comfortable walking out the door wearing it today, just as it is, then let it go. 

Be brutally honest with yourself.  How many articles do I need for work?  How many for home?  Casual, Dressy, Summer, Winter.  Again- be honest with yourself. 

Another way to gauge your needs is to count how many pieces you have in your closet.  Even if you have exactly 365 shirts, do you actually wear a different shirt every day of the year?  Of course not!  We all have those items of clothing that we wear repeatedly.  Why not get rid of the stuff you never wear so you can easily find your favorites?

Once you have stripped your closet of the items you no longer need or use, force yourself to go through it again.  

The last and most important step is to engage in a spending freeze.  This significant step will allow you time and space to figure out who you are, what your style is, and whether or not you even need to buy new stuff.  It's up to you how long you want your spending freeze to last.  I actually only made it about a month before I was dying to smell the heavenly scent of new clothes again.  When you do start shopping again, just remember to take a second and ask yourself the same questions you asked yourself when you were trying on the clothes from your closet.  Do I love it?  Does it make me happy?  Do I like the way the fabric feels?  Does it fit right now, as is?

Once you get home with your new purchases, get in the habit of practicing the "One in- One out Rule"  For every new item you put in your closet, find something you no longer wear and donate it.

When I'm donating clothing, I'm always filled with the giddy realization that I'll never have to launder that item again.  When I purge unnecessary items from my home, I'm joyful in knowing that "stuff" is no longer taking up physical or mental space in my life.  It is just a natural side effect that the more you get rid of, the less you want to buy.  You will save money and gain more time to focus on the things that money can't buy. 

By Janet Schlosser at

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Skinny Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Yogurt Honey and Cilantro Sauce

If you're anything like me, you've recently resolved to eat a little (or a lot) healthier and take better care of your body.  And if you're anything like me, it doesn't take more than a few days of bland fish and skinless chicken to be bored to death with the whole "clean eating" thing.  So take a break from the flavorless and indulge in these refreshing lettuce wraps, without wrecking your New Year's resolution. 

Skinny Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Yogurt Honey and Cilantro Sauce

1 tablespoon of coconut oil
2 finely chopped chicken breasts
1 can of finely chopped water chestnuts
2 heaping tablespoons of chopped green onions
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 can of bean sprouts
2 tablespoons of finely chopped carrots
2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro
1/3 cup Hoisin sauce (I used Gluten-Free)
3 tablespoons of Soy sauce (I used Gluten-Free)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Brown chicken in coconut oil.  Add all other ingredients, cover with lid and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Serve chicken in butter or iceberg lettuce cups and drizzle with yogurt sauce.

Yogurt Honey and Cilantro Sauce

1 cup fat free plain greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons of honey (you can add more or less depending on your taste)

Combine all ingredients and add sauce to a condiment squeeze bottle.

For the rice, I just added a teaspoon of coconut oil, a handful of chopped cashews, salt and pepper, and chopped cilantro.

As long as you use certified gluten-free hoisin sauce and soy sauce, this recipe can be enjoyed by those that are on a gluten restricted diet.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Skinny Banana and Apple Chocolate Chip Muffins

Imagine a pregnant woman, with her ethereal glow and shiny hair, as she wakes up each morning cradling her swollen belly.  She embraces this once in a lifetime opportunity to nourish her unborn babe with a wide variety of vitamin rich and cell stimulating fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, and protein.

Now imagine the exact opposite, and that was me during each of my three, miserably eternal pregnancies.  I was a pregnant mama who was chronically nauseated, dehydrated, sporting cracked, bleeding lips, and crispy, brittle hair.  My breakfasts usually consisted of Kool-Aid, Tums, Zofran, and a gummy vitamin.   I wasn't thinking about which nutritious foods I should feed my growing fetus.  I wasn't pondering leafy greens or which color of bell pepper contained the most brain promoting vitamins.  No!  Most mornings I was simply trying to find the internal fortitude to peel my face from my sweat and tear drenched pillow.  Why is it that most pregnancy books seem to perpetuate this unrealistic ideal of what a pregnancy should look like, or more importantly, feel like.  That's not very nice. Or maybe these authors and contributing doctors are just aiming to prepare us hormonal ladies for the inevitable inconsistencies of motherhood.  When it comes to being a mom, the line between what should be and what actually is has been blurred by well-meaning parenting magazines, social media, pinterest, and other nosy moms.

I think each pregnancy book should start with this sentence, "For the first few months (or eight or nine months) go ahead and eat whatever you can get down your gullet.  If it looks and smells appetizing, eat it!"  (As long as it's actual food.  I had a really hard time keeping myself away from the Pine Sol.  True story.)  Any pregnant woman who is green around the gills is only making one consideration when choosing what to eat.  Will this make me puke?

Amidst the bouts of nausea, I did enjoy some cravings.  Olives, beets, pickles, BLT's slathered in mayo, blue PowerAde slushes from Sonic, roasted butternut squash soup, warmed croissants, Chipotle rice with guacamole.  Mmmm...guacamole.  Where was I?

When I think back to the one food I never had trouble with- that golden treat which always sounded appetizing and faithfully warmed my womb like a sun-drenched August day, it was MUFFINS.  Any sweetbread, actually.  Any flavor combo and size.  I can confidently say that about 60% of my babies' bodies are composed of flour, sugar, eggs, berries, and every other heavenly ingredient that constitutes a muffin.

You can imagine my relief then, that each baby came out round, happy, and smart. (Despite my 9 month deficit of kale and brilliant orange bell peppers.)

I'm sure this doesn't come as a surprise, but nearly since their births, my little people have been enjoying muffins.  Obviously, now that nausea is out of the equation and muffins are no longer a life-sustaining necessity, we enjoy them more as a treat.  A welcome pause from eggs and cold cereal and oatmeal.  I think when we're all older, this will prove to be one of our happiest memories.  Making muffins.  I will never forget their giddy smiles as they see me pull out the pink, heart-shaped mixing bowl and muffin tins, or the grating sound of the chairs sliding across the kitchen floor to be pushed up against the counter.

I hope that no matter how old my children are, or however far they wander from home, that they can still find me in their own kitchens when they bake these muffins.

Skinny Banana Apple White and Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 box of white cake mix
2 ripe bananas
2 apples
4 egg whites
1/3 cup applesauce
White and milk chocolate chips.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 15 muffins.

Combine the cake mix, diced apples, mashed bananas, applesauce, and egg whites in a bowl.  Mix with a spoon.  Avoid using an electric mixer because it will make the muffins dry and crumbly.

I always sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of each muffin before baking instead of mixing them in the batter.  This prevents the chips from sinking to the bottom.

You can easily make this recipe gluten-free by using a store bought gluten-free cake mix.

By Janet Schlosser @