Monday, September 15, 2014

Amazing and Easy Coffee Cake

My baking has changed a bit since moving into the Rocky Mountains.  Many of my old recipes have had to have some adjustments.  I've learned what works and what doesn't.  And I've learned that adding eggs to things is a high altitude baker's best line of defense against dense cakes and muffins.  Even though I personally am at an altitude of 8,125 ft, I know that for most reading my blog, you are not.  So I've decided to put the original recipe link up and post my proven high altitude adjustments here.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Coming Soon...

Busy writing and scheduling new posts.  New material returns Sept 15th!!  Stay Tuned!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Maternity Break

Hello fellow bloggers and followers.  As many know, I am about 19 weeks pregnant now and life is pretty busy.  I started this blog with the intention of posting my findings on natural living and my inspirations as God revealed to me how to take better care of myself and my family.  It has been a wonderful journey so far.  I in no way am quitting this blog forever.  However, I feel it has become burdensome to come up with cool new posts on a regular basis.  I never intended this blog to become an obligation.  For this reason, I have decided to take a "Maternity Break."

Please don't leave me forever!  I will return with a fresh mind and new things to try and do as I wade the waters of life as a family of five!  I'm sure I will be looking into all kinds of natural tips on raising a baby.  Please feel free to browse my previous posts in the mean time.  I'll return after baby is born with new material this fall.

Happy reading!  See you soon.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Make Your Own "Bisquick"

Years ago I came across a substitute recipe for using Bisquick when I realized I had run out of it.  I like the recipe so much that I have never bought another box of baking mix since.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Peppermint Lip Balm

Who doesn't like a good chap stick or lip balm?  Especially here in Colorado where the air is dry all the time and no matter hot or cold, I still get dried out lips.  I came across this recipe when I was making Christmas gifts last year from the same site that I got my hand salve recipe from,  This recipe is so close in nature to the previous post on Body Butter and uses a lot of the same ingredients while still proving to be virtually mess free!  Check out the video tutorial on making Body Butter and use the same method.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Homemade Vanilla Extract

You might have seen this handy trick on Pinterest or floating around on Facebook.  I decided to give it a try and make Christmas gifts from it this past year.  What is it?  Vanilla Extract.  That yummy golden liquid that smells so fantastic and makes your cookies, cakes, and ice cream burst with flavor.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Homemade Mess-Free Body Butter

This past Christmas I had fun making lots of homemade gifts.  We were short on cash but I managed to make several neat gifts that I will continue making and using in our own family.  One of those gifts was hand salve.  I found this great recipe for hand salve at  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Favorite Salad Dressings

So I've been on a writing hiatus for the last few weeks.  It's been made public on my family blog, Facebook, and now here on Sports Bras and Aprons:  I am expecting!  Right now I'm 12 weeks and finally getting past the yucky phase.  I've been pretty unmotivated to do anything but sit on the couch, take a bunch of hot showers, and eat.  And eat.  And eat!  

It seems fitting then that I share a recipe today.  Actually a couple recipes.  They are not my own recipes, however, they are FANTASTIC!  I make them all the time and frequently get compliments and requests to share the recipe.  

Salad Dressings are some of the easiest condiments you can make on your own while avoiding all the extra nasties found in processed foods.  I have not mastered ranch dressing yet but it's on my list of things to try.  Vinegar and oil based dressings are so simple and you most likely have all the ingredients on hand.  

I stumbled on this recipe through  You can find the recipe HERE.  I fell in love with it and made some of my own adjustments just to make it easier.  I use my dehydrator to dry red peppers, onions, and garlic and keep them on hand.  For Christmas I made packets of a mix for this dressing with instructions. It was such a hit, that I have made some for myself too.  Now we can have Zesty Italian Dressing whenever we want.  

To make packets, simply combine all dry ingredients and store in a baggie.  When you are ready to use, add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, water, and lemon juice.

The second recipe I use all the time is a basic Balsamic Vinaigrette.  This recipe is found out  This is a great dressing for any spinach salad.  I also love to use it on Greek style salads as well.  It is really quick and easy to throw together.  It also saves well and keeps for a while in the refrigerator.

You can find the recipe HERE.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

10 Helpful Potato Masher Uses

One of my favorite hand held tools in the kitchen?  My potato masher.  There are many types of potato mashers and they come in all different shapes and sizes.  Mine happens to be a little old fashioned.  It could be why I adore it so much.  It came to me in a box of random kitchen items passed on from my Great Aunt Obbey and it looks a little like this: 

Monday, February 10, 2014

How to Make Your Own Brown Sugar

Have you ever gone to make some cookies only to find out that you are out of brown sugar??  NO!!!!  That's the worst.  But it's totally fixable.  There's an easy substitution that actually works so well you may not buy brown sugar anymore!

White refined sugar has been stripped of anything useful for the body and molasses is actually a bi-product of the refining process.  Brown sugar is basically white sugar that companies mix molasses back into.  So why not make it yourself.  Who knew it was that easy?

Here's what you need:

1 cup regular white sugar (preferably organic variety)
1 tbsp organic unsulfured molasses (or more if you want a darker brown sugar)

Simply add the molasses to your sugar and blend away.  I've found using a potato masher works great.  You can also use a spoon or a mixer.  Just make sure you get it all worked in.  

So it's still not the healthiest of sugar choices, but YOU control what goes in it.  The best part is, you can add more or less molasses to get the darkness (flavor) that you want.  

So happy baking.  And may your pantry be ever full of homemade brown sugar.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

H2O Here We Go

Drinking enough water in a day can be tough.  Unless you are actually keeping track, who knows how much water you actually drink?

In an article by CBS News it is stated that, "According to a survey of 2,818 Americans, conducted in 14 US cities by Yankelovich Partners for the Rockefeller University and the International Bottled Water Association, only 34% are drinking the recommended daily amount of water."  That's a lot of people not getting enough water each day.  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Happy Kids = Happy Mom

As a health and wellness blog, one thing I frequently forget to blog about is a healthy mind.  With two young boys running around, sometimes my sanity is the last thing I seem to have control over.  So moms, this post is for you.  For anyone who's ever lost it when your kids are driving you nuts because you are stuck inside all day.

Monday, January 27, 2014

New Year Abs

So you want abs?  Don't we all!  And this time of year there are lots of people headed to the gym to get their workout on.  Just yesterday, after class, a woman approached me and wanted me to show her some moves she could do in the water to strengthen her core.  For her, it was not about wanting that six pack.  She had been in an accident and has finally recovered enough to work out again after six months.  She used to be very fit but now is feeling quite weak.  She wanted to work on her abs to help with everyday activities.  We all use our core muscles for so many day to day tasks.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Homemade Pasta

I used to shy away from homemade pasta, believing it to be too big a chore to mess with.  In fact, even after I received my pasta maker attachment for my Kitchenaid as a gift, I still felt like the task was just too big for years.  But that was then.  Now, I feel making pasta is pretty easy and very satisfying.  Worth the trouble even.

Really, the work is not hard.  It's time that you need.  My pasta maker attachment sure makes the work part a breeze.  So how do you make homemade pasta?  And what if you don't have a pasta press?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Real Food, Real Convenience

As I think back a few years ago, I remember all the convenience foods I used to eat.  Mac and Cheese for the kids, boxed muffin mixes and cakes, and canned anything - fruit, veggies, soups, beans, etc. We frequently ate bottled spaghetti sauce with boxes of pasta, taco seasoning packets or taco kits, boxes of Asian fair, or frozen bags of skillet meals.  I used to have a steady supply of frozen chicken nuggets, fish sticks, veggie steamers, hot pockets, pizzas (lots of frozen pizzas) and low fat microwave meals.  When it was time to make a meal, I basically heated water to boil something, warmed it up in the microwave, or put a frozen meal in the oven.  Occasionally I would use my crock pot but mostly for pre-made frozen bags of slow cooker meals.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Awesome Apple

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away."  And also dentists, cancer, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, diabetes, heart disease, diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, weigh gain, cataracts, and more!  What's your favorite way to eat an apple?  Slice it, cook it, bake it, juice it, pulverize it?  How about your favorite variety?  So many options to choose from and so many wonderful health benefits!  The apple is truly awesome.

I found this great chart at Sprouts one day so I had to take a picture of it.  I love it because it gives you a good idea of which variety to choose for whatever your feeling in the mood for.  If you want something sweet, go for the Fujis.  If you're looking for more tart, go with a Granny Smith.  Personally, my favorite is Honeycrisp. 

I shop deals.  Apples are the cheapest in their peak season which is fall.  But you can usually watch ads and find great deals throughout the year.  Sprouts had a sale on all varieties so I bought 20 pounds.  Here's what I did with them.  Hopefully it will give you some good ideas on how to get your apple-a-day.

Apple chips

Core the apple.  Leave the skin on or peel it.  However you prefer.  Leaving the skin on will give you more nutrients though.  Using a mandolin, slice the apple into 1/8 inch or smaller slices.  Let slices soak in cool water mixed with Fruit Fresh or lemon juice to prevent browning.  Place slices in a dehydrator for 12 hours.  Chips will be done when the are dry enough to snap apart.


This is a staple in our house.  We eat it for snacks, when we are sick, or in muffins and cakes.  I like to use a blend of apples to get a fuller flavor.  If you use sweet enough apples you don't even need to add any sugar as it is naturally sweet.   If you buy organic, you can make nutritious, chemical free applesauce at a fraction of the cost of buying it already jarred at the store. 

Simply peel, core, and chop your apples, simmer in a pot with a little bit of water until they are nice and soft.  Then either use a potato masher to smash to your desired consistency or blend it for a smoother texture.  If you made a large batch you might want to can the excess. I used the water bath method and added a tsp of lemon juice to each pint.

Apple juice

What did I do with all those leftover peels and cores?  I put them through my juicer along with a few extra apples and saved the juice.  Then to get to most bang for my buck, I added water to my apple pulp (leftover from juicing it) brought it to a boil, and then strained through a fine mesh sieve to double the amount of juice I had.  The end result was a little watered down but still tasty.  I added a little bit of simple syrup to sweeten it up a bit and then canned it in quart sized jars.  You can drink it chilled or get creative and make a warm spiced apple drink.

Have a favorite apple recipe?  Please leave a comment and share!  I would love to try some new recipes out.  Enjoy your apples!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Two Ingredient Cough Drops

It's that time of year again.  Cold and Flu season.  There's a little bug going around that seems to plague people for about 12 to 24 hours.  And then there's the cold that last for weeks.  There are all kinds of home remedies to try to ease your symptoms.  Some work better than others and sometimes sleep is all you can do.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Homemade BBQ Sauce

With the super bowl around the corner you may be in search of a good BBQ sauce for your wings and burgers.  Look no more.  This sauce is made with ketchup.  Use your favorite brand or use your own homemade ketchup! (Check out my Ketchup post HERE)  I made a huge batch of ketchup, canned a bunch and then used the rest for my BBQ sauce.  Sweet and spicy all at once, this is a hit at our house and it doubled as Christmas gifts for the guys of our family.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Easy DIY Fancy Soap

For my birthday last year, my sister in law gave me this nice homemade bar of soap and some lip balm.  There is something very soothing and luxurious about natural homemade soaps.  The smell, the texture, the color.  It's heavenly.  Enter Christmas present ideas.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Eat Clean, Train Mean!

Happy New Year!!  And welcome back to my blog.  I'm sure you have a list of resolutions for the upcoming year.  Some of them may have to do with exercising or nutrition, or losing weight.  Some may have to do with getting more sleep, or reducing stress.  Some may have to do with paying down debt, saving for a trip, or spending less on frivolous things.  Or maybe you want to work on some bad habit that you want to turn around.  Whatever your goal is, take some time to sit down and really think about it for a minute.  How are you going to make changes?  What will you have to do to make it happen?  Is it reasonable?  

I have a love hate relationship with New Year's Resolutions.  I tend to make very large lists in my head of things I'm going to do differently and then get disappointed by about January 21st because I've managed to screw them all up!  I am a list person.  I get this crazy satisfaction in crossing things off of my lists.  This is the love part.  But when you don't get to cross things off it's quite depressing.

Real change takes time.  Start with only a few you want to work on and don't beat yourself up if you go off course.  No one said you had to be perfect.  Last year, I vowed not to drink Diet Coke anymore.  Or any soda for that matter.  It has been a whole year since I made that promise and I maybe had 5 sodas the entire time.  I could have said, "well I blew it" and gave up.  But I stuck with it and now I look back and think 5 sodas in a whole year is pretty good!

So here is my list of things I want to do in 2014.  I would like to:  
Go to bed early - 10 pm would be great because I could ensure 8 hrs of sleep each night.  I'll be writing on sleep deprivation soon!

be better at sending cards.  Thank you's and birthdays mostly.

tame my temper towards my children during their temper tantrums.

reduce my sugar intake.

learn to sew.

regularly post to both this blog and my family blog.

What are your goals or resolutions?  To help with that last one I am going to start posting to this blog on a schedule.  Come check out new posts every Monday and Thursday.  I have so many great posts planned.  Things to help you stay fit and healthy.  I'll also have some new DIY posts for making body care products, and recipes for homemade foods and sauces. Look for new workouts to try at home, at the gym or in the pool. Join me each week and share the love.  If you like a post, leave a comment or share on your Facebook or Pinterest pages!  

Happy New Year! Lets eat clean and train mean!