Friday, April 10, 2015

5 Healthy Sweet Snacks that Curb Sugar Cravings

I admit it, I have a raging sweet tooth. I will seriously eat the healthiest breakfast, lunch, and dinner then ruin it all with gummy worms, ice cream, and chocolate for dessert. Recently, I've discovered a few healthy snacks that kill my sweet craving and satisfy my sweet tooth. Try picking up some of these snacks at the grocery store next time you need a healthy snack substitute.

Rice Cakes: Packing a rice cake in your bag for an afternoon snack or breakfast on-the-go, is an easy way to satisfy your sweet cravings. Not only are they low in calories and sugar, they come in a variety of different flavors like chocolate and caramel.Yum!

chocolate rice cake

Dried Cranberries: With 0g of fat and only 120 calories for 1/4 cup, these little guys are my favorite healthy snack! Instead of grabbing fruit snacks, gummy worms, or any other sugary snack, I've been buying dried cranberries in the organic food isle. Around 3 o'clock every day, I'll pull out the dried cranberries and munch away.

Oatmeal with Peanut Butter: If you're less of a sweet and sour craver and more of a savory snack craver, try oatmeal with peanut butter. I stumbled upon this magical union of oats and peanut spread in college when my roommate would eat it for breakfast. Since it's fiber and protein packed, I like to whip up a bowl before or after the gym.

Blackberry and Banana Medley: Throwing blackberries and bananas into a little treat cup for your busy afternoons is such an easy way to cater to your sweet tooth. This combo is perfect for those sweet and sour craving days.
berries and banana snack
Happy Snacking!
Granola Bar: I'm a huge fan of the peanut butter Nature Valley or Clif bars. (I'm pretty much in love with things peanut butter if you haven't noticed.) They are packed with protein and other good nutrients that a candy bar can't offer.

The next time you want to grab your "bad habit" snack, try one of these instead. Who knows, you may find your new go-to sweet! What are some of your favorite healthy snacks? I'm always looking for fun ways to mix up my grocery list.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

DIY Backyard Landscape Project

backyard landscape before picture

The projects just keep on coming! The past couple of weekends, Nic and I have gotten into the habit of saying, "What's our project for today?" Saturday was beautiful so we headed to Lowe's to tackle a small part of the backyard that needed some major improvement. We've been toying with different landscaping ideas for the front of the house and wanted to test our skills in the backyard first. Nic used to do a little landscaping for a summer job in college so he got us off to a great start.

backyard landscape project

First, we dug a small path from the deck stairs to the sun room door. (Actually, Nic did the digging, I took pictures. haha) Then we laid a few bricks and cement slabs into the ground to create a little walking pathway. We actually found the bricks scattered around the backyard and I'm still not exactly sure why they were there in the first place.

backyard brick pathway

backyard landscape progress
Maybe our next project should be staining this deck....yeesh
Once we finished the path, it was time to add a little color and greenery. We chose four blue juniper shrubs and planted them alongside of the house. I was reassured it's nearly impossible to kill these guys, which is great, because I can't keep a plant alive if my life depended on it.

backyard blue juniper

shrubs in backyard

Finally, we added some chestnut brown mulch around the path and plants to finish off the look.  I was incredibly surprised by how affordable mulch can be for a small area. We don't live on a huge property so adding mulch to this space cost us less than $10. This was probably the easiest part, you literally dump and spread around.

backyard landscape

diy backyard landscape

diy backyard landscape

I'm super excited with how this backyard landscape project turned out. Not only did it take less than a couple of hours, we did it all for under $40. Next on the list? The front yard! At this point, it's a blank canvas, so any ideas are welcome! What DIY landscaping tips do you have up your sleeve?

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