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Many IG followers asked, so here it is, the recipe for these amazing Cookies & Cream Blondie Bars, that I made the other night. Not only are they scrumptious, but they are SO easy and festive. Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) Melt for about a 50 sec
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 18 Oreo’s broken in 4th’s. I use double stuff (because duh) 13 Oreo’s does the trick
- 1/2 cup festive red & green M&M’s
- Preheat oven to 350F while you line a 8×8 inch pan with foil or parchment paper. Spray the pan and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, melt the butter in microwave for 50-60 seconds, stir when finished to ensure it is thoroughly melted.
- After the butter cools down for a minute, transfer to a large mixing bowl, add in egg, brown sugar, vanilla and whisk until smooth.
- Then add flour & salt, and stir until combined
- Add Oreo’s and stir, stir, stir.
- Add M&M’s and stir..now your burning calories!
- Pour the thick batter into the pan you previously prepared, while smoothing it lightly with a spatula. Push into corners and feel free to add a few M&M’s to the top if you want more color.
- Bake at 350F for 18-21 minutes, or until top is set. I have noticed mine cook for 23 minutes, could be the extra cream from the double stuffed Oreo’s. Set aside to cool, bars will firm as they cool. I put mine in the fridge to harden a bit before serving.
- Last step is to enjoy these bars and share with your loved ones!!
I remember hearing in our child birth preparation course, that each women’s pregnancy is completely different. I thought to myself, how can it be that different? Did we all not have sex, pee on a stick, carry a baby for 36-42 weeks, get really big and then go to the hospital where we pushed out a baby, or in my case had a c-section? I hate to sound so un-classy about the above (I’m usually considered a prude), but it just seemed like yet another thing my child birth prep teacher wanted to be super dramatic about and drag out in another two hour class. But here’s the thing… she was right. We all do have a different pregnancy experience, and each is our own story that will always be special to us. However, I feel like everyone talks about pregnancy, and your pregnancy body, and anything and everything about that time period… but no one really talks about your body’s journey after delivery. That was the part of my pregnancy I struggled with- the Post Pregnancy Body.
Although I had delivered the most incredible blessing that I will ever receive, once I wasn’t pregnant anymore I struggled to understand my body. I would stare in the mirror and try to understand it. YES- it just made a human, and YES- it delivered that human, and YES- it was healthy and was recovering from surgery… but it wasn’t my body, it wasn’t the body I had had for 29 years, I didn’t recognize it and I was terrified it would never come back. Now, I’m married to a man who loves me at any size, but I wasn’t afraid of not getting my body back for any other reason but myself. I have always been an active person who works out five or more times a week and eats a healthy diet, but I wasn’t used to what I was working with body wise.
The first few months were hard, none of the weight I put on was coming off. I would beat myself up emotionally and get so annoyed when anyone would say, “It takes nine months to put on and nine months to take off,” but its true and then some. Six months post pregnancy with constant work outs and healthy choices, I finally started to see some of the weight come off. It was the longest, most stubborn experience I have had physically, to date. Over the course of the next six months, slowly and surely it started to come off more and more. As my confidence would go up, I would then see that girl on my Facebook feed who only gained twenty five pounds during pregnancy, and posted a picture that she lost all her baby weight- and her baby was born four months after mine!! I would then go downhill again, questioning any and all confidence I was starting to get back. But after time, and many emotional ups and downs I learned that just like the “different pregnancy journey’s,” every single one of us have a different post pregnancy journey and we shouldn’t compare ourselves to each other.
This past weekend I put on a bathing suit (a bikini at that) for the first time in two years! I have never been confident in a bikini, and can still tell you that I wasn’t… but I was proud of my accomplishment. I’m proud of what my body did and I’m proud of how it bounced back. I can honestly say I’m in the best shape I ever have been in. But it was a day by day challenge and nothing about it was easy, but it was worth it. My health is not only important to me, but its crucial to my family. The healthier I am for them, the better Mom and Wife I can be. It’s okay to be completely obsessed with our babies, but at the same time frustrated at our bodies, I was there and some mornings, I’m still there. So for all of you Moms who feel like I did, or are struggling…be patient and be kind on your body. It really does get better, but it is hard… so don’t get down on yourself. Were not all freaks of natures who can bounce back so quickly- damn those girls. We’re real women, with real journeys! I know I will be right back here in frustration-ville after the next pregnancy, but I now know the time it takes to bounce back is different per person, and we cant compare ourselves or we’ll just go mad. We just have to be grateful and thankful for what our bodies did, and patient on what we want them to do after that. Man, do I sound like a Mom or what?!
I think people thought I was crazy when six months ago I started to plan my sons first birthday party. On their defense it was sorta crazy…he was only six months old when I was at Hobby Lobby loading my basket with jungle themed items. But here’s the thing, I live to be creative, it’s who I am, I show my love through creativity, and to be creative you have to plan! Since day one Brady has been obsessed with Simba from Lion King. If I had a dollar for how many times we have sang or watched the video for, “I Just Cant Wait to be King,” we would be millionaires. I can sing that song in my sleep backwards, and I have even created quite the choreagraphy. With that said, it was so easy to come up with the Jungle Safari theme. Let’s be honest, the first birthday party is really for the parents, and all their friends and family who have supported and guided them through their first year of parenting, so I wanted to make it extra special. My husband and I have been so blessed to come from such wonderful families, it’s their love and support that has enabled us to be the parents we have become. We were so grateful to share this day with them. Now if only I could do party planning for a living, I would really be in heaven!
I was amazed this morning when I woke up to over a dozen DM’s asking me for the recipe to this little go-to bowl, that I created a couple months ago. Since January, I have been on a major health kick and have tried to “Shed with Salmon.” I’m actually not a huge Salmon fan, but I am a fan of all its wonderful nutrients, so I just needed to make it “Tasty to Tiff!” You can doctor it up to your liking, but below is what I do. Hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think, and what you tried differently!
Salmon: Top Salmon fillets with pesto butter or lemon juice, or both for an extra kick. Bake in an oven safe dish for 30 mins at 400 degrees.
Brussel Sprouts: Make it easy and buy the pre-shredded brussel sprouts in the bag. Wash them and put them in a ziploc bag. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic salt, bread crumbs and parmigiano reggiano (good ass cheese). Shake, shake, shake… make it fun! Pour the contents of the bag into a oven safe dish and cook at same temp and time as the Salmon. I put the Brussel Sprouts on top rack and Salmon on bottom. Please Note- I like my sprouts a little more cooked, if you like them softer do 20-25 mins.
Quinoa/ Wild Rice: While the above two are baking on the stove make Quinoa or Wild Rice.. or both! I like the combination and the fact it makes a ton and I have leftovers (who doesn’t love leftovers?!) Wanna Cheat? Costco sells packets of both combined, all you have to do is heat for 90 seconds…boom! I may have done that in the picture… may have.. which means I did!
When all is finished put a layer of grains in a bowl, top with the brussel sprouts and then the Salmon. Poor a little of that Salmon juice into the bowl and top with more of that amazing cheese and of course garlic. Voila, dinner! So good, so healthy and so easy! I highly recommend you have a glass of wine in your hand throughout the baking and eating of this.. just not during the shaking of the brussel sprouts… you need to really focus on the shaking (like shake weight style). Enjoy!!
Isn’t it funny how motherhood can change you overnight? I don’t just mean one day your at happy hour with your girlfriends, without a care in the world, and then the next day your pushing out a baby, walking around the house without a shirt on (because what’s the point), all while trying to comprehend what just happened to your body and mind. I mean, it like changes who you are, what you care about, what you stand for and boy oh boy does it create humility! I think these changes have been one of my favorite parts of becoming a Mama. Now I wouldn’t of called myself vain per say, but before having a child I may have cared a little too much about what people thought of me, and I may have taken myself a little too serious at times. When I say, “may,” please note that I’m saying, “I did.” I just “may” still be in denial a little…(working on that). When all you have to worry about is yourself, well… all you worry about is – yourself. Then insert these amazing tiny humans, and all the sudden we as Mama’s take a back seat to any concern, criticism, embarrassment we having coming our way. Its like a natural Mama Bear shield.
Today for instance I stopped at our local Coffee Bean for an Iced Tea. I had to use to the restroom because our next stop was Michael’s for Birthday decorations, (Side Note: as a Mom I urge you to always “try” and use the restroom when you see one, because just when you really have to go, that will be the one time you cant find one, or your stroller wont fit, and you practically pee yourself driving home). Anyways, I strolled my son into the single room restroom that was located adjacent to the barista bar; you know that area where everyone picks up his or her drinks? I locked the door and proceeded to do my business. While I was tinkling, I see Brady’s little hand stretch and reach up to hit the “Handicap door open” button, and the door opened to the whole entire coffee shop. Now mid pee, all I could do was scream as I locked eyes with a couple people waiting for their beverages. I’m sure they had never seen such white thighs in their whole life! And keep in mind nobody looks good sitting on a toilet, nobody! Here is my child laughing, even though he has no idea what he just did, while I’m trying to decide if I wipe and run, or if I just keep sitting until this moment ends. God bless the woman who ran over and closed the door for me, I really need to send her a fruit basket, (nice lady if your reading this, send me your address). As I collected myself in the restroom and laughed at myself in the mirror, I realized these are those moments and memories that you cant make up. These are the moments that shape you, build you, and change you from the put together princess you once were, to the Mama you’ve become. You can still have it together, but these little curve balls that motherhood throw at you are absolutely hilarious, all while building your character. As I walked out of the restroom, that very same woman who closed the door greeted me with a smile and shoulder rub and said, “Welcome to Motherhood, Honey!”
Just another example and another moment that prove this whole Mama journey is the most- wild, exciting, hard, yet rewarding ride you will ever go on. I would have died if someone would have told me a year ago this would happen to me, but today I walked out of Coffee Bean and waived goodbye to my audience as I said, “Well I think y’all have seen enough of me today!” You can’t buy this confidence, or the humility that comes with being a mom; I think you can only discover it. It really is a beautiful thing to watch someone like me, who cared a little too much about what others thought, become someone who doesn’t care at all and can laugh at herself repeatedly. All I care about is what my child thinks of me, and today he thought I was pretty hysterical!
Brady: 1 Mommy: 0