Sunday, February 22, 2015

Healthy Blueberry Apple Crisp

So, over the weekend I made this delicious apple crisp. I posted a picture of it on social media and nearly everyone begged for the recipe. That right there tells me this is will be a popular post! Although I didn't use any exact measurements when I made it, I have a very good eye for cooking and baking without recipes. Below is my best estimation of what I did! I do hope you enjoy it. It was very popular at my house.

1 Gala apple
1 Cup of frozen, unsweetened blueberries, defrosted
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 single serve package of plain instant oatmeal
1 serving of "I cant believe its not butter" spray (5 squirts)
1 tbsp Walden Farms Syrup
.5 cup of Splenda
Dash of vanilla extract 
Non-stick spray

First, mix 1/4 cup of Splenda with blueberries in a bowl and place in fridge. Spray a small glass baking pan with non-stick spray.

Cut apples into thin slices, removing stem and seeds. Line the bottom of the glass pan with the apples and sprinkle with 1 tsp of cinnamon and 14 cup of Splenda. Place in the fridge. Preheat oven to 325.

To make the topping- mix the package of oatmeal, the Walden Farms Syrup, dash of vanilla, 5 sprays of the "butter" and the other tsp of cinnamon in a bowl. It should have a somewhat chunky, crumbly consistency.

Remove the apple and blueberry mixtures from the fridge. By this point the blueberries should have a sweet juice made from the Splenda and natural blueberry juice. Pour that entire mixture on top of the apples. Then crumple the oatmeal mixture over the top.

Bake at 325 for about 30 minutes. The apples should be soft. Serves 2-4.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Snow Day Giveaway

I like nothing more than spend my day either playing on my computer (online shopping), cooking, or reading on a good snow day. Today we had one of those such days. I got to spend plenty of time with my kiddos, fold tons of laundry, and of course- play on my computer! It was a delight.

However, I am starting to look forward to Spring. I love celebrating Easter with my family. In fact, I started making those plans today. If you too are looking forward to Easter, you will like these neat graphic tees from Family Christian!  I have one that I love. Its purple and it say " I am the Resurrection and the Life." There are several more designs as well, and they are only $7.97 until 4/23. Since you are probably snowed in like me, you can check them out online- here!

 If you love several of them and cant decide, perhaps this giveaway will help! Since its so nice and snowy and I LOVE snow, you can share what you enjoy doing on a snow day and get an entry to this giveaway for $10 to spend at Family Christian (on these cool shirts or on something else you've had your eye on!) Hurry! This giveaway is only open a few days!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Goals & Rewards

If you have been following me on here or Facebook, you are aware of my major life changes. In fact, I thrive on finding and working toward these goals. I am a major perfectionist with a tendency to obsess, so it comes naturally to me. However, this drive cannot last forever, so I am starting to create rewards to go with these goals. I see nothing wrong getting rewarded for goals accomplished.

Recently I have put most of my focus into my health. Losing weight and training for the Color Run have been main goals for several months now. I figured it would be a good time to share those goals and my plans for rewards. It is also a good time to explore some new goals with you and get ideas on the rewards that best fit them. So please share your thoughts and ideas. I really want to know!

If you can not read it, here is a basic run down:
100lbs lost- tattoo
15 min jog- running shoes
5 min outdoor jog- mani-pedi
Hit 175- new sandals
Goal weight- Spa Day
Jog 10 mins outdoors- shoes
jog 15 mins outdoors- getaway
Jog 3 miles- Tory Burch Bag
Jog 3 miles outdoors- Earrings
Keep weight off 6 months- Sleep Number bed

I don't really see these as unfair rewards or unrealistic goals. I only hope I can afford my reward at the time!

Anyway, now I am starting to write a new list of goals. More "life" goals that are about more than health. I recently decided to pursue my education further. I have found a love for inspiring others and helping them to reach their goals. Considering this, I plan on becoming a life coach/ counselor. I was laughing with a friend the other day when I said "I want a job where I get to make people feel awesome! What can I do?" This field is what I found.

I figured it is now time to create goals for my education and career. However I am not really sure where to start, because I feel like the rewards and goals are so very different from the ones above. This is where my readers come in. Help me create them! Here is what I know has to be on that list so far:

  • Graduate with Masters
  • Graduate with Doctorate
Any other good ideas?

Where else in my life should I focus? I love to work on these kinds of projects!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Spinach Turkey Sauce

Although I have been busy the last few days, I return with so much going on. I have fantastic news to share at some point. I also have multiple recipes to share, ideas to discuss, and fun thing to write about it! It is exciting!

Anyway, today I have a DELICIOUS recipe to share with you. I made this dish for my family and I and everyone enjoyed it. It has plenty of veggies and tons of flavor! If you are extra healthy you can use veggie noodles.

  • 1 can of Italian diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of plain tomato sauce
  • 5-8 cups of fresh spinach
  • 1 lbs of ground turkey
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1tsp of basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large skillet brown ground turkey. While browning add in onion powder.
2. When ground turkey is browned, add slightly drained can of diced tomatoes and simmer for 5 mins. 
3. Add the rest of the spices and simmer and extra 2 mins. Stirring to make sure all spices are mixed evenly.
4. Add spinach and simmer until leaves wilt. Stir well. Lastly add the can of sauce. Heat until desired temperature.

This sauce can be served of noodles or veggie noodles. Add Parmesan to taste. I even ate it alone with a side of roasted brussel sprouts. Yum!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Self Study Sundays: The Five Love Languages

Casseruola Dolce Della Vita

I know that I have mentioned the book "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman before. I do so again because it is such a useful book. Even if you are single, knowing your own love language helps you to understand yourself. It helps you to realize what make you feel loved. I highly recommend reading it. In fact, they have a version to learn the love language of children as well! However, if you don't have time to read it currently, you can still get a basic idea of your love language.
The icon above will bring you to a short quiz that will help you understand your love language(s) better. Mine are physical touch and acts of service. My husband's is physical touch as well. 

While you are at it, it would be cool to add your love language to your daily journal. How many of you have been keeping up with yours? Mine is going well. I included a picture of mine below. I would love to see yours!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

More 300 Calorie Lunches

Green beans, peppered turkey, hard bread stick.

A whole dried apple, almond butter, and Melba toast

Cabbage, chicken, and green beans wraps made with half a tomato tortilla wrap (cut into froths). Sugar Free chocolate for a treat

Chipotle chicken salad with fat free sour cream

Tomato and chicken wrap in a tomato tortilla with an orange and sugar free peach rings.

 Since this is my last 300 calorie lunch post for a while, I'd love to hear your opinions! Were you inspired? What are some 300 calorie lunch ideas that you have created? Please share!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Self Study Sunday: Year Long Discovery Project

Casseruola Dolce Della Vita 

When I started this blog it was all about some kind of self discovery. In fact, I am a person I never would have been if I had not started blogging. However, over time I have made my blog not only about self discovery but about inspiring others. Every step I take closer to understanding myself I realize that I was meant to build up others. Because of this I would like to encourage you to join this year long journey with me. It may not always be easy, but you will not be alone.

The best thing about this project is that no one has to see it if you don't want them too. It also doesn't require any writing if you do not want it to. "What is it?" you may be asking. Well, its something like a journal. Giving you options of what you do on a daily basis kicks out the reasons "I'm not crafty" or "I can't write." So, what are you waiting for? Join me.

Here's what you may need:
  • Notebook or journal
  • pen or pencil
  • coloring supplies
  • glue
  • scissors
  • magazines or newspaper
I will be following my progress of this same project over the year. I will also be providing you with thought provoking questions and ideas. I encourage you to understand what I am coming to understand, there is so much more to you!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Cool Kids

I have a confession to make. When I was young I was a complete outcast. I was looked down upon for my weight, my faith, and my fashion. The sad thing about it all is that I wanted nothing more than to be like the "cool kids." I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be the one who got to make the rules.

I'm disappointed to say that I let other people's opinions of me taint many years of my life. I am not sure when it happened exactly, but eventually I let that go. Now I do what I want. I dress how I like. As my for my faith, it keeps me strong. As my thoughts about myself changed, so did how everyone saw me. I don't know how it happened, but I feel like a "cool kid."

Now, people ask me for fashion advice. Now, I am looked up to and appreciated for my contributions. I have things that other people dream of- husband, kids, a job I enjoy, and I do what I love and make money from it (writing). I am not saying all this to brag. I say it because I never really changed. What changed is my opinion of myself!

So here is my encouragement for today. Your so much "cooler" than you realize. Be you. There is no more awesome YOU in this world. People will come around in their own time. Don't let the "haters" bring you down! I think you straight out rock!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Shop Your Closet

Since losing so much weight, I have found a new love for style and clothing again. Getting creative with my clothing has become even more important because I can not afford to buy too much new clothing until I hit my goal weight. Below I have highlighted a little bit of my work wear. I hope it inspires you to shop your closet as well!

Casual Friday look!

You can see that we are in the middle of a major clean out in my bedroom! Out with the old and in with the new right?

I would LOVE to see your style. Tag me @dolcedellavita or #dolcedellavita

Saturday, January 17, 2015

300 Calorie Lunches

Since starting my diet I have learned to be extra creative with the way I cook and eat. It can getting boring after a while with limited selection and quantities. If you don't believe a delicious lunch can be around 300 calories than check out a few of my ideas below!

A ground turkey taco with an orange and half of a low carb tortilla

Veggie burger wrap with fat free mozzarella, half a low carb tortilla, and no sugar added tomato sauce

Egg salad (made with calorie free mayo), Melba toast, sugar free bread and butter pickles and an orange

Turkey wrap with mustard, a salad (no dressing), and sugar free twizzlers

Turkey and broccoli stir fry and half an apple

Apple and almond butter

Green beans, almonds and an orange

See, no boring here!! All of these were around 300 calories, NO LIE! What are you healthy lunch ideas. Share pictures on instagram and twitter and tag me @dolcedellavita or use the hashtag #dolcedellavita

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Closet Space App Review

When I first found this app it was called Stylitics. I instantly fell in love with it. The basic idea of this app is to catalog all style/fashion items in your personal possession for easy access. In my opinion it is a lot like Polyvore for your own clothing.
Jeans 1
outfits made with Polyvore

Once you have taken pictures of all your clothing and given them labels, you can make outfits with them. You can then schedule those outfits on your calender. All this is included within your app. You can catalog your items by type, style, color, price, fabric, pattern, and even fit. You can give as much or as little information as you like. However the more information you give, the easier it is to pull up clothing later. The one thing I have learned since the update to the new name and format is a difference in how you take photos. At this point it is better to take a photo from within the app rather than use a photo already on your phone. The reason for this is that it changes the direction of the picture when it format. Other than that, the new update seems good.
Closet Space outfit made with my pictures

Since this update is brand new, I haven't really had enough time to really get a good feel for it. Still, the ability to see my entire closet from my bed or while I am out shopping does come in handy. You can also catalog your makeup and beauty products. This is especially useful if you like nail polish! These things can even be added to your outfits.

I highly recommend this FREE app, not because I am getting paid for it but because I love it. It took me forever to get all the pictures on my phone, but it has been worth it. You can also add pictures to your app via their website.If you do use your phone, you can always delete the photos once they are on the app. That is what I have been doing.

So try it out and let me know if you love it as much as I do!

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Style

I have always found it interesting how style and fashion can be so different yet so alike. The truth is, style is clothing in your closet you will always love. Over the years I have started to create my own style. Its changed some since I began the journey, but I really feel like I have finally found my place.

As I am covering some of my style this month on my blog, I thought it might be interesting to talk about how I created mine and how you too can create your own. In fact, you probably have a style and didn't even realize it. My first suggestion is to take a few style quizzes. Not only are they fun, but they give you are starting point. Below I have provided a link to two decent ones I have found. This quizzes help you find a style icon.



My next suggestion is to create a Pinterest board or two of all the styles and fashion you love. Eventually you will see a pattern. If you don't believe me, you can check out mine.


Work it Girl

After a while you will start to see the fashions that makes up your style. I am somewhere between Grace Kelly and Beyonce. I consider my style classic-glam with a dash of international flair.

So, what is your style?

Please tag me @dolcedellavita and hashtag #dolcedellavita

Friday, January 9, 2015

Fashion, Fitness & Food

It is finally time for me to announce the them for the rest of the month. I am really excited about it! It pretty much covers everything I have been about for the past few months- fashion, fitness, and food. I am learning to and loving dressing my new figure. I am also learning to get really creative with my health conscious food. My diet is very restricted, but I refuse to let it stay boring!

Throughout January I will be posting
  • fashion looks
  • reviews of fashion friendly apps
  • tips
  •  meal ideas
  •  simple fitness videos (things I do!)
  • reviews of helpful kitchen products
Its a lot to cover but it will be fun!I can already tell you that I am loving it so far. I hope you will join me for the fun. Join on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #dolcedellavita and tag me @dolcedellavita on Twitter! This month promises to be a great kick off to a full year!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Let's Be Practical

It's about time that I get together the goals I would like to accomplish this year. I plan to be more practical this year. I think one goal under each category is not too much to ask of myself. I am still a believer in dreaming big and reaching for the stars. I am also a firm follower of the concept "expect more, get more." In fact, those things follow me through many aspects of my life. (Some of this comes from being a perfectionist.) So, without further ado...

Romance/Marriage Goals

After reviewing last year's goal's in this area and how badly I failed at them, I decided to retry one of those. They were such worthy goals that I just couldn't let them go!

I would like to write, say, or do something to build up and encourage my husband on a daily basis. He deserves it. Although it may be easy to find flaws, it is important to remember that no one is perfect and that a marriage will benefit from that kind of positivity.

Food-Health Goals

Finding a goal for this one is a bit harder. With all the changes I've already made, it feels like there is so little left. My biggest weakness in this area may be creating health conscious meals that the whole family can eat. I sometimes find myself making a small healthy meal for me and giving everyone else something easy. That is clearly doing them no good!

Educational/Professional Goals

Basically, my only goal here this year is to once and for all decide what I want to do. I need to come to a clear conclusion on if I plan to go back to school or not. I need to decide what degree I pursue if I do. After already completing on degree and many trainings, I am just not sure. A decision will be made this year!

Service Goals

This year I want to learn to serve as a family. I want to teach my children to care for others above themselves. I want to take every opportunity I can to serve as a family. At this point in time I am not sure what that looks like, but it is my goal.

Cleaning/ Household Management Goals

I think it would be reasonable to expect that one load of dishes gets done a day.

Physical Goals

I want to be able to jog 3 miles. Specifically by April when I intend to do the color run!

Blogging Goals

I really want to get at least 15 posts a month between my blogs. The more the better though!

Fashion Goals

We will be talking more about this over the month, but I want to really build and understand my signature style so I can only have pieces I love.

Saving/ Money Management Goals

 Put something... anything into savings EVERY month. If I accomplish this, it will be the biggest feat of all!

Reading Goals

Readers already know my love for self help books, so its not worth including them in my goals this year. I will surely read plenty of them. If I can find them, I will usually read them. However, I do think it would be important for me to focus more attention this year into getting deeper in the Word of God. This year my reading goal is to read from the Bible on a daily basis. Surely this is the most useful book of all that I can read.

So that completes this year's goals. I look forward to going back to these again next year and seeing how I did. I can only hope that I do as well as last year with its hefty list of goals.

Now I want to know, what are your goals this year? Do you create goals for each aspect of your life?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Year In Review

As I welcome a new year, I have come to grips with the fact that last year was not as perfect as I would have liked. I had big plans for the year. I had lots of hope. I always find new beginnings refreshing, exciting and nerve racking! I figured for my first post of the new year I would do two things. First, I will explain my absence and second I will review my goals from last year. If you joined recently, you can find those original posts here.

As for my leave of absence, there were several reasons. I really needed a break. I was lacking inspiration and suffering from mild depression. Although this is not completely foreign to me, it did seem to drain my writing abilities. Second, I had far too full of plate. I was spread too thin. I was so tired when I got home that writing was really the last thing on my mind. Lastly, my husband and family needed me. We have gone through job losses, illness, and the holidays all in a few short months. Now, after my break I feel more motivated and a little bit more inspired. I sought help, I took a breather, and I am back in the game.

Since my explanation is out of the way, I would love to take a look at last years goals and whether they were accomplished. I'm actually surprised how many were. I was a little bit optimistic when I wrote them!

So, here they are:

Romance/ Marriage Goals

1. I would like to write, say, or do something to build up and encourage my husband on a daily basis. You know, I don't really know if I accomplished this one. If I did, I was not purposeful about it. However, now that I am reading it... it is a super good goal. I may reconsider it.
2. Make it a point to have a "date" on a monthly basis Yeah, this one did not happen. Money was short and kids are hard. I hope for better chances this year.

Food/ Health Goals

1. Reduce intake of sugary foods. Yes, I actually did do this! I have done all three of my food/ health goals. Below I will show an update on my progress!
2. Reduce intake of fatty foods.
3. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

Educational/ Professional

1. Take one class or seminar on an area of interest I went to Bloggy Conference 2014 and it was awesome. I do hope to get some sponsors to go again!
2. Do three professional trainings I did a little bit more than that! I am now a certified Behavior Technician.
3. Do three activities to be more actively involved at my current school I tried, I've done at least one, but this year has been busy like I said.

Service Goals

1. Be involved with some form a volunteer service 3 times this year If working at church counts I more than completed this goal!
2. Knit at least 10 baby caps for the local hospital to be given at the end of the year. Sadly, this is another fail. I never got to the first one!

Cleaning/ Household Management Goals

1. Clean one thing before bed every night. This might have happened once a week.
2. Create and post family rules If you are a loyal reader, you already know this didn't happen. we have rules, just not posted and "official".
3. Give my oldest son a chore list I need to get this up and running!
4. Create and stick to a basic menu and shopping list Nope
5. Create and use a household management binder Made the binder but didn't use it!

Physical Goals

1. Take at least 1 exercise class I rocked both these goals!
2. Do something active (and purposeful) at least 3 times a week.


1. Post at least 3 time a week here on Casseruola Dolce Della Vita
2. Post at least 2 times a week over at Missionary Manda's Musings
3. Post at least once a week at Growing Up Around the Table Let's just say frowny face all around!


1. Clean out at least 4 articles from my closet that haven't been used in the past 6 months. That was done, nothing fit!
2. Paint my nails on a weekly basis and my toes on a monthly basis. Another no.

Saving/ Money Management Goals

 1. Put away a little money for each of my boys a month. no
 2. Use more coupons! I did ok with this.
 3. Save at least 50 a month. no
 4. Create a workable budget. I wish I had done better with this one.
 5. Put a small sum into an emergency fund each month. another no

 Reading Goals

1. Read 2 books on household management/ money I don't think I did... I dunno. I read  A LOT of self help books.
2. Read 2 books on marriage Yes
3. Read 2 books for pleasure Yes
4. Read 2 book on parenting Aww, no I didn't do that.

So, that was how I did! Not as bad as it could have been. As you can see my health ending up being my main focus. I will write about it in the near future but for now- here is my progress!