holiday weight gain buster

Prevent Holiday Weight Gain With This Full Body Strength and Cardio Workout

Hooray for the weekend!  I still have to teach a gymnastics class later the morning, but after that I am free through Sunday!

Since it’s a Saturday, and I’ve already done strength training for every body part so far this week – Monday was Back, Tuesday was Chest and shoulders, Wednesday was biceps/triceps, Thursday was legs, and yesterday was a rest day – I usually like to do a full body circuit on the 6th and last workout day of the week.

I’ve come up with what seems like a fairly brutal Full-body circuit I plan on doing this morning.  It incorporates some great high intensity cardio along with back-to-back exercises all to keep the heart rate and calorie burning up at a max.

Remember, Christmas is less than a week away people.  Time to get in that gym and work HARD because you all know you’re going to be stuffing your faces next week….yes YOU!  Not to worry, I’m right there with ya.  Now is not the time to slack off!

holiday weight gain buster

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Christmas City Village in Bethlehem

I’m lucky to live super close to one of the 17 Most Amazing Christmas Towns in America – Bethlehem.

This past weekend I took a trip with my mom and nephew to the Christmas Village in Bethlehem.  Christmas Village is set up in a courtyard and is filled with little stands, each run by a small business from the surrounding area.  It’s quite adorable.


One of my favorite stands included the Backdoor Bakeshop, where I got a Pumpkin Cayenne Spice Coffee, my mom got their famous Mulled Spiced Wine, and the nephew got a hot chocolate.  Another favorite was the Backyard Beans Coffee Company.  There was one guy running this stand, and I was able to talk to him long enough to find out that he runs this business all by himself, sets up stands to sell on the weekends but has a corporate job during the work week.  He eventually hopes to leave the corporate world and make this his sole source of income!  I love stories like that.  The coffee at his stand smelled amazing, and I couldn’t tear myself away without buying a bag of their Holiday Cheer blend.

coffeeThey also had stands selling homemade soap and other body products, handmade jewelry, and handmade hats, gloves and scarves.  I bought an adorable knitted hat to keep my head warm.


We also checked out small businesses down Main Street, like the Moravian Book shop where the nephew wrote a letter to Santa Claus…

ChristmasCityVillage1 and a store called Seasons.  Oh my god, Seasons…every food lover’s dream.  It’s a small shop full of different flavored balsamic vinegars and olive oils…all on tap, so you get to walk around and sample each and every one.  Amazing, right?  We bought an espresso balsamic vinegar and a Tuscan Olive oil.  So far, we’ve used the espresso balsamic vinegar on steak, and it was delicious.  I’ve been using the Tuscan Olive Oil on my brussel sprouts for roasting and in my salad dressings.  It’s been nice to have a different flavor than regular olive oil!

If you’re within a short driving distance of Bethlehem, go go go!!  This is the last weekend to do so I believe.  There’s much much more that I have not even gotten a chance to do yet, like Christkindlmarkt, Gingerbread house-making contests, horse-drawn carriage rides around the town, and nightly Candlelight tours covering the history of Christmas in Bethlehem.

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Weekend Recap + A holiday balls recipe!

Hey friends!  As my semester is winding down, I’m finding more time to blog and create healthy recipes again.  I love playing around in the kitchen.  My workouts have also been top notch lately and pretty intense, and I’m excited to share some of those with you as well.

Yesterday, I had a pretty festive day.  It was Christmas cookie baking day with the family.


Most of the gang decorating cookies


Alex being a freak because he didn’t want his picture taken.

Oh my god, I ate SO many cookies.  This is what happens when I deprive myself for so long! Shame on me.  After baking cookies, we decorated the tree, and apparently recreated scenes from the Lion King.


Alex lifting the nephew, J, to put an ornament on the top of the tree.

Earlier in the weekend however, I prepared myself for all these yummy, so not healthy cookies by making my own healthier alternative: Healthy Holiday Balls.  Feel awkward reading that?  Get your mind of out of the gutter.  Shame on you.

I wish I could say making this healthier alternative kept me from eating the pound of real cookies that I did eat, but I can’t.  I just ate the pound of cookies in addition to these delicious little balls of joy.  But seriously, these festive lil things…SO GOOD.  My boyfriend, whose diet usually consists of cheesesteak, hamburger, fast-food, pizza, chicken fingers and fries, really liked them!  Yes, I did it! If I can pass a healthy recipe by a guy with a typical diet like that, I think I’ve done my job on earth.


Healthy Holiday Balls

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Total Time: 31 minutes

Yield: 20 balls

Serving Size: 1 ball

Calories per serving: 100 calories

Healthy Holiday Balls


  • 1 cup cashew butter
  • 1/3 cup ground oats/oat flour
  • 2 T. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 t. butter extract
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 T. + 1/8 c. mini chocolate chip (I used Enjoy Life)
  • Festive sprinkles


  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips into a food processor.
  2. Once it is thoroughly mixed, fold in the 1 T. of chocolate chips.
  3. Scoop the 'dough' out (I used a little cookie dough scooper) and then roll it into a little ball in your hands. It should stick together very well. Lay them out on a tray or plate lined with wax or parchment paper
  4. Put the balls in the freezer until needed again.
  5. Heat the remaining 1/8 c. chocolate chips in a small saucepan over very low heat, and keep stirring or your chocolate will burn! I know because I did this the first time around. It will take all of a minute to fully melt and get to the desired consistency.
  6. Once chocolate is melted, bring the balls back out and with a teaspoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the balls. Have fun with it and make pretty designs if you wish! You may have extra chocolate…feel free to eat by the spoonful. You deserve it by this point if you didn't burn your chocolate.
  7. Lastly, sprinkle on your sprinkles and voila!


Recipe adapted from With Peanut Butter on Top (

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Let me know what you think!

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