Healthy Alternative to Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Healthy Alternative to Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

I notice so many of you are thinking of getting fit before Summer, so I thought I’d share one of my favorite healthy snacks. And by healthy, I mean it’s an alternative to a real Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake. So healthy! And best of all, it’s only 3 ingredients!

This is my go-to sweet craving snack because it offers a little sugar, but more protein which satisfies the need to binge eat junk. But, it’s not totally fool-proof. If you want to kick sugar cravings you’ll need to stop your sugar intake all together. No worries though! Just opt. to not add the third ingredient if you’d like.

Ready for it?

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup smooth and creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 TBS chocolate syrup or Nutella

Recipe:

  1. Mix the peanut butter and Greek yogurt until smooth
  2. Freeze for ice cream consistency if desired
  3. Top with chocolate syrup or Nutella!
  4. Serve with graham crackers or apple slices! Or eat with a spoon!
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Mouth-watering Mac and Cheese (with hidden veggies)

Mouth-watering Mac and Cheese (with hidden veggies)

I’m so excited about this recipe! You may remember a recipe I shared with you all a couple years back. It contained remnants of the “yucky” dinner that my kids couldn’t even stomach. Sneakily, I added the baked butternut squash and a few other ingredients, resulting in some “magic chocolate muffins.” They had no clue they were eating butternut squash.

Magic chocolate muffin recipe here!

I still may tweak the above recipe, since I’m not a professional chef, and rather a lover of baking and making food.

For this recipe, I combined leftover mac and cheese and a few other ingredients to make a mouth-watering combo! In a saucepan I made a homemade Alfredo sauce, using real Parmesan cheese, then I pureed the baked butternut squash. Lastly, I drizzled the new sauce over the leftover mac and cheese.

Do you see any bits of butternut squash in the mac and cheese? I don’t. And my kids clearly didn’t! #momwin

Ingredients:

  • boxed mac and cheese, pre-made/8 oz. elbow mac, cooked
  • 1 cup baked butternut squash (baked only with oil and salt)
  • about 2 oz. grated from wedge of Parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBS. butter
  • 4 TBS. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Recipe:

  1. Prepare your mac and cheese or butternut squash.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk cheese and flour until it becomes pasty. Next, whisk the milk in. Season to taste.
  3. Once sauce thickens, add the baked butternut squash right to the saucepan. Puree using an immersion blender.
  4. Pour over (warmed) elbow mac or mac and cheese. Stir in well.
  5. Depending on your crowd, you may want to pop this into a casserole dish and warm on 300 degree for about 10 minutes (covered). Or for a quick heat, pop in the microwave for 3-4 minutes on high.

I’m almost certain that the Parmesan cheese played a big role! Up until now I hadn’t played much with it because of cost, but now I see how often I’ve been able to use it in other dishes. Goodbye to cans of Parmesan (for now)!

When I took my first bite of this magical creation, I’m pretty sure I fell in love. It has such a creamy, rich taste, none of which tastes like hidden vegetables. It will literally make your mouth water!

Feel free to add other various cheeses to your cheese sauce! And Enjoy!

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The Baby Blues (A Message to Suffering Moms)

The Baby Blues (A Message to Suffering Moms)

I feel urged to finally share this with you. I’ve had several of these posts drafted and I couldn’t bring myself to hit “publish,” until I recently saw a post about PPD.

In the past few years moms are just starting to open up about their mental health. The effects of postpartum anxiety, postpartum depression, or baby blues can sneak up on new and expecting moms. These disorders are common, although they can range from super mild to very severe. When you feel abnormally irritable, fatigued, unmotivated, weepy, and anxious that can be scary.

When my baby boy had turned 6 months old, something in me changed. Maybe it all happened earlier, but I didn’t notice until my symptoms got more extreme and didn’t go away. I wasn’t sleeping well, even with a peaceful house at night. I began to get more irritated and yell at the older kids more. I started feeling defeated after each day. Laundry was always piled high, making a nutritious dinner seemed so difficult, and I had to keep the older ones busy in between nursing the baby. It all just felt like too much. I started to cry a lot. I didn’t even know why. I just felt overwhelmed with emotion a lot!

My husband believed I just wasn’t happy any more. And one day I blurted out in raw tears, “I feel like I’m drowning! I can’t keep up with everything and I can’t even catch a breath!” And it hit me, that maybe this wasn’t a “normal” feeling. I kept wondering if I should get help. After that, emotional breakdown, he encouraged me to see our family doctor, he let me sleep in more, and started chipping in more.

Gradually I started to take care of myself better. I began asking for more help. I began praying with more intent. I thought more about my health (instead of just my family’s for once). I started to do a little bit more for myself. Small things, like buy new makeup or listen to good music. I began going on more walks to clear my head. I fought to be more positive. I began talking with friends and family more, even if it wasn’t about this (which I wasn’t ready to talk about with anyone). And I started to pull myself up and away from those big ugly tears. Gradually, I started to feel better.

I single-handedly forced myself to rise from defeat. And that was the bravest, most strong I’ve ever had to be.

Yes, I still yell at my kids, but I’m not as snappy. I do have some gentlemen to raise. Yes, sometimes I still have a hard time asking for help. Yes, sometimes I still don’t feel motivated enough to do anything. Parenthood is just tough, regardless of your circumstances. But, I am able to smile again and laugh with my family. I’m able to sit down during nap time and be unproductive with little guilt. I allow myself to have a good cry in prayer, rather than alone. And I keep telling myself, “I am enough.” I listen to Lauren Daigle and worship with music. I make my favorite meals for dinner. I do the things I enjoy like writing and photography.

Being a mom (no matter how many babies you have) is overwhelming. No one will tell you how hard it was for them. Not really. And that makes it a little more tough. When you’re a stay-at-home mom, life can be even more isolating. That statement sounds kind of weird, but believe me, when you just need someone to listen to and understand you, that person isn’t going to be your little kid.

It sucks when you’re living this life that you always knew you wanted since you were a little girl, yet, not in the way you always imagined. No, motherhood itself isn’t a disappointment, but rather the loneliness in motherhood. The days when you’re trying so hard, but could use more help. The days when you NEED another human being to understand you. But instead, you just keep going and going as if everything is okay. Holding in your feelings and emotions. That’s the worst!

Overall, being a Mom is literally one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. I have three little boys who climb up on my lap and let me hold them. I’m their whole world. They want me and my attention. And they love me. And all of our little moments are so special to me. I wonder how I got so lucky to have these little guys in my life.

But I also know that I wasn’t the only one to struggle the same battles. Whether it was a collective stress of life events (which we’ll talk about another day) or just in it’s own timing, the baby blues once defined me. And I didn’t even totally see that at the time.

For those of you struggling with baby blues (or other postpartum disorders), know that you aren’t alone. And there are so many others who understand you well, people who may not talk about it with anyone. Make friends with other moms. And find someone to talk to about it. Get the sleep you need, eat fuel foods, get some sunshine, focus on all the good in your life, pray, and without hesitation go see your doctor. If not for yourself, do it for those precious kids of yours.

One day this will be part of your past. Keep your head up and don’t let those terrible feelings define you. This isn’t all of you, nor will it always feel like that.

Breathe. It’s going to be okay.


Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Read other articles like this:

Self-care ideas

10 Affirmations for mom guilt

How to enjoy mom life more

How to do a mental detox

10 motivational quotes for the mom who feels stuck

How to Enjoy Mom Life More (While Raising a Young Crew)

How to Enjoy Mom Life More (While Raising a Young Crew)

Moms with a couple small dependent kids will find significant value in what I’m about to say. This the very stage that you’re in that made me feel like a terrible Mom not long ago. You’re supposed to enjoy all of mom life, right?

You get the notion that you’re always supposed to be filled with joy because you were blessed with awesome little people. We are blessed. We know that without a doubt.

These mini’s are adorable, easy to please, they replicate multitudes of love, and they have such innocent, unique personalities! They give the best hugs and randomly proclaim their love for us. And when they hurt feelings, it’s likely to be accidental and so easy to forgive.

Although toddlers are easy to please, they are likewise just as difficult at times. As your mini grows, he wants to dress himself, buckle himself, and even pour his own drinks. Determined, he’ll dive right in with the intent of flawlessly mirroring your efforts. And when he fails… oh man! His big emotions will show! Sometimes it just feels like they’re intentionally making things harder on us. Doesn’t it?

You might feel seriously overworked and overwhelmed because your kids depend on you so much. Most days you won’t quite receive the help you need. Instead, you’re outnumbered and spend the majority of your waking day multitasking like you’ve never done before.

By the time you can sit in peace for the day, you don’t feel accomplished. You’ve done everything, yet still unable to recall all the details of the day. Chances are you’ll have fed them countless snacks, kissed some boo-boo’s, wiped their tears, held them, had a dance party, corrected them, stuck them in time-out, played a silly game, broke up fights, read a story, cleaned up never-ending messes, made some phone calls, paid some bills, cleaned up potty accidents, washed some laundry, fed your kids, washed the dishes, and bathed your little ones, all while doing little for yourself. Chances are you probably would’ve had some thoughts to yourself, but you fell asleep as soon as the chaos was over.

You might start to feel exhausted all around. You might feel lost. And you might feel that you lost. But here’s what I would’ve told myself then when I felt like a bad mom for not enjoying all of it.

Being a mom is tough. That’s the one thing you won’t hear often enough. Mom life wears you down hardcore in ways you didn’t know possible.

It’s normal to feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and even frustrated. It’s normal to sometimes feel emotional and worried about your family. But just because those things are normal doesn’t mean they’ll go away on their own. It’ll take some time and effort before you begin to enjoy motherhood more.

Motherhood comes with the beautiful, and ugly. Every minute that you enjoy with your kids, you have earned tenfold. These little people with big messes and big emotions aren’t too far off from being big themselves.

You probably feel like your kids will always be small and depend on you. You fear that you’re always going to be so overwhelmed and it makes you feel slightly more crazy just thinking there’s no end. But friend, you are so near the light at the end of the tunnel.

One day your kiddos will tie their shoes, buckle themselves, head off to school, help with more chores, and even show empathy. You’ll finally reap the rewards of their younger years. That day will be oh! so bittersweet because you will wish for a single day of time-travel to hold your baby once more. And yet, you will shed many of the challenges that you’ve waited so long to be free from.

There will come a day in the near future when you’ll see a new mom enjoying her sweet little one, smile, and you imagine that fresh baby smell. You’ll wish you could tell your old self to enjoy more of the little things, to laugh at the imperfections, and soak it all in. Even the parts you thought you didn’t enjoy.

This stage of life may not look very beautiful in your mind. It looks a lot like a national disaster. But this, right now, is your blessing. There will always be one more thing you need to do. Your to-do list will probably grow resembling Jack and the Beanstalk. You’ll likely never see the end of messes and chores with little ones at home, anyways.

Motherhood is a balancing act.

Instead of letting ourselves feel defeated, we should take care of ourselves better and ask for more help. Make friends with moms and dads going through the same stage of parenting. Find ways to make an ordinary day with the kids special. Make some memories and take the pictures or journal about it. And really, just start thinking more positively.

A few years ago when I was really struggling, I would’ve said to myself; “Let go of your idea of this perfect image of motherhood and enjoy what’s yours now. Go get some more sleep, see your doctor until you feel good, tell someone how you feel, go for that drive, cry, get mad, pray about it, and know that this tough, beautiful stage is almost over. And you’re going to really miss it one day.”

To you Moms who are going through this, give whatever ounce of faith you have. God is so good! You’ll get through the struggles with Him like I did.

Motherhood is such a blessing! Let’s enjoy these moments that are ours now before they become a distant memory.

Honest Review of Thieves Household Cleaner

Honest Review of Thieves Household Cleaner

As you may be well aware, I was introduced to essential oils in Fall of 2017. My only interest was in lavender essential oil, which I thought was just a smell good oil. Was I ever wrong!

I thought essential oils were just a trendy product. I was wrong about that, too. Like many people who have never tried them or are new to the process, I was clueless. Essential oils have literally been used for thousands of years, which earns them a lot of credentials (for their health benefits) if you ask me!

I still plainly admit that I still rely on modern medicine. If my doctor prescribes me a prescription, I have no problem taking it. If I have a migraine, I immediately pop an Excedrin. And I absolutely 100% still vaccinate my children!

But, I love this idea of mindfully living! I love the idea of switching out as many harmful chemicals as possible! I love the idea that I can hand a Thieves spray bottle over to my little helpers without worrying if they’ll get some cleaner on their skin. And I LOVE the smell of Thieves!

Gorgeous blue glass bottles actually have a purpose. The blue glass protects the fluid from UV rays that can weaken the EOs strength.

We don’t typically question the big brands we grew up. But, it’s natural to question things we aren’t as familiar with. So, let’s see if I can answer anything you might be curious about!

Is it actually effective to clean with?

According to some sources, it is over 99% effective in killing germs. Apparently you can order petri dishes on Amazon and do your own at-home test. However, in being transparent, I have never done the lab testing myself. I do know that the cleaner works well enough to remove that boiled over gunk off my stove top, as well as other problem-areas. I also trust the research I’ve done and the reviews of my friends who also use essential oils. In fact, the Hudsons’s YouTube channel (I shared with you earlier) is BIG into essential oils and have great things to say about the health benefits!

What does it smell like?

It smells like baking spices, therapeutic-style. The essential oils (in order) used in this are clove, lemon, cinnamon, rosemary and eucalyptus. The cinnamon definitely stands out in the rankings!

How do I use it?

There are so many ways to use Thieves household cleaner! You can use it an an all-purpose spray, glass spray, scouring scrub, disinfectant, toilet bowl cleaner, laundry detergent, spot cleaner, degreaser, mold and mildew cleaner, wood polish, appliance and stainless steel polish, and mop solution.

Check out the Pin I made for you below!

How long does one bottle last?

That 14.4 Fl. OZ. bottle is ultra concentrated. So basically I add 1 capful of this divine goodness to a spray bottle and top off with water. The very same spray bottle should last you a few weeks. If you have a bottle of this on hand and use it for EVERYTHING, it may last anywhere between 6 moths to a year depending on how much you’re cleaning and how concentrated you’re using it.

PIN ME! Here’s a chart for reference!
Any time you need a little extra strength, just add another capful. I didn’t even add the toilet bowl cleaner because I literally just add a capful right in the toilet and scrub! Easy as pie!

Here’s a link to 29 DIY cleaners made with Thieves household cleaner!

Please post in the comments if you’ve you ever thought about trying essential oils! Feel free to ask me questions about them!

Who’s already with Young Living? What’s your favorite product? This is probably my favorite because it’s practical, effective, and smells good!

As with most of my essential oil posts, I’ll share my link with you here to the Young Living catalog (affiliate disclosure below). Feel free to ask me any questions by email or in the comments!

(*** If you buy anything from Young Living through this link, I’ll receive some free products for sharing with you!***)

Have a great day, friends!

***All photos in this post belong to Momma Bird Blog. Do not copy without.***

Zesty Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Zesty Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Spring has sprung here in Ohio! This past weekend was the first warm-weathered commencement, perfect for yard work and playing catch. (Let me pause and imagine myself at the beach, while sizzling in our 70 degree climate!)

However, we didn’t quite get much time together as a family since it was drill weekend. But, the boys and I made the most of it. So, after Sunday mass, we headed off to the park. When we finally got home, I fixed up a quick and easy lunch for my hard-playing boys.

This yummy creation took under 20 minutes to whip up.

Ingredients:

  • Tri-color Rotini noodles, (about 6 oz.)
  • 1/3 Cup Broccoli, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Orange pepper, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Cucumber, rinsed, quartered and sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinaigrette for dressing
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tsp. minced garlic
  • 3 TBS. Crumbled Feta Cheese (this one is sun-dried tomato and basil)
  • 3 TBS. Peeled Parmesan cheese

Recipe:

  1. Boil noodles for 7 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Add to a mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Serve with iced tea!
What main course would this go with?
A little close-up shot you won’t be able to resist!
The little bits of tomato are from the sun-dried tomato and basil feta. Look at those delicious sliced of Parmesan cheese!
AH! Iced tea and lemon are perfect with this pasta!

That’s all folks! Quick and easy zesty Mediterranean Pasta Salad!

If this made your stomach growl, just be sure to pin this to your Pinterest!

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup (Made With Stock)

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup (Made With Stock)

Here in Ohio, the overcast and rain has my family craving chicken noodle soup. (I told you I’ve got soup on the mind lately.) Chicken noodle soup is one of most nostalgic comfort-foods! For me, this bowlful of warm goodness is reminiscent of my Grandma’s recipe! (Stock is key!)

If you want to make a crowd-pleaser that’ll also make scrumptious leftovers the next day, then this one for you! I promise, the leftovers will go quickly!

I make this also over the stove, but you can also easily add the ingredients to a crock-pot for a quick and easy weeknight dinner! It takes about 15 minutes of prep and about 1 hour of simmering.

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Onion, minced
  • 1/2 Cup Celery stalk with leaves, minced
  • 3 TSP. Minced Garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 3 TBS. Butter
  • (2) 32 oz. chicken stock
  • 1 LB. Boneless chicken, raw
  • 2 Large Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8 oz. Wide Egg Noodles

( P.S. I’ve been adding lemon zest to my chicken soups since I was a kid. Believe me, it adds a whole new level of freshness that you won’t want to leave out! )

Recipe:

  1. In a large soup pot, add olive oil. Saute minced; onion, celery, and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
  2. Add in butter, chicken stock, and chicken. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  3. Once chicken is cooked, cube it up and add it back to soup pot.
  4. In a separate, smaller pot, boil water for the noodles. (This ensures that your broth doesn’t become starchy.) Cook the noodles for 4-5 minutes so they don’t swell too much, once added to the soup.
  5. Add chopped carrots until tender, about 12 minutes.
  6. SERVE!
Don’t you just want to dive right into this bowl with a big spoon?
Serve with a rustic bread, muffin, or crackers!

What’s your favorite soup?

Drop a link in the comments if you have a soup recipe of your own!