Caramel Apple Pops

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by Laura

Tradition in our family for the first day of Fall, is making Caramel Apples.  

We decided to try something a little different this year and it was a HIT.  

First I needed to gather my supplies.  Normally I make caramel from scratch, but I didn’t have time this year. I wasn’t super excited about unwrapping 100 caramels, but when I got to the caramels in the grocery store Kraft became my best friend.  


YOU GUYS.  They have these caramel bits that you just add a little water to and microwave for 2 minutes.  So much better for mama and the dishwasher, (also mama).  I found some popsicle sticks and parchment paper for easy apple retrieval. As for toppings, I went a little crazy this year as you can CLEARLY see here:


Our apples were a little small, but the treat is a sugar fest so small is ok for me.  I started out by slicing off the ends which we cut in half for bite sized caramel dunkers, and then I was able to get three slices/apple of workable material.  I removed the seeds from the middle and extra stem/base but if you have one of those cylinder alligator teeth apple corer things this would be what you would want to use.  To insert the popsicle stick I started a slit with a knife and then the popsicle stick slid right in.    


We invited some friends over for Caramel Apple night and my friend wrote everyone’s name on their popsicle stick-totally helpful after they were all decorated, and then we dunked the apple into the caramel.  


Laid it on the parchment.  And went to town with toppings.  


The fridge firmed up the caramel in about 10 minutes and we were ready to taste test!  


Everyone agreed these were much easier to make and eat than the traditional apples.  Hope you guys are ready for fall!  



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Easy Baked Fish

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by Laura

Fish! I grew up eating these little swimmers because my dad went fishing in the summer and we would eat what he caught.  But, Dad was in charge of making the fish with his special recipe and so I never really learned how.  

When we wanted to add a different protein to our meal line up I thought I would give a few fish recipes a try.  My requirements for making fish was an 1. easy recipe 2. delicious and 3. easy clean up afterwards.

So, here’s a great fish recipe, that our whole family gobbles up and takes me less than 20 minutes to make. 


Preheat your oven to 425-but you should check the packaging on your fish just to make sure.  We eat tilapia and you can find it in most freezer sections.  Thawing the fish is pretty easy, I fill up the sink with cool water and put the fish, (still in their packaging), in the water for about an hour.  I figure about two/three filets per person because our kids ask for seconds and I love the leftovers from this meal.  

the ingredient line up

the ingredient line up


While the oven is preheating, you’ll make a spice rub, (but more like a sprinkle).  Out of the ingredients above. 


Your rub should look like this, and I like to triple the recipe so that it lasts me a few months.  

Parchment Paper please, because WHO wants to scrape gunk off a baking sheet?

Parchment Paper please, because WHO wants to scrape gunk off a baking sheet?


Then you can take scissors and open the individual packages of fish, and lay them on a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet.  Parchment paper, is SUCH a good friend.  Anytime I’m baking something, wether roasted brussel sprouts, chocolate chip cookies, asparagus wrapped bacon, or these fish, I use parchment paper.  This means you don’t need to use ANY spray or oil on the pan, and clean up is throwing away the paper.  High Five Parchment Paper! 

If you don’t have any parchment paper, it’s ok to spray, olive oil, or coconut oil your baking sheet.  

Ok.  Put your fish filets on your parchment paper. They can get real cozy if you are making a lot of filets.  Then take 1/4ish tsp. of the rub and sprinkle it on your filet.  The amount may vary depending on how large your filets are or how much flavor your kids can handle…So start with 1/8 tsp. for your kids, and see how it goes from there.  

Bake your fish for 10 minutes, no need to flip or turn.  Again, check your package directions for baking temp and time depending on average size of your filets.  


You’re fish will be done when you can put a fork in it, twist, and see it is white and flaky inside.  


fish with avocado

We love to eat fish with black beans or rice.  See my EASY black bean recipe here.  Squeeze some lemon on it or grab some tarter sauce.  

fish tacos


I usually make a lot for leftovers.  I shred the fish in my kitchen aid, or with two forks, so they are ready for some fish taco lunch action! I love fish tacos with the beans, and avocado, but cabbage, cheese, pico de gallo, and thousand island dressing really put it over the top.  

spice rub container

I store the rub in a container, or a ziplock bag to make it easy for next time! 

Here’s the printable! 


Easy Baked Fish
Serves 4
This quick fish recipe is good for the whole family, easy on the budget and perfect for leftovers.
Write a review
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
  1. 1 lb. Tilapia Filets (thawed)
  2. 3 Tablespoons Paprika
  3. 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  4. 1 teaspoon pepper
  5. 1 teaspoon thyme
  6. 1 teaspoon oregano
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  9. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Preheat oven to fish package directions
  2. Mix spices and put in ziplock bag
  3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly coat pan with olive or coconut oil
  4. Place each filet on paper and sprinkle each with 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of spices
  5. Bake as directed on packaging
  1. Great accompaniments are rice, black beans, avocado, and lemon.
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Whole 30 Days 8-15:Skinny and the Skin

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by Laura

Lemme tell you about my W30 week.  Mmmmk?  People, YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW.  I’m like a Whole 30 Evangelist!  I want to tell everyone about it! My sister and I were texting and it was getting ridiculous how passionate I was about the benefits.  She was joking that I sounded like someone who is always posting about their “product” or new fitness drink or whatever.  The weird thing is, I kind of feel like that, but it’s just food, and the results are not through any good marketing scheme or fancy breakfast blendo-matic, or anything.  I think my Mom and college aged sister might even try it.

I still have the “Tiger Blood”.  This is W30 lingo for amazon warrior energy.  You guys, I can do the dishes SO FAST.  Lol.  It’s like my blood pumps faster, my brain thinks quicker, my body moves well.  Speaking of my body.  Hello small tummy!  Haven’t seen you since my last running kick.  I wore a ring to church and normally put it on my middle finger and it fell right off so I moved it to Mr. Pointer.  I could tell that the bloating, inflammation, etc. was gone, and MAYBE have lost a 1/2 bra size, but didn’t really think serious weight was coming off.  Hey, I eat like it’s my last meal-every meal.  PASS THE ZOODLES!


My skin, oh, my skin.  It hasn’t been this clear since I was 12?  Jr. High and High School were an UNKIND period of my complexion life.  I do not exaggerate to you, I had acne up-down-all-around.  It was awful, like, block all memories from that time period awful.  So, I started wearing make-up.  LOTS of makeup to help cover it.  First summer before college my hormones flipped and my skin became more normalized.  But, there were three days this week that I thought, I don’t even need to wear concealer/foundation.  I have baby butt soft skin.


I’m getting better about knowing what to plan to eat, how much it’s going to cost, how much time it’s going to take me to make it, and what recipes are going to be good, (fill me up), and what is just fluff and leaves me hungry.  It’s been a learning process there.

The library has been such a great resource.  They have tons of cook books for Whole 30 recipes.  I’m loving it.  My favorite so far is a Paleo cook book, Against All Grain.

I’m know I won’t ever go back to “before” because there have been SO many positives! I don’t want to go back to all the negatives from life before W30.  I’ve started to come up with a vision and plan for “real life” after this.  Excited to share along the way!

If you want to hear about more of my Whole 30 Journey click to read: about day one.  about day two.  about days 3-7.

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Whole 30 Days 3-7: Eat, Energy, Relief, Repeat.

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by Laura

Have you ever wondered if your new fun habits are only fun because they are new?  What happens when the newness wears off?  In the past, I would have a running goal-ran three days in a row, then bye-bye running.  “New hairstyles every Saturday!”, I said-lasted a few weeks.  I know what it feels like when the steam goes out of the engine and it feels normal, it doesn’t feel fun anymore, and life settles back in.

I was so nervous, that all the positives from Whole 30, all the adrenaline and excitement would leave; that I would somehow decide it wasn’t worth it, that a glass of milk, (my biggest craving-of all the things in the whole wide world) couldn’t wait any longer and poof it would be over.

It didn’t happen.

When you take a very tired mama, who finds it hard to think straight or well, who might have lost some joy in doing the things she chose to do, who stopped taking care of her own body, who no longer likes what the stomach in the mirror reflects and changes all of that, I’m sorry, but this is not a phase, this is a relief.

A relief to me to know that I don’t and didn’t have to be so tired as a parent, a relief to know I can think with clarity, with quickness, and with delight all day long, a relief to know that my stomach was that way because of my food choices.

Can I tell you something honest?  I feel better than I have in two years.  Long time, long time.

2016-01-09 17.42.46-2

These 7 days I might not have enjoyed every meal I made, I might not have enjoyed the extra 100.00 I spent on food, I might not have enjoyed the extra dishes that were on the counters needing hand washed.

Here’s what I did enjoy:

  1. Made new recipes to tweak and insert into our cook book so that after Whole 30, we can keep on going.
  2. Had enough energy that naps were not a necessity and I could enjoy my time while the kids were asleep/schooling.
  3. Mentally awake, clear, and engaged.
  4. Energy to play with the kids from the time I wake up, until bed time.
  5. Energy to converse and love my husband with quality Laura, not tired complaining Laura.
  6. Clean teeth-hey, when you don’t eat sugar and whatever, you basically have the cleanest teeth and breath ever.
  7. Telling other people how amazing I was feeling.
  8. Feeling guilt free about every food that entered my body.
  9. My skin purging the yuck yuck.

I will eat whole foods, because they give me energy.  I will repeat it every day for this Whole 30 program, and I will have relief from the consequences of my old eating habits.  2016-01-08 06.44.05-2


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Whole 30 Day 1: Treats are small delights, not food.

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by Laura

Day One: 

The alarm went off on day one of my Whole 30 and I about jumped out of bed with excitement.  Usually, I could sleep forever. I rarely wake up rested, but I could sense a change about to take place.

The breakfast potatoes were made the night before so I just heated them up, scrambled some eggs and I was on my way.  NOT SO FAST.  Scrambled some eggs?  The woman who hasn’t eaten eggs since she was two, made eggs for breakfast and was planning on eating them? Well, I put mind over matter. I ate those eggs you guys; they weren’t bad and they weren’t good either.  Knowing I would have to increase my protein and portions if I didn’t want to starve this month eggs are on the menu.  I quickly weighed myself 146.4, and put the scale away for the month.

Knowing day 2-3 were supposed to be the headache days I drank as much water as I could.  I decided I would only snack if I was hungry, so I waited and waited all morning and guess what.  Not hungry.  Who needs a morning snack?  NOT this girl.  Afternoon I got a little hungry so I had some cashews and raisins and was good to go.

2016-01-03 12.50.23

After a DELICIOUS lunch and dinner, (see above), I had time to think about what day one was like.  The food tasted good, but different, it was unusual to not snack or anticipate a snack treat, when dinner was over it was weird to think, you are done eating today!

Day One Lesson: What is a treat?

Before whole 30 I would have said, every meal is a treat, I love food!  My 2:00 kids are napping and at pre-school Oreos are a treat, my post dinner ice cream is a treat, my baked goods are treats, my Wednesday Starbucks run is a treat reward for prepping my whole lesson that week.  FOOD=TREAT.

Even after one day of Whole 30, the treats were not food, the treats were enough time to play with the kids because meals were prepared, time to sit on the couch and read a quick chapter while kids played happily around me, a long husband hug when he got home from work, treats were enough energy after bedtime to get some stuff done-when was the last time that happened? TREAT=SMALL DELIGHTS.

My mind had begun to shift and I couldn’t imagine day two being any better.


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