No Easter Like Greek Easter

Ever since I went to my first Greek Easter six years ago, it has become one on my favorite holidays.

At first, I was a little nervous about eating lamb and other Greek food since there are many different seasonings (depending on the recipe you follow). But to my surprise, I greatly enjoyed the food and the red egg tradition. It is always fun to see how competitive people get when cracking an egg.

The Red Egg Tradition

By traditional, these eggs are made carefully and then woven into tsoureki (three-braided Easter bread that signifies the Holy Trinity) and is a key piece to the fun-game called tsougrisma (TSOO-grees-mah). The word means “clinking together” and obviously when you do that with eggs, they will crack. With Greek Easter, this cracking symbolizes Christ’s resurrection from the dead and birth into eternal life.

The Game

To play, each player holds a red egg, and one taps the end of her or his egg lightly against the end of the other player’s egg. When one egg’s end is cracked, the person with the unbroken egg uses the same end of the egg to try to crack the other end of the opponent’s egg.

To learn more about this tradition, follow this link here.

Now I mentioned trying lamb for the first time. Thankfully, my boyfriend’s family knew that this would be my first time attending a Greek Easter so they made the traditional lamb stew. There are different recipes that have a few tweaks to them but this is the one used.

Greek Easter Lamb Soup with Egg Lemon Sauce

Ready in: 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs lamb, bone in
  • 10 green onions, chopped
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 bunches dill, chopped
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped very thin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • 3 eggs

Instructions

  1. Trim the lamb of most of the fat. Cut lamb into bite-sized pieces. If the bone is too thick to cut through, cut all the meat off, but save the bone. 
  2. Add olive oil to a large pot on medium heat. Add lamb and bone(s) and saute for 10 minutes, stirring often. 
  3. Add green onions and saute for another 3 minutes. 
  4. Add 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then immediately lower to a simmer. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. 
  5. Add lettuce, dill, salt, and pepper. Simmer for one hour. 
  6. In a bowl, whisk together eggs and lemon juice. 
  7. While whisking, ladle 2 ladlefuls of broth from the soup very slowly into the egg-lemon mixture. Make sure to keep whisking the whole time. You’re trying to bring the temperature of the eggs up. 
  8. Turn off the stove and remove the pot from the heat. Pour in the egg-lemon sauce and stir the soup immediately.
  9. It is important to not cover the soup, as the eggs may solidify.

A Day in the Life of a Bookworm

Books We Love

The Nightingale-Kristin Hannah

“With courage, grace, and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France—a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.”

The Gender Games Series-Bella Forrest

“A toxic river divides nineteen-year-old Violet Bates’s world by gender.
Women rule the East. Men rule the West.

Welcome to the lands of Matrus and Patrus.

Ever since the disappearance of her beloved younger brother, Violet’s life has been consumed by an anger she struggles to control. Already a prisoner to her own nation, now she has been sentenced to death for her crimes.

But one decision could save her life.

To enter the kingdom of Patrus, where men rule and women submit.

Everything about the patriarchy is dangerous for a rebellious girl like Violet. She cannot break the rules if she wishes to stay alive. But abiding by rules has never been her strong suit, and when she is thrust into more danger than she could have ever predicted, Violet is forced to sacrifice many things in the forbidden kingdom … including forbidden love.
In a world divided by gender, only the strongest survive…”

The Girl Who Dared to Think Series- Bella Forrest

“How do you fight an enemy when they’re inside your mind?

A gargantuan glass-walled tower looms over a deadly wilderness. They say it’s all that’s left.

The Tower’s survival is humanity’s survival, and each must serve it faithfully…

Twenty-year-old Liana Castell must be careful what she thinks. Her life is defined by the number on her wristband – a rating out of ten awarded based on her usefulness and loyalty to the Tower, and monitored by a device in her skull. A device that reports forbidden thoughts.

Liana is currently a four, the lowest possible acceptable score, and despite her parents’ perfect scores of ten, she struggles to increase it. Rebellious ideas come all too easily, and resentfulness seems part of her being. She is an overseer-in-training, but her future will be dark if she cannot raise her worth…

Threes require drug treatment.
Twos are isolated.
Ones disappear.

When Liana’s worst nightmare comes to pass and she drops to a three, desperation spurs her down a path few dare to tread. A chance encounter with a cocky young man whose shockingly dissident attitude toward the Tower couldn’t possibly have earned him the perfect “ten” on his wrist, sets her on a trail to save herself – even at the risk of dropping lower.

Stalking the young man seemed like a simple enough task, but after events take an unexpected twist, Liana finds herself taking a treacherous dive into the darkest depths of the Tower… and the decades’ old secrets buried within.

In a society where free thinking can make you a criminal, one girl dares to try…”

The Child Thief Series-Bella Forrest

“In a world where we have government of the rich by the rich for the rich, one girl decides to fight back.

America in 2105 is beset with mass inequality, poverty and increasingly large numbers of the poor. This, combined with the breakdown of families and marriages has led to huge economic and societal burdens. A fractured and divided America ushers in an authoritarian government that promises to solve all these problems in one stroke with a radical solution.

Welcome to the CRAS: the Child Redistribution Adoption System. Also known as the cure for America’s failing economy, it is the bane of nineteen-year-old Robin Sylvone’s existence.

Under the System, millions of poor families have their children taken and given to the rich. And as a single teen mother, Robin fell within the scope of the scheme and lost her baby two years ago. After being forced to drop out of school and become a factory worker in order to support herself, she doesn’t see much light in her future–or hold any hope of seeing her child again.

Until she stumbles upon a group of misfits who share her frustrations and desire for change. They are an underground movement of thieves, stealing children back from the rich and returning them to the poor.

Robin will do anything to find her daughter, even if it means tangling with a government that has zero tolerance for rebellion.

Even when the penalty is death.

Will Robin find her baby girl? Or is she destined to the same fate that all other rebels have met at the hands of the United Nation of America?

Buy now to find out…”

Sarah’s Key-Tatiana De Rosnay

“Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life. 
Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.”

American Sniper-Chris Kyle

“From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him “The Legend”; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time. “

Make Me Love You-Johanna Lindsey

“One duel could be considered a matter of honor, but three duels are attempted murder! With enlightened society outraged at such reckless behavior among young noblemen, the Prince Regent orders Robert Whitworth, the earl of Tamdon’s heir, and Lord Dominic Wolfe to end their dispute by allying their families through marriage. Whichever party refuses to comply will forfeit his lands and title.

Whitworth relishes the idea of sending his younger sister Brooke to his enemy’s remote estate. He knows the Wolf will reject her as a bride, thereby losing his wealth and status. The Wolf, however, is determined to scare away the Whitworth chit. With dueling no longer an available means of destroying the man he abhors, he will be satisfied to see him lose his lands and title. But he hadn’t expected his enemy’s sister to be so resourceful or resilient.

Brooke Whitworth has been dreaming of her first season in London because she intends to win a husband who will take her far away from her unloving family. Instead, she is being sent to the Yorkshire moors to wed a mysterious nobleman whose family is cursed and who has thrice tried to kill her brother. But there’s no room in her heart for fear; this man is her means of escape. She will make him love her!”

The Woman Who Would be King-Kara Cooney

“Hatshepsut—the daughter of a general who usurped Egypt’s throne—was expected to bear the sons who would legitimize the reign of her father’s family. Her failure to produce a male heir, however, paved the way for her improbable rule as a cross-dressing king. At just over twenty, Hatshepsut out-maneuvered the mother of Thutmose III, the infant king, for a seat on the throne, and ascended to the rank of pharaoh.

Shrewdly operating the levers of power to emerge as Egypt’s second female pharaoh, Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays in the veil of piety and sexual reinvention. She successfully negotiated a path from the royal nursery to the very pinnacle of authority, and her reign saw one of Ancient Egypt’s most prolific building periods.

Constructing a rich narrative history using the artifacts that remain, noted Egyptologist Kara Cooney offers a remarkable interpretation of how Hatshepsut rapidly but methodically consolidated power—and why she fell from public favor just as quickly. The Woman Who Would Be King traces the unconventional life of an almost-forgotten pharaoh and explores our complicated reactions to women in power.”

The Selection Series-Kiera Cass

“For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The chance to live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her, and leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

In The Heir and The Crown, Princess Eadlyn becomes the first ever princess to hold a Selection of her own—but she doesn’t believe that any of her thirty-five suitors will capture her heart…”

The Uglies Series- Scott Westerfeld

“In Tally Youngblood’s world, looks matter. She lives in a society created to function with perfect-looking people who never have a chance to think for themselves. And she’s tired of it. First as an ugly, then a pretty, and finally a special, Tally takes down the social infrastructure. And then, a generation later, a world obsessed with fame and instant celebrity—and filled with extras—will reap the consequences.”

Our Summer Reading Lists

Then She Was Gone-Lisa Jewell

“Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenaged golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her.

And then she was gone.

Now, her mother Laurel Mack is trying to put her life back together. It’s been ten years since her daughter disappeared, seven years since her marriage ended, and only months since the last clue in Ellie’s case was unearthed. So when she meets an unexpectedly charming man in a café, no one is more surprised than Laurel at how quickly their flirtation develops into something deeper. Before she knows it, she’s meeting Floyd’s daughters—and his youngest, Poppy, takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because looking at Poppy is like looking at Ellie. And now, the unanswered questions she’s tried so hard to put to rest begin to haunt Laurel anew. Where did Ellie go? Did she really run away from home, as the police have long suspected, or was there a more sinister reason for her disappearance? Who is Floyd, really? And why does his daughter remind Laurel so viscerally of her own missing girl?”

The Stillwater Girls-Minka Kent

“Ignorant of civilization and cautioned against its evils, nineteen-year-old Wren and her two sisters, Sage and Evie, were raised in off-the-grid isolation in a primitive cabin in upstate New York. When the youngest grows gravely ill, their mother leaves with the child to get help from a nearby town. And they never return.

As months pass, hope vanishes. Supplies are low. Livestock are dying. A brutal winter is bearing down. Then comes the stranger. He claims to be looking for the girls’ mother, and he’s not leaving without them.

To escape, Wren and her sister must break the rule they’ve grown up with: never go beyond the forest.

Past the thicket of dread, they come upon a house on the other side of the pines. This is where Wren and Sage must confront something more chilling than the unknowable. They’ll discover what’s been hidden from them, what they’re running from, and the secrets that have left them in the dark their entire lives.”

Unwind Series-Neal Shusterman

“After the Second Civil War, the Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. However, a loophole allows parents to retroactively get rid of a teenager through a process called “unwinding.”

Three teens defy the system and run away from their unwinding: Connor, a rebel whose parents have ordered his unwinding; Risa, a ward of the state who is to be unwound due to cost-cutting; and Lev, his parents’ tenth child whose unwinding has been planned since birth as a religious tithing.

As their paths intersect and lives hang in the balance, Connor, Risa, and Lev must work together to survive—and they may change the fate of America in the process.”

The Mortal Instruments Series-Cassandra Clare

“Discover this first installment of the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series and “prepare to be hooked” (Entertainment Weekly).

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.”

Gone Series- Michael Grant

“In the blink of an eye, everyone disappears. Gone. Except for the young. There are teens, but not one single adult. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what’s happened.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.

It’s a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: on your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else…”

Delirium Series-Lauren Oliver

“In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn’t about to make the same mistake.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the Wilds who lives under the government’s radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?”

Legend Series-Marie Lu

“What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.”

Partials Series-Dan Wells

“Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. But sixteen-year-old Kira is determined to find a solution. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that that the survival of both humans and Partials rests in her attempts to answer questions about the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.

Playing on our curiosity of and fascination with the complete collapse of civilization, Partials is, at its heart, a story of survival, one that explores the individual narratives and complex relationships of those left behind, both humans and Partials alike—and of the way in which the concept of what is right and wrong in this world is greatly dependent on one’s own point of view.”

The Dwellers Series-David Estes

“In a desperate attempt to escape destruction decades earlier, humankind was forced underground, into the depths of the earth, creating a new society called the Tri-Realms.

After her parents and sister are abducted by the Enforcers, seventeen-year-old Adele, a member of the middle-class moon dwellers, is unjustly sentenced to life in prison for her parents’ crimes of treason. Against all odds, Adele must escape from the Pen and find her family, while being hunted by a deranged, killing machine named Rivet, who works for the government. She is helped by two other inmates, Tawni and Cole, each of whom have dark secrets that are better left undiscovered. Other than her friends, the only thing she has going for her is a wicked roundhouse kick and two fists that have been well-trained for combat by her father. 

At the other end of the social spectrum is Tristan, the son of the President and a sun dweller. His mother is gone. He hates his father. Backed by only his servant and best friend, Roc, he leaves his lavish lifestyle in the Sun Realm, seeking to make something good out of his troubled life. When a war breaks out within the Tri-Realms, Tristan is thrust into the middle of a conflict that seems to mysteriously follow Adele as she seeks to find her family and uncover her parents true past. 

In their world, someone must die.”

Shatter Me-Tahereh Mafi

“One touch is all it takes. One touch, and Juliette Ferrars can leave a fully grown man gasping for air. One touch, and she can kill.

No one knows why Juliette has such incredible power. It feels like a curse, a burden that one person alone could never bear. But The Reestablishment sees it as a gift, sees her as an opportunity. An opportunity for a deadly weapon.

Juliette has never fought for herself before. But when she’s reunited with the one person who ever cared about her, she finds a strength she never knew she had.”

Between Shades of Gray-Ruta Sepetys

“Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life — until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father’s prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive?”

The Nazi Officer’s Wife-Edith Beer

“Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her into a ghetto and then into a slave labor camp. When she returned home months later, she knew she would become a hunted woman and went underground. With the help of a Christian friend, she emerged in Munich as Grete Denner. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her. Despite Edith’s protests and even her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity a secret.

In wrenching detail, Edith recalls a life of constant, almost paralyzing fear. She tells how German officials casually questioned the lineage of her parents; how during childbirth she refused all painkillers, afraid that in an altered state of mind she might reveal something of her past; and how, after her husband was captured by the Soviets, she was bombed out of her house and had to hide while drunken Russian soldiers raped women on the street.

Despite the risk it posed to her life, Edith created a remarkable record of survival. She saved every document, as well as photographs she took inside labor camps. Now part of the permanent collection at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., these hundreds of documents, several of which are included in this volume, form the fabric of a gripping new chapter in the history of the Holocaust—complex, troubling, and ultimately triumphant.”

Salt to the Sea-Ruta Sepetys

“World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.”

SHOUT OUT: Wisco Girls Are Hitting the Trails With a New Blog!

Hello lovelies!

We’re excited to announce the creation of Wisco Girl on the Trails!

This is a blog that will feature our experiences as we explore all sorts of trails this summer state wide. A list is already in the making and we are excited to hit the ground running. While we know that not everyone who follows our blog lives in the beautiful (and yet weather tempermental) state of Wisconsin, we are hoping that down the road, we will get to travel out of state and possibly out of country, to explore even more trails. So if you know of any good ones, drop them in the comment section below!

Until then, we will travel around Wisconsin and if you ever happen to find yourself within the state lines, perhaps you can check out the trails too!

*Note: You will see a new tab on our menu that will take you directly to the blog.

The Beginning of Your Yoga Journey


First off, the differences between the two. Yoga is a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation. On the other hand, meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.

Even though yoga and meditation are two different things, they do go hand in hand. Both of these practices are ancient, abopted by Western culture around the 1980s and soon became extremely popular.

Yoga

Although there are many different variations of yoga, the benefits still remain the same.

Back Pain Relief

Yoga sessions once or twice a week can help with discomfort and back pain. Through various stretchs, poses, and/or exercises, your back muscles will experience greater flexiability and agility with an added bonus of increased core strength.

Assist with Arthritis Management

Slow, easy paced yoga forms help relieves tension, as well as pain in joints or muscles. A few specific forms of yoga, such as Iyengar and Bikram help withh rheumatoid arthritis.

Migraines Be Gone

For those who search for alternatives to combat headaches or migranes, yoga and meditation can help. Yoga is an excellent exercise to do to help prevent them or to help with an existing one. If able, the bridge pose is most beneficial. It helps relieve the tension in the neck and shoulders, areas that can cause a migrane.

Meditation

Meditation has become highly popular in managing stress levels. There are several different types of meditation that have become popular and they all share the same benefits as well.

Emotional Improvement

Since meditation requires deep relaxation, coming out of your thoughtful state leaves many feeling refreshed. It is encouraged to look at the postive aspects of your life and focus only on that. So after the 10 minutes, you are feeling more up-beat and positive.

Stress Management

The main reason many people practice meditation is the benefits of reduced stress levels. Regularly meditating helps reduces the stress responses that happen in the brain throughout the day. So the more you meditate, the better you handle and react to stress which is a huge bonus when it comes to high blood pressure.

Better Concentration

With helping to manage stress and improve emotions, obviously you would be able to concentrate better. BUT, meditaiton also helps increase levels of gray matter concentration in the brain. So it is an added bonus, leaving you to regulate and process emotions more effectively, help with your memory, and boost your learning ability.

Overall, meditation and yoga have many benefits. By combining meditation and yoga you can get even more of the benefits from the two. What are some of you favorite yoga poses? Let us know in the comments! Until next time lovelies!

Just Desserts

With Easter coming around the corner, here is a cute and delicious treat to share with the family!  Here is a step by step recipe for personal cheesecakes!

The first step is to Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Next, line your cupcake tin with liners.

First you will make the crust by mixing the graham cracker crumbs with melted butter.

Press the crust into the bottom of each of the cupcake liners.

Now it’s time to make the actual cream cheese layer.  Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with a mixer until blended.  Add eggs 1 at a time and mixing on a low speed after each egg is added until just blended.

Spoon the cheesecake mixture over the crusts.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the centers are almost set.  Let them cool completely and then refrigerate for 2 hours.

Now time to decorate!  You can use shredded coconut to form a nest and fill it with chocolate eggs.  If you are not a coconut person you can also use nut toppings which is what is pictured below.  They make the perfect Easter treat!

Here is the full recipe with instructions!

  • 1-1/4 cup graham crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 pkg. (250 g each) Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. desiccated unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 54 speckled chocolate eggs (250 g)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix graham crumbs and butter; press onto bottoms of 18 paper-lined muffin cups.
  3. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Spoon over crusts.
  4. Bake 18 to 20 min. or until centers are almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 2 hours.
  5. Top each cheesecake with 1 Tbsp. coconut; shape to resemble bird’s nest. Fill with chocolate eggs.

Let us know what you think of the cheesecakes! Have a great Easter lovelies!

Hungry for Hummus

H-U-M-M-U-S! Hummus, Hummus!

It is no secret that Hummus has become very popular over the past decade. According to a website called Dr. Axe, over 15 million Americans said they eat hummus on a regular basis. At least we know a lot of people are experiencing the health benefits of this food and after having some ourselves, we wondered why we haven’t eaten it earlier.

First off, what is Hummus?

Basically the best ingredients for your body mashed up together to make an amazing tasting spread. Those ingredients are; chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, and tahini.

Inflammation go away, come again a different day!

For our body, inflammation is the natural defense system to remove toxins. When experiencing long terms of inflammation, or high levels of inflammation, serious health problems can arise. However, Hummus comes to the rescue with healthy ingredients that have anti-inflammatory benefits. Olive oil, chickpeas, and garlic are all found in hummus.

Satisfy your beating heart

Heart disease is a very serious thing. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 1 in every 4 deaths worldwide is due to heart disease. Hummus helps reduce the risk of this disease with several different ingredients.

Olive oil, one of the ingredients, has been correlated with improving blood pressure levels, gluecose metabolism and reducing harmful cholesterol. (1)

It’s just that tasty!

I tried hummus for the first time a couple of months back and I wish I would have tried it sooner. I had a roasted garlic hummus which has been my go to because it is so yummy. What drew me to trying it in the first place was that it is so good for your body and you can eat it with all different kinds of veggies. It is a tasty and healthy snack, could it really get any better?

Try it out for yourself! Recipe found on FiveHeartHome.com

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Yield: Approximately 3 cups

Mellow roasted garlic is blended with chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice for a fresh, creamy Roasted Garlic Hummus that’s delicious with homemade pita chips or crunchy veggie dippers!Ingredients

  • 1 large head of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans (about 3 cups total), liquid drained & reserved
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons reserved liquid from canned chickpeas, plus additional as needed
  • Smoked paprika and minced fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
  • Homemade Pita Wedges, pita chips, crackers, and/or raw vegetable dippers, for serving

Instructions

  1. Place the oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel away the outer skin of the head of garlic while leaving all of the cloves intact. Cut a 1/2-inch slice off the top of the head of garlic so that the cloves are exposed; discard the top. Set the head of garlic on a square of foil, drizzle with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, and wrap in the foil. Set on a pan and roast for 40 minutes. Carefully open the top of the foil packet (watch for hot steam!) and use a sharp knife to pierce down into a clove; the garlic should be completely softened and golden brown. If it’s not, re-wrap the foil and continue to roast, checking every 5 minutes or so, until garlic is done. Unwrap the garlic and set aside to cool. 
  2. Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the resulting garlic paste into the bowl of a high-powered blender or large food processor. Add the drained chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne, plus 3 tablespoons of the reserved chickpea liquid. Puree until smooth, adding additional chickpea liquid 1 tablespoon at a time until a desirable consistency is reached. Continue to puree for another minute or two until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as needed and seasoning with additional salt to taste, if necessary. At this point, you may discard any leftover reserved chickpea liquid.
  3. Transfer the hummus to a serving dish and swirl the surface. Drizzle the top with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with smoked paprika and minced parsley. Serve with pita wedges or chips, crackers, and/or raw vegetable dippers.

Notes

When I opened my jar of tahini, it was extremely separated and stirring it with a spoon wasn’t going to be effective. So I scraped the whole mess into my food processor before beginning the recipe, pureed until the tahini was smooth and incorporated, and then transferred all of it back into the tahini jar. At that point, I proceeded with my recipe (without cleaning out the food processor first), measuring 1/4 cup tahini from the jar back into the food processor when the time came.

Video

Tasty, Edible Haystacks

Get ready for Easter with these yummy haystacks! They are always fun to make and taste just as great. While some people love to get creative and make their haystacks into adorable little nests with eggs, I just want to be able to make something quick and easy so my kiddo will have something to snack on or a bribery treat 😁. If you have picky eaters, I would recommend using pretzels instead of the noodles.

Music

Artist: Nicolai Heidlas

Song: Paint It

https://www.hooksounds.com/royalty-free-music/paint-it/48910

Feel free to drop your thoughts/comments 👇below👇. Until next time my lovelies!

Succulent Secrets

Houseplants and succulents can be a great addition to any living space. The extra pop of color can really brighten up a space, but did you know that there are also health benefits to having them around? Some of these benefits are listed below as well as tips on taking care of your beautiful plants.

1. Increase Productivity

Indoor plants just tend to make you feel more relaxed and concentrated. Having them around throughout your home, apartment, or dorm room, just seems to put you in an overall better mood, thus increasing your productivity as well!

2. You Can Put Them Anywhere

Succulents and cacti can pretty much be put anywhere and be able to survive with minimal care needed. As long as they are able to get a small amount of sunlight and you water them once every couple of weeks, you should be good to go while giving the space a pop of color. I am able to keep them alive in my tiny dorm room which probably means they will survive literally anywhere.

3. Help Create Clean Air

By having small plants or succulents around they are in a way filtering the carbon monoxide that you are breathing out and returning you with the wonderful gift of oxygen. Basically, they can help you survive which is pretty important.

Tips For Taking Care of Them

Succulents and cacti in specific are so simple to take care of. You definitely do not need a green thumb in order for them to strive. I water my cacti about once every couple of weeks and my other succulents about once every week. You could also simply put an ice cube in every few weeks and they will stay hydrated that way as well.

The nice things about these types of plants is that they can easily grow inside. As long as they are in front of a window and get some sunlight throughout the day, they will be fine.

Overall succulents are a very easy thing to take care of, but you can get lots of benefits out of them. They can add a nice pop of color, along with some health benefits, at little cost or time commitment from you.

What are some of your favorite houseplants? Until next time lovelies.

Get Out and Go!

With spring finally here in Wisconsin (where you can experience all four seasons in a week 😒 ), it is that time of year again where people start looking for events to partake in as part of their New Year’s resolution. Some have already started while others are just getting underway. Below are some suggestions of events that take place in various locations. Make sure you register early enough for a discount or watch for promos!

Plan to Concur

Bubble Run

If you can’t tell by the photo or name, this is a wonderfully colorful bubbly run. It is for all ages and you can play at each bubble station but I recommend you do not taste the bubbles even though they are non-toxic. Also if you are short like me, take a tall friend with you because those stations can create bubble towers.

Find Events

Terrain Race

Obstacles and mud! Many different obstacles along this 5K race. Great endurance training for you can pay for unlimited laps and push yourself beyond your limits. The difference between this one and Tough Mudder is that you can push through it by yourself but for me it is always more fun to do as a group. Nothing better than team building (in my opinion).

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Tough Mudder

It is great for team building since these courses are designed for it specifically. Faced with best-in-class obstacles and you experience heart-pumping adrenaline. My workplace has been participating in these events for a couple years and everyone always has a ton of fun. They have many different challenges for anyone looking to push themselves to or past their breaking point.

Pick Your Challenge

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Foam Glow

It is similar to the Bubble Run. Participants wear white clothing and as they move through each station that is designated to a specific color, they are sprayed with that color. The neat thing is that the whole course is everyone looks like a glowing bug under the black lights. All product used are non-toxic.

All races are dedicate to Childhood Cancer Awareness.

Find Events

Still looking for something to do? Try visiting Active. I found most of the events I am debating to do or already registered for (Bubble Run hands down! Whoo!).

Feel free to drop those thoughts bouncing around in your head or share any events that hold your interest in the comments👇 below 👇. Doo it, do it now 😁

Until next time my lovelies!!!

Treat Yo’ Self!

If you know the TV show “Parks and Recreation” then you know this saying. If you DON’T know the show, I highly recommend it. But regardless of the show, everyone needs to treat themselves every once in a while.

Now while the show talks about spending so much money that you basically cry the next day looking at your bank account, there are other ways you can treat yourself and feel good about spending a little on yourself. Here are 10 different ways to Treat Yo’ Self:

  1. Going out to eat if you don’t usually do.
  2. Buying that one thing at the grocery store you always tell yourself you don’t need (you know what I’m talking about).
  3. Buying an outfit that you think makes you look ravishing!
  4. Setting aside a day to spend time with the people that make you happy.
  5. Finding time to binge watch that show you have always wanted to watch.
  6. Spending a little too much at the bar (but drink responsibly and DO NOT DRIVE!)
  7. Buy that one item that you wished you got for a birthday/christmas/anniversary/special occasion present just for yourself.
  8. If you have the funds, book a flight or a mini vacation for yourself.
  9. Find a quiet place to be alone, read a book, and relax.
  10. Do one thing you have always wanted to do but were never able to.

The main idea behind “Treat Yo’ Self” Day is to allow yourself to be happy and to find something that makes you feel alive! We all need just one day to remind ourselves that we are important. We matter, and we need to take care of ourselves. Even if that means splurging on ourselves for once!


Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

I have three words lovelies. Treat Yo’ Self!!!!