Back-to-School Workout Challenge

Although I still have a week left of my winter break, I know many of you have already started your second semester, which totally sucks I’m so sorry. But going back to school also means getting back to working out, because like many of you, I know I have been slacking in that department this past month. I didn’t have time to get to the gym the other night so I came up with this 35 minute cardio and strength workout routine inspired by a bootcamp class I take at my university’s recreational center and Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred that incorporates some of my favorite exercises. It switches back and forth from 6 minutes of strength training to 3 minutes of cardio exercises. I’m a huge fan of interval-based workouts because you can fit in your cardio and strength exercises in a short routine and it doesn’t leave you dying from long periods of high intensity cardio (such as in Insanity, god I hated those videos). Also, it’s been proven that interval-training fitness systems actually burn more calories than traditional fitness systems with no varying levels of intensity, so i’ll take it.

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So here is my Back-to-School Workout that you can do straight from your room, 3 times a week to help you tone up and get your Spring Break body.  All you need is a pair of free weights (I suggest 5-8 lbs.), a mat, a timer, and lots of water. Do each exercise for 1 minute.

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Restaurant Style Grilled Chicken Quesadilla

So I just started serving at the Vine in Iowa City and I have become obsessed with their Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla. Although I didn’t have all the ingredients I wanted to make that, I did make a scrumptious, restaurant-style chicken quesadilla that was way better than Panchero’s or Chipotle (although I still love them).

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I used frozen chicken breasts (defrost by placing frozen bag of chicken in bowl of hot water), shredded cheese, tomatoes, onions, and minced garlic  that I already had in my apartment and didn’t want to just throw away (wasting precious money) before I left for break for this quesadilla. The trick to homemade quesadillas is cooking your vegetables and chicken separately before you put them in your tortilla so they are thoroughly cooked and warm. Also, spray Pam in your pan and heat both sides of your tortilla before you add your cheese and other ingredients to get your tortilla nice and crispy like the restaurants.

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End of Semester Fiesta: Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Smokies

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while but I just finished my fall semester finals and I am back home in Des Moines with my family for the rest of break.

To celebrate the end of the semester, instead of going to a popular Mexican restaurant on campus to drink margaritas and eat, I decided to save money and do something special for my roommates.

My sister loves to make brown sugar bacon wrapped smokies for our family dinner parties so I thought I would give it a try because they are incredible! Even though it gets messy to make, it’s simple to make and really impresses everyone when they’re done. These would work as yummy hors d’ oeuvres for a holiday dinner party or appetizers for watching a sports game.

Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Smokies

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Ingredients: One package of bacon, 13-16 oz. of little beef smokies, and a cup of brown sugar. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

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Shopping Style Steals: Tanger Outlet

So if you’re like me, you have been spending the last two weeks working on final projects, papers, and studying for finals. I HATE FINALS WEEK! Ugh, it’s the most stressful time of the school semester but don’t worry, you’re almost done! Anyway, yesterday I needed a little study break and what did I choose to do? Shopping, of course!

Instead of going to the mall close to my school in Iowa City, I drove about 20 minutes to a town called Williamsburg, IA where there is a Tanger Outlet Center. If you have never been to an outlet center before, it’s basically a little plaza with discount outlets for brand name stores. While the plan was to get some Christmas shopping done for my family, I may or may not have bought a few items for myself. I can never say no to a good sale…sigh.

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