Healthy Recipes That’ll Curb That Chocolate Craving

Any chocoholic will tell you how difficult it can be to kick a chocolate craving. If you frequently dream about ice cream, chocolate bars, and decadent brownies (and just as frequently give into those cravings), you’ll appreciate these healthier chocolate recipes.

Dark Chocolate-Dipped Cherries [Whole Living]
The combination of chocolate and fruit is a true classic, and it tastes great in just about any pairing. This recipe uses tart cherries and rich, dark chocolate to satisfy your chocolate craving while still providing heart-healthy antioxidants and cancer preventative anthocyanins.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse [Fit Pregnancy]
It may sound strange, but the thick, creamy consistency of avocado makes a great base for an untraditional chocolate mousse. The dark cocoa inside masks the flavor of the avocado and leaves you with the chocolate-y taste that you know and love.

Chocolate Souflee [Eating Well]
These individual sized chocolate souflees help you to quiet your chocolate craving without overindulging. They also look as professional as a gourmet dessert, which makes them perfect for dinner parties.

Peanut Butter & Pretzel Truffles [Eating Well]
Few things go together better than peanut butter and chocolate, and this recipe is a wonderful example of that fact. These truffles are incredibly easy to make, and they also incorporate a salty taste from the crunchy pretzels.

Keep or Toss? Decluttering Rules to Live By

You’re not exactly a pack rat, but you definitely have more than a few items in the back of your closet that you haven’t looked at in a few years. Most people would say that their homes could benefit from a bit of de-cluttering, and these helpful tips will show you just how to do it.

  • Keep papers within reach. By keeping papers within eyesight, you’ll be more likely to deal with your paper mess before it accumulates into something much more difficult to manage.
  • Ask a few questions. When you’re going through the items in your home, ask yourself questions like: Have I used this in the past year? Does this benefit my life? Is it broken? If, so can I fix it? If you say no to most of these questions, put it in the donation pile.
  • Create a donation pile. Speaking of that donation pile, start one! You’ll feel a lot less guilty about getting rid of your unused items if you know they’re going to someone who will really appreciate them.
  • Clear off surfaces. After you clean out hidden spaces like closets and under the bed, make a rule that you’ll always keep surfaces like counters and desks free of clutter. Not only will your home feel more organized, this will ensure that it looks more organized, as well.

18 Five-Minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering Your Mess [Zen Habits]
25 Ways to Clean Out the Clutter [Good Housekeeping]
Keep or Toss: Questions & Tips to Help You Declutter [Apartment Therapy]

Awesome Facts About the World’s Tallest Roller Coasters

Adrenaline junkies love seeking out the highest, fastest roller coasters at any amusement park, but some of these rides are crazier than others. Here are a few unbelievable facts about the tallest roller coasters in the world.

  • The Steel Dragon 2000 coaster in Japan’s Nagashima Spa Land measures in at a whopping 318 feet high and 8,133 feet long, which makes it the longest steel coaster in the world. Even more impressive is its insane price, however: The coaster required extra steel to make it earthquake-proof, totaling $50 million!
  • Since 2005, the Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey has held the title of the tallest roller coaster in the world. It stands 456 feet tall and drops riders at a stomach-churning 128 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds.
  • If you prefer upside down roller coasters, the roller coaster with the most loops is The Smiler in England’s Alton Towers park. Although its name sounds sweet and innocent, this coaster boasts a whopping 14 loops.
  • If speed is more your thing, the world’s fastest roller coaster is, predictably, located at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. This bright red, Ferrari-themed coaster reaches speeds of 150 miles per hour in just five seconds.

World's Scariest Roller Coasters [Travel + Leisure]
Awesome Roller Coaster Facts: The Tallest One, Fastest One, Most Loops & More!
[Fun Times Guide]
8 Record-Breaking Roller Coasters from Around the World [Thrillist]

3 Health Benefits of Strength Training Exercises

Even if you don’t plan on bulking up or competing in weight lifting competitions any time soon, strength training is a crucial part of any exercise regimen. Here are three great reasons to incorporate weight training into your workouts.

  1. It promotes strong bones. Weakening bones is a concern that all people have to face as they age. The stress that strength training puts on your bones increases their density and prevents osteoporosis, keeping you strong and healthy as years pass.
  2. It helps to control your weight. While you might relate weight loss with intense cardiovascular workouts, strength training is just as important if you want to lose weight. Gaining muscle increases your metabolism and causes your body to burn calories more efficiently.
  3. It gives you more energy. Like all workouts, strength training increases your stamina and helps you to stay alert and focused. After a few weeks of regular weight lifting or body weight exercises, you’ll notice that you feel more energized throughout the day. Some scientific studies even show that years of regular strength training exercises help to sharpen your focus and keep your mind attentive as you age.

Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier [Mayo Clinic]
7 Reasons to Add Strength Training to Your Workout Routine [Everyday Health]
Benefits of Strength Training [Body Building]

No Pain, No Gain: How to Stay Motivated When Exercising

Most people start out strong when they begin a workout plan but then begin to get burned out or bored as time progresses. There are always ways to keep motivated while exercising; it just takes a bit of creativity to get back on track. Follow these simple tips for staying committed to your exercise plan.

  • Reward yourself. You're more likely to want to do something if something enjoyable comes from it, so give yourself a reward after working out. For example, tell yourself that you can have “cheat day” from your diet after you work out five days out of the week.
  • Create a schedule. Instead of just committing to your workout routine, put it onto paper. Just seeing your workout schedule written out will make you feel guilty when you can’t cross a day off the calendar.
  • Think about the effects. Instead of concentrating on the long-term effects of exercise, such as building bigger muscles or losing weight, concentrate on the immediate effects. Think of how great you feel after a workout or how nice it is to get outside and run on a sunny day and you might not be so inclined to skip a workout.
  • Work out with a friend. One of the best ways to stay motivated is by working out with a friend. You can hold each other accountable, and you’ll likely have more fun.

4 Science-Backed Ways to Motivate Yourself to Work Out [Daily Burn]
Fitness: Tips For Staying Motivated [Mayo Clinic]
Making a Commitment to Fitness [American Heart Association]

Free Marriage and Relationship Work Shops

Provided by the Empowering Families Project.

How to Decorate With Serving Trays Around the Home

You likely make use of serving trays when you entertain, but have you ever considered a tray's use outside the kitchen? There are a number of creative, modern ways to use serving trays around the home, and these simple tutorials will show you how.

  1. In the bathroom. Corral your everyday beauty essentials instead of letting them take over the bathroom sink by using an attractive tray. Choose one with taller edges so that small bottles don’t slide off of the sides, and be sure to display your prettiest products inside.
  2. In the office. Add a serving tray to your desk to keep office supplies, pen holders, paperwork, and business cards from cluttering up your desk.
  3. On the coffee table. Make your coffee table vignette look even more catalog-worthy by adding a large, attractive serving tray to your design scheme. Fill it with coasters, candles, and a large flower vase.
  4. Make your own. If you can’t find a serving tray that you like (or that fits your budget), make your own using a plain white tray and scrapbook-style paper. Cut the paper to fit the inside of the tray and secure it using double-sided tape.

Styling Trays for Every Room In Your Home [The Art of Living Well]
Paper-Lined Desk Tray [Lulu The Baker]
De-Cluttering The Dresser With a Cake Stand! [Ruffles & Truffles]

Follow These Tips for Bakery Quality Cookies Every Time

If you’ve ever wondered how to get that deliciously moist, chewy cookie consistency that you normally only find at your favorite bakery, all it takes is a bit of inside knowledge. Here are some expert tips that will help you to bake better cookies at home.

  1. Use a high-quality cookie sheet. Although stainless steel cookie sheets are a bit pricier, they make all the difference when it comes to your cookies. Dark colored sheets may cause your cookies to burn on the bottom, which results in an overcooked, dry texture.
  2. Be sure to use soft butter. Many at-home bakers skip this step and use cold butter to save time, but letting the butter melt a bit can work wonders when it comes to the texture of your cookies.
  3. Know which ingredients to use for your desired consistency. If you like cookies that are thinner and crispier, add more sugar. For cake-like cookies you can add an extra egg, and for a coarse, crumbly texture, simply add baking soda.
  4. Only bake one sheet at a time. Baking multiple cookie sheets at once can cause them to bake inconsistently, so try to use only one sheet at a time. If you’re short on time you can bake a few sheets at once, but be sure to rotate them frequently.

Cookie Tips – Secrets to Making Perfect Cookies [What’s Cooking America]
Tips for Baking Perfect Cookies [Macrina Bakery]
Tip: The Secret to Baking Perfectly Browned Cookies Every Time [The Kitchn]
Tips for Getting That Perfect Cookie Texture [Baking Bites]

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