New Series: Sugar Free Sunday Featuring Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Krispies

HAPPY SUNDAY!! Man, do I LOVE Sundays! Sunday mornings are my favorite. I sleep in and by sleep in, I mean wake up at 6:30. I meal prep. I make a nice breakfast. Joel and I go on our “#SundayWalk”. I can just rest and relax ❤️

An additional event I want to add to my Sundays is sharing a new series to this blog–Sugar Free Sunday. As many of you have learned, I have developed a passion for eating clean. One of the aspects of eating clean is getting rid of artificial sugars. Over the past couple of weeks, I have loved trying and creating new recipes that are sugar free…but taste good. I get so excited when I can make an “unhealthy recipe” HEALTHY! Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness DOES have a sweet tooth, butttt, I am learning how to harness a natural sweetness in treats and recipes. I thought it would be fun and beneficial to share these recipes with you all!

Sooo for the first in the series, here is my #SugarFreeSunday recipe:

If you have been following my instagram (@missdeclaireinghappiness), you probably have learned my enthusiasm for the company “Magic Spoon” and their cereal. Their protein cereals are packed with 12 grams of protein and 110 calories per serving. They have a wide array of flavors from Chocolate, to Blueberry, to Frosted, to Fruity…. and I think Cinnamon (I haven’t tried this one yet!!). All of the cereals are keto, gluten-free, grain free, wheat free, soy free, and sugar free. THE. CEREAL. IS. AMAZING.

With my new passion for this product, I wanted to create a way to eat this cereal besides just in a bowl with almond milk. Thus, “Rice Krispies” came to mind!!

I did a little research and brainstorming of how I could create healthy, clean krispies without the added sugar… and marshmallows. Now, there are sugar free marshmallows, but I wasn’t interested in reading the ingredients to see what they were made of LOL. I thought of ways to add some extra protein: Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Krispies were born!!!!

Below, you will see the specific ingredients I used in addition to Magic Spoon, coconut oil, and almond milk. I believe that any different brands will do. However, make sure that if you are adding the protein powder, you choose a “flavor” that would fit with chocolate and peanut butter. (**If you use a different protein powder, it might affect the nutritional facts of this recipe**)

I combined all of the ingredients–except the cereal- in a stovetop on low heat. I stirred the mixture for about 1-2 minutes, making sure it did not burn or thicken too much (if it does thicken for you, add extra almond milk to thin out). Then, I mixed the peanut butter mixture with the chocolate cereal.

Next, I sprayed a 9×9 pan with coconut spray and pressed the cereal mixture into the pan. I let this pan freeze so that the mixture could harden. After about an hour in the freezer, I cut cereal into bars 12 pieces. VOILA!!! The protein cereal bars were created and eaten!!!

I’m sooooo excited to snack on these throughout the week because they are yummy and protein packed! Let me know if you try this recipe and/or any modifications you make:)

The next recipe I hope to post about is a sugar free “Irish Soda Bread”. I’ll be channeling my roots and finding a way to enjoy one of my favorite St. Patrick’s Day recipes in a clean way ☘️☘️

Thank you for following along in my journey!

XOXO,

Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness

Clean: My 2020 Word UPDATE- February Edition ❤️

Happy February 15 everyone: the unmarked holiday where all heart shaped chocolates, red & pink clothing, and stuffed animals are 50% off!! I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend and had a day filled with lots of love yesterday!

A couple blog posts ago I shared my 2020 word: CLEAN. This year I wanted to focus on filling my body, mind, & home with CLEAN. As we are a little over a month and a half into the year, I thought I would give a little update on my CLEAN journey and share how I incorporated it into everyone’s favorite Hallmark holiday: Valentine’s Day 💓

***Disclaimer: in this post I am discussing how I celebrated Valentine’s Day in a CLEAN eating, CLEAN mindset way. I am by NO MEANS saying that this is how you should have been spending your day. As I mentioned before, CLEAN, whole foods are what I wanted to fuel my body with this year. I wanted to give those who want to try CLEAN eating and mindset ideas on a day that is for all those sugary, processed foods!! I appreciate your support and encouragement!***

MY VALENTINE 😍

I knew going into this day–with 28 days of no artificial sugar under my belt–that it might be challenging. Literally ever since January 1 was over, stores already started selling their chocolates, candies, and all things sweet. AND LET ME TELL YA, it was so tempting to eat all the Valentine’s I received from my students and friends, but I found some ways to still celebrate this holiday in a CLEAN way.

For dinner, Joel and I planned on having fondue or should I say FUN don’t mind if we DO! Have you ever had an oil based fondue? SO YUMMY. Normally we use a vegetable oil for our fondue, but to stick to the CLEAN, I used Avocado Oil. (I used Chosen Foods 100% Avocado Oil)

I boiled the avocado oil first on the stove for about 3 minutes to heat it up quickly, then transferred it to our fondue pot at 375 degrees.

Next, I prepared our dippings: chicken breast, beef, broccoli (OUR FAV 🥦 😍), cauliflower, mushrooms, and onions. Pro-tip #1: buy premartinated beef and chicken skewers from your local grocery store. They are already cut up for you and seasoned 👌🏻

I had this cute, large veggie tray that my dad purchased for a party that came in #clutch for organizing all our goodies. After that, we were READY!!!!

Joel and I drank Bubly from wine glasses lol and started fondueing away (is that a word?? Not sure but I’m making it one!!) We dipped our topping into a skewer and then placed it in the fondue pot to boil! Pro-tip #2: Let your broccoli sit in the pot the longest. You have not yet LIVED if you haven’t had fondue broccoli. Lol I’m being sarcastic and dramatic but I’m not kidding. Fondue broccoli changed lives!!!!

So in all, this dinner was CLEAN eating: avocado oil, veggies, and meat! One way to keep a CLEAN eating date night/Valentine’s Day is to eat in and fondue is a fun change up.

After fondueing for dinner, Joel and I opened presents to let our tummies get prepared for dessert. As you could see from the back of the picture above, I did something a little different 😋

I saw this idea on Pinterest! Filling my time and energy with CLEAN thoughts, I reflected on how it just makes perfect sense to be with Joel. I thought about how I could show the five senses in this gift.

  • Sound: I bought Joel an I Love You Soundwave Keychain from Etsy
  • Sight: Picture of us in a frame
  • Smell: his favorite soap
  • Touch: fun cozy socks
  • Taste: his favorite chocolates

I definitely had a CLEAN mind while wrapping this gift! I had so much fun doing the lettering 😍 Joel loved the thoughtfulness. I loved making this and seeing his reaction in opening each gift.

When we were finished opening gifts, we started preparing our chocolate fondue! Now you might be thinking, how did you make this CLEAN Claire?!? Well, if there’s a will, there’s a way and if you know me… I am always determined to find the way!! Exploring on Pinterest, I found this AMAZING recipe from Simple As That Blog, that I altered a little 😋

In a sauce pan, I combined:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup toasted coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons creamy almond butter (Pro-Tip #3: the original recipe called for creamy peanut butter but I only had crunchy PB so we used almond butter…honestly, I think I liked the taste better!!!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of sea salt

I cooked the mixture on the stove on low heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickened. Then, I poured it in a bowl to serve.

While I was preparing the chocolate, Joel got our dippings ready: strawberries, bananas, and peanut butter pretzel bars I made last weekend!! CHECK IT OUT 😱 👏🏻

THIS CHOCOLATE FONDUE CHANGED MY LIFE AND MADE SKIPPING OUT ON ALL THE VALENTINES DAY SUGAR CHOCOLATE WORTH IT 😍😍❤️❤️❤️👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻💓 Even Joel, who supports my CLEAN eating efforts but still wants to eat his sugary “normal” foods said that you couldn’t tell the difference between this and actual chocolate fondue. WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER.

So, my CLEAN journey is going well 😌 I just wanted to share that even on the sweetest day of the year, you can still fuel your body with naturally sweet, not processed or artificial sugary foods!! Thank you for all following along! I deCLAIRE that finding foods that are good for your body, but taste like the “real deal” are one of the things that make me happy. Another thing that makes me happy is this blog. And of course, ALL OF YOU! Thank YOU. I LOVE you all 💓❤️

XOXO,

Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness

I would like take this time to shamelessly plug my instagram account: @missdeclaireinghappiness

If you enjoy these blogposts and want to see more updates and food posts in real time, check out my insta 🤗 I would love to see what you all are up to, so give me a follow and message me!! Xoxo xoxo

Saving Time & Meal Preppin’

Happy Monday Everyone! I hope y’all had a great weekend and a wonderful day celebrating the fatherly figures in your life🤗 This past weekend, I had fun visiting with my college besties and honoring Pat Donahue #BESTDADEVER. One of my friends suggested a blogpost idea and I am so excited to share it (Thanks Nat!!). Today’s blog post is titled: “Saving Time & Meal Preppin”. For this post, I wanted to highlight various ways to save time, while still eating healthy, during the school year and summer.

I would say one of my least favorite parts about teaching is packing a lunch!!! I do not know why, but I just don’t like having to make my lunch ahead of time–worrying about how the food will stay fresh, what I should buy at the grocery store, etc. One way that I have made this task not as terrible is through meal prepping. Every Sunday during the school year, I would prep my lunch and set it all aside for the week. It was like an assembly line! I would make and pack all my sandwiches. Then I would pack my fruit. And lastly I would pack my veggie of the week. In preparing these meals, I would package them in either Ziplock bags or Tupperware and store them in the refrigerator. On Sunday, I would pack my first lunch and add an ice pack, sparkling water, silverware, and napkin and store it in the fridge. Then, every afternoon after school, I would unpack my supplies from that day’s lunch and repack it with a new ice pack, drink, and utensils. IT WAS AWESOME and saved SO MUCH time! Sometimes the last thing you want to do in the morning or evening is make your lunch, so I would just get the hard part done on Sunday (maybe it would take 15 minutes) and be all set for the week.

Nooooowww, what would I make for lunches you might ask? Here was my typical lunch. As you can tell from the list, I am pretty *basic*, but it was such a yummy and filling lunch that I didn’t really have to change it up. Every week I would have a:

  1. Chicken Sandwich
  2. Fruit
    • Green grapes or MOON GRAPES (when they were in season…OMG if you have never tried moon grapes before YOU.HAVE.TOO. They are these funky shaped long dark purple grapes that are crunchy and oh so sweet. My favorite produce man, “Jim from Produce”, at my local Mariano’s introduced me to them and they are delicious. I only have had them during the months of maybe October and February…they are not always at Mariano’s).
    • Whatever berries are on sale–sometimes I have raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or a combination!
  3. Veggie
    • Baby carrots OR sugar snap peas (if I’m treating myself because these are more expensive).

Lol and that was my typical lunch throughout the week. Nothing fancy or exciting. Every now and then I would pack some leftover pasta, squash, or taco salad from the night before. However, the lunch I listed above was my favorite. I also enjoyed it because it was healthy and filling. If you are not like me and can not eat the same thing for the entire year lol, there are so many meal prep ideas on Pinterest. Here are some of my favorites that I have had before or have had during the summer:

  1. Turkey Taco Salad
  2. Turkey and Cheese Pinwheels
  3. Greek Chicken Bowl
  4. Hawaiian Pizza Chicken
  5. Chicken, Rice, and Broccoli Bowl

Meal preppin’ is awesome because it saves you time during the week! Want to know how to save time during the week and make healthy dinners?! Well, let me introduce you to my two best friends: Crock Pot Meals and Trader Joe’s Freezer Section!

Do you have a Crock Pot?!?! If you do not, stop what you are doing right now and head over to Amazon to buy one. Crock Pots SAVE lives. Really, they do. If you do not know the wonders of Crock Pots, let me tell you. They allow you to have fresh, homemade meals right in time for dinner without the hassle of cooking one to two hours after work. The Crock Pot does all the cooking for you. Especially if you find the right recipes–how I like to refer to them “Dump Recipes”–there is minimal effort involved. You just dump all your ingredients and GO! I am actually making a Crock Pot meal for dinner tonight since I am working at Loft (*Selfish plug come visit me from 1:00-5:00pm💕)

Then, add a frozen veggie, a salad, and/or fruit on the side and you are GOOD TO GO for a great meal. Here are my FAVORITE FAVORITE FAVORITE easy Crock Pot recipes:

  1. BBQ Pulled Chicken
  2. Orange Chicken
  3. Salsa Verde Chicken (for tacos or taco salad)

Now, my other best friend is the Trader Joe’s Freezer Section!! There are so many wonderfully healthy freezer meals that you can make in 30 minutes or less. Put them in the oven and/or stovetop and cook while you are doing other things—catching up on emails, reading, cleaning, laundry, watching the Bachelorette from the night before, etc. Please follow @traderjoes and @traderjoeslist on Instagram for even more ideas! ORRR when you go in the store, head right to the samples. I have found many of my favorite recipes from sampling them from the oh-so-kind workers.

Here are some of my personal favorites (all of these ingredients can be purchased at Trader Joes):

  1. Cheese Cauliflower Pizza topped with Hot & Spicy Pickles– don’t knock it until ya try it
  2. Sweet & Sour Chicken with Vegetable Fried Rice
  3. Turkey Corndogs with Fries
  4. Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Chimichurri Rice and Ground Turkey

Soooooo, I hope these meal prep ideas and recipes save you some time and take a shorter amount of time than it did to read this entire blog post😜 I just wanted to share with you all that there are amazing options out there that help ya save time and are healthy.

I am Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness and these meal prep hacks and recipes are ways that make me feel happy throughout the year as they help me save time and allow me to focus my energy on other things💕 I hope you all have a wonderful week! Be on the lookout for a new vlog or blog post about my “Nailed It” adventures…follow me on my instagram @missdeclaireinghappiness for moreeee💕

XOXO

Taco Bout a Party

Recently I had a graduation party and it was taco themed…. WOULD YOU EXPECT ANYTHING LESS?! About a couple of months ago when I was scrolling through Pinterest, I saw a sign that said “Taco Bout a Party” and I was instantly intrigued.

“Hmmmm,” I thought, “how could I incorporate this saying into a party for me? What do I have to celebrate coming up?! My birthday is not until November!!”

After some thinking, I pondered “Taco Bout My GRADUATION“. YESSSSS! I immediately texted my dad, somewhat joking, but somewhat serious, and began the planning. I created a Pinterest board (probably 1 out of my 129829323) specifically for the event. I knew there needed to be a cute, festive invite, taco decorations, and food catered from my favorite Mexican restaurant in the area. The party would not have been for 4 months, but I like to plan early!!

Amongst my planning, there were two surprises/gifts that I received that helped make my taco themed party come true:

1. My Mimi won this “Fiesta Basket” at my student teaching placement school’s fundraiser. HOW PERFECT RIGHT?! Her winning this basket proved more than ever that I needed to have this party!!! It included a sombrero, piñata, variety of salsas, decorative bowls and glasses, margarita mix, and tortilla warmer!

2. MY CRICUT!!! If you have not been following my Instagram (which you should!!! @missdeclaireinghappiness), you have not seen my latest obsession! This machine can design, cut, and draw anything imaginable!!! From cards, to t-shirts, to posters, to decorations, my Cricut can do just about it all. I wanted to make some taco decorations and was able to do it with ease. Here is what I made! *Side note, this week sometime I hope to write a blog post about how to use this Cricut for beginners*

I wish I took a picture of all the food we had! It ALL was so yummy 🙂 We had so many leftovers, I sent every guest home with a little baggie of cheese. It was their “cheese goodie bag”… doesn’t everyone hand those out at parties?! After dinner and dessert (A TACO CAKE MADE BY MY AMAZING AUNT…. CHECK HER OUT AND SEE THE PHOTO BELOW https://www.facebook.com/SweetLaneBaking/), we had a piñata party and a family game of Kickball. Let me tell you, it is not a Donahue party/event without some sort of activity or game!

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I can’t wait to plan more parties… and my wedding!!! How fun it was to create a theme and see it unfold before my eyes. Now…..this is Miss Declaireing Happiness and I do declare that tacos, crafting, and my family are three things in the world that make me happy 🙂 I hope all of those things make YOU happy too!

Road Tripping ESSENTIALS

*Cue “Road Trippin'” By Dan+Shay*

What better way to celebrate graduation than road tripping to Disney World?!? Well, that is what we did people! Joel and I started our adventure on Friday, May 18 and just returned home yesterday. We began our drive Friday morning by traveling 9 hours to Joel’s cousin’s house in Spring Hill, Tennessee. We stayed there until Sunday morning and then made our way to Disney World in about 10 hours:)) Next, we headed to Hilton Head for two days (a 5 hour drive) and then to Atlanta for a Thomas Rhett concert (a 4 hour drive)!! After an 11 hour car ride yesterday, we make it back home right in time for my cousin’s graduation dinner! I highly recommend a good ole fashioned road trip. These 10 days on the road were full of fun, great memories, and learning experiences!

Besides the company and the vacation spots, do you know what made our road trip so good?? These tips and tricks:

  • Audiobooks: Before starting our road trip, Joel and I made our way to our local library to pick up some books on tape. I remembered my parents listening to audiobooks when we would travel from Austin to Lake Zurich every summer. Joel picked out his audiobook, Jack Reacher by Lee Child, and I picked out mine, The Lightning Thief and Sea of Monsters. Can you tell who is the teacher here?? Whoever was driving was able to pick the audiobook. It was such a good change from listening to the repeated songs on our playlist and trying to scan the radio for stations…AND I was even able to finish my books making me “hip” among my fourth graders from student teaching and soon-to-be fifth graders (#hopefully).
  • Ziplock Bags: You would not realize how handy these baggies became! I packed some sandwich sized bags for potential future snacks, spilled toiletries, and whatever we needed. Joel packed gallon sized ones for ice for the cooler. Little did we know, but these ziplock bags helped us save $$$$ for lunches on the road. When we were traveling from Orlando to Hilton Head, we were able to pack peanut and butter sandwiches in our baggies. How did we make these sandwiches you might ask?!?! At the hotel breakfast 😛 We grabbed some bread, peanut butter, jelly, AND our ziplock baggies and were all set for 2 days of lunches. The gallon sized baggies were great for holding ice to keep our coolers cold! Wherever we were staying–at family’s homes or hotel rooms–we would fill them up with ice to keep our drinks and sandwiches nice and cold for the road.
  • Pillows & Blankets: Sleeping/napping in the car is not always the most comfortable, so Joel brought along some pillows and blankets. Whoever was in the front seat (and when they were done being the navigator) could take a nice, comfy snooze.
  • GPS (besides your smart phone): Our portable GPS definitely came in handy… actually it was one of the #RealMVPs of the trip. I do not think we would have been able to travel without it! Not sure how people went on road trips back then with actual maps :O. I would recommend bringing a portable GPS so you’re not always using your data on your smartphone. We probably used the portable GPS 95% of the time and used our phones the remainder of the time to check for traffic. It was actually funny that I did not even think of bringing a map along or looking online before at our highway itinerary. I totally trusted the GPS!

I can not begin to express how amazing our trip was! Here are my highlights 🙂

  • I GOT ENGAGED!!!!! Joel proposed to me at a beautiful garden! This was right at the beginning of our trip and I could not be happier 🙂
  • Going to Disney World with Joel, my brother, and his girlfriend! Epcot was definitely a highlight-we ate and drank around the world. Magic Kingdom was oh so magical. AND ANIMAL KINGDOM ROCKED WITH THE NEW AVATAR RIDE 11/10 WOULD RECOMMEND

It definitely feels different to be back in the “real world” and not on the vacation mindset anymore. I’ll miss the warmth and memories of our road trip, but it’s nice to not live out of a suitcase (or car) anymore! Thank you for following along with me in my journey! Now onto the sweet summertime and planning for my future classroom and wedding!!!! 🙂

***If you like what you’re reading, be sure to give my page a follow to stay up-to-date! And check out my instagram @missdeclaireinghappiness to stay updated with some photos!

Introducing Me

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Hi everyone!! My name is Claire Donahue and….WELCOME TO THE NEW AND IMPROVED MISS DONAHUE’S BLOG AKA MISS DECLAIREING HAPPINESS! Last semester I created a blog to receive James Scholar credit & it was one of the best experiences. I loved being able to share my thoughts about teaching, new ideas I was learning, and the journey of graduating and becoming a real teacher. A couple of months ago, I created a personal blog on instagram (@missdeclaireinghappiness pls follow lol), where I shared my insights on all things that make me happy. So I thought…why not combine those two forms of media and communicating?! And thus, this blog page was born!

Now for a little insight into my blog name! You might be wondering, um Claire, you kinda spelled “declaring” wrong. Well, my friends, do you notice the little secret word inside my title? (deCLAIREing) Haha, I’m so punny. I combined declaireing with happiness because I am someone who always chooses to be positive. Life can get you down sometimes, but I like to remind others why we can all be happy. Choosing happiness and choosing to be kind can make this world a better place! As so, I want to declaire all things that make me happy and can hopefully put a smile on your face as well. And then I added the Miss in front since I’ll start teaching this fall 🙂

What can you expect for this blog? I’ll tell you! You will read blog posts about planning for the upcoming school year, crafting, fashion, baking, life hacks, vacation trips, books I’m reading….literally anything and everything happy! I want this to be a blog where I’m able to share my thoughts, ideas, and opinions, but also a blog where you get something out of it. Yes, you. With this, I am going to ask a little favor! Never hesitate to reach out to me with questions or ideas you want me to try. I love being able to help! I’ll be your teacher, stylist, chef, therapist, talk show host, mom, & more!

So sit back and relax and follow me along in my blogging journey!

XOXO,

Miss Declaireing Happiness

(Should I shorten this??? MDS? Miss D?? Keep it??? Thoughts??? Thanks!!!!)