Creamy (AND HEALTHY) Shrimp & Arugula Pasta

FullSizeRender 4.jpg

This pasta is deceptively good for you. It’s absolutely packed with a variety of vegetables, and it has very small amounts of butter*, Parmesan*, and heavy cream*. It also has shrimp, which are low-calorie, high-protein, and nutrient-rich shrimp (just make sure you get the real kind). Top it off with some whole grain noodles, and you’re good to go!

You’re probably thinking, “How can something so healthy actually taste good?”

Well, I’m glad you asked.

The truth is, this pasta doesn’t taste healthy. I’m not saying this as a vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, organic health food guru (but kudos to you if you are) who doesn’t know what comfort food actually tastes like. I’m saying this as someone who knows what actual unhealthy food tastes like. Even my brother, who passionately hates vegetables, liked this pasta. He was actually surprised (read: appalled) when I told him this pasta was healthy and filled with veggies.

*compared to how much I usually use

So, without further to do, here’s the recipe:

  • 1 bag of frozen, fully-cooked shrimp (with or without tails)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh arugula or spinach
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 4-8 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 box of whole wheat pasta, cooked

1. Defrost your shrimp by running them under hot water. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add your shrimp and season them with salt + pepper. Sautee shrimp for 5 minutes. Turn them over, adding your basil, onion, pepper, and garlic. Sautee for 5 more minutes, or until shrimp are browned to your liking.

2. Add your heavy cream and grated cheese, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Add your pasta, arugula or spinach, and tomatoes. Stir until your greens have wilted.

3. Serve warm with grated Parmesan, salt, and pepper as garnishes. Enjoy!




How to Save $$ on Groceries with Your Smartphone

Image result for saving money grocery shopping

Do you like eating food?

Do you like saving money?

Do you like using your smartphone?

If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, stay tuned for more information (AKA the answers to all your wildest dreams).

I’ve read many coupon guides, many of which claim to be easy and beginner-friendly, but I’ve had little luck following their instructions. I’d spend hours clipping coupons and researching, only give up after a few minutes because, lets face it . . . ain’t nobody got time for that!

This went on for a couple years, until I recently discovered that I actually do have time for saving money. All I needed was a little help from two free apps that I downloaded on my smartphone: Ibotta and

First of all, I must explain why I specifically use these two apps in combination. The Ibotta app is a rebate app, meaning you get reimbursed for your purchases through the app (through PayPal or gift card). The app allows you to digitally “clip” coupons and then print them using your own printer. Both of these apps are free, and you can use them in combination (unlike pretty much every other money-saving app).

Here is an easy step-by-step guide to saving money at your local grocery store:

Step 1: SIGN UP. Download the Ibotta and apps. Use my referral link (code: abrwhpq) for an automatic $10 bonus. There are many rebate apps out there, but Ibotta is the only one worth your time . . . trust me, I know. Once you create your accounts within these apps, you’re ready to start saving!

Step 2: SAVE and CLIP. Throughout the week (before you go shopping), go through both of your apps periodically. Save the rebates and coupons that interest you. This might seem like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. To put it simply, you just have to replace 5 or 10 minutes of your social media time with scrolling through your grocery apps (think: on the toilet, during your lunch break, on the subway, etc.). Easy!

Step 3: NARROW. The day or night before your designated weekly grocery shopping trip, go through the rebates/coupons on both of your apps. While going through each item, ask yourself these two questions: (1) Is it something that I would buy anyway? (2) Is there a coupon/rebate for this item on BOTH of my apps? (3) Do I save over 50% off this item? If you answered “no” to all three of these questions, delete the rebate/coupon. I’ve detailed each of these circumstances below. For every other rebate/coupon, continue with step #4.

Step 4: PREPARE and PRINT. Print out your final coupons; depending on your printer, you may be able to print them from your phone, otherwise you’ll have to email the clipped coupons to yourself. Remember to print in black & white! After reading the fine prints on your coupons and rebates, make a shopping list. I recommend doing this on a good, old-fashioned piece of paper, but it doesn’t really matter. Be absolutely sure to specify brands, quantities, and varieties on your list. Since there’s no way around the necessities, you should also list the items you require that you don’t have rebates or coupons for.

Step 5: SHOP. Using your grocery list, go shopping! I recommend going to a bigger grocery store like Walmart, since they usually have the most rebate-friendly items and better prices. Give your coupons to the cashier upon checkout, and they’ll take care of the rest.

Step 6: REDEEM. Since the coupon discounts were taken off your total at the time of checkout, you won’t need to worry about those. To redeem your rebates, you’ll simply have to follow the convenient prompts within the Ibotta app. Be sure to have your item barcodes on hand, as well as your receipt. Once your rebates process, you’ll be able to withdraw the money in whatever method you choose (in amounts of $25+), and there are even bonuses associated with redeeming many rebates.

This may seem like a lot of hard work, but it really only takes about 30 extra minutes per week, and money saving it is a very rewarding habit, no matter your income. Today, I completed another shopping trip (pictured below), which I’ll outline for you below as an example grocery shopping process.

FullSizeRender 3.jpg

Regular Price for Above Items: $107.98

Coupon Discount: -$19.80

Ibotta Discount: -$15.75

Total Saved: $35.55 = 33% of total value

Total Price: $72.43

Here are a few examples of how my money was spend/saved on individual items:

  • AXE Body Spray (Double Savings)
  • Before: $4.33
  • -$1.50 (Ibotta)
  • -$2.00 (
  • After: $0.83
  • Small Yellow Onion (Over 50% Off)
  • Before: $0.24
  • -$0.25 (Ibotta)
  • After: -$0.01
  • Ritz Crackers (Needed Item)
  • Before: $2.56
  • -$0.50 (Ibotta)
  • After: $2.06

When you do the math, 1 minute spend couponing = approximately $1.00 saved, which is TOTALLY worth it.

With this specific grocery trip, I saved enough money to take my family bowling or to see $5 movie at our local Cinema (and even get snacks)! Or . . . I could save it . . .

If I saved this much every week, I would have over $1,800 extra at the end of the year.

In 5 years, I would have $9,000, which would be enough to take my family to Disney World.

Saving money at the grocery store isn’t excessively time-consuming, unattainable, or crazy. It’s practical, and the benefits of doing so are amazing.

In light of the 2017 New Year, I want to challenge you to make this a year of financial literacy, starting with how you spend money on your groceries. What could you do with $9,000 extra dollars in 5 years? Save big; dream big.



The BEST Sugar Cookies


Since it’s almost Christmas, I figured it would be an appropriate time to share with you one of my biggest holiday-related struggles. For the longest time, I couldn’t make sugar cookies. I’ve always been one of those people who is just naturally good at baking, so it would make sense that I would be able to bake one of the simplest, most standard desserts EVER. Nope. I would try recipe after recipe, always resulting in disaster. Cookies scorched to the pan, sticky dough, etc. I literally must have tried at least 20 different cookie recipes over the years, all with the same outcome. I even tried using the store-bought dough . . . no luck. This went on for way too long. One fine evening, everything changed.

I was scrolling on Pinterest, aimlessly looking at recipes and pictures of baby kittens, when I saw a recipe for sugar cookies that claimed to be the PERFECT sugar cookie. I was skeptical, to say the least, but I gave it a try. All I can say is WOW. These sugar cookies are beyond amazing. They don’t require any chilling time, the edges are PERFECT, and they taste fabulous. Literally a recipe from heaven.

Here’s the recipe (from Katrina’s Kitchen):


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups all purpose flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
  3. Beat in extracts and egg.
  4. In a separate bowl combine baking powder with flour and add a little at a time to the wet ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. When the dough becomes too stiff to keep beating, turn it onto a surface (aka you CLEAN countertop), wet your hands, and knead the dough until it becomes smooth and perfect (it will, trust me).
  5. DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH. Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to 1/4 inch rather than 1/8).
  6. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. If you want your cookies to be crispy, bake them for about 10 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.


  • This recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies, but it will vary depending on how thick you roll your dough.
  • The entire recipe, as well as the picture, is from Full credit is given to Katrina, who is obviously the queen of sugar cookies.


Shrimp and Bok Choy


I love bok choy (yes, that’s actually how it’s spelled). I love shrimp. I love Chinese food. I love this stir-fry. Just thinking about it makes me salivate (TMI?). It’s salty and creamy, but not overpoweringly so. The best part is . . . YOU get to control what goes into it. I’m adding the basic recipe, but it’s up to you to add or take away ingredients to suit your tastes.

For the stir fry (serves 5):

  • 1 bag of frozen shrimp, thawed
  • 1/2 of an onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 TBSP oil (vegetable, olive, coconut, etc.)
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • bok choy (approx. 3 cups, chopped)
  • chicken bullion, to taste
  • water, as needed
  • salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders, etc.

Heat the oil and butter in a large pan or wok over low-medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and shrimp. Cook until the shrimp is cooked (or defrosted, if using precooked shrimp). Add the bok choy, chicken bullion, water, and spices. Cook until the bok choy is no longer raw, about 10 minutes, adding ingredients as needed. Serve over rice.

EASY Caramel Popcorn


The other day, I was thinking about caramel popcorn and how much I wanted it (okay, so that’s pretty much every day, but whatever). I decided to do a quick search on Pinterest, only to discover that caramel popcorn takes a lot of time and effort to make. So, being the extremely clever person I am, I searched for EASY caramel popcorn recipes (pretty brilliant, right?). Still, most recipes required AT LEAST an hour… that’s not exactly what I would consider easy. After about a minute of scrolling, I stumbled upon an actually easy caramel popcorn recipe, modified it slightly, and BAM! Actually easy caramel popcorn (yay).

For the popcorn (1-4 servings, depending on who’s eating it):

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 10 marshmallows
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup popcorn seeds, popped OR 1 bag popcorn, popped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Add brown sugar, butter, marshmallows, and vanilla to a microwave safe bowl big enough to hold all your popcorn. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval (you’ll probably end up heating it for about 1.5-2 minutes) until smooth. Fold in the popcorn, folding until the caramel sauce is evenly distributed. Sprinkle on the salt. Allow to cool (optional) and enjoy!

Healthy Chocolate Chia Pudding


I recently discovered this amazingly nutritious seed called the chia seed. Chia seeds are low calorie, yet high in fiber, protein, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and a ton of other good-for-you vitamins and such. Chia seeds also contain antioxidants. Chia seeds help fight weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses. Did I mention they’re reasonably priced (2 lbs. for $9.50 via Amazon)? So, basically, if you chia seeds are not currently part of your diet, they need to be.

Now, you can’t just eat a spoonful of chia seeds everyday or take them like pills because they expand in liquid (aka they’ll get stuck in your throat and there’s a good chance you’ll end up in the ER). So, after purchasing these strange little seeds, I made it my mission to find a healthy and delicious way to prepare chia seeds.

A couple months ago, I attempted to make vanilla chia pudding, and, although it was fine, it was a little soupy and just not as incredible as I was hoping; definitely not the kind of recipe I would put on my blog. Well, about a week ago, I tried making CHOCOLATE chia pudding. The cocoa powder (which, by the way, also has health benefits) made it lighter and fluffier. It was incredible: easy, delicious, and EXTREMELY healthy! What more could one possibly ask for? Here’s the recipe:


  • 3/4 cup milk (any kind)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup (the real stuff)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder


Mix all ingredients with a fork in a tupperware container, bowl, or mason jar (the order really doesn’t matter, just make sure it’s well-mixed). Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Stir and serve (this pudding is great with fruit). Note: this pudding does have a tapioca-like texture, keep this in mind if you’re not a texture person.

Bruschetta Chicken


This chicken dish is so delicious. It looks and tastes so fresh and elegant. Although it certainly doesn’t seem like it, it’s actually really easy. I served it with couscous, but you could really serve it with any carb you wanted (pasta, rice, bread, etc). If you’re looking for a light, fresh, healthy, and satisfying recipe, try making this bruschetta chicken!

  • 5 chicken breasts (or however many you need)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, & basil
  • 3-4 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2+ Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Handful basil, chopped

Bush the chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and basil to taste. Bake at 450ºF for 20 minutes. While the chicken is baking, combine the tomatoes, garlic, onion, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and basil. Once the chicken is cooked, top with the tomato mixture and serve. Ta-da!