Meal Planning Monday ~ Sinless Decadent Desserts

Today post is by Casey Lindberg-Coghill of Veggie and Glitter.

I’m typically not a strong lover of sweets, but lately I’ve had nothing but dessert on my mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cupcake, a cookie, or a slice of pie; if it’s sweet, I’ll gladly devour it in thirty seconds flat.

If you hadn’t guessed already, I’m currently about half way through my first pregnancy, and if the old wives’ tale is correct, then I’m definitely having a girl. It’s hardly scientific, but they say that those who crave sweets are carrying a girl; those who only want salty treats are having a boy.

But that doesn’t mean that this week’s Meal-Planning Monday post is only for those who have babies on the way. I have plenty of friends and relatives who struggle with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and satisfying their overbearing “sweet teeth.” It’s easy for a doctor or fitness guru to tell you to simply skip dessert or substitute fresh fruit for your favorite cake, but it’s only human to want to indulge every now and then. This week’s loaded schedule of recipes is focused solely on desserts that are big on taste and not on calories and fat.

Monday ~ Pumpkin Coffee Cookies 

If you’re anything like me, you find it difficult to get through a particularly manic Monday without lots of caffeine in your bloodstream. To be perfectly honest with you, I need several cups of coffee to get through even those rare stress-free days, so on Mondays, an extra pick-me-up is simply a necessity.

With their density relying on Greek yogurt and pumpkin puree rather than fatty substances like oil or butter, these cookies will satisfy your sweet tooth and your coffee craving without expanding your waistline. So go ahead, pour another cup of joe and indulge in a plateful of cookies without feeling guilty. You deserve it after making it through the dreaded first day of the traditional work week!

Tuesday ~ Fig & Fudge Brownies

Sometimes you just need a chocolate fix, but it seems like there has to be some way to get that fix without feeling terribly guilty afterwards. Put down that calorie-laden boxed brownie mix and allow me to introduce you to a pan of brownies that won’t leave a pit in your stomach after you eat two more rows than you intended on consuming (Admit it: We’ve all done it!).

The reason that brownies are typically so scrumptiously moist is because they’re filled with oils or butters, but these brownies get their stabilization and density from fruit puree instead of from fat. While I concocted these brownies with fig puree, pureed prunes or dates could also serve the same function. And don’t worry if you’re trying to serve these to a family that’s wary of health food; your secret’s safe with us! ;)

Wednesday ~ Not-So-Chunky Monkey Cookies

The combination of bananas and dark chocolate in this recipe is a match made in heaven when it comes to flavor, but these goodies are also righteous when it comes to nutrition. Not only do the bananas add a punch of potassium to your daily diet, ingredients like whole-wheat flour and dates provide more fiber than a serving of bran cereal. And even though dark chocolate could hardly be labeled as a “health food,” it does contain more antioxidants than other types of chocolate, such as white or traditional milk varieties.

Thursday ~ Dark Chocolate Avocado Torte

If you’re anything like my little family, you’re feeling hesitant about a dessert containing something green. However, you’ll thank me later if you choose to give this easy, no-bake recipe a spin.  The addition of sweet ingredients like maple syrup and chocolate chips offsets the distinctive taste of avocado, so you don’t have to worry that it will taste like a bowl of guacamole! The avocado flesh simply adds a creamy, velvety texture that will have you heaping your plate with seconds. Thanks to the lack of animal-based or dairy products, this dessert is also vegan-friendly.

Photo credit:

Friday ~ Double-Chocolate Snack Cake

I first discovered this recipe when I was invited to a dinner party at the last minute and idiotically offered to bring a dessert, even though I had no recipe in mind. With only about an hour to whip something up, I came to the realization that I had no milk or eggs on hand, which it seems like just about every recipe out there needs! Thankfully, I had previously saved this dairy-free chocolate cake on Pinterest and decided to give it a try. It was a huge hit with the entire group of guests; I even had two separate guests beg me for the recipe before the end of the night.

While this recipe does contain sugar and oil, the amounts for which it calls are far less than other recipes for similar-tasting  products. To further lighten the fat and sugar content, just omit the powdered sugar dusting and chocolate chip topping. It’s just as mouth-watering without it!

What’s your favorite “sinless” decadent dessert?

In addition to running her wellness blog Veggies and Glitter, Casey
Lindberg-Coghill is a freelance writer based out of Charlotte, NC. Aside from being
a writer, Casey is also a huge bookworm and fashion enthusiast who has rather
unhealthy obsessions with Justin Timberlake and anything pumpkin-flavored.



Florence Kroger Marketplace Grand Opening!

On Tuesday, I got the pleasure of attending the new Florence, KY Kroger Marketplace Pre-Grand Opening Reception as VIP guest.  A great blogger perk, huh? ;)   I was able to check out the huge new store while munching gourmet appetizers and rubbing shoulders with other bloggers, Kroger employees, and city council members.

Check out this yummy food from the deli!

The store layout is very similar to the Kroger Marketplace closest to me in Independence, KY.  All of the important amenities  are included: a Starbucks, a Fred Meyer Jewelry store, a US Bank, to name a few.

Okay guys, Kroger’s made it easy for you to pick up something fabulous for your wife for Mother’s Day without going to the mall!

The deli department was impressive: a sushi bar, a huge cheese case (my favorite!), and an enormous variety of side dishes and salads to complement those tasty rotisserie chickens.

Lots of cheese to go with my wine!

When I rounded the corner towards the bakery, I was pleasantly surprised that the music was coming from a live band, which was a very cool touch.  I ate a few bites of my favorite cake on the planet, Kroger’s white sheet cake with whipped frosting!

I love that the Florence Kroger Marketplace has a large home goods section, complete with bath towels, shower curtains, dishware, and an entire aisle of kitchen gadgets!  There’s also an expanded baby section, plus clothing for the whole family.

I shouldn’t be left unsupervised in this aisle!

I think I’m most excited about The Little Clinic next to the pharmacy, which I’d never heard of before Tuesday.  The Little Clinic is staffed with nurse practitioners who can administer injections, treat a variety of minor illnesses, write prescriptions, and perform physicals and other health screenings.  One of the staff nurses took me on a quick tour of the clinic and patient rooms, and explained to me that no appointments were required.  The Little Clinic is open seven days a week, with hours until 8 PM Monday through Friday, and until 5 PM on weekends.  This makes it an awesome –and less expensive – alternative to the emergency room or urgent care.  As someone who has a high-deductible health insurance plan, that’s important to me!  You know I love saving money!  The nurse mentioned that The Little Clinic is currently offering $33 sports physicals, so bring the kiddos and get that checked off your  to-do list.

If you’re in the Florence area any time soon, swing into the newest Kroger Marketplace and check out the store!  I’m sure you’ll find everything on your grocery list, and then some.

Comfort & Luxury Giveaway

It’s finally spring and that means it’s time to spruce up your space with the Comfort & Luxury giveaway sponsored by our good friends  at!  Your Strong Tower, Infused Reviews, and a great group of bloggers are pumped to bring you this giveaway that will help bring a breath of fresh air to your home decor.  Three lucky fans will each win a $25 gift card PLUS some great Tablecloths Factory merchandise!  I really need to update the decor in my master bedroom.  I just realized that it’s been almost exactly 10 years that we’ve been in our house and I haven’t changed anything in there since we first moved in!

Our first winner will score a $25 Brookstone Gift Card and a 72” x 72” Grand Duchess Sequin Overlay.

Our second winner will receive a $25 Ikea Gift Card and a Chevron Sequin Table Runner.


Our third prize winner will receive a $25 Bed Bath & Beyond Gift Card and a dozen Fabulous Ostrich Feathers! has a vast selection of colorful linens and décor items to spruce up your space this spring and make your home both comfortable and luxurious without breaking the bank! If you need chair covers, tablecloths, runners, sashes or simply table napkins, has you covered. And don’t forget, they also carry other great party supplies such as balloons, LEDs, and cake stands to make all of your spring and summer parties and wedding planning a breeze.

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Giveaway runs from Wednesday April 16 to Monday, April 21st, 2014. Contest is open to US residents age 18 and up. (Sorry, prizes cannot be shipped to Hawaii or Alaska.)  Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond to claim the prize, otherwise another winner will be chosen.  Your Strong Tower is not repsonsible for prize shipment.

$25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway


Your Strong Tower is excited to be helping Michelle of Mom’s Six Little Monkeys with this great Amazon giveaway!  There are SO many awesome things you could spend this on if you win!

Here’s what MIchelle has to say: I am having a Giveaway for a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card. I just want to thank all of my readers. I also want to thank all of the people who have helped and supported me. The giveaway will run from 4/13/14 thru 4/28/14.

Momssixlittlemonkeys was not compensated for this post.

Winner must live in continental US – no PO Boxes please. Winner has 48 hours to respond to winning email notification or forfeit prize. Momssixlittlemonkeys is not responsible for prize fulfillment, lost mail. 

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Meal Planning Monday ~ Easter Recipe Round Up

This week’s post is by Christine Luken.

Easter is less than a week away!  I love everything about Easter – colored eggs, chocolate bunnies, everyone dressed up in their Sunday best, and of course gathering with family to enjoy Easter brunch or dinner.  This year, I’m hosting my hubby’s family for brunch.  On the menu: breakfast casserole made with eggs, sausage, and shredded hash browns, plus bacon, fruit salad, bread for toasting, and some sort of dessert I haven’t settled on yet. (I’m thinking maybe some of the cute cupcakes below…)  I thought it would be fun to team up with my blogger buddies to bring you some fresh recipe inspiration!  Whether you’re hosting an Easter meal or just showing up at a relative’s house with a dessert to share, I think you’ll find a great new recipe or two to try.

Breakfast Casserole

From Your Strong Tower by Christine Luken

This crowd pleasing egg dish is delicious, and best when assembled the night before.  On Easter morning, just remove it from the fridge and pop it in the oven!

Bunny Basket Key Lime Cake

From The Experimental Homesteader by Sheri Ann Richerson

 You’ll impress adults and kids alike with this Bunny Basket Key Lime Cake! It’s as
tasty as it is adorable!

Chocolate Easter Hen Cupcakes with Yellow Butter Cream Frosting

From Savvy Saving Couple by Amy Desrosiers

 Not only are these cupcakes cute and delicious, but they are gluten-free!

Easter Eggs in the Grass Cupcakes

From Savvy Saving Couple by Amy Desrosiers

 Or maybe these adorable cupcakes are more your style!

Key Lime Cheesecake with Fruity Pebbles

From An Exercise in Frugality by Rose Siders

 If you’re a fan of cheesecake, try this Key Lime version that’s as colorful as a basket of Easter eggs.

What’s on your menu for Easter brunch or dinner?

Matilda Jane Clothing Giveaway

matilda jane giveaway

Matilda Jane Clothing Giveaway!

Hosted by: Got Giveaways?

Co-hosted by: Your Strong Tower

Sponsored by: Matilda Jane Clothing

I LOVE frilly girly clothing, and one of the best places to buy super cute, girly outfits in my opinion is Matilda Jane Clothing! Matilda Jane has such CUTE clothes designed to make little girls twirl around in their clothes. And, that they do! Cady at Got Giveaways? got to review an outfit from Matilda Jane Clothing’s new It’s a Wonderful Parade line. You can read her review here! I have several nieces that would love to have one of these adorable dresses!

How would you like to a gift card to go shopping at Matilda Jane?? One person will get a $50 gift card to Matilda Jane Clothing! This giveaway is open to US residents and will from from April 14 at 1 a.m.-April 30 at 11 p.m. EST. The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.

To enter, just use the Giveaway Tool form below!

Good luck!

Cady from Got Giveaways? received an outfit from Matilda Jane Clothing to facilitate her review. No other compensation was received. All participating blogs are not responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is in no way associated with social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Mother of All Mother’s Day Giveaway




Mother of all Mother’s Day Giveaway!

Your Strong Tower and Confessions of a Coupon Queen is excited to be a part of the Mother of all Mother’s Day Giveaway, sponsored by Amanda Smearman!  Whether you’re hoping to get this for Mom or yourself, this prize pack, valued at $200+, has it all! As you all know, I’m a HUGE supporter of Direct Sales and Network Marketing. I’ve asked a few of my fellow DS friends to help participate in this event and boy did they respond!

We have Thirty One, Younique, Jamberry Nails, Plexus Slim, Lilla Rose, and Beachbody! Check out the details on the awesome prizes below!  There are so many great prizes, so be sure to enter and share with all your friends.


All Pro Tote from Thirty One ($80 value)

This limited edition tote is perfect for the gym, diaper bag, around town bag and so much more! View more about this amazing bag at and join Amanda Smearman on Facebook!


awake fiberlashes


Younique’s 3D Fiber Lashes and Awake Cleanser ($65 value)

Younique’s 3-step 3D Fiber Lashes give your natural lashes up to a 300% increase without the use of falsies, extensions or multiple mascaras! Awake Cleanser contains a range of beneficial ingredients that awaken and cleanse the skin. Its thick texture transforms into an effective lather to dissolve oil and makeup, rinsing away pore-clogging surface debris, impurities, and excess oil. It refines the skin texture, brightens skin clarity, and minimizes the look of pores over time. Visit Amanda’s website HERE and join her on Facebook at Younique by Amanda.



Shakeology Sample & Shaker Cup ($15 value)

My favorite Beachbody Coach, Michelle Grubb, is giving this Shaker Cup and Shakeology Sample away! In just one glass of Shakeology, there’s 70 healthy ingredients that help repair and build muscles, reduce hunger and food cravings, keeps blood sugar steady, supports brain function to help promote alert thinking and reduce anxiety, and promotes healthy skin, hair and nails! Sign up for a free Beachbody account with Michelle and get on track for healthy living!



Jamberry Nail Prize Pack ($35 Value)

My friend, Kristin, is a Jamberry Nails Consultant and she’s offering a great prize pack to the winner of this giveaway! Not only will the winner receive a sheet of samples (great for accent nails!), and a full size sheet of wraps, but they’ll also receive the heater that makes applying the wraps to your nail super easy! Jamberry nail wraps are a great alternative to polish. They are non-toxic, gluten-free and last up to 2 weeks on fingers and 6 weeks on toes! Learn more on Kristin’s website and don’t forget to join her on Facebook!


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Plexus Slim T-Shirt and 3-Day Decision Pack ($35 Value)

My other friend, Pam, is a Plexus Slim Ambassador and she’s offering the winner of this giveaway one of these cute t-shirts and a 3-Day Decision Pack! The winner will be able to pick which shirt/color and size they want. Plexus Slim is famous for the Pink Drink and focuses on leading a healthy lifestyle with their all-natural line of products. Learn more on Pam’s website and join her on Facebook!




Lilla Rose Clip ($13 Value)

How adorable is this clip!? This Lilla Rose clip will be included in the winner’s prize pack! If you haven’t heard of Lilla Rose, they have adorable hair accessories, and are most well known for their Flexi-Clips! These cute clips work in all hair textures and are super easy to put in. This clip is sized XS. Learn more about Lilla Rose on Sarah’s website and join her on Facebook!


Ready to Enter!?

You have from now through Monday, April 21st to enter! We have options for daily entries too, so be sure to come back each day and increase your chances of winning this amazing prize package!  (Your Strong Tower is not responsible for prize shipment.)

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Jamberry Nail Wrap Giveaway

jamberry giveaway button

Welcome to the Jamberry Nail Wrap Giveaway


Hosted By More Than A Mom Of Three 

Jamberry nail wraps are the latest in DYI at home application for manicures and pedicures. Jamberry nail wraps are a non toxic and latex free wraps for your nails. No more chipping or flaking.

They offer hundreds of nail designs for everyone and every occasion!  I love all the pastels for spring, especially the mint green chevron pattern pictured above!

When applied correctly the Jamberry nail wraps can last up to 2 weeks on fingers and 4 weeks on toes. One sheet of the adult nail wraps can be used up to three times on your nails. No more going to the nail salon for expensive manicures or pedicures.

jamberry nail free sample

You can read the full review on More Than A Mom Of Three’s website. While you are there be sure to check out a way for you to claim a FREE Sample of Jamberry nail wraps.

jamberry nail wrap giveaway

One winner will receive the following:

  • One Full Sheet Of Jamberry Nail Wraps – (Your Choice of Style)
  • 2 nail files
  • 1 clipper
  • 1 nail brush
  • nail prep wipes
  • Jamberry Nail wrap applicator
  • 2 toe separators

Entering is simple just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway runs 4/9 – 4/25. Open to the US and must be 18 or older. Your Strong Tower was not compensated in any way and is not responsible to ship the prize.

How to Save Money on Your Children’s Easter Clothes

Today’s post is by Aimee Heckel of

I’m not going to say my favorite part about being a mom is dressing up my daughter in bows, sparkles and satin ribbons, but I’m not going to say it’s not, either.  I know I’m working against the clock. This Easter, she’ll be freshly 4. And I know the time bomb has already started ticking for the day my kid is mortified by everything about me, especially the clothes I pick out for her.  Moms don’t know anything, you know. Until every child turns 22.

 I’m a seize-the-day kind of mom, so this year my munchkin is going to Easter service dressed up fluffier than a stick of cotton candy dipped in clouds dipped in Dolly Parton’s hair. After all, it may very well be my last chance.  But my desire — nay, motherly need – to swathe my child in the most beauteous and impractical garb possible directly conflicts with my practicality. I know it’s financially irresponsible to drop big bucks on a dress she’ll only wear once, probably for only 13 minutes of the service.

But — sparkles!  My solution: lots of pictures up front and smart shopping.

Here are my favorite ways to save money on gorgeous Easter clothing for the kiddos. Because a good bargain has been known to keep me out of the confession booth.

1. Shop online. I know it seems fun to touch and try on clothes at the store, but, reality check, shopping with kids is actually Dante’s 10th Circle of Hell. Save the gray hairs and do your browsing in your PJs after they go to bed.  Best of all, you can save money by shopping online. Many stores offer online-only specials and coupons.

2. Use coupons. I know you’re busy. But this does not have to be a time-consuming, stressful thing involving scissors, binders, folders, tabs and the Dewey Decimal System. My favorite place to find all the best coupons for babies and kids stuff in one organized place is Browse by store (I’m pretty sure every online store in the vast Interwebs is on here) or by category (hint: Go straight to “kids clothing”).  Here, you can find pages of coupons for stores like Macy’s, Gap, The Children’s Place, JC Penney and more.

3. Pair coupons with Cash Back. Oh no, another step, right? Nope.  The only “work” you have to endure is the 15 seconds it takes to sign up for an account on (you can even log in with Facebook). Once you’re logged in, simply find the store you want to shop, pick the coupon you want to use and click.  You’ll be redirected to the store’s website, just like Google would redirect you, and your purchase is tracked. ShopAtHome will automatically bank the Cash Back in your account and send you a check once you’ve reached $20 (trust me, this happens quickly).

Cash Back seriously adds up. I’ve seen it higher than 10 percent. Right now, JCP is offering 9 percent Cash Back. So take that $40 dress you are wincing to buy for your daughter’s Easter dress. Pick your favorite of more than 250 coupons, like an exclusive deal for 10 percent off your entire purchase and save $4. Then, get another 9 percent Cash Back off that price – nearly $3 more savings – and that dress is suddenly marked down low enough to feel like you’re shopping your own personal sales rack.

Not a total sin. Which frees up your conscience to steal a handful of those jelly beans, right?

Aimee Heckel writes for Follow the site on Instagram @shopathome.

Meal Planning Monday ~ Grilled Chicken 5 Ways

This week’s post is by Amy Desrosiers of Savvy Saving Couple.

When it comes to meal planning in my home, chicken is a main staple for us. We love the reasonably inexpensive cost, and the fact that it is just so versatile and healthy. Plus, there are literally thousands of ways to prepare chicken which keeps meal time interesting. I love chicken in all ways, shapes, and forms, but I think grilled chicken breast proves to be the healthiest option.

To save my family money on boneless, skinless chicken breasts we wait until they go on sale. Around here, anything under $1.79 per pound is a steal! You can really maximize your money by buying chicken breasts in bulk. A trick that I have been recently doing myself is to buy 4-6 pounds at a time while it is a great price.

I then will bring it home and mass batch grill it for the week. Some of the breasts will go into the fridge, and others will go into the freezer either cubed, or cut into strips. This makes chicken salads, chicken wraps, and chicken soups a breeze. You not only save money by buying in bulk, but you also save hours in the kitchen by batch grilling!  To prepare your previously grilled chicken, you just have to heat it up and voila–an instant meal maker!

Grilled Chicken Topped with Homemade Pico de Gallo and Cheese: I love this recipe because it can be prepared in advance, so it’s perfect for busy days. You can grill the chicken ahead of time and pop it into the oven for 10 minutes and  then  garnish it with some fresh pico de gallo!

Grilled Chicken Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican Blend Cheese *reserved*

Homemade Pico de Gallo recipe:

  • 6 medium sized vine ripened tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup of fresh cilantro-chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion chopped finely
  • 2 small jalapenos (remove seeds) finely chopped
  • half a lime juiced–1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • pinch of salt & pepper to taste


  • Gut, and finely chop your tomatoes into little cubes; add to a large bowl.
  • Chop cilantro and add it to your bowl.
  • Finely diced your red onion, and de-seeded jalapenos and mix it in with your tomato and cilantro.
  • Squeeze your lime over the top and add your spices.
  • Mix everything thoroughly, and return it to the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours.
  • After your pico de gallo has had time to marinate, season your chicken with the above dry spices, and grill until clear juices run freely from the chicken breasts.
  • Add chicken to a baking sheet and then top with cheese; bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese has melted.
  • Top with your homemade pico de gallo and enjoy!

Since this week’s meal planning Monday is all about chicken, here are four additional tried and true chicken meals for your family. They are each very easy to prepare and provide a healthy meal option.

Deconstructed Grilled Chicken Fajitas: When my husband and daughter had to start eating gluten free, we started to cook a lot of meals without the carb component. Sure, you can always add a corn tortilla, but these deconstructed chicken fajitas are delicious alone as well!

Grilled Chicken Tenders Wrapped in Bacon: Doesn’t bacon just seem to make everything a bit tastier? We recently tried our hand at wrapping chicken tenders with bacon and the results were delicious; need we say more?

Grilled Chicken Bacon and Goat Cheese Salad: By now we all know that bacon, grilled chicken, and cheese is so good! This low carb trio is not only delicious, but it will keep you feeling fuller longer!

Buffalo Bourbon Chicken Wings: If you are in a mood to splurge and slightly stray from grilled chicken breast, you can go the wing route. Chicken wings, or “wingettes” are usually relatively inexpensive and provide loads of flavor. We recently created a delicious recipe for buffalo bourbon chicken and the results were finger licking good! You could also use the marinade for chicken breasts, and bake or grill them!