Abby\'s Blog

Get Healthier for Free!

Though it may seem like there are peak times of the year in which being healthier becomes a larger priority, there really is no time of the year when people aren’t trying to eat healthier or work out more. Unfortunately, fitness and health tends to take a backseat to our jobs, hobbies, and finances.

A recent article on has pointed out some free (and easy!) ways to get healthier that will work with your schedule and your budget.


1. Borrow Fitness DVDs from the Library

Instead of buying pricey fitness DVDs, growing tired of them, and having to buy more, try borrowing them from your local library. Most libraries offer free memberships, and when you get tired of the DVD you can simply swap it for a new one.
 2. Try Out Yoga Online
Many sites (like Yoga Today) offer free streaming yoga lessons and cheap downloads. Take a look at your smart phone, too – there are numerous free apps that offer yoga videos and poses to try out.
3. Tweet for Discounts
Follow your favorite stores on Twitter, or sign up for their email or text alerts. You’ll know about sales and special offers before anyone else and could save a bundle!
For more great tips, check out the full article here!

Amazing Pumpkin Recipes for Fall

It’s October and Fall is now upon us! Halloween is right around the corner and it seems candy and pumpkins are everywhere. While you’re scrounging around for some creative holiday recipes to serve at your Halloween party, Thanksgiving dinner, or even Christmas, take a look at these great pumpkin-based recipes:


Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Ingredients: 2/3 cup flour, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 15 oz pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 3/4 cup half and half


Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and half and half until well combined. Add in dry ingredients and whisk until no streaks of flour remain and batter is smooth. Fill each muffin cup with approximately 1/3 cup of batter. Bake for 20 mins. Cool cupcakes in pan. They will sink as they cool.

Chill cupcakes before serving. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients: 4 cups flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup butter or margarine, 4 eggs, 1/2 cup water, 15 oz can pumpkin, 1 cup& 2 tbsp miniature semisweet chocolate chips, 2 tbsp chopped pecans, 2 tsp sugar

Heat oven to 350F. Grease bottom only of two loaf pans with cooking spray. In medium bowl, stir flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until mixed; set aside. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter with electric mixer on medium speed 1-2 mins or until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in water and pumpkin on low speed. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed about 1 min or until moistened.

Stir in 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Spread evenly in pans. Sprinkle tops with remaining chocolate chips, pecans and 2 tbsp sugar. Bake 1 hour 5 mins or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 mins; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely (about 1.5 hours).



Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Ingredients: 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp salt, 4 tbsp butter, 1 heaping cup pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 1 egg, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 cup golden raisins

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture: 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Cream Cheese Frosting: 1/4 cup softened butter, 4 oz cream cheese, 1/2 lb powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 400F. Generously grease 12 muffin tins. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in butter with two knives or a pastry blender until all incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Add raisins.

Fold gently until mixture is just combined. Pour into greased muffin pan, each tin 1/2 full. Sprinkle generous amounts of cinnamon sugar over the top of each unbaked muffin. Bake for 25 mins. Allow to cool in pan for 15 mins, then remove and allow to cool completely. Ice with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting: Mix all ingredients on high until soft and whipped. Icing will soften at room temperature.


The Humble Beginnings of Success

If there is one thing that we all want it’s to be successful. It’s human nature. No matter where we are in our life, humans will always strive for more – a better position, more money, a bigger house, etc. Our dreams come true and then we create new ones.
Some of us seem to struggle more than others to achieve our dreams, while more still never get to see their dreams come true. It’s important that you not to give up hope if your dreams have yet to come true! To help you along, here are some people who are now wildly successful – but haven’t always had such good luck. Perhaps one day you will be able to tell a similar story.
          1. Bill Gates
One of the most well-known and wealthiest men in the world, Bill Gates, became wildly successful through Microsoft, but his first company didn’t work out so well. Traf-O-Data (a device which could read and process traffic tapes) was a miserable failure that ended up helping Bill and his partner to come up with the technology that began Microsoft.
          2. Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey once revealed in an interview that when he was fifteen he had to drop out of high school to support his family – who at one
point were living out of a van. He didn’t let that hold him back from his dreams of being a comedian, however, and is now one of the best comedic actors of the era.
          3. Benjamin Franklin
Despite having to drop out of school at age ten, Benjamin Franklin continued to pursue knowledge through reading and self-teaching. Thanks to his perseverance and determination, Benjamin late went on to invent the lightning rod and bifocals – and of course become one of the founding fathers of the United States.
          4. Stephen King
Though he is now possibly the world’s most well-known author, Stephen King’s writing career didn’t start out glamorous. His first novel, Carrie, was rejected by publishers a reported 30 times. He had actually given up on the book until his wife convinced him to give it another go.
          5. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah, another household name, hasn’t always been on top of the world. She had a humble beginning like the rest of us, but fraught with sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy, and the death of a child. Not letting this stop her, Oprah went on to work hard in school and earn a full scholarship to college – putting her on the path to the force she is today.

Now, we may not all become one of the richest people in the world, or a household celebrity – but we can look at these stories above and realize that the key to realizing our goals in life is simple (at least in theoretical form!): always remember your goal, don’t give up or let anything stand in your way, and refuse to be the victim. Everyone has circumstances in life that could keep them from the things that they want, but it is those who are determined enough to move past those circumstances that end up getting what they want from life.
*list and information above obtained from Huffington Post.