Surviving the Christmas Feast

It’s the holiday season! It’s a very fun time of year. I love seeing my  kids get excited!

I have been working with an awesome group of ladies who are committed to making good choices during this food-laden season. It’s not about deprivation. I like how one of the ladies put it… “I can have that cookie if I want, but I can choose to not have it too!”

Plus I feel very strongly that life is more than food. Yes, even during the holidays.

Our new group starts tomorrow! In the spirit of giving, you can have a friend join our group for free. There are 2 join options.  Let’s chat and decide which option is best for you!

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Do you need a little help staying on track this holiday season?

Saving and Sharing

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I enjoyed a few days of spending extra time with my favorites while visiting extended family.

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My oldest requested to go Black Friday shopping. It wasn’t terribly crowded! I got some good deals and had fun with my girlies! We have always tried to teach the girls about budgeting and Friday was no exception. They have really big hearts, and want to buy gifts for EVERYONE, so it presents a teaching moment. One of the reasons that we should want to save money is so that we can SHARE with those in need. Today, I thought I would share some ways that you can save money in the kitchen and still eat healthy… so that you have more to share!

Eat at home. Did you know that some sources report that the average American eats out 4-5 times per week?? We all know that most restaurant meals are very large and high in sugar, fat, and sodium. It also gets expensive. Let’s say you spend $8 per meal/ $32 per week or $128 per month, and that is for 1 person… with a conservatively priced meal. The actual average per month for 1 person is $232.

Go meatless at least once a week.

Purchase seasonal produce.

Frozen veggies are OK! They have been flash frozen at their peak, so as long as you don’t cook them to death – you’re good!

Decrease processed food. Most processed “food” is full of chemicals that your body will have trouble processing.

Join a CSA.

Make your own seasoning mixes and salad dressings.

Stock up when there’s a good sale or coupon. However, just because it’s on sale or you have a coupon, does NOT mean that you have to buy it. Sure, if it’s something you were going to buy anyway or need to purchase in the future, go for it. If not, put it back… you can even leave the coupon sitting next to it for someone who might need it (if it’s a paper coupon).

Green bean casserole

If you are accustomed to using condensed cream of _______________ soup for casseroles, give this a try instead. We love it!

Green bean casserole (Dairy-free and gluten-free)

Three 15 oz. cans green beans

4 oz. can of mushrooms (optional)

½ cup onions

1 T. olive oil

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. pepper

5 T. gluten-free flour (all-purpose blend or whole wheat flour if not gluten-free)

1 cup vegetable broth

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 onion, sliced

½ cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place sliced onions on parchment paper lined baking sheet and sprinkle with oil.  Toss to coat.  Roast the onions until they are browned, 25-35 minutes.  Stir frequently.

Change temp to 400. Saute ½ cup onions in 1 T. olive oil or water saute until crisp tender. Add spices. Add flour to make a roux. Add broth slowly, stirring constantly to get rid of lumps. Add almond milk slowly until mixture is thick. Add green beans and mushroms. Place green bean mixture in a casserole dish. Top with onions. Bake for 25 minutes. Top with sliced almonds and bake another 5 minutes. Serve!

Do you like green bean casserole?

Healthy Holidays – Social Tips

We are entering the holiday season! It is a joyous, thankful time, but it can also be stressful and busy. Good nutrition is key to feeling your best. Here are few tips to get you started in those social situations.

  1. Plan to indulge – At a party, pick 1-3 of your favorite indulgences – maybe your favorite dumplings or pecan pie. Indulge in 1-3 of those and fill up the rest of your plate with fresh fruits and veggies.
  2. Make it a holiDAY not a holiMONTH. You will likely be going to multiple holiday parties. I realize we live in America and food is everywhere, but treats are no longer treats when we eat them every day. Holiday food will appear everywhere from the break room to the grocery store. If it’s at the grocery store… let it stay at the grocery store. At work, bring in some fresh fruits and veggies to share or a healthier version of your favorite treat!  If you are asked to take leftovers, kindly say no thank you if you know you will be tempted to over indulge OR take food that you can put in the freezer for future use. You can also take leftovers to a widow or someone else in need. Better yet, invite them over if possible!
  3. Don’t beat yourself up over one over indulgence. You would actually have to eat an extra 3,500 calories to put on a pound. It’s common to weigh in 1-2 pounds the day after a big meal simply due to water retention. You can get back on track the next day!
  4. The holidays are about so much more than food. Make the event about the people, not the food! If you start feeling tempted to go back for a second piece of pie, engage someone in conversation instead!  blog5
  5. Make new holiday traditions that don’t involve food, such as  making wreaths, homemade ornaments, or other homemade gifts/crafts. You could also volunteer, play games, or go for a walk or drive to look at Christmas lights. We run a “Turkey Trot” every year on Thanksgiving morning. Our town doesn’t have  one of its own, so we just create one ourselves. When the kids were really little, we could just run around the house. I remember carrying Miss Spunky on my hip the first year. Hunky husband even “surprises” us with prizes every year.
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    My sisters and I went to a Christmas symphony performance last year

     

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

Kicking Cravings November

Hello! We’re entering the busy holiday season. There will be food EVERYWHERE, in the break room, holiday  parties, restaurants tempting you with their pumpkin lattes & “only available now” pumpkin & chocolate/peppermint treats.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could walk past the break room OR drive past Starbucks OR walk past those tempting smells at the mall and feel empowered to say, “I don’t want that.” Or at the holiday parties, “I am in charge of my body. Cravings won’t get the best of me!”

That is exactly what I want to help you do for the month of November. In October, I worked with a great group of ladies to work on developing some healthy habits,  so that healthy eating would start becoming second nature as we enter the holiday season. I know some of them and many of you are nervous about what will become of your healthy habits with tempting foods lurking around every corner.

We will discover that holidays don’t have to be all about food. They’re supposed to be about spending time with the people we love and thanking God for how He has bountifully blessed us. Sure, food is a part of it, but how many “celebrations” do you attend each year? I know people that go to 3 or 4 Thanksgiving dinners on Thanksgiving to make sure they see everyone. That’s great that they try to make sure everyone feels special, but we will talk about ways to navigate those situations so you don’t feel defeated in January because you gave in to cravings. You can CHOOSE & PLAN to indulge once in a while without giving in to cravings or being gluttonous.

So,  I’m obviously really excited for this group! There are a couple of different ways to join. Again,  I make my groups very affordable because I want to help you! Let’s chat about what option might be best for you.

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Meal plan – 10-24-16

I’m linking up with Orgjunkie for Meal Plan Monday! I’m loving soups and my slow-cooker right now, so that is definitely reflected here.🙂

Sunday – Cauliflower mushroom soup, veggies,  hummus

Monday – Stuffed peppers (crock-pot) & roasted sweet potatoes

Tuesday – Thai Red Vegetable Curry – (new) over brown rice (potatoes for the rice hater)

Wednesday – Black bean tacos with all the fixin’s

Thursday – Veggie chili, raw veggies, hummus, GF corn bread

Friday – Stuffed potatoes (slow-cooker!) and salad

Saturday – out?

What’s on your meal plan this week?

Vacation and a Recipe!

Hello friends! Life has been good! We went on vacation  earlier this month. We did a “stay-cation” for the 1st half – hitting up the super fun pumpkin patch, doing some hiking, and visiting good ol’ Purdue!

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A park  very close to our old house.

Then we headed to St. Louis, only a 3 hour drive. We had so much fun! If you are close to St. Louis, I definitely recommend it.

We went to the zoo first. It’s huge and it’s FREE. You have to pay if you want to do some of the extra attractions, but it’s really not necessary. You can even take in your own food.

On the second day, we went to the City Museum. Seriously, so fun and SOOOO tiring! It’s basically floors and floors of caves, tunnels and slides that kids AND adults can do. We were there for 5 hours and did not make it through everything. After 5 hours, hunky husband and I were P-O-O-P-E-D. The kids were still full of energy, but we called it a day. I thought we would be really sore the next day, but we actually weren’t. Thank you Shaklee.

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Some of the climbing structures were outside. I carried the backpack on my front to make the tunnels a little easier.

On the third day, we headed to Six Flags. I must say that I can’t ride some of the rides that I used to enjoy. Those wooden roller coasters bang me around too much! Little Miss Spunky is not quite big enough to ride the really big rides yet, so we rode some of the smaller coasters, and we rode the big ship 4 times. Hunky husband and my Little Lady rode some of the bigger coasters!

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The scrambler

On the fourth day, we headed to worship with the Christians and heard a really great lesson about having realistic expectations. It’s amazing how God knows JUST what I need to hear. Then we went to the Arch and back home. Everyone had Daddy withdrawal on Monday. I’m so thankful we love spending time together!

On to the recipe!

You know I can never leave a recipe alone, so I altered 2 recipes and came up with this delicious dairy-free broccoli “cheeze” soup. YUMMMM!

1 head cauliflower
2 cups water
3 celery stalks, diced
1 large onion, diced
16 oz. chopped frozen broccoli
2-3 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Himalyan sea salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast

Cut cauliflower into small pieces. Steam cauliflower in large pot until fork tender with salt, pepper, and garlic. In the meantime, water saute celery and onion in a separate skillet. When cauliflower is fork tender, process in food processor until smooth. I used a slotted spoon and just added the pureed cauliflower back to the water.
Add celery, onion, bag of frozen broccoli and nutritional yeast. Cook for 20 minutes. Add almond milk until desired consistency.
Cook until heated through.

I actually made this earlier in the day – stuck it in the fridge and heated it up when I got home. So, the flavors were more intense.

It was a huge hit. Definitely a keeper!

What’s your favorite thing about vacation? Have you ever stuck close to home for a “stay-cation?”

 

When LIFE happens

I don’t know about you, but my schedule is pretty jam-packed these days. If our healthy lifestyle wasn’t second nature, I don’t know that I could keep up with it. Luckily, I have things in place so I don’t really have to think about it too much.

Disclaimer: if you have a brand new baby or are taking care of a sick family member, then your situation is different. I’m just talking about the busy-ness of every day life and with the holidays coming up…  Let’s not talk about that yet.😉

  • I have my staples, so I can throw together a quick, healthy meal on super busy nights. This is HUGE.
  • I spend about 1.5 hours once a week prepping things for the week. It makes life so much easier.
  • I make 2 batches of MANY meals.
  • I use my slow-cooker almost every day. If not for supper, I use it to prep something for another day, like beans or spaghetti squash.
  • Working out is just part of my routine. It’s kind of like some people have to have their coffee or whatever it is… it just goes into my day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be what you would typically think of as “exercise.”

I find that most people KNOW what to do to improve their health. It’s just hard to actually make it happen. That is why I am really excited to be able to offer “Fall into Healthy Habits.”

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My goal for you after October is to have healthy habits in place so that you can:

Increase your immunity… because who has time to be sick over the holidays?
Enjoy holiday treats without going overboard.
Not feel overwhelmed with sugar cravings.
Make fun holidays treats that might actually be good for you!
Be well practiced at making easy, quick, family friendly meals.

We will focus on eating real foods and healthy smoothies with the option to add in some of my favorite supplements!

You will receive a family friendly recipe guide, sample meal plan, access to my private Facebook group for added support, one-30 minute breakthrough phone consultation with me, and text/e-mail support from yours truly.

I’m really excited about being able to offer this program and help you!

So, how do you sign up?

Contact me.

I can fill you in on all of the details. I have priced this to be very affordable because I really want to help you my friends! I even have an option where you can have the fee waived. There will also be a giveaway! If you sign up for the program, you gain an entry into the giveaway! If you invite a friend who also signs up, you get an additional entry!

What are you waiting for?

Madison Mini Weekend

My favorite man and I went to Madison, Wisconsin a few weeks ago to run the Madison half-marathon. I trained really hard for this race, but ended up having to REALLY rest beforehand (due to a leg injury) which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I actually ended up doing really well and FINALLY hitting my sub-2 hour time goal! 1:58 Woohoo!

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The expo was fun because I actually WON something. That is quite unusual. The announcer, whom I happened to be standing very close to, asked for 2 volunteers who wanted to compete to win a $25 Fleet Feet gift certificate. I was game. So, myself and a man had to run to the other end of the expo and find our names on the big banner. Somehow I found mine RIGHT AWAY.

I was a little unsure about the weather. There were storms in the forecast! I don’t mind running in a light rain when it’s warm outside, but I don’t like getting pelted in the face. AND I really didn’t want to be stuck out there if it started to lightning. When we woke up Saturday morning, it was raining, but it looked like the severe weather was going to stay away! I texted my mother-in-law, who had my girls, to tell her… “Tell the girls – Mom is doing this in the rain. #Hardcore” My oldest replied, “Great perseverance Mom.” I just love her.

Then it stopped raining just before the race started. Yay! I felt really good the whole race. I just kept looking at the next person in front of me and thinking… “I’m going to pass them.” I tried not to look at my Garmin during the race. I didn’t want to be disappointed. So, when I crossed the finish line and looked at my watch, I put my hand in the air, almost cried (because that’s just me – I cry at EVERYTHING), and said “YES!”

After the race, I enjoyed a nice soak in the hotel hot tub. We did a little shopping in the afternoon, including this stop at the Mustard Museum (remember my obsession from one of the last posts?).  My husband is a trooper.

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Then we had a celebratory dinner out including visiting an ice cream place that had delicious dairy-free “ice cream.” I had 2 humongous scoops and enjoyed EVERY.LAST.BITE.

Have you had any awesome race experiences? If you’re a runner, what’s your typical celebratory dinner after a big race?

 

Menu planning – 9-18-16

Hello! It’s been a while since I have done a meal planning post! It’s all about quick and easy meals these days. In case you need some extra inspiration this week, I’m linking up with Laura and orgjunkie.com!

Sunday – Black bean tacos 

Monday – Easy Mediterranean collard wraps and roasted sweet potatoes

Tuesday – Butternut squash soup, veggies and hummus and Paleo dinner rolls (new)

Wednesday – Veggie chili nachos

Thursday – Stuffed peppers, roasted potatoes

Friday – Pizza night! Everyone likes to choose their own toppings, but I will be making a cauliflower/almond meal crust. Recipe below.

Saturday – Jamaican Chickpea Stew – over potatoes for the non-rice lovers🙂

I also made some nut/date caramel sauce for dipping apples! Yum!

Cauliflower Crust

 3 cups riced cauliflower

¼ tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. dried basil

½ tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. garlic powder

4 T. almond meal

1 T. nutritional yeast

1 T. olive oil

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Cut off the florets. Pulse in your food processor for about 30 seconds, until you get cauliflower “rice.” Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Microwave for 4 minutes. You can also steam or water saute. Dump cooked cauliflower onto a clean towel and cool. Once cauliflower is cool, wrap it up in the dish towel and wring the water out of it. You want to squeeze out as much water as possible.

Put cauliflower into a bowl. Now add spices, almond meal, nutritional yeast, olive oil. Stir the mixture to incorporate all the ingredients. Now add your egg and mix again.

Once mixed together, form the dough into a crust onto parchment paper about 1/4 inch thick.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until it starts to turn golden brown and the edges crisp up. Flip and bake another 5 minutes. The edges should start to be crispy brown but not too much because you will pop it back in the oven after adding the toppings.

Add your sauces & toppings (I recommend already cooked toppings)  and place back in the oven. Cook for another 5 minutes until the toppings are warm.

What’s for dinner at your house this week? Do you have any non-rice lovers at your house?