The Gift of Health

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What if you could ask Santa for something this Christmas that would change the way you went about your daily activities, gave your more energy, more confidence, and a better attitude?

We’ll spend a lot of time this month picking out the perfect gifts for those we love, but what about you? Don’t put yourself on the bottom of your list! You can give yourself something that will not only have a lasting effect on your life, but will keep getting better with time: the gift of health!

I will always remember about 2 years ago going on a hike with my husbands family. My mother-in-law took a picture of all of us walking off. I saw that picture a couple weeks later and it was pretty life changing for me! I looked at that picture and made a DECISION to change and was COMMITTED to making it happen!! I looked at that picture and saw how big and unhealthy I had gotten… I saw a person who was panting just going on a hike and didn’t enjoy it. I saw a person who was so low on energy. I saw a person who was very unhappy on the inside. I saw a person who lacked confidence. I hated who I was!! I hated that I couldn’t have children… I hated that I was always low on energy and frequently depressed.

I threw that picture away… I remember telling myself “From today on out- I am no longer that person!!”

I had spent so many years using the excuses that “I don’t have money to change” or “I will never lose weight– tried many times– its not going to happen” or “I am way too busy, I just don’t have time”, etc.

The thing is, the right time will never come!! If you are not fully committed, you will quit. The excuses are nothing but that… EXCUSES!!!

I am so glad that I finally made that decision to go all in and focus on the things that I could change in order to be healthier and happier!! I got set up with the 21 day fix and shakeology. I did a challenge group with some friends and it completely changed my mindset and results! I was exactly right that day that I decided to change! I am no longer that person… I am happy! I love going on hikes and what exercise does for me! I have all the energy I need to run my own business, exercise every day, and chase my two toddlers around. I am finally more confident and happier than ever before!! I no longer look at a picture of myself and hate what I see. I am comfortable in my own skin and happy with who I am- flaws and all!

My life has completely changed!! This is why I now coach! I want to help other women/men who struggle the way I did!! I want to help you to feel comfortable in your own skin! I want you to feel good in a swimsuit! I want you to be healthy and fit and be active in your family’s life!

Don’t neglect yourself or your needs, and as a woman with many responsibilities, it’s easy to do, but as we take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually we can become the best version of ourselves and offer that version to our families and to the world!  The gift of health is something you’ll treasure and it will change your life!

Tasty Tuesday: SC Butternut Squash Soup

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It’s cold outside! And nothing warms you up better than a savory soup that cooks all day and makes your house smell amazing! Two secret ingredients ( a granny smith apple and coconut milk) give this recipe a one of a kind flavor,and it’s an easy recipe too!  Just toss your ingredients into your slow cooker and you’re good to go!

Recipe from Gimmesomeoven

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
  • 1 medium (uncooked) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
  • pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup canned (unsweetened) coconut milk
  • optional garnishes: extra coconut milk and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper (or smoked paprika)

Directions:

Add vegetable stock, garlic, carrot, apple, butternut squash, sage, onion, salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon and nutmeg to a large slow cooker.  Toss to combine.

Cook for 6-8 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high, or until the squash is completely tender and mashes easily with a fork.  Remove and discard the sage.  Stir in the coconut milk.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.  (Or you can transfer the soup in two batches into a traditional blender, and puree until smooth, being very careful when working with the hot liquid.)  Taste, and season with additional salt, pepper, coconut milk, and cayenne if needed.

Serve warm, with optional garnishes if desired.

*A medium-sized butternut squash should weigh around 2 lbs or so, or about 2 1/2 cups, (so you would need about 32 ounces if buying pre-cut butternut squash).

Ways to use or freeze your Thanksgiving leftovers

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Thanksgiving leftovers are just part of the tradition of the holiday. Usually after a few days, most of us are sick of eating them, but we don’t want them to go to waste either. If freezing your leftovers is more your style, you’ll want to check out this guide to freezing.

Or, you can try one of these healthy recipes for your Thanksgiving leftovers:

Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

This is a healthier twist on a classic creamy turkey and wild rice soup. Serve with a crisp romaine salad and whole-grain bread. Get the Recipe

Turkey Ramen

You might not think that Thanksgiving food could transform into a nourishing bowl of ramen soup, but that’s exactly what this recipe does. Miso paste, soy sauce, and ginger give the broth impressively authentic flavor that tastes so good, you may want to sip it by itself! Get the recipe.

Turkey Ramen

Turkey Tostadas
Swap out your typical turkey sandwich for these crispy turkey tostadas. Tomatillo salsa wakes up leftover turkey breast, and makes it moist and delectable. Top with shredded lettuce, onion and Monterey jack cheese, and dig in! Get the recipe.

Turkey Tostadas

Turkey and Stuffing Egg Cups
Make the most of the extra turkey and stuffing by using them to make these ingenious egg cups! Combined with eggs and veggies, these cups will make your busy, post-Thanksgiving mornings much easier, and they’re great for meal prep. Get the recipe.

Turkey Waldorf Salad
This refreshingly lean version of the classic Waldorf salad is made with crunchy apples, celery, walnuts sweet grapes, and turkey. Eat it atop a salad, serve in lettuce cups, or make an open-faced sandwich. Get the recipe.

Turkey Waldorf Salad

Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
Have leftover mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes? This shepherd’s pie recipe will transform those tired taters, leftover turkey, and even some veggies, into comfort food at it’s very best. Get the recipe.

Turkey Shepherd's Pie

Turkey and Brussels Sprouts Frittata
What should you do when you wake up the morning after Thanksgiving to a house full of guests and a fridge full of leftover veggies? This, for starters. We created the perfect post-Turkey Day frittata recipe with turkey and roasted Brussels sprouts, but you can use any leftover vegetables or sweet potatoes. Get the recipe.

Turkey Frittata

Turkey, Cranberry, and Brie Sandwich
Cranberry sauce is the magical ingredient that makes leftover turkey sandwiches sing. But this sandwich has even more going for it with creamy brie cheese that melts perfectly when it’s grilled. Get the recipe.

Turkey, Cranberry, and Brie Sandwich

Pumpkin Chili 
Leftover pumpkin or sweet potatoes are right at home in this belly-warming vegetarian chili that has only 96 calories per serving. Get the recipe.

Pumpkin Chili

Turkey, Apple, and Sweet Potato Salad
With its crunchy pecans, apples, and sweet potato, this protein-rich salad is the perfect antidote to the heavy Thanksgiving dinner you probably downed the day before. Get the recipe.

Turkey, Apple, and Sweet Potato Salad

Turkey Tamale Pie
This tamale pie will make you forget you’re eating leftovers. Turkey gets new flavor in a richly spiced sauce with colorful veggies, and all of it is tucked under a cheese and jalapeño corn meal crust. Get the recipe.

Turkey Tamale Pie

Fun, Family Thanksgiving Traditions

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You might already have some Thanksgiving traditions, but why not start some new ones with your family and friends this year!

Do a Service Project: While you’re waiting for the food to cook, or after dinner, take time to complete a service project. It’s the perfect way to show gratitude for all we’ve been blessed with. Some ideas could be: go on a family walk and pick up garbage along the road, tie blankets and donate them to a nursing home, make cards for soldiers serving overseas, rake leaves/shovel snow at a neighbor’s house…the project doesn’t have to take a lot of time or cost a lot of money. Brainstorm with your family this week to complete a project Thanksgiving day.

Gratitude Tablecloth: this is an tradition that keeps on getting better! Set the table with a plain cloth tablecloth and put a fabric marker by each plate. Have your guests write what they are grateful for this year (don’t forget to put your name and date by it!). Next year, get the tablecloth out again and keep adding to it. It will be so fun to look back to see what was written in year’s past.

Play Games Together: While you’re waiting for dinner to cook (or after) play games like Thanksgiving Bingo, charades, sing karaoke, and other board/card games. Go on a fall scavenger hunt.

Watch Family Movies: Nothing will get you feeling grateful for your friends and family more than watching old family videos! It’s a great time to reminisce with everyone together!

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? Are any of you starting new ones this year?

Tasty Tuesday: Thanksgiving Sides & Desserts

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With Thanksgiving just next week, many of us are sitting down to plan the menu or trying to decide what kind of dish we’ll bring to share at the family get together. Holidays can be tricky when it comes to clean eating because a lot of dishes are loaded with butter, oil, and sugar. It’s also easy to fill our plates and not even realize how many calories we just ate! Thankfully, with just a few simple ingredient swaps, we’ll can find many delicious side dishes and desserts to offer our family and guests next week.

Thanksgiving Sides

Maple and Turkey Bacon-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts

Total Time: 50 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 35 min.
Yield: 6 servings, 4 Brussels sprouts each

Ingredients:
Aluminum foil
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
24 medium brussels sprouts
12 slices nitrite-free turkey bacon, cut in half
24 wooden toothpicks, soaked in water
½ tsp. ground black pepper

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2. Line large baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
3. Combine maple syrup and vinegar in a small bowl; mix well. Set aside.
4. Wrap each brussels sprout tightly with half slice of bacon. Secure with a toothpick.
5. Arrange brussels sprouts on prepared baking sheet so that they are not touching.
6. Brush bacon with maple syrup mixture. Sprinkle with pepper.
7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until brussels sprouts are tender crisp and bacon is crisp.
8. Remove toothpicks before serving.

10 more healthy sides found here

healthy-thanksgiving-sides

Go HERE for 10 healthier Thanksgiving dessert ideas like

  • Pumpkin Pie w/ a whole wheat crust
  • Pecan and Sweet Potato Pie
  • Pumpkin Coconut Custard
  • Pumpkin Cookies
  • Pumpkin Bread
  • Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Cups
  • Apple Crisp
  • Slow Cooker Baked Apples
  • Apple Raisin Cake

And finally, take a peak at this ULTIMATE HEALTHY THANKSGIVING GUIDE which will give you even more ideas for veggies, desserts, sauces, potato options, soups, whole grains, how to cook and carve your turkey, what to do with leftovers and more!

Becoming More Thankful

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With the holidays fast approaching, it’s a time of year when many of us strive to be more aware of our blessings and to strive to be more thankful. Some days that’s hard to do! We live in a world filled with negative things happening daily and social media can be full of negative posts that bring our own attitudes down. To help with this, here are a few tips to help us remain positive and more thankful this holiday (and throughout the whole year too)

  1. Keep a Gratitude Journal: Whether you do this just during this time of year, or throughout the whole year, you’ll be surprised what things you’ll jot down. At the end of the day, pick 1-3 things to be thankful for. This could even be a fun conversation starter around the dinner table!

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2. When things don’t go as planned, choose to be positive and tell yourself “at least…” For example, you plan a fun family outing but nothing goes as planned. You leave late, the kids are fighting in the car, and you forgot you wallet and had to turn around to get it. It’d be easy to get upset and say that the day was a total failure. Instead, take a deep breath and focus on something to be grateful for “At least we’re all together. At least the weather is nice. etc..”

3. If you can, give back. The best way to show that we’re truly thankful for something is serve. I love the saying “Because I have Been Given Much, I Too Must Give” The holidays are a great time to serve others: donate to toy drives, coat drives,  the food pantry, and do random acts of kindess for family, friends, and even strangers. Teach your family about finding joy in service.

4. Banish negativity. It’s hard to be thankful if we’re constantly negative. For help with this, see my article on rewiring your brain for positivity HERE

 

Tasty Tuesday: Coconut Chicken Tenders

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Chicken tenders (or fingers) are one of those foods that you love as a kid and never really grow out of. They are on every kids menu, fast food menu, and restaurant menu around, but they usually come deep fried and full of grease and oil. This recipe uses healthy ingredients and bakes the chicken instead of frying it. You’ll love the sweet and tangy flavor combination and this recipe is one that’s great to get the kids involved with too! They’ll love helping you dip the chicken!

Recipe adapted from here

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12 chicken tenders (more or less…you can also cut chicken breasts into strips)
1-2 eggs (start with one and crack another if it runs out)
1/2 C whole wheat flour or flour of your choice like almond flour
1 C unsweetened coconut flakes
1 C  whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp table salt
3/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (you can leave this out if you want to skip the spice for the kiddos)

preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Give coconut a rough chop so it’s about the same size as the panko pieces. Combine it with Panko and spices in a shallow dish (I like to use a pie plate). Mix well to distribute all of the spices.

Place the flour in another shallow dish, and the egg in another. Whisk the egg.Get your stations ready so they’re in order and you can quickly put them on a foil lined baking sheet that’s been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

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Working with one chicken tender at a time, dredge in flour, then egg, then spice mixture.

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Place chicken tenders on a foil-lined baking sheet (for easy clean up!)  that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. You can drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil on top to help them crisp nicely, but it’s optional.

Bake tenders for 20 minutes at 450 degrees, or until juices run clear. Serve with a side salad (you can even chop these up and use in a salad), or a side veggie. These chicken tenders are great dipped in your favorite dipping sauce too! Ranch, ketchup, Dijon mustard, honey mustard, sweet chili sauce…they all taste great!

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