Friday, September 25, 2015

One Pot Wonder

I've seen some awesome recipes online of one pot dinners, and the idea has always interested me. I'm a big time crock pot user (NOT to be confused with pot user), but sometimes I forget to turn my crock pot on in the morning/early afternoon. I'm alllllll about the easy dinners, quick dinners, I didn't cook my husband did dinners, and this one is my favorite so far!

One Pot Pasta
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb sausage, sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium sized zucchini, diced
1 16 oz can tomato paste
2 16 oz can chicken broth
3 cups of pasta
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage, we used Aidell's apple and chicken sausage, and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the onion and pressed garlic, stir. Saute for 5 minutes.
Stir in the zucchini, simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in chicken broth, tomato paste, or diced tomatoes (our family doesn't like tomato chunks), and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil. 

Add pasta, cover and let cook per pasta package instructions
Stir in Parmesan cheese, enjoy!

Serves 6
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins

I used brown rice spaghetti, but you could use and whole grain pasta.
A serving would be 1 cup, and would be 1 yellow, 1 red, and 1 green.

I'm kind of looking forward to left overs, and will be adding this to our menu at least every other week. I'll have to figure out some other variations as well!

Try it, and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

10 small changes to help you SHRED that extra weight

I've been doing a lot of research lately into weight loss, and things that I can add into my routine that could help me keep the weight off once I get to my goal weight. I'm finding a LOT more about how to lose weight, so I figured I'd compile a list for you all on the little things we can do to better our health and help us lose weight progressively.

They're not revolutionary ideas, you've probably heard of them before. Combined all together, this list could work wonders.
1. Drink a glass of water before each meal. This helps get your water in, you need at least half of your weight in ounces. It also helps to feel full faster while eating. I was taught growing up to eat slowly and wait 10 minutes before getting seconds, but we never did wait, and we never felt full, so it seemed. Now, I feel full before I finish what's on my plate. I've also read that it's not good to drink during your meal, so this supports that theory.

2. Trade white rice for brown rice, white bread for whole grain, not whole wheat-there is a difference, and pasta for whole grain pasta. Whole grain is a pure form, and the more a grain has been broken down and added to, the harder it is for our bodies to digest. Eating less processed foods is better for you. The more processed your food is, the more sugar and other unhealthy additives are in it. 

3. When picking fruits and vegetables, pay attention to color. I like to get a rainbow of color on my plate everyday. It's more fun, and I get more vitamins and minerals than if I just ate green vegetables or red fruits everyday. Try new fruits and vegetables you've never had before! With that said, don't force yourself to eat something you don't like.

4. I used to eat 3 times a day, like most people. I ate a small breakfast, medium lunch, and large dinner. I'd snack quite a bit after dinner and in the afternoon. This aided to my weight gain throughout my life. Our metabolisms can be so much faster if we are consistently fueling our bodies. I eat every 2-3 hours. 

5. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I don't necessarily believe this, I think all meals are equally important. But I do believe that if you eat a healthy breakfast, it sets a precedent for the rest of your day. I also know that you've gone all night without eating, and your body needs the right kind of fuel to make energy to get to your next meal.  Waiting too long after waking could slow your metabolism .

6. Don't go longer than 4 hours without eating during the day. To keep our metabolism functioning where it should be, we need to fuel our bodies frequently. Think of a car, do you let it run out of gas? Not only is it a pain to have to walk to the gas station and fill up a gas can, and walk back, but it's bad for your car. Our bodies are the same way. Don't let your body run out of fuel.  I added during the day because we don't need to wake up in the middle of the night to eat. Our bodies need rest, which brings us to the next item on our list. 

7. Get 6-7 solid hours of rest. As a mom of young children, I don't always get a solid nights rest. I rarely get a solid nights rest. So I know that other moms of young children don't either. Do what you can to get enough sleep though, whether it's taking naps when your children do, or going to bed earlier. If you don't have young children, and you're getting enough rest at night, avoid naps. We can get too much rest, and I don't know about you, but I hate that sluggish feeling when I've napped for too long. With that said, listen to your body and what it needs.

8. Take opportunities to move throughout the day. Park further away from the store, or walk to the store if possible. I like to sprint up the stairs, it's just something to get me moving, and I get a burst of energy and a few more endorphins. I like to chase my kids around the kitchen table, and we go on walks. If you sit a lot at work, take breaks and walk around, or get up and stand and stretch when you can. There is always more movement we can add into our day. 

9. Find a workout regimen that works for you. I LOVE 21 Day Fix, but I think any of the Beachbody programs are great. If you're a gym rat, go to the gym. Whatever it is that works for you, stick to it and be CONSISTENT. Consistency is the key. I've tried a lot of workouts in my life, as short as it may be so far, and I've quit a lot of things. How do you know a workout is working for you if you don't give it at least 3 months?

10. Eat less sugar. I have a lot to say about sugar. But I'll keep it to two things. First off, did you know sugar is as addicting as cocaine? Second, if you haven't seen the documentary "Fed Up" you need to. Drink less alcohol. I'd go as far to say don't drink alcohol. For religious reasons, I don't drink it, but even if I didn't have the believes that I do, I wouldn't want to waste calories by drinking them. This also goes for soda, juice, and other drinks. 

What did you think of this list? Is there anything you would add?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Be kind.

With September being Suicide prevention month, I have been a lot more open about my personal struggles with depression. If you haven't read anything else on my blog, I lost my brother to suicide this February. He was 17. It kills me that he didn't get to graduate, he will never go on a mission, won't experience college, won't be a husband, or father, won't be a lawyer, he's missing out on so much in this life time.

It is so important to be kind to others. We really don't know what they are struggling with or thinking. People can be amazing liars, fakers, and illusionists. My motto in high school I told myself every day was, "Fake it till you Make it." Because of that I became excellent at smiling when I was really struggling inside. 

 If you, or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, PLEASE seek out help. 

I personally know it's hard to reach out for help, but it's so necessary. After my brother passed, I was really struggling, but also going through postpartum depression. I refused to get help, and my mom and husband forced me to go to the doctor and get on medication. The medication took about 6 weeks to fully integrate into my system, but I started feeling somewhat better before that. I did have to be patient for it to work completely, so if you start taking medication, do NOT stop before that 6 weeks thinking it's not working. I've also recently learned not to go off of it without 1) talking to your doctor and 2) gradually going off them as the doctor sees fit. 

I personally have chosen to take a small dosage and combine other elements to help with my mood. Here's a list of things that help me stay happy and positive:
One thing I have to mention is that when I'm feeling depressed, I just want to stay in bed, I don't want to socialize or basically do anything. My mom has always told me, when you don't feel like doing it, that's when you NEED to do it. That goes for getting up and getting some cleaning done, getting out and going for a walk, talking to a friend, going to an event, whatever. When we need these "mood enhancers" we don't want to do them. The tough part is pushing ourselves do doing them. 

If you have a friend who is constantly flaking out, seems excited about an event and then at the last minute cancels, they might be struggling with depression. If you're a close enough friend, force them to go. I say this cautiously, because when my husband forces me out of my depression usually it's with a lot of yelling, tears, and I literally throw tantrums like my toddler, but I'm so grateful he did later when I feel better. 

Make a list of things that help you feel better, and the next time you're struggling, pick something from the list. I have found that having a paper copy of my list in my nightstand helps a ton! When I struggle to get out of bed, I pull it out, and do something from the list. 

Remember that depression is serious! It's not something to take lightly, and if you think you need help, ask for it. There is nothing wrong with getting the help you need. You don't need to live in a dark lonely cloud. We've been given life to live, to enjoy and have fun. I have lived way too long wishing for something different, and now on the other side, I am so grateful for the help my husband and mom made me get. 

Be kind to others, but even more, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be kind to yourself.

I am not a professional, but if you ever needed someone to talk to, or guidance with finding someone to help, please reach out to me

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Birthday pancakes!

My little girl turned 3 today! Like all of my previous posts that include her, this one is also about pancakes. Birthday pancakes.

I've seen posts about confetti cake pancakes, and those look delicious, but they aren't great for you, lots of sugar. I decided to make my own, healthier version. When I picked her up from preschool, she told her teacher she had cake and sprinkles for breakfast, so I think I passed.

Birthday Pancakes
1 cup Kodiak Pancake Mix
1 cup water
1 egg
1/2 scoop vanilla shakeology, or other protein powder
1 tsp butter extract
1 tbsp sprinkles

Heat pan on medium heat, or plug in griddle and heat to 300 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Spray pan or griddle. Pour batter into 4-6 inch pancakes. Batter will not bubble quite the same as regular pancakes because of the sprinkles, only a few bubbles will appear.
 Once bubbles become big in size, flip pancakes.

Pancake "Frosting"
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp stevia
1/2 tsp butter extract

Whip all ingredients together until mixture is light and fluffy.

You can layer the pancakes and put the "frosting between each layer and on the top layer, and serve in sections, like a birthday cake, but my little 3 year old wasn't having that, so we did just one layer for her!

my little 3 year old

I would love to hear from you! Leave me a comment, or email me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It was a dark day

When I started this program, I had just lost my brother to suicide. I had heard how helpful working out could be for mental wellness, and I was in awe with how much better I felt. I had visited a doctor and was prescribed anti-depressants a few weeks before, but the doctor told me it takes six weeks before the medication is completely in my system and working properly, so I hadn't felt the full affects before I had started working out. After I was working out, and had been on the medication for a few weeks, I felt amazing! It got to the point where I was not even remembering my brother on Mondays, the day he passed. Several times, on his 4 months of passing for example, I completely missed big milestones.

Granted I was pretty busy and had a lot going, I missed emailing my brother in Argentina several weeks in a row. I forgot appointments and other things, but that was just not being organized I think.

I didn't want to be miserable and dwell on losing my brother, but I felt almost like the medication was making me happier than it should. I had never felt that happy and positive before. I decided maybe I had just been dealing with postpartum depression, and didn't need the medication anymore. I got the idea in my head that I could handle my depression by keeping up on my workouts, eating healthy, and drinking my Shakeology. There is an ingredient in Shakeology that was used in the past for a natural antidepressant, after all. I was a little scared to get off of the medication, so I pushed it off for awhile.

This last time I had to refill my prescription, I called it in, and then asked my husband to pick it up for me. It was a busy day, so he forgot. The next day, I went to the grocery store, and forgot to go to the pharmacy that is inside the store. Then, this past Saturday was hectic with helping my parents move. Basically, I didn't take my pills for 6 days. I had been wanting to get off of it anyway, so I just didn't make it a number one priority. By today, we decided I wouldn't take it anymore.

Until we were coming out of Costco, today, and my daughter told me that she was a daddy's girl. I started to cry. As we were driving, I realized I didn't want to go back home, and I felt so overwhelmed with being home alone with the kids and having to care for them. I automatically knew that I would have to get back on my medication. I love my children. I love being a stay at home mom. When I feel like I can't care for them alone, like it's so overwhelming, I know I need help. The rest of today, I was bawling on and off. I know it was because without that aid, I can't cope as well. I can't function. My house is a mess. I don't even care. I couldn't cook dinner, and we ended up going out to eat. Not even to a good, healthy place, we had A&W. One of the worst places, but I didn't even care. I went in grease stained yoga pants, a sweatshirt, and in need of a shower bad. As I'm writing this out, I realize how badly I need that medication. Working out and eating healthy is helping. I would probably need a higher dosage if it wasn't for the healthy habits I've been incorporating in my life.

Today was truly scary. I forgot how hard it is to feel like you're losing control. How dark and alone it can feel, and it was only a little taste of what I've felt in the past. I even felt slightly suicidal, something I hadn't felt before losing my brother, and haven't felt since starting this program. Before, I was so ashamed of those thoughts, and it was so embarrassing. I kept them from my family and friends, especially when I first started getting them because my brother had just committed suicide. Today, I told my husband right away. I really had to swallow my pride because of my desire to be "medication free," but I never want to be as bad as I was a few months ago.

I've come to realize that no matter what, I'm not going to be perfect. I am not going to get every single workout in. I'm not going to be able to only eat healthy food the rest of my life. I'm not going to only have positive thoughts. I'm going to have bad days. I have an amazing support system, I have amazing friends and family. I have so many people who love me and are there for me. But I need to take care of myself and make wise decisions. I can't let my mental health dip. I have too much to lose. As I tucked my kids in bed tonight, I held them both so close. I don't want to watch them grow up while I'm in heaven. I don't want some other woman raising them. I can't control everything, but I won't be the reason they won't be raised by me.

Pancakes, again!

I know what you're thinking...can you make something besides pancakes? Not really, no. Plus my almost 3 year old is obsessed, and asks for pancakes every day. It's been since last Thursday, so nearly a week since the last time I made pancakes. Here's some new recipes, in case your kids ask for them all the time too, and your sick of the same old pancakes and syrup!

Chocolate Chip Pancakes
1 cup Kodiak Pancake mix
1 cup water
1 egg
1/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Heat griddle to 300 degrees. Pour batter into medium sized (about 4 inches in diameter) pancakes. I usually can get 6 across my griddle, but for this mixture, I got 5 pancakes.
 Flip once bubbles start to appear and then break. Cook on other side for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides.

I like these pancakes plain, but my daughter likes pure maple syrup on hers. This is the maple syrup we buy from Costco.

Today I had double chocolate chip pancakes, because I can ;)

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Protein Pancakes
1 cup Kodiak pancake mix
1 cup water
1 egg
1/2 scoop chocolate Shakeology or other chocolate protein powder
1/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Heat griddle to 300 degrees. Pour batter into medium sized (about 4 inches in diameter) pancakes.  Flip once bubbles start to appear and break. Cook on other side for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides. 

>additionally, you can add 1-2 tbsp ricotta cheese for extra flavor and to make the pancakes more fluffy. This also adds more protein. 

For both types, you should get 6 4-inch pancakes, or 4 6-inch pancakes. 1 6-inch pancake counts as a yellow and a teaspoon.

Sick of seeing pancakes? Me too! Message me recipes you love, and I'll make them healthy!

Friday, September 11, 2015

First Day of School

Yesterday was a very big day for our family! Kallie had her very first day of school! She has been asking to go to school since she was 18 months. She has tried to get on the bus that stops at the neighbors. Once we got into a preschool group, she has asked every day to go. FINALLY, it was time to go to school!

I woke up early, got her backpack packed, got her brother fed, made pumpkin pancakes, and waited for sleeping beauty to wake up. She slept in till 8:15! She had school at 9. It was a stressful, hectic morning.

But she was so happy and so excited, it was adorable. She ate half of the pancakes I gave her, and then was too ecstatic to finish. We got her teeth brushed, clothes on, and she was running the whole way to preschool. Until she tripped and fell and scratched her forehead.

This girl didn't want me to stay and fuss over her. We got to the door, and she didn't even look my way, just yelled, "Bye, mom!" over her shoulder.

When the baby and I got home, he was ready for a nap, so I got two hours by myself. It was awesome! I got so much done. I'm starting to see why moms love school so much! I'm going to love this new chapter of our lives. My husband came home in time for me to go pick up Kallie by myself. We walked home together hand in hand (most of the time), and she told me all about her first day of school. I remember telling my mom about school every day, and I look forward to that with my children. I'm so grateful I have the opportunity to work when I want to, so I can spend the important moments with my children.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pancakes
1 cup Kodiak pancake mix
1 cup water
1 egg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Add all ingredients, sans chocolate chips, into mixing bowl. Mix until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips, or add on top of pancakes when on griddle. Grease griddle, or frying pan, with coconut oil. Pour pancake batter onto griddle or pan in medium sized circles. Cook at medium heat, or around 325 degrees, flip and cook on other side as bubbles start to surface and break.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sweet&Spicy Chicken and Sausage Soup

This was dinner TONIGHT. I think it's really important I tell you this because usually I make dinner, hang out with my family, put the kids to bed, watch a show and maybe check out Facebook. I don't post the same day I make stuff. I have already blogged a million times today. But my husband ate his dinner, after biking with friends, and said, "honey, you need to post this ASAP. It's delicious. I want a second bowl." And I gave him a second bowl! And then pulled out my lap top.

The funny part about this dinner was when I started it, it was freezing in our house. I was thinking soup would be nice. Then, it got to be over 90 today, and it turned into a furnace in our house. Eating spicy food is never fun when you're already sweating. It makes you feel 20xs warmer. It was still good though. I can't wait till it's 20 degrees cooler and we can make it again.

The other funny part about this is that I wasn't thinking about the fact that the sausage is already chicken. But that's okay. Chicken and chicken go together, right?

Sweet & Spicy Chicken and Sausage Soup
3 chicken breasts (or 1/2 of the number of people, so 4 chicken breasts for 8 people)
5 sausages
16 oz can of black beans, rinsed well
5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 16 oz cans of chicken broth
1 tbps crushed red pepper-or more depending on how spicy you would like to go
1 tbsp Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle Seasoning
1 tsp dried sweet basil leaves
pepper to taste

Place chicken in crock pot. Slice sausage, place on top of chicken with potatoes, beans, seasonings and chicken broth. Place on low for 4-6 hours. Chicken is done once it's falling apart. You can cut or shred chicken and then place back into crock pot and serve.
A serving size would be 1 cup, and each serving would be 1 red and 1 yellow

Losing weight one pound at a time

Losing weight is one of the most frustrating things I've ever done. You have to be patient. You have to work hard. You have to have will power. It doesn't happen over night. You have to eat right. You have to say no. There are so many aspects I struggle with.

When I started 21 Day Fix, I was pumped, and I stuck to it better than any other program I've ever done. I've tried quite a few programs. I lost 7 pounds quickly. I hit a plateau. I pushed through. I lost 4 more pounds. I hit a plateau. I lost a few more pounds. I hit a plateau. You get the point. When I say plateau, I'm talking about doing everything right, and not losing for two weeks. I'm nursing, so my body is holding onto weight like crazy, but sometimes we just get in ruts. I've learned to trust in the process, and keep pushing through. Professionals created this program, and other Beachbody programs. Many, many, many people have seen results. Many people have lost a ton of weight on these programs. It wouldn't be so if they didn't work. But you have to trust in the process.

I have sweat like crazy, I have bled, okay only a little from a popped blister but still!, and I've cried while working out. There are days I would rather sleep in than get up before my kids and workout. There are days I would rather eat candy instead of a salad and grilled chicken. On those days, I remember why I started. Why am I doing this?

I am worth it. My family is worth it. My customers and friends are worth it. This is why I push myself. This is why I cook all of these meals and try to find healthy but yummy meals for my family and for my friends. This is why I sweat and get stinky. This is why I yell at my TV and push on instead of pushing stop and turning the TV off. This is why I won't give up. Because of how much better I feel when I keep going. Because of all of those who are counting on me. And because I AM WORTH IT.


Last night I had a lot going on, we had extra people at our house, and I just wanted dinner to be simple. But I also wanted it to be tasty because I was starving. This was a last minute idea, and I have to say, it was pretty dang good. It does take some planning ahead because it takes 90 minutes to bake, but I got quite a bit done while it was in the oven. The best part? My kids ate it like crazy, and so did my husband, but that's nothing new. We didn't even have left overs.

1 package lean ground turkey
2 slices bread (dried out is best, but I didn't think ahead and it turned out fine)
1 egg
1/2 yellow onion
1 1/2 tsp sage
pepper and pink Himalayan salt to taste
1 can tomato paste (you could use a 16 oz or the smaller can, we always use our extras like ketchup on hotdogs or burgers)
maple syrup to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop onion and tear bread, we use Killer Dave's sprouted wheat bread,  into small crumbs. In a large bowl, mix ground turkey, eggs, onion, bread crumbs, sage, and pepper.
 Grease loaf pan with coconut oil. Lightly pack meat mixture into loaf pan.
Bake for 90 Minutes, or until inner temperature reaches 165 degrees. While that's baking, you can make the "ketchup". I made mine on the stove, but you can just mix the tomato paste, 1 can of water, and maple syrup.
For the 16 oz can, I used about 1/4 cup maple syrup. Once the meatloaf is done, you can drizzle the "ketchup" over the meatloaf. I chose to dump most of the mixture over the meatloaf because my family soaks theirs in it anyway.

We also had red garlic potatoes and roasted veggies. For the garlic potatoes, I quartered the potatoes, boiled them, and then mixed 1 tbsp coconut oil, fresh pressed garlic, and some dried parsley. Fresh would have been delicious but we didn't have any. 
Next time I'll make two pans, because my daughter is already asking for more today for lunch. 

A serving size would be one 1/2 inch slice. 1 red, 1/4 yellow

What type of meals do you make when you've got a lot going and didn't think ahead to make a crockpot meal? I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment or email me.

Orangesicle Protein Shake

Thanks to my friend Emily, I went on a quest for the best Orangesicle Protein Shake recipe. I tried making it several different ways, and the simplest way was the best! It was so good, I have had it every day since. I even gave up my chocolate shakes for it! CRAZY!

Here's the recipe:

Orangesicle Protein Shake
1/2 cup crushed ice
1 cup mandarin oranges
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like the vanilla Shakeology best for this recipe)

Add all ingredients to blender, blend until smooth.

This turned out a little more liquidy (I know that's not a word) than I like it, so tomorrow I will use the oranges I put into the freezer today. Frozen mandarin oranges would thicken it I am guessing. I also recommend finding oranges that are in water, not syrup, if you are doing canned. Fresh is obviously best, but I am lazy and don't want to peel and skin mine.

Recipe counts as 1 red and 1 purple

Monday, September 7, 2015


Now that Labor Day is over, it's time to get serious about the Holidays coming up! Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. Before this year, these Holidays were all about the food. Halloween was all about candy. Thanksgiving was all about the huge feast I would get stuffed on, and then magically find room for several different pies. Christmas you get goodies from friends and neighbors, Christmas Eve we have a huge Mexican dinner, you get a stocking stuffed with candy, and then a huge Christmas dinner. New Years we go out to Chinese and have a large dinner, and then snack all evening till Midnight.

This year, when thinking about the Holidays, I'm more excited about watching my kids get excited about dressing up, spending time with family, teaching them about being grateful, teaching them about giving, and starting a new year. Until writing this post, I wasn't stressed out about food because I've had a focus on the important part of this time of year....Then I started writing this post!

To help keep myself, and hopefully help others, I've decided to come up with a game plan, yes THIS early, to keeping me on track during all of the temptation the Holidays bring.

First off, I like to know how far away everything is, and to set goals until they come. There's 8 weeks until Halloween. There's 12 weeks until Thanksgiving. There's 16 weeks until Christmas. There's 17 weeks until New Years. 

If I lose a pound a week (which at this point in my weight loss is a healthy, realistic amount), I could lose 8 more pounds by Halloween. I could lose 12 pounds total by Thanksgiving. If I was to keep going, I could continue to lose up to 17 pounds by New Years. 

How can I make this possible when there is so much goodies, cold weather, and other set backs at this time of year? Here's my top tips for staying on track during the Holidays.

1) Be prepared. Start planning now. Meal plan each week and get into the swing of things, so that you are not starting something new during the Holidays.

2) Set realistic, but detailed goals. Write them down. Don't just write down, "lose 5 pounds." Write down "I want to lose 5 pounds by Halloween." Then write down your action plan. "I will do this by exercising 6 days a week. I will only have 3 small treats a week. I will follow my meal plan."  

3) Set up rewards. Yes, being happier with yourself by Christmas is a great rewards, but plan out other rewards. If money is tight, like it is for most people at this time of year, come up with cheap rewards. A night out away from the kids, or even a night in with your spouse taking the kids to the store while you take a relaxing bath and read a book. I usually set my rewards, depending on the goal met, around $15-20. Of course, I have bigger goals that get bigger rewards. But the smaller, more frequent goals still get a reward. 

4) Don't say no to everything. Make a list RIGHT NOW of things you can't give up. Do you love hot chocolate, and want to indulge once a week during December? Do you have to have your mom's pecan pie Thanksgiving Day? Will you allow yourself 3 small candies on Halloween? Whatever it is, plan ahead. Know right now so you can work hard to earn those treats and yummy food. Know that week so you can limit your treat days accordingly. (I have 3 small treats a week. Not always but this is my max!)

5) Make a list of things you won't waste calories on. Maybe you don't need to do this. But I do. Every single year, I find myself eating candy corn. I don't like candy corn. I've never liked candy corn. But put candy in front of me and I'll eat it. This year, I have it on my "Waste of calories" list. Shortbread cookies are also on this list. Do you have things you don't love, and find yourself asking why you have it every year? Put it on your list!

6) Let your family and friends know of your goals. They can be supportive, and that's an amazing feeling. They can remind you of your goals. They cannot keep you accountable. That's your job. Have you ever told your spouse or friend to not let you have something, and then when they remind you, you get defensive and angry at them, and then eat whatever it is anyway? Yeah, they can't hold you accountable, only you can hold yourself accountable.

7) Invite others to join you! I love having friends and family in my challenge groups. It helps keep me accountable. It makes the journey more fun. It helps them. It helps me. It helps when the people around you during the Holidays are on the same plan as you, they'll cook healthier for you, or be on board when you cook healthier, and they won't tempt you with every treat possible.

8) Make a calendar and cross off each day that you stay on track. Last year, I made a goal to not have dessert from the week before Halloween until Thanksgiving. I drew up a calendar, and crossed off each day. It was so rewarding to cross off each day that I didn't have treats. I crossed off every single day until Thanksgiving. It was amazing to reach that goal!

9) Continue your workouts. Don't make excuses, remember why you're doing this, and then get it done. I like to think of workouts as {my} time. I think of them as my therapy. I think about how much better I feel when I'm done, and then I do it. Holidays are busy. I'll be waking up early Christmas morning and getting my workout in. Am I crazy? Maybe. But I know how much better my days are when I get my workouts in, and I'd like to feel as good as I can everyday, holidays are no exception. Not to mention all the stress that comes during the Holidays, and the fact that working out relieves stress. My goal is to workout 6 days a week from now on until the end of the year.

10) Evaluate where you are once a week. Every Sunday, I measure, I weigh, I look at where I am with goals. This way I'm not just setting goals and then forgetting about them. Make an appointment with yourself every week, and then show up. Check in and make sure you're on track. 

If there's anything I've learned in life, it's that if you're prepared, you can't fail. 

Did you like these tips? Do you feel you need more help and focus staying on track? Let's chat about what I can do for you as a coach.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Salted Caramel Chocolate Protein Shake

I LOVE all the shakes I've tried, but the more simple ones are usually my favorite (go ahead and call me lazy, you won't hear me denying it!) I've had this one several times, but today I was having super bad cravings, my kids are napping, and I needed something sweet and salty. My usual no-no combo.

What helps me fight cravings best? Protein shakes, hands down.

Here's my recipe!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Protein Shake
1/2 cup crushed ice
4 oz unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup water
1 scoop chocolate Shakeology (or other protein powder)
1 tsp caramel extract
dash of salt

Blend until smooth, enjoy!

For extra protein, you can add 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt! This makes the shake even more creamy.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, YES I did go to a chocolate store to get those super cute chocolates! And yes, I did eat all three of them! I would have had four if I had bought four, but I didn't want to go crazy. I totally believe in the importance of balance. I allow myself treats here and there. I don't reward myself with food anymore, but I do indulge on occasion. If you'd like to quit dieting, and learn to eat with balance, message me for more information!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Dinner fail

Sometimes, I fail at dinner. It's not as often as it used to be. I really hate following recipes. I get distracted with doing one part of the dinner, and forget something on the stove.

Tonight was one of those nights where nothing was going right. Kallie got into the finger nail polish.
Yeah that was fun. The baby wanted to be held from the minute I walked into the kitchen. I am always so worried he'll get burned or cut or something, so I sat and held him for a little while and then put him in his jumper. This put me back a little on dinner. 

I was planning on making zucchini lasagna. As I started making dinner I realized that I was supposed to cut the zucchini length wise, instead of grating it. I guess I subconsciously wanted zucchini bread. I'll be making that tomorrow, so hopefully that turns out! I pulled out the cottage cheese and it smelled funky. As I cut up the spaghetti squash, my backup veggie for dinner, I burnt the ground turkey. Bad. As in I ruined my pan. 

I made a spaghetti squash "lasagna" or pasta bake instead. With ricotta cheese. Sans meat. I didn't love it, it would have tasted way better with the meat. But my family ate it. Here's the recipe! Try it and let me know what you think!

Spaghetti Squash Bake
1/2 spaghetti squash
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion 
1-2 tsp fresh ground pepper
ground turkey
1 cup ricotta cheese
tomato sauce 
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese 

Clean out spaghetti middle, cut half into quarters. Place in pot, add water to about half way. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium. Cook until spaghetti squash is soft, and comes off easily. Drain. With fork, remove from skin. In a pan, saute chopped onion in olive oil. Add turkey, stir frequently until done. Add sauce, and heat thoroughly. Add spaghetti squash and ricotta cheese, stir. Place in a 8x8 pan. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. 

My kids are in bed...and I could really use a chocolate chip cookie and milk. Good thing I don't have the ingredients and I'm too lazy at the moment. Hope you all have a good night!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What to eat before and after your workout

Have you ever felt confused about what to eat before you work out? Or what to eat after you work out? Fueling your body is one of the most important jobs you have, and one of the keys to losing weight. There's a lot of controversy over eating vs. not eating before you workout, and the best advice I have, is go with what you feel best doing. I personally like to get my workout done first thing in the morning, and I don't eat before hand. If I do eat right before a workout, I feel sick and sometimes throw up during my workout. Some people feel the same way when they don't eat, so try both ways, and determine what's best for you. If it is to eat before a workout, try waiting a half hour-45 minutes after eating, to workout.

What should you eat before a workout? Protein and carbs. I'm not talking a stack of pancakes and several pieces of bacon. Look for foods that have carbohydrates in them, like fruits. Lean protein, quality carbohydrates, low in fiber, and low in fat foods. Here's a list of good {small} snacks to eat before a workout.

Make sure you are getting plenty of liquids during your workout. I used to go an entire workout with out drinking water. I drank enough throughout the day, but drinking water during my workout has helped me a ton!

What should you eat after you workout? MORE protein! Not a LOT of protein, just protein in addition to the protein you ate before your workout, if you ate. (Once again, I try to get my workout done as soon as I wake up, so I workout on an empty stomach. Unless of course, I workout later. I always eat around an hour before I workout if it's during the day.)

Your body needs about 10-20 grams of protein after your workout to help your muscles recover. I also find that this helps keep me full longer.

Things to avoid at both times are foods that are fried, greasy, high in fat, high in sodium, high in sugar, large quantities, or even raw vegetables. 

Did this information help you? Let me know! I'd love to hear from you.

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