Monday, October 27, 2014

Easy Halloween Recipes the Kids Will Love

I love Halloween but not the tons of candy that follows. That's why I decided to get in the habit of making healthy Halloween treats for my family and my kiddos. Sure, they can have candy every once in a while but I'd much rather them enjoy a healthy treat after school than go straight for the pantry where their Halloween stash awaits!  Below are a few ideas I've found throughout the year. I have changed some of the recipes to make them healthier and easier too :) Enjoy!

Pumpkins and Goblins

Cut bananas in half and insert 2 chocolate chips for the eyes and one larger one for the mouth in the banana backwards.  Peel tangerines (I use the Cuties).  Cut celery stalks down the center and chop into inch long pieces. Insert in the center of the tangerine.

Sweet Potato Jack O' Lanterns

Slice sweet potato into 1/2 inch pieces. Cut out shakes in the center for eyes and mouth with a knife.  Spray with olive oil spray or lightly brush them with it.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Chattering Teeth
Cut apples in half then into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Spread your favorite nut butter on one side of two slices.  Place miniature marshmallows in the center of one of the slices and add the other slice on top. 

How to Make Running a Fun Family Activity

It is no secret that there is a dire need to get kids out of the house, away from the video games and outside to get their daily dose of exercise.  One way to do this is by making fitness a family affair.  Many moms and dads run, ride their bike, practice martial arts and play sports, but few realize the many benefits these activities can provide for their children. 

One of the best and easiest activities to turn into a family affair is running.  Running is one of the best exercises for the human body and one that can be done anywhere, at any time, with virtually no equipment needed.  It promotes a healthy lifestyle, helps improve mood and gives the body one of the best overall workouts around. 

Benefits of Running for Children
One of the most obvious reasons to get kids into the habit of running is the benefits it provides both mentally and physically.  Studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association have demonstrated that children who are physically active, either through team sports or running, do better academically and have a more positive outlook on health.  Regular participation in physical activities is also associated with improved cardiovascular health, both in childhood and adulthood, reduced risk of diabetes, improved sleep, stronger bones and improved immune system function. 

In addition to the countless health benefits of physical activity and running as a family, running together also makes for excellent family bonding time.  It is also a time for parents to lead by example and show their children that fitness is an important habit that must continue into adulthood. 

How to Turn Running into a Family Affair
Getting into the habit of running as a family should begin even before children come along.  As a couple, a husband and wife can begin to make fitness a way of life by running together prior to having children and while expecting. 

Running with Your Spouse
Often times, one spouse is an avid runner and the other does not feel like he or she can keep up.  The other spouse is usually the cheerleader and is hesitant to participate.  Consider asking your spouse to join you for a run and ensure him or her that you will run at their pace.  After a few runs together, sign up for a 5K and start making running a competitive activity that you can do as a team.  This can not only motivate your spouse, but turn him or her into a lifetime runner. 

Running as a Family
After you and your spouse have made the commitment to run together and make it a family activity, you can have your children join you.  Even when babies are only a few weeks old, they can come along for a family run. They may be in a stroller but they will still learn by seeing what mom and dad do on a regular basis.  The habit is created early on and can be solidified as children get older. 

Tips for Running with Babies and Toddlers
Obviously, babies and toddlers cannot ride their bikes or run alongside their parents, but they can still be a part of the activity.  A baby can be in a jogging stroller in a car seat with an adapter and plenty of cushioning to support the head and neck weeks after being born.  After a baby is 6 months old, he can be in a jogging stroller without a car seat while mom or dad push him along their running route.  Many moms continue running with their children in strollers until they are five or six years old and strong enough to follow along in a bicycle.  Once kids can ride a bicycle, mom and dad can run while their son or daughter rides their bike alongside.  Although they are not necessarily running, they are still playing an active role in a family fitness activity and will grow to love running just as they see their parents doing. 

In addition to running alongside mom and dad, parents can also incorporate running with their toddlers through games.  Playing hide and go seek, tag, races to the mailbox and red light, green light are all ways to get your children running while making it fun.

Tips for Running with Pre-Teens and Teenagers
By the time children are in the late elementary years, they will be able to take part in a short distance run.  When going running with children for the first time, it is important to take it slow and begin with a warm up walk.  After warming up, interval running will help ease your children into longer runs as time goes by.  Interval runs include some walking and some running.  At first, most of the run will consist of walking.  Once your children improve their cardiovascular fitness, stamina and endurance, they will be running more than walking, and eventually be able to run without walking.  To begin an interval run, it is recommended that you run for a one to two minutes, then walk for another four to five minutes.  Repeat this interval several times, slowly increasing the running time and decreasing the walk.  After several weeks of doing this, your children will be able to run two to three miles with minimal to no walking. 

Regardless of how old you are when you decide to begin running or how old your children are when you decide to make running a family affair, it is never too late to start.  With fitness programs slowly diminishing in schools throughout the country, it is important that parents take the lead and show their own children how to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.

Turkey Quinoa Meatballs

I love to make these for pasta, as appetizers and even as a snack to have around and eat when my hunger strikes. My daughter likes to take them to school for lunch and just eat them as finger foods too! 

  • 1 bunch green onions, coarsely chopped handful fresh parsley
  • handful fresh basil
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled (optional)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Herbamare (Herb Season Salt)
  • 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for cooking
  1. Place the green onions, fresh herbs, and garlic into a food processor fitted with the “s” blade. 
  2. Process until finely ground. 
  3. Then add the cooked quinoa and process again. 
  4. Add the ground turkey, Italian seasoning, Herbamare, and pepper
  5. Process until all ingredients are combined. You may need to pulse the mixture a few times and scrape down the sides. Using lightly oiled hands, roll mixture into equal sized meatballs. Set them all onto plates as you roll them.
  6. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil.
  7.  Place enough meatballs into the pan so they have still some room to move. Sauté for 5 to 10 minutes moving the meatballs around a little so they cook on all sides. They won’t be all the way cooked at this point so don’t eat them. 
  8. You now have two options. If you plan to serve them as appetizers, you can finish cooking them by continuing to toss them in the pan for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked thoroughly. Once they're cooked, you can serve them on a plate with toothpicks and drizzle your favorite sauce on top.
  9. If you plan to add them to pasta, transfer to a clean plate. Repeat with remaining uncooked meatballs. Add more oil in between batches, if necessary.
  10. Pour your favorite sauce into the pan and add the meatballs in slowly.  Cook and simmer for about 15 minutes and add to your favorite pasta! Makes about 2 dozen meatballs.

Roasted Chicken Breast with Sweet Potato Fries and Spinach

This is one of my favorite meals to make for dinner.  I love sweet potatoes and chicken and my family loves it too!  The fries are sweet but healthy and the chicken is light but packed with protein!  If you're in a rush, pick up a rotisserie chicken from the store, peel the breast and serve it with a spinach salad and the sweet potato fries :) 

  • 4-6oz skinless chicken breast
  • whole sweet potato
  • 2-3 cups of spinach
1. I marinate my chicken breast in balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and no salt seasoning (Mrs. Dash or Kirkland Organic No Salt Seasoning from Costco)

2.  Place the chicken on a rack or cookie sheet in the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until thoroughly 
     cooked to your liking at 400 degrees.  Then begin to work on your sweet potato. 

3. Wash well and cut into strips. Either toss them in a tiny amount of olive or melted coconut oil or spray them with olive oil spray.  Toss them in no salt seasoning.  Then place them on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and cook at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  

4.  While the chicken and sweet potato are cooking you can cook your spinach in a pan with a small amount of water or make a salad with it using baby spinach leaves, sliced mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and sliced red onion.  Dress with red wine vinaigrette and lime juice.

Sweet Potato Spiced Muffins

I love dessert and muffins are my favorite because I can pack them in a lunch, put them in a zip lock bag and take them with me in my purse or just have a single serving size sweet treat ready to go.  

Dry Ingredients:

1⁄2 cup coconut flour1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger 3⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
Wet Ingredients:
5 large organic eggs
1⁄2 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes 1⁄4 cup melted coconut oil
1⁄4 cup honey or agave
1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with 9 paper liners.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the wet ingredients. Pour the wet into the dry and beat together.
  3. Fill only 9 of muffin cups about half way with the batter. Bake for about 30 minutes. Cool muffins on a wire rack. Will last about 4 days at room temp in a covered container. Freeze for longer storage.

Yield: 9 muffins 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Foods and Beverages that Help with Weight Loss

With obesity on the rise and posing one of the most single most severe health problems in the country, it is no wonder that so many are trying to lose weight through any means necessary.   There are countless fad diets, diet food delivery programs, fitness regimens and weight loss plans that swear to give you fast, noticeable results, but, when it comes to dieting, there is no such thing as an easy solution.  The best way to achieve permanent weight loss is by eating fewer calories than what your body burns throughout the day.  Obviously, incorporating fitness helps as well since it burns calories and helps off set the calories in versus calories out. 

Foods and Beverages That Aid in Weight Loss
Although it is important to cut down on calories consumed, it is also just as important not to restrict calories so much so that you are hungry all day and causing the body to burn muscle for fuel.  In order to avoid this, you will not only have to restrict calorie intake, but will also have to incorporate certain foods into your diet that aid in weight loss simply by consuming them.   Yes, that’s right, there are actually certain foods that are low in calories, low in fat and contain plenty of fiber.  These foods help keep you full longer, speed up your metabolism and assist in digestion.  They help prevent overeating and make calorie restriction a much easier goal to accomplish. 

Water is the key component to losing weight, keeping it off and doing it in a healthy way.  Water helps the kidneys and liver function properly so that your food is digested and fat is burned efficiently when consumed.  If you do not consume enough water, your kidneys will have a difficult time processing protein and your liver will have to jump in and help.  One of the liver’s main functions is to process fat in the body.  If it has to do another job to help out the kidneys as well, fat burning will be inhibited.  In addition to being a necessary tool for digestion, water also helps keep you full in between, before and after meals.  By drinking one to two glasses of water prior to each meal, you will get full quicker and consume fewer calories.

Green vegetables such as romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, spinach kale and other leafy green vegetables contain a variety of nutrients critical to weight loss, especially an abundance of fiber.  Fiber helps keep you full longer, hence helping you consume fewer calories at each meal.  Leafy green vegetables also fight free radicals and improve muscle recovery after exercise.  Incorporate a leafy green vegetable to each meal of the day by adding a green salad prior your main meal.  This is an easy way to add fiber and cut caloric intake with a healthy, pre-meal food.

Whole Grains
Whole grains are important, especially when they are consumed and substituted for starches or white foods such as white bread and white rice.  Some examples of whole grains are brown rice, whole grain cereals, quinoa, whole oats, and bran. Each of these foods, when eaten in small quantities at each meal, can help prevent the body from storing fat by helping move it along in the digestive system.  This results in less fat storage and increased weight loss.  Whole grains also provide a similar benefit to leafy greens and water.  They help keep you full longer, preventing snacking between meals or overeating. 

Lean Protein
Lean protein such as white meat chicken, lean turkey, fish and extra lean meats all assist in weight loss.  They do so by assisting your body with the muscle building process.  After exercise, it is suggested that you consume a high protein meal or snack in order to help rebuild muscle fibers and help muscles heal.  High protein meals and snacks are also more filling than sugary, carbohydrate filled post-workout favorites such as granola bars, cereal bars or pasta. 

Fruits contain many vitamins and minerals that are necessary for the body to function.  When it comes to fruit, however, it is important to choose the right foods in order to prevent insulin spikes and unnecessary fat storage.  Fruits contain plenty of sugars, and although they are natural sugars, they will still have an impact on your blood sugar level and cause spikes in the body’s insulin levels.  These spikes can cause you to feel hungry when you should not be, they can make you feel fatigued and can have an overall negative effect on mood.  In order to consume fruits that will benefit the body and assist in weight loss, it is important to consume mostly low glycemic fruits.   Some examples of low glycemic fruits are cherries, berries, grapefruits, plums, apples and pears.  In addition to ensuring most of your fruits are low on the glycemic index, it is also important to eat fresh fruit and avoid juices or dried fruits.  Juices do not provide all of the nutrients that the skin and meaty portions of the fruit contains.  Dried foods typically have plenty of added sugars and some of their nutritional value has been depleted. 

Low Fat Yogurt
Plain, low fat yogurt, such as Greek yogurt, is high in protein and calcium.  This combination helps increase metabolism and break down fats during digestion.  Research suggests that those that incorporate low fat yogurt to a balanced, low calorie diet plan maintain more lean muscle mass while losing weight. 

The Bottom Line
While there are many foods that assist in weight loss, as previously mentioned, there is no magic pill or food that will shed calories without effort on your part.  The keys to effective, permanent weight loss are simple.  You will need to eat less calories than what you burn, either through calorie restriction and/or exercise and you will have to incorporate healthy, nutritious foods into each meal and snack you consume.  Ideally, you should aim to consume less than 20% of your calories from fat each day.  The remainder of your calories can be evenly distributed among proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.  The benefits of exercise are abundant.  It not only burns calories, but also keeps the body’s metabolism working long after exercise is complete.  This helps burn more calories and fat even while you are sitting at work or sleeping. 

Healthy Tips Guaranteed to Melt Fat and a Meal Plan to Match

There seems to be an abundance of websites, diet plans, fitness programs and diet pills that promise weight loss, but not many of these options can guarantee fat loss.  Some fad diets and unhealthy diet programs can actually cause the body to lose muscle instead of fat due to the limited caloric intake coupled with too much exercise.  Fat loss is something anyone can achieve and there is no diet necessary to do it.  In order to burn fat and lean out, all that is necessary is a healthy, balanced diet that includes the right foods in the right combinations.  Before we delve into some healthy meal plans designed to turn the body into a fat burning machine, we need to discuss the many ways that food has the capability to help you burn fat. 

How to Eat to Burn Fat
In order to eat and burn fat, you will need to adjust your eating habits somewhat.  First you will need to eat frequently and incorporate five meals per day.  You will then need to limit carbohydrate intake and increase the amount of water you drink daily.  After establishing your meals and planning your water consumption, it will be necessary to choose foods that contain plenty of fiber or add fiber to foods that you are currently eating. 

Eat Five Times per Day
It is customary for most Americans to eat three large meals per day and add a couple snacks in between.  Usually, the heaviest meal of the day tends to be dinner.  This hampers fat loss because dinner is the last meal of the day and most tend to go to sleep a few hours, if not sooner, after dinner.  Ideally, it is wise to make lunch the biggest meal of the day. This is the meal that needs to sustain you through the rest of your workday and through busy afternoons. 

In order to burn fat, you will need to eat five meals per day instead.  The five meals will consist of three smaller main meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner with two snacks mixed in between.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and should be well balanced with plenty of protein, fiber and a small amount of healthy carbohydrates to help sustain you until your snack between breakfast and lunch.  Your meals should be between 350 and 450 calories each and each of your snacks should consist of approximately 200 calories.  Some examples of meals and snacks are provided below. 

Drink Plenty of Water
Many refer to water as the number one fat burner on the planet.  The kidneys need water to process your body’s food intake and eliminate toxins.  The kidneys also work in conjunction with the liver, whose main purpose is to properly process and burn fat.  With plenty of water, the kidneys function at an optimal rate, especially when consuming more protein than carbohydrates on a diet specifically designed to help you burn fat.  If you do not consume enough water, your liver will have to jump in and help the kidneys out, hence minimizing their efforts in processing and burning your body’s fat.  So, by drinking more water, you are helping your body process your food intake and burn fat at an optimal rate.  One other benefit to drinking water is that it helps fill you up prior to consuming your meals.  Try drinking one to two glasses of water before each meal and you will notice that you will consume less food and feel full faster. 

Cut the Carbs
Cutting carbohydrates down does not have to mean eliminating them all together.  Carbohydrates are a necessary source of energy for the body, but it is important to choose the right types of carbohydrates for fat burning purposes.  In addition, most Americans tend to make carbohydrates 60-70% of their daily caloric intake.  When carbohydrates are consumed in excess and not burned, through exercise, they turn into fat and are stored by the body.  In order to burn fat, you will need to minimize your carbohydrate intake and make them no more than 10-20% of your daily caloric consumption.  Lean protein, vegetables and low glycemic fruits should be the main source of your calories with healthy grains added in for fiber as well.   If you are familiar with ketogenic diets or diets such as the Atkins, you may wonder why they allow such a high fat and protein intake but minimize carbohydrates to no more than 50 grams per day.  The reason is that, if the body does not get enough carbohydrates to use for energy, it resorts to its secondary source for energy, fat.   Once this occurs, the body is in a state of ketosis and it begins using its fat stores for energy instead of the food that you are consuming.  So, if serious fat loss is your main goal, you can go a step further and cut your carbohydrate intake to put the body into a fat burning, ketosis state.  This will help burn fat at an increased rate, along with helping you shed between 1 to 3 pounds per week. 

Fill Up on Fiber
Although you are limiting carbohydrates, you do not have to eliminate all fruits and grains unless you want a strict approach to fat loss such as with the ketogenic or Atkins diet.  In order to get the right carbohydrates, you will just have to choose foods that are low in sugar and high in fiber.  These foods are considered low glycemic foods and have a minimal effect on the body’s blood sugar levels.  They prevent fat storage and the fiber content in them also helps keep you full longer.  Some examples of high fiber, low glycemic foods include nuts, barley, Ezekiel bread, bran, oatmeal, apples, beans, cabbage,  oranges, prunes and peas. 

Fat Burning Meal Choices
Below are some choices for each meal of the day and  snacks as well.  Use these meals and combine them according to your tastes and lifestyle to create your ideal fat burning meal plan.

Greek Yogurt with a Hard Boiled Egg, an apple and almonds
½ Grapefruit, Fiber One or Flax-O-Meal cereal w/ almond milk and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
3 egg white omelet with spinach, feta cheese, mushrooms and turkey bacon
½ cup of cottage cheese with handful of raspberries and Ezekiel bread toast
Protein shake (whey isolate or egg protein) blended with water, 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt, ice and berries 

Grilled chicken salad with romaine, tomatoes, cucumber and bell peppers.  Vinegar and olive oil for dressing.
Albacore tuna salad with mustard, relish, celery and seasoning in a whole grain pita.
Beef Kabob with a Greek salad, roasted tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of humus and half a pita
Sashimi salad (tuna, salmon, yellow tail, etc) including romaine lettuce, slivered carrots and low cal sesame dressing
Cobb salad with one egg, turkey bacon,  low fat cheese, ¼ avocado, 3 ounces of grilled chicken on a bed or romaine

Grilled tilapia filet seasoned with dry rub.  A side of grilled broccoli, sweet potato, squash and cauliflower.
Protein burger made out of lean sirloin beef topped with tomato, onion, cheese and mustard wrapped in lettuce
Grilled whole chicken breast seasoned with lemon and Mrs. Dash served with grilled asparagus and broccoli
Zucchini lasagna made with cooked zucchini strips instead of lasagna pasta strips
Lean sirloin steak served with cauliflower mashed potatoes and a green salad dressed in oil and vinegar

Almonds (one ounce)
Edamame (1/2 cup)
½ grapefruit
½ an apple with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
Celery sticks and hummus
Protein shake made with water, yogurt and almond milk
Any low carb protein bar under 200 calories
Greek yogurt with whole berries
2 hard boiled eggs
½ cup of cottage cheese with slices of tomato

All of the foods above can be combined to create a meal plan for each day of the week.  If followed correctly, it can lead, not only to weight loss, but increased fat loss as well.  The body responds to a dietary change within a few days, and after two to three days of eating a fat burning meal plan, you should feel less water retention, bloating and your clothes fitting a little loser.  For women, it is suggested to keep the calories at about 1,400 to 1,600 per day and for men it is recommended to stay between 1,900 and 2,400.  Of course, these numbers depend on an individual’s activity level.  They are based on a lightly active individual that exercises lightly for one to three days per week.  If you exercise more than that, you would be at the high end of the calorie range.  If you are sedentary and do not exercise at all, you would be at the lower end.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

English Muffin Sandwich Ideas for Breakfast, Lunch or Just a Snack!

 English Muffin, Tomato, Turkey, Lettuce and Avocado Sandwich
Toasted whole wheat English muffin with 1 slice of tomato, 2 slices of nitrate free low sodium turkey deli meat, 1 romaine lettuce leaf and 1 slice of avocado.   
1  Yellow, 1/4 Green , 1 Blue & 1/2 Red

 English Muffin, Tomato, Spinach and Egg Sandwich
Toasted whole wheat English muffin with 1 slice of tomato, 1 pan fried egg and 1/4 cup cooked spinach on top. 
1  Yellow, 1/4 Green & 1/2 Red

Open Faced English Muffin, Tomato and Swiss Sandwich
1/2 toasted whole wheat English muffin with 1 slice of tomato and ½ slice of reduced fat Swiss cheese on top.  Pop it in the toaster oven to let the cheese melt and enjoy!
1/2 Yellow, 1/4 Green & 1 Blue

Open Faced English Muffin Turkey, Tomato and Cottage Cheese Sandwich
1/2 toasted whole wheat English muffin with 1 slice of tomato, 2 slices of low sodium, nitrate free turkey deli meat and 1/4 cup of 1% cottage cheese on top.  Sprinkle with chopped chives or your favorite no salt seasoning and enjoy!
1/2 Yellow, 1/4 Green, 1 Red

Quick & Easy Cottage Cheese and Yogurt Snack Recipes

Cottage cheese or Yogurt topped with Raw Sliced Almonds Drizzled with Agave
½ cup of 1% cottage cheese  or Plain Greek or low sugar yogurt topped with 1/4 cup raw sliced almonds.  Then drizzle a tsp of agave on top.  

Cottage cheese or Yogurt topped with Chopped Walnuts and Dried Cranberries
½ cup of 1% cottage cheese  or Plain Greek or low sugar yogurt topped with 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts and 1/4 cup of no sugar added dried cranberries. 

Cottage cheese or Yogurt topped with Fresh Berries and Cereal
½ cup of 1% cottage cheese  or Plain Greek or low sugar yogurt topped with 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries and raspberries. Sprinkle some of your favorite low sugar, whole grain cereal on top. 

Cottage cheese or Yogurt Parfait
½ cup of 1% cottage cheese  or Plain Greek or low sugar yogurt topped with 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries and 1/4 cup of strawberries.  Add 1/2 cup granola then layer once again with cottage cheese and berries.  Sprinkle more granola on top. 

Cottage cheese with tomatoes and cucumbers
½ cup of 1% cottage cheese with 1/2 cup of chopped sliced cucumber and cherry tomatoes split in half

Cottage cheese or Yogurt topped with pineapple & Almonds
½ cup of 1% cottage cheese  or Plain Greek or low sugar yogurt topped with 1/2 cup of chopped fresh pineapple (or you can substitute for any of your favorite fruits!) and 1 tablespoon of slivered almonds on top

Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

These are great alone for a snack, in a crock pot as appetizers or on pasta for lunch or dinner!

  • 1 lb extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup zucchini (shredded and water squeezed out)
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp of your favorite Italian dressing
  • 1/3 cup shredded Italian cheese
  • fresh basil  
Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until combined.  Form into meatballs approximately the size of a golf ball and place them at least 2 in apart on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes.   Check them periodically then remove them from the oven to cool down. Serve on top of pasta and drizzle marinara sauce over them with fresh basil. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mini Pancake Muffin Bites

How do pancake chocolate chip muffin bites sound?  Well I can assure you they're delicious!  Super easy to make too!


  • 2 cups of Instant pancake mix
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together the pancake mix as you typically would.  Spray muffin tins to prevent muffins from sticking. Pour batter in, sprinkle chocolate chips on top and bake for about 12 minutes. Serve and ENJOY!

Shakeo Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Protein Muffins

When I'm craving sweets, I have to have healthy options like this around so I don't dig into the treats I have in the pantry for my husband and daughter! Enjoy and hope you like them as much as I do! 

  • 1/2 Banana
  • 1 scoop vanilla Shakeology
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg white or 3 tbsp of liquid egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons of whole oats cooked and drained
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 2 tblp of blueberries
Preheat oven to 350.  Combine Shakeology, flaxseed, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.  Mix with a fork or spoon thoroughly.  Next add in the banana, oatmeal and egg whites. Mix in a blender until it's a smooth consistency.  Grease or spray a large muffin tin.  Pour batter in.  Add blueberries in the center of each muffin.  Bake for 30 minutes but check them periodically since ovens vary in cook time.  The recipe above is for one large muffin. If you want to make multiples, double or triple it and make enough for your family to share! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Super Easy Spinach Omelet Recipe

Ok when I'm hungry, I tend to reach for the first thing I find in the fridge. I have a baby so cooking isn't very easy for me to be able to do. That is why I need super easy recipes if I'm going to eat healthy and not eat packaged, preservative filled foods. This is one of my favorite things to eat.  Egg white omelets.  You can fill them with anything and they're quick and easy to make!  The one below just has spinach because I'm trying to lose a few pounds and get back into my smaller clothes but you can also add the following and still make it healthy:

  • mushrooms
  • onions
  • bell peppers
  • tomatoes
  • shredded cheese (in moderation)
  • olives
  • lean ground turkey
  • chopped chicken breast
  • extra lean ground beef
  • turkey bacon
And basically anything else that you think would taste good.  The recipe is easy and you add in the rest of your ingredients at the same time I add the spinach.

  • Kirkland carton of egg whites (or 5 large egg whites)
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1oz crumbled feta cheese
  • Kirkland no salt seasoning (or any no salt seasoning such as Mrs Dash)
1.  Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray (preferably olive oil spray)
2.  Heat and pour egg whites in.  Let them cook so that the top is still runny but the bottom is more 

3.    Sprinkle no salt seasoning and add your ingredients. In my case, it was just spinach and a little 
       bit of feta cheese.  

4.  Let it cook until you can lift the omelet with a spatula.  Then fold it closed.  Press down so it closes and flip over.

5.  Cook it a few more seconds and it's done!  Serve and eat!

For more recipes, visit the Recipes link on my website and/or see the Recipes category on this page

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shakeology and Breastfeeding: How it Helped Increase My Breastmilk Supply

Increasing Breastmilk Supply Is Just ONE of the Many Benefits that Shakeology Has To Offer!

This is a blog post that a friend sent me when I was having supply issues breastfeeding. I tried EVERY single supplement under the sun, including tons of oatmeal, fenugreek, Mother Love drops and anything people suggested.  Unfortunately nothing worked so I kept looking for options.  That's when a friend suggested Shakeology. I heard about it and wanted to try it but thought it was too pricey for me and didn't really believe in it's benefits. After almost giving up on breastfeeding, I decided to give it a shot since I wanted to try and lose weight anyway. My good friend lost a lot of weight incorporating it into her diet so I figured I had nothing to lose.  
I started drinking it and did not notice anything with my breastmilk supply at first. I did, however, love the taste and felt full after breakfast through lunch.  Then my husband started drinking it too and felt the same. After a few weeks though, I started to notice that my son was choking a little bit when he fed.  Since I had a baby scale, I weighed him before and after eating and he drank over an ounce more than he  usually did. I am still drinking it to this day and, at 9 months, my son is having no issues at all getting enough milk anymore.  Read below for the blog post that encouraged me to try it and, if you want to give it a shot, click on the Shakeology link in this sentence. It's 100% guaranteed with a 30 day, money back, bottom of the bag guarantee. Even if you finish the bag, if you don't like it or it doesn't work out for you, you get your money back!  

Blog Post Regarding Shakeology and Breastfeeding from a Fellow Coach
As a BFing mom that has low supply issues, I encourage you to read to the end of the blog. It could really help.
"I know most breastfeeding mothers admit this, but I didn’t enjoy breastfeeding and I had a terrible time with it. Latching problems, a lazy eater, a fast let down, sores, and cracks made connecting with my son through breastfeeding almost impossible. I cried. I winced. I ached. I prayed for it to be over. I didn’t quit though. Armed with a breast pump and enough bottles and storage containers to move a small apartment, I decided I would pump and bottle feed to give my son what I believed was the best for him. (That said, if you are a formula feeding or formula supplementing mom, you are just as awesome and I think no less of you!)
Even with all the trouble that I had, one problem I never had was supply issues. I was able to pump and feed my son, and still save and store about 8-10 ounces per week, for my 2 month old, roughly 2 bottles. It wasn’t a lot, but enough that if I had to run an errand or something, I could leave him with someone instead of bringing him with me. I store extra milk in the fridge from Monday-Saturday and then on Sunday’s I bag and freeze it. For the last almost four weeks though I have saved and stored 40 Ounces (10 Bottles), 40 ounces (10 Bottles), 56 ounces (14.5 Bottles), and now I am not track to store over 75-80 ounces (18-20 Bottles) this week! All of a sudden I just started having to pump every 2 hours and was producing 6 plus ounces each time. I started looking into how to DECREASE supply issues it was getting so much. I did some research and there didn’t seem to be any medical reason for my sudden explosion of milk, so I started to evaluate my lifestyle and came up with this:
Over the last almost 4 weeks I hadn’t done anything new except start a new workout and balance out my diet and start drinking Shakeology daily and then it hit me…SHAKEOLOGY. I had been working out lightly so I couldn’t attribute it to that. I had changed my diet to more fruits and vegetables and less bread and bad fats, but I couldn’t really attribute it to that either. But Shakeo, that was new and maybe that could have been it. Now, I don’t know if it was the combination of my diet and Shakeology or just the Shakeology itself, but I do know that since beginning drinking it, my fridge and freezer are busting at the seams with milk. Before sharing this information with anyone, I wanted to make sure I thoroughly did my research, so I began analyzing the ingredient list of Shakeology and comparing it with known lactogenic foods and herbs. My findings were pretty astounding."
This is a recipe you can try with Shakeology BUT it's not necessary to add these ingredients to notice a boost.  Shakeology alone has natural ingredients that boost supply. A recipe like this just helps even MORE!

Shakeology has a bunch of ingredients but the list below is just a few of the ones that are in Shakeo and are also known to be lactogenic.
Flax – is full of phytoestrogens that can influence milk production.
Beta Carotene – Beta Carotene is needed in extra amounts during lactation. Carrot seed has been used as a galactagogue, and the vegetable, also containing the volatile oils and phytoestrogen, acts as a gentler support.
Spinach – Dark green vegetables like spinach are a potent source of minerals, vitamins and enzymes, as well as phytoestrogen that support lactation.
Spirulina - is a non-toxic variety of blue-green algae. It has been farmed in lakes and ponds as a food source for thousands of years. It is valued for its proteins, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, chlorophyll, and essential fatty acids. Spirulina’s nutrients are easily absorbed, even when a person’s digestion is not up to par.
Chlorella – Like Spirulina, green foods are reputed to increase the fat content of breast milk, it is known to have lactogenic and medicinal properties.
Barley Grass/Oat Straw/Oat Grass – It was recorded in Greek medicine two thousand years ago as a galactagogue. Taken for a week or two, it often helps mothers with chronic low milk supply.
Sesame Seed/Sesame Oil – Large, black sesame seeds are used to increase milk production across Asia. Husked, light-colored sesame seeds are also effective and easier to digest. Sesame is our most potent vegetable source of calcium!
Rose Hips – Contain a lot of vitamin C and can aid the body in the increased production of breast milk.
Sacha Inchi – Has the best source omega 3, 6, & 9 in the world, and omega 3 is essential in the neurological development of your baby.
These are just a few of the primary lactogenic ingredients and galactagouges found in Shakeology. Many, many women drink Shakeology while pregnant and breastfeeding and now I know why!
Here's a recipe to REALLY boost your production by adding ingredients that are known to increase supply.  Shakeology on it's own will help increase it but this super recipe will be an added boost!  If you're interested in giving Shakeology a shot, message me or click on this LINK.  It comes with a 30 day, bottom of the bag, money back guarantee.  This means that, even if you finish the bag, you can return it and receive a full refund.  Beachbody is THAT confident that you'll love it! You really have nothing to lose!